Russell Wilson on path to greatness

It's hard to know exactly when Wilson will make that jump himself. It didn't seem like a logical possibility for him a year ago because there were so many other young quarterbacks who commanded the spotlight and dazzled with their own talents. While quarterbacks such as Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, Washington's Robert Griffin III and Carolina's Cam Newton were having their team's success foisted upon their shoulders, Wilson was controlling a far more conservative attack in Seattle. In the first two years of his career, the Seahawks ranked 27th (2012) and 26th (2013) in the NFL in passing yards per game.

Don't be surprised if those numbers change in the coming years. Brady averaged only 189.5 passing yards per game in his first full season as a starter. But he also displayed more potential with each year that went by. He grew because he knew the offense better, trusted his talent more and found the coaching staff more willing to put him in positions to take chances. The chief luxury Belichick always had with Brady back then was the ability to fall back on the same conservative formula that had aided the Patriots in the first place.

Carroll has the same advantage with Wilson. The Seahawks still know that Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch is the key cog in their offensive success and the face of the team's smash-mouth personality. Their defense also remains young and talented, with playmakers at all levels. Those strengths mean Wilson never has to press as he develops. His greatest gift is that he's always been able to grow with the understanding that this team can win in a variety of ways.

Wilson also will collect more Super Bowl rings, even though that won't happen as quickly as it did for Brady. The most underrated factor in New England's dynasty is that it emerged at a time when the NFL was largely devoid of great quarterbacks. The league had long since said farewell to some future Hall of Famers ( John Elway, Troy Aikman and Steve Young), while other stars were either plagued by injuries or inconsistency ( Kurt Warner, Brett Favre). To understand what many teams were dealing with in those years, just remember that some of the leagues' top passers in 2003 and 2004 were Marc Bulger, Jon Kitna and Aaron Brooks.

That dynamic eventually changed for Brady, but it's already very much a part of Wilson's existence. A major reason why it will be so hard for Seattle to build a dynasty is that the NFC is filled with quarterbacks capable of leading their own teams to championships. Wilson already has to contend with another young star in his own division (San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick), while older veterans with their own Super Bowl rings still have the potential to take their franchises back to the mountaintop (namely Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and New Orleans' Drew Brees).

The upside for Wilson in all this is that he won't lack for motivation. When talking to those reporters in Texas, he talked about his excitement for another productive offseason of preparation with his receivers. Wilson already had proven what he could do with a full year to think about how he'd handle the position after winning the starting job as a rookie. Now he's contemplating how best to keep his team contending for more championships.

Part of that process clearly involves Wilson educating the world on what he expects from himself. He has gone from undersized and underrated to Super Bowl champion in the span of two relatively short years. The next step seems to be putting himself on a path where everybody will remember what he has done in this game once he's gone. If we look far enough down that road, we'll see there's another familiar face out there, one who's already been where Wilson so eagerly wants to go.

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