When the 49ers defeated the Seahawks 13-6 in Week 7 on Thursday Night Football, Alex Smith was under center for San Francisco.
Now that Colin Kaepernick has taken control of the offense, Russell Wilson isn’t the only young, promising signal-caller to be playing the NFC West. While Wilson has led the Seahawks to back-to-back performances of at least 50 points, he has also been impressed with the way Kaepernick has played, especially with the Week 15 win at New England.
“He’s done a tremendous job,” Wilson said in a Wednesday conference call with Bay Area media. “He’s got a great arm and he’s a great quarterback. He’s got so much poise and I have so much respect for what he’s doing right now and how he’s playing. He’s got great ability and seems to be a great leader as well.”
Wilson earned the starting job in Seattle after being drafted in the third round and putting together a solid training camp, beating out prized free agent signee Matt Flynn. The rookie has peaked in recent weeks, as he rushed for three touchdowns in a 50-17 win over Buffalo on Sunday.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the team tried not to overexpose Wilson early in the year, but that he’s been able to handle the NFL workload like a true professional.
“Sometimes you say, ‘We’re not surprised, we’re just thrilled with his progress.’ But it is surprising that he’s so comfortable with gameplans and the ability to adjust one week to the next,” Carroll said. “Of course he’s great at doing his homework, but he also shows a real flexibility and he’s not stuck on anything. It really helps us and our trust in him has really skyrocketed in the last month.”
But Wilson already knows how hard-nosed the 49ers defense is on a weekly basis. Ditto for Carroll.
“They’re very tough on defense,” Carroll said. “They’re so aggressive in their coverage style. The front guys all make plays, the linebackers are fantastic, the safeties are ridiculous. This is a very, very difficult defense and for two years they’ve been on top of the world here. We respect them in a great way.”
If Sunday’s contest is anything like the Week 7 matchup, the 49ers (10-3-1) and Seahawks (9-5) should be playing in another physical, 60-minute bout. Wilson is still relatively new to the NFC West, but he can sense an extra edge between San Francisco and Seattle.
“I think there’s a definite rivalry between the 49ers and the Seahawks because it’s the NFC West,” Wilson said. “We both are great teams who want to win. It’s all about winning and we have so much respect for one another.”
Tags: Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson
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