Thiel: Suggested Lessons For Russell Wilson's New Quarterback Academy

Jul 7, 2017

It may be the offseason for the Seattle Seahawks, but quarterback Russell Wilson is keeping busy. He has a new venture. And it’s the topic of this week’s conversation between KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and 88.5’s Kirsten Kendrick.

'Something A Little Different'

"Well, it's something he obviously knows a little bit about," Thiel joked about the quarterback who has led his team to two Super Bowl appearances and one championship.

"Lots of players have offseason academies. It's typically a camp for a day or a weekend.

"That's what happened with Russell Wilson. He went to the Peyton Manning Passing Academy when he was a kid. Peyton Manning actually remembered Russell being there and Russell got a lot of out it.

"But this is something a little different in that he is going to try to do a lot of stuff online. He may be in a classroom but that classroom is going to have a videocast available for students around the country and, in fact, around the world."

Partnering With Heaps

"He's doing it in conjunction with a former star at Sammamish's Skyline High School, Jake Heaps," Thiel said. "He was a (member of ) Prep All America who went to three colleges and he's been at camp with the Seahawks.

"He's sort of going to be in charge of this online academy and in-person academy. And Russell said that instead of reaching 60 kids, they want to reach 60,000 globally - ages 10-22. The programs are $125-$300 and they go on all year."

Nothing Like Nano Bubbles

"Russell's had various adventures with things," Thiel continued. "The one that sticks in my mind a lot was that he was an endorser of a Tacoma company that produced 'Recovery Water,' which featured something called nano bubbles.

"And Russell, while he was endorsing it, was saying that his recovery time has been enhanced with nano bubbles. Well, that's not part of his thing anymore."

Arena Partner

"Now, of course, he's busy with Chris Hansen in the SoDo project, which faces a formidable challenge from a plan to remodel KeyArena that the City of Seattle is very eager about.

"Russell, obviously, is very busy with a lot of football training but somehow he wants to squeeze in this football academy and (have it) become part of his global enterprise to be something much more than a Seahawks quarterback once he retires."

Suggested Lessons

Thiel offered his advice about some of the lessons Wilson should teach at his quarterback academy.

"There are several things that occur watching Russell play football for the Seahawks. One of the biggest lessons is never play a football game with a rookie left tackle."

Thiel was referring to the abundance of sacks against Wilson last season with undrafted rookie George Fant assigned to protect his blind side. When the Seahawks signed him as a free agent, Fant was a basketball star who hadn't really played football since the eighth grade.

"The team left (Wilson) sort of vulnerable out there," he continued. "Of course he had three different injuries that really compromised his season. So, I think that's lesson number one he needs to convey to the kids."

Lesson Two: Don't Stray From The Script

"Lesson two: Always give many-word answers that actually say little. He's got everything down to a set of clichés and aphorisms and trite sayings that are very lengthy but actually advance the understanding very minimally.

"That's a great way to get out of public mistakes - if you have got your routine down and you don't vary.

"One of the great adventures all of us reporters have with Russell is to try to knock him off script. And we're largely unsuccessful."

Lesson Three: Don't Pass At The Goal Line

"And this (lesson) I think is probably obvious to many Seahawks fans: When you're at the 1-yard line, give the ball to Marshawn Lynch. Or his equivalent. The Seahawks no longer have Marshawn Lynch but passing at the 1 has sort of become a cultural no-no."

Thiel referred to the interception that Wilson threw at the 1-yard line, which resulted in the Seahawks losing Super Bowl XLIX to the New England Patriots in 2015.

"So, those are the little things that Russell needs to include in there if you really want to be a quarterback with all of Russell's talents and you also want to have a 20-year career."

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