Toxic Positivity? Steelers' Wilson Accused of Being 'Delusional'

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason, a move that’s polarization was only muted by the inexpensiveness of his contract.

Both Wilson and Justin Fields, who the team traded for, are big-name quarterbacks with something to prove. As such, everybody has an opinion on the duo, ranging from desolate projections to Comeback Player of the Year consideration – at least before’ Tuesday’s guideline adjustment.

Whatever one’s opinions on these passers are, it is undeniable that their influence off the field will be as important as their production. Quarterbacks without the leadership skills to right the ship along rocky waters are bound to sink when the going gets tough. Winning over the locker room is imperative.

toxic positivity? steelers' wilson accused of being 'delusional'

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Not everyone is convinced that Wilson will be able to do it.

Former NFL offensive lineman Mark Schlereth spoke on the “Stinkin’ Truth Podcast” about Wilson’s perception after a down couple of years with the Denver Broncos.

“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. “That toxic positivity and surrounding yourself with people that basically (say), ‘It’s not your fault’ … I mean, that’s not even derogatory. That’s just a fact.”

Whether justified or not, Wilson has his share of critics, particularly as it relates to his personality. From the “Mr. Unlimited” moniker to doing high knees on a flight to London, he seems to rub (some) people the wrong.

In Pittsburgh, at least, he’s said all the right things. It seems he’s in good graces with the coaching staff, and there isn’t anything to suggest his Steelers disapprove.

As Schlereth sees it, though, Wilson’s positivity may have him feeling like other aging passers, who changed their game to become more quick-pass centric. Schlereth feels that Wilson should instead lean on his mobility.

“I will tell you that Russ is still very athletic. He can still move,” Schlereth said. “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. I believe he still has that thought in his mind that he could end his career very much like Drew Brees ended his.”

The answer likely lies somewhere in the middle. Perhaps he’ll get on the wrong side of some teammates, but not enough to hit the bench. As far as his fit goes, his height and decision-making doesn’t lend itself to Brees-like production. In Arthur Smith’s offense, which will lean on play-action passes and a fair share of deep shots, Wilson may still be asked to run more often than in Denver.

Quarterbacks don’t change their colors too often. Don’t expect Wilson to become a radically different passer or person in Pittsburgh, for better or worse.

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