July 19, 2024

Analyst: ‘Toxic positivity’ could down ‘delusional’ Wilson

Three-time Super Bowl champion and current NFL analyst Mark Schlereth is among individuals who believe quarterback Russell Wilson could be his own worst enemy as Wilson attempts to extend his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I think when you’re delusional, you think you can point the finger at eight million different places that say, ‘This is why this happened. This is why,'” Schlereth said about Wilson during a recent edition of the “Stinkin’ Truth” podcast, as shared by Matthew Marczi of Steelers Depot. “That toxic positivity and surrounding yourself with people that basically [tell you], ‘It’s not your fault, man.'”

Much has been said and written about Wilson’s struggles with the Denver Broncos across the past two seasons, his relationships with Denver players and his polarizing personality that seemingly rubbed at least some within the organization the wrong way. 

Some analysts noted this offseason that Wilson often played like a shell of his former self during his Denver tenure, and NFL insider Aditi Kinkhabwala of CBS Sports shared in May that the 35-year-old “couldn’t manage or handle the play-calling” under Broncos head coach Sean Payton this past season.

Schlereth seems to think Wilson could still be a winning quarterback at the highest level if he would just accept the fact he’s no longer the same player who earned nine Pro Bowl nods with the Seattle Seahawks from 2012 through the 2021 campaign.

“I will tell you that Russ is still very athletic,” Schlereth said. “He can still move. All those reports of him losing athleticism and that’s why he wasn’t playing well, those are just incorrect reports. But I don’t believe that Russ wants to become a zone-read quarterback.”

It was thought early into springtime workouts that the run-heavy scheme installed by new Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Arthur Smith would help either Wilson or 25-year-old quarterback Justin Fields thrive this fall. By most accounts, Wilson began the summer holding a commanding lead over Fields in a competition for the starting job that may already be over. 

If, however, Schlereth is right and Wilson reverts to bad habits when the games start to matter, Smith may push head coach Mike Tomlin to give Fields a look before Halloween.