Trevone Boykin tries to “Be Like Russ.” The former TCU star has attached himself to Russell Wilson.
Boykin watches Wilson. He listens to him. He models his game after him.
“We watch film together,” Boykin said in a phone interview. “We’re pretty much together every day. I learn new things almost every time we get together.”
The Seattle Seahawks were without a backup quarterback before they signed Boykin as a rookie free agent this summer. They saw a Russell Wilson starter kit when they watched film of Boykin at TCU.
“Our games are a lot similar,” Boykin said. “He’s a great athlete. He can make stuff happen with his legs just as well as he can with his arm. We’re both talented people. Our main job is just to try to help the Seahawks win.”
Wilson sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Week 3 against San Francisco, the first time he has missed a snap due to injury in his career.
Boykin played 23 snaps in the 37-18 victory over the 49ers, completing 7 of 9 passes for 65 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a 94.2 passer rating.
“It felt good,” Boykin said. “At the end of the day, it’s still football. You still go out there, and you’ve still got 11 guys on offense and 11 guys on defense, and the field is still 100 yards long. You really just get out there and you just play ball. You try not to think past the next play. You try not to think about the play before. You just try to execute that one play and think about that one assignment. Then, you move onto the next.”
Since then, though, Boykin hasn’t seen the field. Wilson has played through his injury, leading the Seahawks to a 5-2-1 record.
That has proved the most difficult part of the transition to the NFL for Boykin, who finished first at TCU in career passing yards (10,728), attempts (1,356), completions (830) and touchdown passes (86).
“You’re so used to playing,” Boykin said. “You’re so used to being that guy. When you come to the NFL, you’re not necessarily thought of as a backup because you’re still vital to the team, but it’s hard practicing all week and not getting out there on Sunday. As a competitor, that’s what you want to do. You want to get out there and play.”
Boykin’s minimum salary of $450,000, the similarity of his game to Wilson’s and his potential as a development prospect made him attractive to the Seahawks. He did enough in the preseason — 37 of 71 for 418 yards with one touchdown, one interception, a 68.9 passer rating as well as 15 rushes for 71 yards — to convince the Seahawks not to sign a veteran backup.
“I’ve made huge strides learning this offense,” Boykin said. “I’m starting to learn more about protection, more about defenses. It’s been great.
“One of the things I pride myself on most is just to try to be the best guy I can be on and off the field.”
Boykin’s biggest fans remain the family of Abby Faber, the 7-year-old with cerebral palsy who first met Boykin during the pregame coin toss of the Iowa State-TCU game a year ago. Abby’s father, Steve, sent Boykin a congratulatory text after Boykin’s debut against the 49ers. Boykin later talked to Abby on the phone.
Boykin said their chance meeting in 2015 — which became public only because Star-Telegram reporter Paul Moseley took their photo and overheard Boykin ask her, “What’s your name?” — has created a lifelong relationship.
“When it happened, nobody was looking for attention. It was nothing like that,” Boykin said. “It was just one of those moments. It just happened to happen, and it was a good thing.”
My five cents
1Arlington Bowie and Tarleton State alum Ty Nsekhe has taken the longest road to the NFL. His trip included the Arena Football League, the Canadian Football League and a brief time out of the game as a private security contractor. Nsekhe, 31, has made his way into the Washington Redskins’ starting lineup, where he takes over for suspended left tackle Trent Williams.
2Texas A&M product Brandon Williams started at cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals opposite Patrick Peterson for two games, was benched and has seen little playing time since. But with safety Tyrann Mathieu banged up, Williams, who moved from running back to defensive back before his final season at A&M, could get back on the field.
3San Diego Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, the third overall choice in the draft, has become the favorite to win defensive rookie of the year honors. Bosa decided on a contract holdout in the off-season and missed the first four games with a hamstring injury, but he has four sacks, 16 quarterback pressures, 16 tackles and six tackles for loss.
4The best move the Miami Dolphins made in the off-season was not re-signing Lamar Miller. Miller, who signed a four-year, $26 million deal with the Houston Texans, has rushed for 637 yards and two touchdowns on 153 carries. Jay Ajayi has 108 carries for 646 yards and six touchdowns for the Dolphins.
5Atlanta Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney appears to be feeling the effects of more snaps per game than last season. He had only five quarterback pressures the past three games after getting 18 the three games before that. Freeney, 36, has three sacks, giving him 122.5 for his career.
Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford had only 5.5 sacks his first two seasons. He has 5.5 the past two weeks. The 23rd overall pick in 2014 has nine sacks this season.
Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian has completed 38 of 75 passes in his past two games with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 1-1 record.
745 Receiving yards through the first eight games by Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, tying Keyshawn Johnson (2001) for the most in franchise history.
Fifty voters decide the NFL’s postseason awards. Here are my midseason picks:
MVP: Tom Brady, Patriots. Forget the four games he missed and look at his stats. 12 TDs, 0 INTs, 133.9 rating, 9.84 average gain.
Offensive Player: Matt Ryan, Falcons. He has 2,980 yards and 23 TDs already.
Defensive Player: Von Miller, Broncos. His 9.5 sacks are half a sack off the NFL lead.
Offensive Rookie: Dak Prescott, Cowboys. The Cowboys were 1-11 with backup QBs last season, so give him the nod over Ezekiel Elliott.
Defensive Rookie: Joey Bosa, Chargers. He has four sacks in five games.
Comeback Player: DeMarco Murray, Titans. He is second in the league with 807 rushing yards after a miserable 2015 in Philadelphia.
Coach: Jack Del Rio, Raiders. The Raiders are on the way to their first postseason appearance since 2002.
Assistant Coach: Scott Linehan, Cowboys. The Cowboys rank third in total offense with a rookie QB and a rookie RB.
The Patriots have yet to throw an interception despite using three quarterbacks. The 1960 Cleveland Browns own the NFL record of nine games to open a season without throwing a pick.
The 49ers are the first team in NFL history to allow a 100-yard rusher in seven consecutive games. They have allowed 1,544 rushing yards, putting them on pace to give up 3,088. The 1978 Buffalo Bills set the NFL record by allowing 3,228 rushing yards.
Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi has 529 yards rushing the past three weeks, with 207 yards coming in the fourth quarter on 19 carries (10.9 yards per carry).
49ers kicker Phil Dawson, a UT alum, needs three field goals to become the 10th kicker in NFL history with 400 in a career.
The Broncos are the league’s worst first-quarter team, with their scoring deficit at minus-44. It’s the worst for any team after nine games since the 2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the worst for any Broncos team after nine games in 52 years.
The Chiefs have scored 61 points off a league-leading 20 takeaways.
The Bills have scored 25 points in each of their past three games, all losses. Only three other teams in NFL history have lost three games in a row while scoring at least 25 points in each (49ers in 1965, New York Giants in 1966 and Browns in 2013).
The Redskins are fourth in the NFL in yards per game, but 30th in red-zone percentage (40.6 percent).
The Vikings have the league’s No. 1-ranked scoring defense (15.8) but rank 32nd (known as last) in total offense (298.8) and 31st in rushing offense (72.6).
The Falcons lead the league in scoring at 33.9 points per game. Their offense is averaging 429.2 yards per game, which is second in the league.
Information from The Sports Xchange was used in this report.