Sea­hawks QB Rus­sell Wil­son ex­plains shoe toss­ing in­ci­dent

The News Tribune - - Front Page - BY GREGG BELL [email protected]­new­stri­bune.com

Rus­sell Wil­son didn’t ex­actly shy away from Shoe Toss 2018 that had San Fran­cisco’s coach a tad riled.

“Some­body’s miss­ing a shoe some­where,” is how the Sea­hawks quar­ter­back be­gan his weekly press con­fer­ence Fri­day at team head­quar­ters, three days be­fore Seat­tle (7-5) hosts Min­nesota (6-5-1) in a key game in the race to next month’s NFC’s play­offs.

Wil­son’s pause for comic ef­fect, plus his mis­chievous grin and then chuckle showed that, yes, he heard Kyle Shana­han.

The San Fran­cisco 49ers coach this week ac­cused Wil­son of an act counter to the quar­ter­back’s al­tru­is­tic im­age: not only not help­ing a foe who lost his shoe be­tween plays — but throw­ing the op­po­nent’s shoe fur­ther up the field then rac­ing to the line of scrim­mage to snap the ball to cre­ate an off­side penalty on the 49ers.

“Lis­ten, I didn’t know whose shoe it was, first of all. Sec­ond of all, it was right in the mid­dle of my play. It had to go. We were go­ing no-hud­dle,” Wil­son said, talk­ing through a laugh. “And it was like right where we were go­ing to pretty much snap it.

“And I was like, ‘Hey, any­body’s shoe? Nope? All right.

What­ever.’ So I threw it. One, I didn’t want to throw it for­ward be­cause we were go­ing in that di­rec­tion to­wards the end zone. So I threw it back. I had never seen a shoe on the field like that in the mid­dle of a play when I’m try­ing to go no­hud­dle.

“I still haven’t seen the video. So I’m still wait­ing for some­one to find the video some­where.”

The im­pli­ca­tion was so 2018: if it wasn’t cap­tured on video, per­haps it didn’t hap­pen. The Fox tele­vi­sion broad­cast, the NFL’s of­fi­cial “all-22” wide-an­gle film shot from the top of the sta­dium, noth­ing cap­tured Wil­son’s al­leged act.

Shana­han ex­plained to re­porters in a press con­fer­ence at 49ers head­quar­ters in Santa Clara, Calif., Mon­day why he got a 15-yard un­sports­man­like foul in the third quar­ter of Seat­tle’s 43-16 vic­tory Sun­day at Cen­tu­ryLink Field. It was for yelling an ex­ple­tive (or two) into the face of an of­fi­cial on the 49ers’ side­line.

Shana­han said he was yelling at the of­fi­cials for not al­low­ing San Fran­cisco line­backer Fred Wag­ner time to re­trieve the shoe. He lost that on the pre­vi­ous play, up the field be­hind where Wil­son was about to take the next Sea­hawks snap.

“When he went to go pick it up, Rus­sell grabbed it and threw it,” Shana­han told re­porters in Santa Clara.

Fri­day, Wil­son was asked if he’s sur­prised at how much of an al­most-big deal Shana­han made Shoe Toss 2018.

“Well, I un­der­stand why he did it,” Wil­son said. “I wasn’t think­ing about it in the midst of do­ing it, but I un­der­stood why.”

A foe’s shoe is the only thing Wil­son is throw­ing away right now.

He is hav­ing the most ef­fi­cient sea­son pass­ing of his ca­reer: He has 29 touch­downs, fourth in the league and on pace to sur­pass the 34 he had last sea­son when he co-led the NFL. He’s thrown just five in­ter­cep­tions through 12 games, and only two in the last 10 games since Seat­tle’s 0-2 start. His passer rat­ing of 115.5 would be his ca­reerbest for an en­tire sea­son.

All that, de­spite the fact no full-time start­ing quar­ter­back in the NFL has thrown fewer passes than Wil­son on the run-first Sea­hawks, who have the league’s top rush- ing of­fense.

What Wil­son and coach Pete Car­roll take most pride, and im­por­tance, is his lim­it­ing turnovers. It’s why Seat­tle is plus-11 in turnover mar­gin, which in turn is why the team has won three con­sec­u­tive games and cur­rently holds the fifth of six play­off seeds in the NFC.

“He’s got great aware­ness. You have to have phe­nom­e­nal aware­ness and con­science, and he knows how we play and he un­der­stands what I’m say­ing,” Car­roll said of Wil­son. “He bought in from the first time he was with us (as a rookie third-round pick in 2012), he bought in to the phi­los­o­phy and ap­proach. He’s cham­pi­oned it for­ever and he’s been phe­nom­e­nal at it. He eval­u­ates re­ally well. He doesn’t put the ball in prob­lem ar­eas; rarely does he do that.

“It’s just part of his makeup. It’s some­thing we’ve grown to count on.”

The Vik­ings’ turnover mar­gin is just plus-1, which helps ex­plain why they are be­hind the Sea­hawks, hold­ing the No. 6 seed, en­ter­ing Mon­day night’s game at Cen­tu­ryLink Field.

Wil­son has played in 118 reg­u­lar-sea­son and 12 post­sea­son games, in­clud­ing two Su­per Bowls, in his seven-year ca­reer. He’s thrown 3,496 passes in those 130 to­tal games— with just 72 in­ter­cep­tions. That’s one ev­ery 49 throws, which for Wil­son is al­most three game’s worth this sea­son.

Wil­son uses a bas­ket­ball anal­ogy to ex­plain his aver­sion to risk with the foot­ball.

“It’s like your point guard. You want to have as lim­ited turnovers as pos­si­ble,” he said. “I think in terms of play­ing quar­ter­back, you want to be able to throw as many touch­downs as you can and have as lit­tle in­ter­cep­tions as you pos­si­bly can. I think that’s the ob­vi­ous thing.

But I do think that it’s how you prac­tice that helps you un­der­stand that through­out the game and un­der­stand how. And also test­ing things through­out the game to see what works and what doesn’t: ‘OK, is this the right throw?’ So you prac­tice and you get that work...

“In terms of Pete and I talk­ing about it, we talk about it ev­ery week. We talk about it ev­ery day, al­most. It is a ma­jor em­pha­sis of the game.

“And it’s the most sig­nif­i­cant em­pha­sis.”

Be­sides, it’s more im­por­tant than talk­ing about throw­ing shoes.

DREW PERINE [email protected]­new­stri­bune.com

Sea­hawks quar­ter­back Rus­sell Wil­son (3) scram­bles for a gain dur­ing Seat­tle’s vic­tory over the San Fran­cisco 49ers on Sun­day at Cen­tu­ryLink Field.

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