FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick started watching Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as part of preparations for Super Bowl XLIX, he had a flashback to his youth.
"He has an uncanny sense of awareness of what is around him, good or bad. I can't really define it." Bill Belichick, on Russell Wilson
"He kind of reminds me of watching [Roger] Staubach," Belichick said during a Tuesday morning conference call. "I remember a lot of Staubach's spectacular running plays where it looked like he was about to get tackled by three or four guys, and he would Houdini it out of there somehow. You see Wilson doing some of the same things."
Belichick grew up watching Staubach at Navy, where Belichick's father was a longtime coach, and later followed Staubach's pro career with the Dallas Cowboys (1969 to '79).
As for Wilson, his ability to extend plays has caught Belichick's eye.
"[He] has an instinctiveness; he just knows where people are. It looks like he's going to get tackled and he doesn't," Belichick said. "You think that he doesn't see them, but he sees them. He just knows they are there. He has an uncanny sense of awareness of what is around him, good or bad.
"I can't really define it. You can't really coach it. It's an awareness that all great players have it, all good players have it. I think he just has it at a higher level. It's impressive."
Limiting Wilson both as a rusher and passer is naturally going to be a significant part of the Patriots' Super Bowl game plan. Wilson finished the regular season with 118 rushes for 849 yards (7.2 per carry) and six touchdowns. As a passer, he was 285-of-452 for 3,475 yards (63.1 percent), with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions during the regular season.