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Mark Schlereth Claims Russell Wilson Rode Seattle’s Coattails in Super Bowl Win

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Russell Wilson Steelers Quarterback Justin Fields

Sean Payton is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson’s biggest adversary, but former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Mark Schlereth’s disdain for Wilson is a close second.

Schlereth recently said Wilson was flat-out “garbage” in Denver, so it’s not surprising that he took issue with Wilson’s comments that he opened up doors for Black quarterbacks in an exclusive interview with Essence. Wilson clarified his comments, however, as Schlereth’s former teammate Shannon Sharpe also blasted him.

“Let’s not jump on to the Patrick Mahomes bandwagon, that guy is good as it gets. And oh by the way, those Super Bowls that you went to? You had a generational defense, the Legion of Boom, that became the model in the NFL at that time,” Schlereth said on the latest episode of his podcast The Stinkin Truth. “We’re going back to what, 2012, 2013? 2013, I believe, when they won that Super Bowl. After that, every team in the league started trying to play that Match Cover 3 that Seattle and Pete Carroll put together. It became the standard defense for the NFL.”

Wilson had a loaded roster surrounding him when he went to back-to-back Super Bowls in 2013 and 2014 with Seattle, winning one and losing the other. He wasn’t a game manager, but he certainly wasn’t carrying the team on his back, either.

“So you had a generational defense, you had a run game with Marshawn Lynch in Beast Mode. You didn’t have a cape on. You didn’t sling a team on your back and carry them to the promised land. You were along for the ride to a degree. If we’re just gonna be honest about history, honest about the history of that, let’s be honest about the teams that you went to the Super Bowl with,” Schlereth said.

Wilson, who was a nine-time Pro Bowler with the Seahawks, never lived up to the expectations of the five-year $245 million contract extension that he signed with the Broncos in 2022 after being dealt by Seattle. As expected, Denver released Wilson and opted to take the bulk of the $85 million cap charge in 2024.

“He threw the ball behind the line of scrimmage more than any other quarterback in the league last year. He took more time to throw the ball than everybody in the league other than Justin Fields. I think he completed 26% of his passes, intermediate range in the middle of the football field, which was dead last in the National Football League last year. So you can sit there and tell me that he played good and you can look at the numbers and tell me 26 and 8 is good and I will tell you it’s garbage. What I saw was garbage and I’m just letting you know how it is,” Schlereth said firmly on the Pat McAfee Show last month.

Schlereth is spot-on that Wilson threw the ball behind the line of scrimmage more than any other quarterback in 2023. According to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football, Wilson threw 27% of his passes behind the line of scrimmage last season, the highest out of 509 QBs since 2005. He also threw 62% of his passes within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, the second-highest out of 509 QBs since 2005 (*509 QBs in sample with a min 300 attempts in a season).

“Sean Payton had no confidence in Wilson’s intermediate passing. The 2023 Broncos had the least amount of intermediate passing of any offense since 2005,” Sharp wrote on X. “Wilson threw just 26% of his passes between 5-15 yards downfield, the lowest out of 509 QBs since 2005. It was nothing but record breaking rates of underneath passes and the occasional moon ball downfield.”

Wilson is set to face the Broncos at Mile High this season. With the intriguing headlines, it wouldn’t be surprising if the game is in prime time.