Seahawks veteran quarterback Russell Wilson compiles a weekly report that he then distributes to his coaches and fellow quarterbacks. But he isn't the only quarterback whose preparation sets him apart.
Once a week, Russell Wilson hands out homework.
It’s customary, of course, for a starting quarterback in the NFL to prepare for his next opponent. For example, Wilson said on Tuesday that he swims 20 to 30 laps on Mondays and Tuesdays each week to “try to make sure my body’s moving and get the lactic acid out of my body.”
But the seventh-year Seahawk also compiles a report complete with ideas, play calls, formations, tendencies, etc., and distributes them to Seattle’s coaching staff and his fellow signal-callers.
These weekly Wilson print-outs? That’s next-level preparation.
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“Every week he’ll send out a very detailed report,” said the Seahawks’ first-year backup quarterback, Brett Hundley. “Sometimes it’s like, ‘How do you have time to do this?’
“But you find time. That’s what it takes. For him to put those together each and every week — no matter if it’s a Thursday game or not — it speaks volumes on how he prepares.”
According to first-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, it’s not just how Wilson prepares.
It’s also how he shares.
“They all prepare. You can’t play this position at such a high level and not prepare,” said Schottenheimer, who has worked on 11 professional or collegiate coaching staffs across 21 seasons. “He’s very selfless in a lot of the things that he does. He shares with the group, both coaches and players alike.
“So I’d say the organization is probably unlike any I’ve ever seen, in terms of computer printouts … and it’s impressive. So he’s an unbelievable worker. I get texts at all kinds of hours of the night. I’m not sure when he sleeps. I don’t sleep much, but I don’t know when he sleeps. (It’s) all kinds of strange hours about, ‘Hey, what about this? What about that?’ So he’s always thinking the game.”
But thinking, writing, drawing, printing, distributing, and preparing (and repeating and repeating and repeating), hasn’t always preceded winning. The 29-year-old Wilson has completed 66 percent of his passes this season, throwing for 1,967 yards with 21 touchdowns and five interceptions. Still, the Seahawks are just 4-5, with all five losses coming by eight points or less.
To stay in the playoff picture, they need to fend off the Green Bay Packers (4-4-1) at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night. That means jamming a week’s worth of preparation into three short days.
It also means overcoming one of the premier quarterbacks on the planet.
“Aaron (Rodgers) is a great football player – one of the best to ever step on the field,” Wilson said. “I have a great appreciation of watching him play the game, how he plays it and everything else.
“Every time you play a great quarterback and play some great teams like the Packers – they have so much history, they know how to do it – every one of those moments you cherish and you look forward to those opportunities.”
In nine opportunities this season, the 34-year-old Rodgers — who continues to play with a knee injury — has completed 61.1 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,741 yards and 17 touchdowns with just one interception. He hasn’t been picked off, in fact, since the Packers beat the Bills on Sept. 30.
Hundley — who the Seahawks traded for prior to the 2018 season — spent the first three years of his career learning from the Packers’ perennial Pro Bowler in Green Bay.
And while Wilson’s reports may be unique, the same can’t be said for his degree of preparation.
“I think both of them just put in the time, and I think that’s what it really takes,” Hundley said of Wilson and Rodgers, with an open tablet appropriately sitting next to him paused on film from a previous Packers game. “When you don’t want to watch film or it’s late or you’ve been at the facility all day, they’re still watching film.
“That’s it. There’s a healthy balance, but at the same time they’re pushing the envelope to find an edge. That’s what those guys do.”