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John DeShazier: Russell Wilson a big fan of Drew Brees

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Two quarterbacks will be going head-to-head on 'Monday Night Football'

You half expect Russell Wilson to be looking from the sideline at what’s happening on the field as often as possible Monday night when he’s not on it himself, directing Seattle’s offense.

The second-year quarterback is an unreserved fan of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who’ll lead New Orleans (9-2) into Seattle to face the Seahawks (10-1) in a game featuring the top two teams in the NFC.

The Saints have won three straight, in a 12-day span, nine straight on "Monday Night Football" and three straight on the road on "MNF," while Seattle has a 13-game home winning streak.

Wilson has been the quarterback for Seattle’s streak. And if his production and results appear to be a little Brees-like (he has completed 64 percent of his passes this season for 2,362 yards and 19 touchdowns, with just six interceptions), there’s a reason for that.

The 5-foot-11 Wilson has studied Brees (listed at 6-foot) intensely.

“I watched him in his college career and I remember my dad being like, ‘Man, you’ve got to watch this guy. This guy is awesome,’ ” Wilson said. “Him throwing so many balls (for Purdue) against the University of Wisconsin – I remember watching that game and he threw 89 passes. That’s when I really figured out who Drew Brees was. Then he got drafted and played for the Chargers. I really watched him there. New Orleans Saints

“I really, really started following him a lot and studying him my junior year of college and also my senior year of college. When I went to Wisconsin, I had tons and tons of film on him that I got.

“I just watched every throw, pretty much, that he had thrown for the most part in the NFL. Just really studied him, studied his footwork, studied what he does and obviously everybody compares our heights and everything.

“But the thing I admire about him is his leadership, his attention to detail, his competitive nature, he’s very clutch and he’s very poised in big situations. You see that on TV. You see that when you meet him. That’s when I really learned a lot about him.”

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll said Wilson certainly could’ve picked a worse quarterback to mimic than Brees, who’s 434 yards short of the 50,000-yard mark in his career. Brees will become the fifth member of that club, joining Brett Favre (71,838), Peyton Manning (63,209), Dan Marino (61,361) and John Elway (51,475).

“Yeah, he’s got tremendous respect for Drew and all that he’s done, and has always kind of been in the conversation when we talk about what he would like to become, realizing that Drew – a guy of similar stature has been so successful – he’s been a role model for Russell,” Carroll said.

“It’s had an impact. He listens and studies and competes to learn everything he can. Drew spent some time with him I think at the Pro Bowl, plus he’s watched everything he’s ever done. So he’s had a big impact on Russell’s play.”

The Saints' defense will be looking to have the impact Monday night on Wilson.

New Orleans is tied for the league lead with 37 sacks and leads the league in sacks per play. Wilson, though mobile (72 carries for 409 yards and a touchdown) has been sacked 29 times in 304 pass attempts. Brees, by contrast, has been sacked 23 times in 462 attempts.

“He keeps his vision down the field,” said Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, who leads the team with a career-high 9.5 sacks. “When he scrambles, he truly scrambles but it’s more along the lines just to get his wide receivers open, just to see what else is going to pop up.

“We’ve got to do a great job of trying to contain this man. I think we’re going to do a good job. We’ll be efficient.”

So far, that has been a calling card of the Saints' defense, which is allowing 17.8 points per game.

“(Saints defensive coordinator Rob) Ryan is a tremendous coach,” Wilson said. “He knows what he’s doing. He has a plan and he goes with it. He has his guys flying around. They’re very athletic. You have to give a lot credit to those guys.  They have some young guys stepping up and playing at a high level, too.

“It’s just one of those things where they have a lot of talent on the football field all at once. We’re going to have to play our A-plus football game. We’re going to have to play our A-plus ball and just go out there and stay on course, stay the schedule and complete the game-altering playing, whether it’s throwing it or running it.”

Sounds like something the man he studied would say.

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