Browns’ Pettine: Seahawks’ Wilson still second-tier quarterback

With the Cleveland Browns set to travel to CenturyLink Field to face the red-hot Seattle Seahawks, head coach Mike Pettine was asked for his assessment of the scorching-hot Russell Wilson.

Perhaps surprisingly, despite the fact Wilson arguably has been the one of the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL over the past handful of seasons and during the Seahawks’ current four-game winning streak, Pettine doesn’t believe the signal-caller ranks among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL just yet.

And while that may sound alarming at first glance, Pettine provides compelling reasons for his assessment.

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“Would you put him put there with the guys that can transcend their supporting cast? The Bradys, whether it’s Aaron Rodgers, [Drew] Brees, [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,” he said Wednesday, via ESPN.

Despite Wilson’s remarkable track record in his four NFL seasons — which includes consecutive trips to the Super Bowl, winning one — it’s difficult to place Wilson quite up there with the quarterbacks cited by Pettine, although had the coach expanded his top-tier list to five elite quarterbacks, Wilson arguably deserves to be in the mix.

But Pettine nevertheless pointed out that when Wilson is rolling, as he has been during Seattle’s winning streak, posting a QB rating of 145.9 with 16 touchdowns and no interceptions, the Seahawks are a tough team to beat.

“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.”

But is Wilson as good as Brady, Rodgers, Brees and Roethlisberger at this moment? Perhaps not, but if he isn’t, he’s pretty close.

And there’s a reasonable possibility that Pettine might be singing a different tune come the end of Sunday’s game.

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