Russell Wilson is coming off one of his best games in the NFL against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. Entering his second year, the Seahawks quarterback has given the team new life on offense. What is his secret to all of this? Consistently reading the playbook and learning about football.
"[Since being in the league], I've [picked up] my study habits and how to prepare for the game," Wilson said in a conference call. "Studying has really elevated my game and belief in what I do. When I study and learn every day, it gives me a chance to play at a high level."
At the end of last season, Wilson led the Seahawks to the postseason as they finished with a five game winning streak. He also had a 16-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio which included two game winning touchdown drives.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh has been amazed at the quarterback's abilities throughout the season. He said both Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are two of the great young quarterbacks in the NFL.
"He is a fantastic player, wonderful competitor with skills of arm talent and mobility," Harbaugh said. "[He has] great field awareness, understands the scrambling lanes and escape routes. There are a lot of great qualities about him. He is playing phenomenal."
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Wilson had matured quickly in the last year in learning the game. He said his quarterback isn't scared to be trailing and he approaches a game properly.
"He's been consistent in giving us a chance to win games," Carroll said. "This year isn't any different as he has come a long way. We've been 21 [points] down [to Tampa Bay] a few weeks ago and we came back. He is very comfortable and poised with any circumstances."
This season, the Seahawks are 11-1 with only one close loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5. They have won their last three games by at least 21 points or more. Wilson has not lost at home in CenturyLink Field in 14 consecutive games.
Wilson said his biggest approach to each week is taking every game like it's a championship opportunity. Pete Carroll emphasized this to the team throughout the season, according to Wilson. He felt the turning point for the Seahawks was the overtime win against the Chicago Bears, where he engineered two touchdown drives at the end of regulation and to end the game in overtime. Seattle went on to win the next four games to earn a wildcard spot in the NFC before defeating the Redskins in the playoffs.
The Seahawks quarterback said there are three important components to be a great quarterback in the league. He continues to improve upon his goal of getting better each and every day.
"There are three things you need to be a great quarterback in the league," Wilson said. "You need a great leadership, attention to detail and a relentless competitive nature. Can I [my teammates] in the huddle better? Can I make them believe and help them play at their best? There are things involved that a quarterback must do and that's what it comes down to."
Wilson said Colin Kaepernick is a great athlete and quarterback for the 49ers. He brought up how Kaepernick most likely runs faster than him and hopes to play against the third-year QB for a long time in the divisional rivalry.
Both Wilson and Kaepernick said this will be a physical game on Sunday. It should come down to the fundamental things to decide who wins in Week 14.
"It's going to be a war and battle," Wilson said. "It's one of those things that will be physical. You have to take care of the football, make those big plays and we'll give ourselves a chance."