NFC West Q&A: Is Russell Wilson a top-tier quarterback?

Today's question: Russell Wilson led the NFL in passer rating last season, but some coaches in the NFL still don’t put the Seattle Seahawks signal-caller in the top tier of quarterbacks. How do you think the coaches and players in the NFC West view Wilson compared to the other quarterbacks in the NFL?

Josh Weinfuss, Arizona Cardinals reporter: There’s one word to sum up how coaches and players in the division view Wilson: dangerous -- or Danger-Russ. He’s a blend of runner and passer who can hurt teams with his feet and his arm. But, as teams have proved against the Seahawks, if a defense can take away his run game, he’s not as effective. (See: both Rams games last season and the Cardinals' victory in Seattle.) But when Wilson gets out of the pocket and has time to let plays develop or break down, he can be lethal with his arm. That said, his leading the league in passer rating is deceiving. He had the fourth-fewest passing attempts among the top 10 in passer rating -- and 144 fewer than New Orleans’ Drew Brees, who had the most among those top 10. Those extra passes could be the difference between Wilson proving himself as a truly elite passer or someone who just gets by with his feet.

Nick Wagoner, Los Angeles Rams reporter: Whatever teams or players might slight Wilson around the league, it's certainly not a view shared by those in the Rams' locker room. For years, when the Rams would prepare to play Seattle, the first name you’d hear about controlling was running back Marshawn Lynch. With Lynch injured last season, the focus turned to Wilson. The offense was already becoming Wilson’s in 2014; now, there’s no doubt about who makes the Seahawks go. The Rams have had their success against Seattle since Wilson took over in 2012, going 4-4 in those meetings. But Wilson hasn’t really been at fault. The real culprit has been Seattle’s inability to protect him against the Rams’ vaunted defensive line. The Rams have 35 sacks in eight games against Wilson. Because of Wilson’s dual-threat ability, the Rams undoubtedly see him as one of the top five or six quarterbacks in the league and he will be the focal point of their preparation for their two meetings against the Seahawks this season.

Paul Gutierrez, San Francisco 49ers reporter: How do the Niners view Wilson? Think Pedro Martinez when he was with the Boston Red Sox and he was talking about the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers, he said, were his daddy. Same thing here ... kinda. Wilson has won seven of his past eight games against the 49ers, including five straight and the NFC title game in January 2014. The rebuilding 49ers -- whose three straight trips to the conference championship and the debate on whether a team would rather have Wilson and Colin Kaepernick seem an eternity ago now -- cannot afford to look beyond Wilson at other quarterbacks in the league. Not Tom Brady. Not Aaron Rodgers. Not Cam Newton. Not with the ownage Wilson has on them at the moment. In eight regular-season meetings, Wilson is 6-2 against the Niners with a passer rating of 93.7. Interestingly enough, that's the same career rating he has against the other two NFC West teams, even if his 1,533 passing yards against the 49ers are fewer than he has thrown for against the Rams (1,813) and Cardinals (1,631). His 12 touchdown passes and seven interceptions against the Niners are relatively pedestrian, but his ability to extend plays as a modern-day, scrambling Fran Tarkenton is what drives the Niners nuts, even as he has averaged less than 4 yards per rushing attempt against them. The ultimate number is W's, and that’s what matters in Santa Clara. As such, Jed York does not own the 49ers; Russell Wilson does.