Mike Pettine: Russell Wilson not an elite-tier QB


Russell Wilson has been one bad man against opposing defenses for the surging Seattle Seahawks, but some folks struggle with the idea of ranking him among the NFL's elite play-callers.

Count Browns coach Mike Pettine among them.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday about Sunday's Browns-Seahawks matchup, Pettine very subtly channeled his inner Lloyd Bentsen when assessing where Wilson stands in the hierarchy of today's top quarterbacks.

"Would you put him there with the guys that can transcend their supporting cast?" Pettine asked, via ESPN. "The (Tom) Bradys, whether it's Aaron Rodgers, (DrewBrees, (Ben) Roethlisberger, the ones that you would consider the two, three, four elite guys? No. But he's certainly played himself into that next tier."

Although Pettine might be a tad oblivious to blurting out bulletin-board material with reports of his potential imminent demise in Cleveland, he does make a good point. As good as Wilson has been  -- and he's been great this season -- he has a long way to go before he can match the sustained excellence characterizing the top echelon of arguably the greatest era of quarterbacks in NFL history.

Still, Pettine had plenty of praise for Wilson as well.

"He plays at a high level, he's very productive and they win," Pettine said. "Now a lot of that I think is a function, too, is he's the perfect quarterback for what they do. To me it goes both ways. They've also built it around him."

For his part, Wilson wasn't interested in getting involved in any sideshow with Pettine.

"I don't worry about that," Wilson told ESPN in regard to Pettine's comments. "I think it comes down to winning games ... that's the only thing I care about."