If anyone knows what it’s like to face pressure in the pocket, it’s Russell Wilson. Over the last few years, few players have been targeted as frequently as he has. Despite Seattle’s incredible success in the last few years, their offensive line has remained the biggest weak spot for the team. They’ve been bailed out time and time again by Wilson’s elusive runs and creative efforts to save broken plays.
So when Wilson hears Cam Newton complaining week after week about facing too much pressure in the pocket and taking too many uncalled hits, it understandably ticks him off. With an nagging ankle injury slowing him down, Wilson has had to adapt and learn to avoid taking big hits or trying to scramble away from them. He knows that protecting himself when the line fails falls on his shoulders, not the refs.
In an interview with NFL.com reporters, Wilson made it clear that he believes running quarterbacks need to protect themselves if they plan on running a lot.
I think, first of all, you gotta play the quarterback position in a smart way. Obviously, if we didn’t want to get hit, we’d be playing a different sport. That’s just the truth. If I didn’t want to get hit, I’d be playing tennis. But I think that in terms of being smart on the field, you gotta get down and protect yourself. I haven’t seen all the hits, so I don’t know if some of them are illegal. I don’t really know, because I haven’t really seen [Cam Newton] play this year as much.
But for me in particular, I just try to play the game in a smart way. I try to get down early and protect myself as much as I can.
The implication that Newton should find a new sport is harsh, but there’s some truth to what he says. If you play in the NFL, you’re going to get hit. If you play quarterback, you’re going to get hit more. If you leave the safety of your pocket and try and run the ball as quarterback, you don’t really get to complain about getting hit.