With any athlete, the best motivation is sometimes hearing someone say you can’t accomplish your goal or that you’ll fail to achieve what you’re striving towards.
For Seahawks superstar Russell Wilson, he’s been doubted at nearly every level of his playing career. Despite receiving criticism that he was too short to play quarterback in the NFL, the 31-year old started in back-to-back Super Bowls in 2013 and 2014 and has received six Pro Bowl selections in eight seasons.
While some experts continue to underestimate Wilson’s ability to maintain his elite production level from year-to-year, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is very appreciative to be able to work with a quarterback that has accomplished so much and has much left ahead of him.
During an interview on CBSSports.com's Pick Six NFL Podcast, Schottenheimer expressed his beliefs about how Wilson could potentially use the chatter about never receiving an MVP vote to his advantage next season, motivating him to prove everyone wrong and show why he’s one of the game’s top signal callers.
“I am thrilled and excited about 2020, because I think the chatter about the MVP votes can motivate him. He's ready to work, he's always ready to work, but he's the wrong guy to doubt,” Schottenheimer explained. “He's the wrong guy to say, 'Nah, he can't do that,' because he will carry a grudge and he will work his ass off to make it go… He's a great dude, but inside that chest and that ribcage, that heart is beating fierce, brother."
Outside of the Pacific Northwest, many experts remain oblivious to Wilson’s elite traits under center and maintain belief he’s just a player who’s been very effective at escaping pressure from inside the pocket. Little do they know, the former Wisconsin standout is so much more than just a scrambler.
For Schottenheimer, he revealed that his opinion of No. 3 has dramatically altered since joining the Seahawks in 2018. Now, he recognizes that Wilson’s stellar accuracy with the football is a big part of what makes him so special and it’s also a trait that’s easily taken for granted.
“When I first got out here, I thought Russ was a good player. I had never obviously done anything with him in terms of really watching him work. And I thought he was a good player, I thought he was a guy who was going to scramble around and make plays, improvise and all those things that he does,” Schottenheimer detailed. “But when I got here and I saw his ability to throw the football not just down the field, but accurately - we call it ball placement - he's able to put the ball exactly where you want it."
"And I was quite honestly blown away, I was surprised. I think unless you really love the Seahawks and you watch the Seahawks, what he does just come so naturally and easy that people underestimate him.”
Along with producing the third-most touchdown passes (31), fourth-highest passer rating (106.3), and the sixth-most passing yards (4,110) among all qualified quarterbacks in the league in 2019, Wilson also finished tied with the most game-winning drives (five) and fourth quarter comebacks (four), according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
While Seattle wasn't always in the best position to succeed in 2019, with Wilson under center, they always had a chance to come away with the victory. Despite the impressive number of talented quarterbacks in the league, most teams wouldn't always share that same optimism week to week.
As Schottenheimer discussed, he’s never coached another quarterback that carries the same confidence and determination to win as Wilson does. Regardless of the score, the former third-round selection always believes his team has a chance to win.
“If we're down 30 with five minutes to go, if we're tied with two minutes to go in the game, there's nobody that I've ever been around, that believes, regardless of the situation, that we will find a way to win."