By John Boyle
Here’s a frightening thought for the rest of the NFC: what if the most improved Seahawk in 2013 isn’t somebody who had little impact last year and is ready to step into a bigger role, but rather the young quarterback who by the end of last season was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
That’s what Pete Carroll thinks is going to happen. Doing a Q &A session with fans on his website, winforever.com, Carroll was asked who he thinks will be the breakout player for 2013, and he answered Russell Wilson. That’s the same Wilson who tied Peyton Manning’s rookie record with 26 touchdown passes last year, the same Wilson who led Seattle to the playoffs, and the same Wilson who played in the Pro Bowl.
“I think it’s going to be Russell Wilson, I think he’s really going to do well this year,” Carroll said in the video. “He’s going to bust out and will benefit tremendously from his first year. It may be hard to imagine him getting better, but I think he’s going to get a lot better.”
There are plenty of players Carroll could have picked who would make more sense as breakout players—maybe second-year DT Jaye Howard blossoms playing for his former college defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, or maybe CB Walter Thurmond finally stays healthy and has a big year as Seattle’s nickel corner, or maybe D-lineman-turned-guard J.R. Sweezy becomes a dominant force in his second year at a new position—so it’s telling that Carroll decided to single out a player on whom plenty of expectations will be placed in his second year.
And while on one hand it seems crazy to expect Wilson to “bust out” after all he did last year, when you look at his 2012 numbers, then factor in his near-maniacal work habits, the idea is less far fetched. Wilson threw 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions in his first eight games last season, and had a passer rating of 82.4. He and the offense got much better in the second half of the season, and Wilson threw for 16 touchdowns with just two interceptions, good for a passer rating of 120.3.
So maybe with a year under his belt, and with a full preseason of starter reps—remember, he spent his rookie training camp sharing reps with Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn—and with a new weapon like Percy Harvin, just maybe Wilson will indeed get a lot better as Carroll suggests.
That’s good news for the Seahawks, and scary news for oposing defenses.