RENTON The Seahawks have tried to discuss with Russell Wilson the merits of resting one or any of his three injuries. Yet he will play on Monday for the 82nd consecutive time to begin his career when Seattle (4-2-1) hosts Buffalo (4-4).
“They tried to talk to me about the idea of not playing,” Wilson said Friday of the sprained ankle and knee he got in the first three games, in September. “There was no chance. I was playing. There was no chance I wasn’t playing.”
Wilson also said: “I’ve been having to play with some tough injuries. I haven’t been able to run as fast as I normally can, but definitely getting there. That’s for sure.”
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Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on Thursday the team indeed considered ending Wilson’s consecutive-games streak so he could heal for the long run -- literally “run.”
“Every week. Every week it was a concern,” Carroll said. “As the issues changed (from ankle to knee) he was able to work his way through it. But it was every concern that he wasn’t going to make it through the week. Had we sat him down, we would have had to sit him down for about five weeks for him to recover from everything. Had we said let’s wait for him to feel good, we’re at that point right now, five or six weeks or whatever that is.”
OK, but why not have Wilson take at least a practice off to heal? He’s yet to do that.
“I think practice is everything,” Wilson said. “That’s how I grew up. I think it’s easy to play great when you’re healthy and all that -- I shouldn’t say easy -- but it’s easier to play great when you’re healthy. You have to be able to overcome situations and see mentally what you can do, what you can’t do, and try to step out on the field and win the football game.
“Like I said, it’s one of those things that you have to be able to play when you’re dinged up and find a way.”
Wilson played through those injuries, plus one to the pectoral muscle on his right side, but he’s been noticeably limited in his running and last week in the 25-20 loss at New Orleans in his down-field throws. Last season he rushed for 553 yards, almost 25 percent of Seattle’s team total. This season through seven games he’s rushed for 44.
Last weekend he completed just one pass beyond 20 yards against the Saints, the league’s worst pass defense. It was the only one he attempted. The Seahawks’ longest completion last week was for 43 yards, 28 in the air -- by undrafted rookie wide receiver Tanner McEvoy to C.J. Prosise on a trick play, a double pass.
Wilson was still listed Thursday on the Seahawks’ practice report with the pectoral injury as well the sprained knee for which he is still wearing a brace. But when I asked the weekly question of how he’s feeling, Wilson sounded as sure as he’s been since before the opener in early September.
“I’m feeling great,” Wilson said. “I’m feeling the best I have since week one.”
That first game Sept. 11 was when he sprained his right ankle while getting kicked and sacked by Miami’s Ndamukong Suh. He sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee two games later, Sept. 25, when San Francisco’s Eli Harold pulled down the hobbled Wilson from behind.
Now, five weeks after the sprained MCL, Wilson said he’s gone to a lighter, Titanium brace on his left knee. It was visibly smaller during the game in New Orleans. He said the smart thing is to keep wearing the brace, though he didn’t answer if he’ll be wearing it the rest of this season.
Wilson was asked if it’s been difficult to hold himself back from running.
“The first three or four weeks, after the first weeks, so week 2, week 3, week 4, it was really tough to be: ‘Ok, I need to be smart here.’ I didn’t have quite as much explosiveness and all that kind of stuff, getting out of cuts and making moves and that stuff.”
Wilson said his quarterback coach Carl Smith “said he was going to put a shock collar on me anytime I left the pocket the first few weeks just to be smart. Long season, long journey, and we could still win without me just running it or whatever.
“We were able to do that. We’re 4-2-1 -- not sure about that ‘one’ part (the 6-6 overtime tie at Arizona Oct. 23), I don’t know if I like that part -- but we just want to continue to build and continue to grow and we have a great chance. We’re about to hit a stride. We really believe that we have a great chance...”
Wilson knows the healthier his ankle and now more so the knee get, the more he can help Seattle’s offense that’s scored one or no touchdowns in four of the seven games and is 28th in the NFL in rushing right now. The Seahawks are still waiting for him to run read-option keepers and scramble for first downs when the pass protection breaks down. Buffalo leads the league with 26 sacks in eight games.
“I think that there’s some exciting plays that I possibly could make. I would add maybe two or three more explosive plays to a game, maybe make that challenge to the defense to either come up or play me or try to cover the guy deep and get a first down,” Wilson said. “All those things are factors.”