By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
RENTON — Asked about the progress of his rookie quarterback this week, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that there have been some obstacles for Russell Wilson to overcome, but overall he’s pleased with the development the University of Wisconsin product has made through seven games.
Carroll has been careful to keep a lid on Seattle’s offense while the team jumped out to a 4-3 record, leaning on an effective running game and a talented defense so Wilson has not had to carry the load offensively.
“My biggest thing is to try and be the leader of this football team,” Wilson said. “Do what it takes, and continue to stay positive and believe in what we do.
“We’ve got a great football team. … We just keep moving forward. We keep trying to figure out what we can do better as a collective group, and keep working in practice.”
The Seahawks have been in all seven games, and Wilson has led the Seahawks to two, fourth-quarter comebacks.
But Carroll also pointed out that Wilson has played poorly on the road, with two touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 55.7 passer rating.
Wilson has thrown six touchdowns, no interceptions and posted a 116.9 passer rating at home.
So it’s no surprise that Seattle is 3-0 at home and 1-3 on the road this season. After travelling to Detroit on Sunday, the Seahawks play five of their final eight games at the comfy confines of CenturyLink Field in the second half, including all three NFC West division opponents.
“He’s done some pretty extraordinary things,” Carroll said. “I think he’s played within the format that we have setup for him well. He’s played particularly well at home, not as well on the road and we noticed that the numbers are quite a bit different there.
“He’s grown, he’s corrected things, and he’s totally in control poise wise in the games and in the situation. … I think he can do special things. There are just not very many kids that are as well prepared to take on the workload, and the stress of it, and the pressure and all of that, as he is. I think he’s done okay.”
Now that Wilson is more comfortable in the offense, Carroll has vowed to open it up. Wilson has thrown an average of 25 times a game, the least amount of any starting quarterback in the league. The Seahawks are second-worst in the NFL in passing yards (161.9) and points (16.6) per game.
Carroll understands his team needs more production in those areas for the Seahawks to score enough points to consistently win in the second half of the season.
If you’re hoping for Carroll to pull the trigger and replace Wilson with veteran backup Matt Flynn, don’t hold your breath. Unless he suffers an injury, Wilson will remain Seattle’s starting quarterback this season. Carroll and the Seahawks don’t think his smallish stature is affecting his play, and believe the 5-11 signal caller can be the long-term answer for the franchise at quarterback.
Armed with a young defense with eight starters signed through the 2014 season, Carroll believes he has a three-to-four-year window to compete for a Super Bowl, with a roster built for long-term, sustainable success.
“If we can be so fortunate to get this win (against Detroit on Sunday) right now and finish the first half with these games under his belt, and all of the challenges with last minute opportunities, he’s just going to get better and more efficient I hope,” Carroll said about Wilson. “I think it’s an exciting emergence of the young guy, and I think he’s going to continue to improve to the point where we are really expecting to have a great second half of the season. We’re looking forward to it.
“We’re going to get smarter, we’re going to get better, and we have a lot of young guys playing for us that will all improve we hope, and he’ll be a part of that.”
Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said he likes where Seattle sits near the midpoint of the season much better than where this team was situated at a similar point last year.
“Obviously we feel like we should be better,” Robinson said. “All three losses have left a sour taste in our mouth. We felt we should have won those games had a couple plays went our way. But we’re not 2-5, like last year. So I do feel better than last year.
“But we do have room for improvement; we’ve got to start finishing games off.”