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Mike Pettine: Russell Wilson not elite

The word 'elite' always finds a way to make the news when used to describe quarterbacks.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday the Browns will travel to Seattle to take on the red-hot Seahawks, winners of 8 of their last 11 games, with the 3 losses coming at the hands of the Cardinals, Panthers, and Bengals - 3 teams widely considered to be the best in the league. Add to the fact that Seattle is one of, if not the, toughest places to play, and the Browns already have their hands full.

Head coach Mike Pettine may have made things a little tougher for the Browns when speaking with the media yesterday. When asked where Russell Wilson ranks among the league's best quarterbacks, Pettine had some interesting comments.

"Would you put him there with the guys that can transcend their supporting cast? The Bradys, whether it's Aaron Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger, the ones that you would consider the two, three, four elite guys? But, no, he's certainly played himself into that next tier."

While that's certainly not an overt buzzshot at Wilson, it is however likely to be bulletin-board material, whether Pettine intended it to be or not. What is also interesting, is if you watch the video the Browns link of the actual press conference, Pettine says "but no, he's certainly played himself into that next tier." The official Browns transcript they posted on the team's website, casually omits the word 'no.' It might not be much, but it could be the Browns trying to spin Pett's words a little, make of it what you please.

Personally, I can't say that I necessarily disagree with his assessment. While Russ has been great this season, and let's be real, he has - 26 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions this season - I am not sure I'm ready to put him in that category of the Bradys, Rodgers, Brees, etc. Sure, Wilson has a Super Bowl ring, and should have another, but the aforementioned 'elite' guys have done it for a sustained period of time, and have a whole lot of rings combined.

There's no denying that Wilson is one of the league's better QB's, and continues to show he is improving. For large stretches of the year he's been without two of his biggest weapons, Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham. Yet, the Seahawks have been able to still find ways to win, due in large part to Wilson's incredible run of form.

Pettine did acknowledge how Wilson has been playing. "He's ascended. He plays at a high level. He is very productive and they win. A lot of that I think is a function, too, he's the perfect quarterback for what they do. To me, it goes both ways. They have also built it around him."

Johnny Manziel also met with the media yesterday, and when asked if Wilson's game is one that he would like to emulate, Manziel said, "He is a guy that is playing better than or as good as anybody in the entire league right now. Through the last four games you look at the stats, he has been pretty impressive. He has maintained his consistency for the last couple of years so my answer would be yes."

We'll see first hand Sunday if Pettine's comments add any fuel to Wilson's fire. Here's to hoping Manziel can take the Browns to success à la what Wilson has done with the Seahawks.