An unexpected starter in 2012, Russell Wilson clearly is the man in charge on the field offensively for the Seattle Seahawks.
But as he prepares for his second season, the 24-year-old quarterback isn’t content with his breakout rookie performance.
He wants more. And he’s willing to put in the work to help the Seahawks emerge as Super Bowl contenders sooner rather than later.
For Wilson, that journey begins in earnest in Los Angeles. Wilson will spearhead a minicamp for Seattle’s offensive skill position players down in Southern California before players can officially begin working out at the team’s headquarters April 15.
New addition Percy Harvin gets his first chance to catch passes from Wilson, along with working with teammates including running back Marshawn Lynch and tight end Zach Miller.
“It’s basically getting into the groove of things and getting that swagger back,” Wilson said. “I think that’s going to be really important. Just having the reps, and letting those guys know what I can do well, and bringing that to the table. And also having that bonding experience when you’re together with the guys, it’s going to be pretty great for us.
“That’s part of having a
championship-caliber offseason — getting your mind ready to play. It’s about when we get back, we’re sharp. And we’re ready to play. Our mind is ready to get going. That’s how we can separate ourselves.”
Wilson said he’s also looking forward to working with Harvin.
“He’s so explosive,” Wilson said. “He can do so many things. He can take the ball to end zone every time he touches it. He’s a unique player. And he gives Sidney (Rice), Golden (Tate) and Doug Baldwin a chance to do more.”
Wilson already has been putting his time in to separate himself, traveling to Seahawks headquarters daily when he’s in town to self-evaluate his 2012 season. Wilson said he’s reviewed every game from last season at least five times, looking for areas where he can improve.
“It’s about the preparation you put into it, both physically and mentally,” he said. “Studying what our team does well, and trying to improve on that. And trying to put myself in that moment and thought process. How was it good? How was it not good?”
In most instances, things went well for Wilson. He finished with the second-highest rookie quarterback passer rating in NFL history (100.0), tied a rookie record for touchdown passes in a season (26), led Seattle to an undefeated record at home and set a rookie record with 16 consecutive completed passes against Miami.
Still, some wonder if he can stay healthy and productive long term, particularly with his ability to run the read-option as a complement to Seattle’s run-based, West Coast-style offense.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin called the read option the flavor of the month at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona last week.
“We look forward to stopping it,” Tomlin said. “We look forward to eliminating it.”
While Wilson totaled a quarterback franchise-record 489 rushing yards, he also completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. So he’s not just a running quarterback.
And Tomlin’s comments add more motivation to an ambitious signal caller with an already enormous chip on his shoulder.
“To be honest with you, people try to take away from the ability that guys have in terms of what Colin Kaepernick and other guys like him can do, for whatever reason, because they’re young, or they’re different,” Wilson said. “But I think it brings excitement to the game. It brings a challenge to the defense.
“It doesn’t matter what style of offense, I’m ready to play any time, anywhere, anyplace. I just want to play football. Some people try to take away from our ability to throw the football because we can run. But I think it just adds another dimension to what we do.”
Before he heads to Los Angeles, Wilson will be involved in We Day today, an all-day event at KeyArena that brings together 15,000 young people to celebrate the power of youth, helping them create positive change in their local and global communities.
“It’s a really powerful, once-in-a-lifetime experience for these kids, and even me,” Wilson said. “It inspires these kids to do something unique, and something special.”
Seahawks general manager John Schneider, in an interview with KJR-AM radio Tuesday, confirmed an ESPN report that new defensive end Michael Bennett has a torn rotator cuff. Schneider said the team was aware of Bennett’s injury before the signing, and that he will play with the injury this season. Seattle signed Bennett to a one-year, $5 million deal. Salary cap expert Brian McIntyre of Yahoo Sports reported Bennett received a $1.5 million signing bonus, along with a $3 million base salary, which is guaranteed. Bennett can earn $200,000 in incentives tied to sacks and has $300,000 in “per game active” roster bonuses, valued at $18,750 each. Bennett played with the injury while with Tampa Bay last season and did not miss a game. Seahawks long snapper Clint Gresham signed his restricted free agent tender. Gresham was tendered with a right of first refusal, which allowed Seattle to match any offer sheet to Gresham from another team. By signing the tender, Gresham will make $1.323 million this season. Gresham has not missed a game in his first three seasons with Seattle.Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams