RENTON — What do you do for an encore after leading your team to the brink of the NFC championship game as a rookie starting quarterback?
If you’re Russell Wilson, you move on to the next challenge.
Entering his second season with the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson said he’s not concerned about the possibility of a sophomore slump.
“I don’t even know those words,” Wilson said Tuesday after his team’s first day of mandatory minicamp. “I don’t pay attention to it. I think the biggest thing is just focusing on tomorrow and focusing on the day — the rest of the day that I have and the next couple hours I have here.”
Those words might sound like platitudes if uttered by a different
athlete. But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll understands that’s just Wilson being Wilson.
“He ain’t letting anything happen but going straight ahead,” Carroll said when asked about the possibility of Wilson suffering a letdown this year. “He’s going to keep ballin’, working and preparing. And somebody might want to label it something, but he’s so much farther ahead than last year at this time. And he’s in greater command.”
Wilson put that command on display, expertly executing a Seattle offense that appeared in midseason form. He threw several pinpoint passes to wide receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, along with tight end Sean McGrath.
“The reads are coming a lot easier for all of us on offense,” Baldwin said. “Russell’s seeing us. He knows what we’re capable of doing, and he’s finding us in the holes that he didn’t necessarily see last year, just because we’ve got that rapport and chemistry growing now.”
Even though after Thursday the team will be off until training camp tentatively begins July 25, Wilson doesn’t plan on taking much time to rest his mind and body.
“I’ll rest later,” he said. “You guys have got to remember I played two sports (football and baseball) most of my life. It’s one of those things where I’ve never had a break — ever — before this past offseason. My biggest thing is I like to have a lot of things on my plate.”
The driving force for Wilson and his teammates remains the thought that this season could be special.
“We have so much talent on this team, and we believe that we’re capable of winning the Super Bowl — not only this year,” Baldwin said. “That’s just our belief. You wouldn’t step out on the field if you didn’t believe that.”
TIGHT END MILLER SITS WITH SORE FOOT
Tight end Zach Miller did not practice Tuesday, wearing a boot on his left foot — the same one in which he tore the plantar fascia in the NFC divisional playoff loss at Atlanta.
However, Carroll said this injury is different.
“He has a sore foot, so we’re just resting it,” Carroll said. “I think we know exactly what’s going on, but it’s not going to be a serious problem. He just needs a little rest.”
With Miller out, second-year pro McGrath worked with the starters, and rookie Luke Willson came in as a the second tight end when the Seahawks worked two-tight-end sets.
While Miller watched, a host of players returned from nagging injuries, including defensive end Cliff Avril.
Avril, a free-agent addition, did not practice during the Seahawks’ organized team activities because of a foot issue. But he worked through individual drills Tuesday and watched the team portion of practice from the sidelines.
“It feels great to be back,” Avril said. “It’s lonely out there on the sidelines as a player. So to get back out here and move around and build that camaraderie on the defensive line, it felt great.”
T-JACK SCHEDULED TO MEET WITH SEAHAWKS
Baldwin did not mince words about wanting the Seahawks to bring back Tarvaris Jackson.
The seven-year pro was cut by Buffalo on Monday, as the Bills narrowed the competition for the starting quarterback job to veteran Kevin Kolb and first-round draft choice EJ Manuel.
It was first reported by ESPN and confirmed by a team source that Jackson had a planned visit to Seattle this week.
If re-signed, Jackson would compete with Brady Quinn for the backup job.
Jackson spent the 2011 season with the Seahawks and played most of it with a torn pectoral muscle, finishing 7-7 as the starter.
Baldwin’s affinity for Jackson makes sense because of the success he had with the Alabama State product during his rookie season, leading the Seahawks in receptions two years ago.
“He’s loved in the locker room because of what he did for us in 2011,” Baldwin said. “He fought through injuries and was able to put his best foot forward out on the field. And like I said, the guys in the locker room love him. And he’s got unbelievable knowledge about the game.”
Baldwin believes there is a possibility that Jackson returns to Seattle. Baldwin said he talked with Jackson on Monday after he was released.
“He was a little distraught about the situation,” Baldwin said. “But he’s got his spirits up. He’s just looking for the next opportunity, and hopefully it’s with the Seattle Seahawks.”
CLEMONS LOOKS GOOD AFTER KNEE SURGERY
Defensive end Chris Clemons traveled from his native Georgia to attend the mandatory minicamp.
Clemons, who had reconstructive knee surgery in January, appeared in good shape while watching his position group go through individual drills. He did not wear a brace on his surgically repaired knee.
“Is he going to make it back for the first game? I don’t know,” Carroll said. “He has a chance. And if it can happen, we’ll make it happen. But like I’ve said the whole time, we will not rush that. We’re going to take our time on that and make sure he’s right.”
Right tackle Breno Giacomini returned to practice. Carroll said tests Giacomini had on an ailing knee last week in New York came back negative. Giacomini returned to his regular spot at right tackle with the first unit. Rookie Tharold Simon remains out. Carroll said the fifth-round pick out of LSU has a foot injury that could develop into a stress fracture and that the team is taking a proactive approach to managing the injury. Carroll hopes Simon will be healthy for training camp. Along with Avril and Giacomini, safety Winston Guy, tight end Cooper Helfet and receivers Stephen Williams, Brett Swain and Charly Martin returned to practice. Simon, Clemons, Greg Scruggs (knee), James Carpenter (knee) and Percy Harvin (hip) did not practice.Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com