As the Indianapolis Colts study the Seattle Seahawks, one thing becomes clear about Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson: He's more Andrew Luck than Robert Griffin III.
Wilson is part of the quarterback draft class of 2012 and has been lumped at times with RG3 and third-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a “read-option” style quarterback. In truth, he's much more of a duel-threat quarterback in the style of Luck.
Posed the question of whether he's a running quarterback or a quarterback that runs, Wilson answered quickly.
“Quarterback that runs,” he said. “It's one of those things that I love throwing the football. I love to sit back there and just step up and slide and make the throws. Then, if it's not there, just try to get to something positive and make something happen.”
Isn't that Luck in a nutshell?
“I know both of us can run,” Wilson said. “For how big he is, he can run extremely well. It's one of those things that we're looking to facilitate the ball to the right guy at the right time.”
Wilson and the Seahawks (4-0) will play Luck and the Colts (3-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
A common theme among observers is that the Colts defense has prepped for dealing with Wilson from playing against Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor and 49ers quarterback Kaepernick.
That theme is flawed at best, Colts defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois said.
“I can see in the film, he's not a read option,” Jean Francois said. “If he has to run it, he can. But as you can see, he's willing to make plays down the field. He doesn't have to scramble. He can sit in the pocket. As you can see, he's getting more comfortable with his offense. …He doesn't have to leave that pocket until the play is broken down and he's got to use his legs.”
Wilson's numbers are solid, if not spectacular. He's completed 59 of 96 passes (61.5 percent) for 787 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions. Luck, by comparison, has completed 82 of 128 passes (64.1 percent) for 918 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Wilson has rushed for 131 yards (4.9 yards per carry). Luck has rushed for 126 yards (7.9 per carry).
A quick look says the two QBs are very similar in style and production.
Colts safety Antoine Bethea looks at Wilson and sees a different challenge than Pryor and Kaepernick.
“As far as throwing the ball, he can make all the throws a little bit better than the previous two guys,” Bethea said. “Wilson, he's a good quarterback, great quarterback, and he leads their offense well.”
Bethea has agreement in the locker room.
“They all can run. They're all fast, athletic,” cornerback Darius Butler said. “I think Russell probably does a better job keeping his eyes downfield when he's scrambling and extending the play. I would say he's more of a threat with his arm. He's a smart kid, he stays poised, for a young quarterback, especially. I would say that's the one thing he does better than the other two guys.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he cannot single out one attribute he would list as Wilson's best.
“I just think his competitiveness that directs the way he prepares and the way he sets the standards for his play, and his day-to-day performance is probably the most crucial element,” Carroll said.
Competitiveness, preparation and standards – for those who have been around Luck, it sounds like a familiar refrain.
“I guess we are in somewhat of a fraternity together by virtue of coming out the same year,” Luck said. “I think fans and media make that connection. That's the great part of sports. You find these subplots and storylines. I know when I watch other sports, I love hearing about it.
“I think from our perspective, we were drafted in the same class together. There happened to be a bunch of quarterback and a bunch of us had some early success. I do try to root for the other guys, having gotten to know them.”
Luck scrambles away from any thoughts on how he has fared compared with Wilson and others.
“I don't know; it doesn't matter,” Luck said. “I'm never on the field at the same time as them.”
That won't stop the Wilson vs. Luck storyline this week. Or perhaps for years to come.