After the Seattle Seahawks' season ended in January, coach Pete Carroll was asked about the next step for quarterback Russell Wilson. "I think this is really the right time to really turn his focus and broaden his awareness of what is going on in the game overall," Carroll said. "And so he and I will spend a lot of time this offseason introducing him to the perspective of what it’s like to look at the defense from the defensive side of the ball. I want him to learn and understand what is going on schematically, rotation-wise, fits-wise even more than he knows now."
Wilson started as a rookie back in 2012, but Carroll and the coaching staff have done an excellent job of walking the fine line between challenging him and overloading him in the past four years. Wilson's continued growth is evidence that the plan has worked well. He took great strides as a pocket passer in 2015 and led the NFL in passer rating. At 27 years old, Wilson has yet to miss a game or even a practice because of injury. In assessing what his ceiling might be, it makes sense to look at how Wilson stacks up to where his peers were at this point in their respective careers. Among the 32 projected starters going into 2016, 19 have played at least 64 games. Within that group, only Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was better than Wilson at the 64-game mark in completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception ratio and passer rating. Here's a look at where Wilson ranks compared to the other 18 quarterbacks after 64 games.
To put Wilson's standing into perspective, the group of 19 quarterbacks includes Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer and Drew Brees. Wilson's numbers in the categories listed above are better than where all of those quarterbacks were at the 64-game mark. Other than Rodgers, the only quarterback who bested him in a category was Tony Romo, who posted an 8.28 YPA average after 64 games. And keep in mind that the numbers above assess Wilson as a passer only. He also has run for 2,430 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first four seasons. Given Carroll's emphasis on taking care of the football, Wilson's 3.12 TD-INT ratio stands out. Among the 19 quarterbacks, only he and Rodgers were above 2.5. From a decision-making perspective, Wilson has given Carroll exactly what he was looking for. Carroll and general manager John Schneider have spoken often about trying to build a roster for sustained success. And Carroll still wants the defense and the running game to shape the Seahawks' identity. But considering Wilson's age, durability and the fact that he continues to show growth every season, he's the biggest reason that the Seahawks' window to win more Super Bowls should stay wide-open for years to come.