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Tim Hasselbeck: Russell Wilson's height is a non-issue

By Brady Henderson

Tim Hasselbeck has been plenty critical of Pete Carroll's handling of the Seahawks' quarterback competition, but he thinks highly of one of the guys who's vying for the job.

Hasselbeck, a former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst, shared some interesting thoughts on Russell Wilson when he joined "Bob and Groz" on Friday. One of them was his take on the notion that Wilson is too short to succeed as an NFL quarterback. Hasselbeck said he hasn't seen evidence of Wilson's height presenting limitations.

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At just under 5 foot 11, Seattle's Russell Wilson is considerably shorter than most NFL quarterbacks. (AP)
"I got the coaches' tape on all his Wisconsin games from a year ago. I believe it was four or five games that I watched of him – and this is at a time where everyone is talking about him being 5-10 – so I watch four or give games. I didn't see one ball get batted down. Not a single ball got batted down," Hasselbeck said. "I was watching him the same time I was watching Ryan Tannehill, who I believe is every bit of 6-3. Tannehill got like three balls batted down every game I watched."

Wilson will start Friday night's preseason game against the Chiefs after playing well in the second half the last two weeks. An impressive performance against Kansas City's starters would strengthen his case for winning the job, a very realistic possibility at this point. That would have seemed unlikely not too long ago based on Wilson's status as a rookie third-round pick and, of course, his height.

Hasselbeck played six seasons in the NFL, mostly as a backup. He's listed at 6 foot 1, which is more than two inches taller than Wilson but still on the shorter side by NFL quarterback standards. The common belief about shorter quarterbacks is that they can't see over their much-taller offensive linemen. That's not necessarily the case, Hasselbeck said, agreeing with fill-in co-host Robbie Tobeck, the former Seahawks center.

"You were the same height as Matthew [Hasselbeck]. He wasn't looking over you. Matthew wasn't looking over [Walter Jones], his left tackle," Tim Hasselbeck said. "You don't, you're exactly right. And I don't care if you're 6-5 – if your offensive linemen are 6-3 you're still not looking over them. It is about not only being able to see the field and find windows to throw the football, but also being able to deliver the football in those passing lanes."

Hasselbeck has seen Wilson do that in the Seahawks' two preseason games.

"That offense there in Seattle has a lot of West Coast principles, so there's a ton of shallow crosses where it's important for the ball to be thrown accurately so there can be run after the catch," he said. "... I think we've seen evidence of Russell being able to do that and I don't know why that would change, whereas you see other guys that are 6-4 – they just have a hard time finding those lanes and getting the ball out.

"It just hasn't been a problem for [Wilson]."

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