Russell Wilson returned from a finger injury well ahead of schedule in a bid to save the Seahawks’ season, but at 3-8, it appears about as close to lost as possible.
That doesn’t mean Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is ready to send his star quarterback to the sideline for rest and recuperation.
“He doesn’t need it,” Carroll said of Wilson, via the Seattle Times. “We’re not going there. He’s fine.”
Carroll believes the opposite, in fact, telling reporters Wednesday he thinks Wilson needs more reps, not a week’s worth of rest.
“He feels great,” Carroll said. “He does not feel like he’s burdened by the surgery from the past and all that. He’s ready to go. He doesn’t need to be rested. He’s not tired. He’s not worn down or anything. He needs the action. He needs to get back to the activity, and he needs to play more and get in the flow as much as possible.”
Getting into the flow has been a bit of a struggle for Wilson, who was expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a dislocation and ruptured tendon, and then stunned most everyone by returning in five weeks. He looked rusty, if not physically unprepared to perform at the level he’s expected to reach in his first game back, completing just 50 percent of his 40 pass attempts for 161 yards and two interceptions in a 17-0 loss to Green Bay. A week later, he wasn’t much better in a 23-13 home loss to Arizona.
Monday night’s 17-15 defeat in Washington capped a trio of consecutive losses for Seattle since Wilson returned, and was a game in which the Seahawks had just nine total points until the game’s final moments. That one wasn’t quite as much on Wilson, who rarely had time to throw due to the Seahawks’ inability to adequately protect him, and got nothing out of Seattle’s running game (Wilson led the Seahawks in rushing with 16 yards on two carries). Essentially, it was up to Wilson to try to go win it, and he wasn’t as perfect as Seattle would have needed, missing open targets on a few occasions.
“We went through it and we watched it together and there’s just a few plays in there, really on the shorter passing game, that he just really tried to drill the football and maybe threw it a little too hard, you know, harder than normal, trying to make sure the ball was there and crisp and all of that,” Carroll said.
It’s not that Wilson was suddenly an atrocious passer — he did connect with Tyler Lockett on a 55-yard strike that set up Seattle’s first touchdown of the night, which also came on a Wilson pass (to tight end Gerald Everett). He just wasn’t as dialed in as he needs to be for a Seahawks team that doesn’t have much else going for it, especially with continued struggles up front.
“The balls down the field, he threw the ball really well,” Carroll said. “On the move (he threw) really well. But we weren’t as sharp as we need to be. It showed up on I think three specific third-down situations that all could have been very convertible for us.”
Seattle finished that game 4-for-12 on third down, and that’s a mark that looks better now than it did entering the Seahawks’ final possession, a frantic 10-play, 96-yard two-minute drill that ended in a touchdown pass from Wilson to Freddie Swain. The rest looked much worse.
The Seahawks just aren’t very good right now, but benching Wilson for a week likely won’t help anything. At 3-8 in a conference that includes a 5-6 team in the final wild-card spot, Seattle is past that point of no return.
“We are doing everything we can, just like we know how to, to win every game with the guys that have done the work to put us in the best position to give us that chance,” Carroll said. “That’s what we are doing.”
Wilson certainly puts them in the best position to win, even if he hasn’t quite looked the same yet. He still needs to get playmakers like DK Metcalf more involved earlier, even if it requires forcing the ball to him.
From there, the rest of the Seahawks need to follow suit.
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