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Pete Carroll: NFL 'has shifted' to embrace young QBs

Try to remember a time, not so long ago, when the Seattle Seahawks were a hot mess at quarterback. Not a problem today.

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Rookie Russell Wilson has sparked this team down the stretch and will guide the Seahawks into Atlanta on Sunday to play the top-seeded Falcons in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll deserves credit for (a) going against the grain to draft Wilson in April when many experts felt the quarterback's height -- he's 5-foot-11 -- would prevent him from producing at the NFL level. Carroll also was criticized for giving Wilson a fair shot to win the job, despite the Seahawks' high-profile signing of free-agent quarterback Matt Flynn.

It's pretty clear something -- everything -- about Wilson has Carroll won over.

"He really is an exceptional kid," Carroll told XEPRS-AM San Diego, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "Forget the football, he's just an amazing individual -- strong and confident and articulate and just driven like you can't imagine. And then he's just got marvelous physical talent. He's a great all-around athlete, can play any sport, do anything."

Carroll is one of a handful of coaches who boldly dipped into option concepts on offense this season, shaping his attack around Wilson's gifts instead of trying to fit the rookie into a system he's wouldn't be suited for. It's turned the Seahawks into a dangerous playoff team, one that attacks opponents in multiple ways.

The way of the NFL is changing. We're going to see more Wilson-type quarterbacks in the seasons ahead. There's always room for a plodding passer if he's got the arm, but Carroll believes this year's rookie explosion is a result of better quarterback development at the youth level -- and a torch-bearer of what's to come.

"Yeah, there's no question," Carroll said. "Really, the young quarterbacks performing started before these guys. It started back, I think, my marker would be (Joe) Flacco and (Matt) Ryan when they came in. ... Well, then we see this big influx the last couple years of these young guys. I think it's truly about the preparation ... and it's come well before we ever get them -- way back into junior high and high school and everybody's throwing the ball. ... Now we're seeing the really fast guys as well, that can play quarterback and have added the running element. ... The league has shifted. In a league that changes so slowly, really, it is exciting to see there's been a shift."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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