By MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM
FLOWERY BRANCH — Russell Wilson was the sixth quarterback selected in the 2012 draft, but he’s the only one to lead his team to the divisional playoff round.
The Seahawks took Wilson with the 75th pick out of Wisconsin and eventually made him the starter, despite signing free-agent Matt Flynn to a rich contract in the offseason. It has paid off as Wilson has become a dynamic offensive threat for the Seahawks, who play the Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
Here are some excerpts from Wilson’s conference call with Atlanta reporters Wednesday:
Q: (Falcons defensive coordinator) Mike Nolan compared you to (Hall of Fame quarterback) Fran Tarkenton. That’s got to be something, right?
A: I know who he is. He’s a tremendous quarterback who played way back when and did a lot of great things and changed the game. I studied film on him and Doug Flutie and Drew Brees, (with me) not being the prototypical quarterback. For me, (my size) is not a disadvantage. My height doesn’t define my skill set. I feel I can make any play on the field.
Q:What were your expectations when the Seahawks drafted you?
A: My expectations were very high. I’ve always believed in myself. That’s what has allowed me to be successful and be where I am today. If I listened to everybody who said I can’t do it, I can’t play quarterback, I can’t be a starting quarterback, I wouldn’t be here. I believe in my God-given ability and knowledge and football I.Q. I work at it every day. You’ve got to work it at every day. Obviously I try to learn from the best by watching other quarterbacks across the NFL.
Q: What did you learn from watching smaller guys like Flutie, Brees and Tarkenton?
A: The biggest thing is they never cared or worried what everyone had to say about the way they played. They just went out there and trusted their reads. I’ve been the same height for a while. For the last six or seven years I’ve been this height, and I’ve learned to trust my ability. I have long arms and big hands, and that allows me to throw. I have the ability to move, which is a big plus. I can step up, step back, slide out of things and make something happen. You watch a guy like Brees, he keeps his eyes downfield all the time, and that’s what I try to do. I don’t really like running, to be honest. I’d rather throw all day and get it to the true playmakers and facilitate. But sometimes the right play is to run.
Q: Has the speed of the game slowed down for you now?
A: It definitely has slowed down for me. Physically, obviously it’s the same speed, but mentally, it’s slowed down. I’m trusting my reads, knowing where I’m going with the football and believing in it. The more experience I get, it’s going to help. I played 50-plus games in college, 20-plus here. That helps a lot. And the way we practice it’s very, very fast. Coach (Pete) Carroll is good about that.
OTHER RECENT STORIES