Let's hear it for "undersized" quarterback Russell Wilson, the Wisconsin grad who went in the third round in this past year's draft to the Seattle Seahawks and then beat out highly touted free agent acquisition Matt Flynn and incumbent starter Tavaris Jackson for the starting position on opening day.
And let's hear it for Seattle coach Pete Carroll, who ignored the negative press directed at Wilson (focusing, of course, only on his height) and ensured a fair quarterback competition in the preseason this year before announcing that his third-round pick had won the starting job. Good to know Carroll and his staff are not so prejudiced by height and free-agency hoopla that they can't see a quality quarterback when he plays in front of them.
I became a Wilson fan when ESPN's Mel Kiper made the ridiculous declaration on draft day that, if Wilson were 6'2" rather than 5'11", he'd be a top ten pick. But, Kiper went on, since 28 of 32 of the NFL's current starters were 6'2" or taller, Wilson has no chance whatsoever of succeeding in the league.
I hate that kind of crap. Wilson's been a winner everywhere he's played. He's got all the skills and all the characteristics of a great quarterback. A couple of inches in height doesn't change any of that.
Nice to see that, despite Kiper et al, Pete Carroll gave Wilson a fair chance at the Seahawks' camp.
According to an SI.com story, reporting Carroll's decision to start Wilson in week one, the former NC State and Wisconsin quarterback has posted some impressive numbers in three games this preseason, going 35 of 52 for 464 yards and five touchdowns, with only one INT to mar his stat line.
I'll be cheering for Wilson every time he steps on the field. The pressure is on him to prove he deserves to start ahead of Flynn and Jackson (who is now on the trading block) and, even if Wilson doesn't know it, to prove to the world that shorter quarterbacks can win in the NFL.
It seems people like Mel Kiper need more than just Drew Brees and Doug Flutie to prove that point to them.