What makes Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson so great is not natural athletic ability. It’s neither his accurate arm nor swivel hips. In fact, by pure physical standards, Wilson may not even be in the top half of QBs in the league. He does not have the arm strength of a Colin Kaepernick, or the wheels of a healthy Robert Griffin III.
However, what separates Wilson from the other young quarterbacks is preparation, leadership and accountability.
You can have a quarterback with all the physical tools in the world (see Vince Young), but without preparation, leadership, and accountability it is near impossible to even stay in the league (again, see Vince Young).
Though training camp technically starts July 25, 2013 in Renton, Washington at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, the truth is Wilson’s championship off-season started the morning after the team’s divisional loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Let’s take a look at some of the traits that make Wilson a winner.
The quarterback meeting room has become Wilson’s home away from home. Known now as Wilson’s ‘office’, it is where he breaks down tape, play after play, reviewing his own mistakes as often as analyzing opposing defenses.
For Wilson, preparation leads to consistency, which is the foundation for sharp execution. When a player executes well, it puts him in the position to capitalize on every opportunity. In a sport with such a limited sample size, seizing every fleeting opportunity can be a game-changer.
A great leader not only says the right things, but does them as well. In both ways, Wilson exudes leadership. With his words, he is keeping the mounting fan and media expectations in check.
Wilson preaches focus, both for himself and his teammates; focus to take games one at a time…and focus on the execution of every single play.
For Wilson, none of the hype matters. He understands how fleeting it can be and keeps those around him grounded and centered on the task at hand.
With his actions, Wilson is often the first player to arrive at the facilities and the last to leave. In addition, in the off-season, Wilson took the receivers, running backs, and other quarter backs to Southern California to get some on-field sessions in.
Such actions not only breeds team unity, but muscle-memory based perfection as well.
Accountability on the field is just as important as it is off the field, which is why you never hear Wilson’s name in any of the PED controversies surrounding the Seahawks. While he would be the first to admit he is far from perfect, he does try to keep himself in good situations and eliminate any needless distraction or mistakes.
That mindset transfers to his game every Sunday.
On the field, Wilson remains calm and in control. When things are going well, he challenges himself to keep executing. When things go bad, he remains the calm in the center of the storm. He stays in the moment and executes one play at a time.
That accountability in both the good and the bad has a snowball effect on those around him, bringing out the best in all of his teammates.
Not since the 1985 season has a Seahawk’s team had such high expectations. How they handle those expectations will go a long way in defining the legacy that Wilson is building.
It is a legacy that won’t be measured by statistics, but rather by preparation, leadership, & accountability… and as a result of those traits, championships.