Seattle Seahawks: Percy Harvin
The offensive line was Tuesday. Now, let's look at the rest of the offense.
Wide receivers -- Better
Essentially what has happened in the offseason is the Seahawks have swapped Golden Tate for Percy Harvin as a starter, but not exactly. Doug Baldwin will move from the slot to Tate's spot outside. Harvin, who missed most of last season with a hip injury, will start in the slot.
A big improvement here is speed, including second-round draft choice Paul Richardson of Colorado. Richardson can flat-out fly. He proved it in the offseason workouts, consistently getting behind defenders on deep throws.
The man who could be the biggest surprise in the receiving corps is fourth-round pick Kevin Norwood of Alabama. Norwood has impressed everyone with his reliable hands and his ability to make tough catches in traffic. He's a mature guy and it's obvious he came from a big-time college program by how he reacts to instruction and his understanding of proper route running.
Seattle's receivers got a bad rap last year. They don't put up big numbers because the Seahawks don't throw the ball as much as most teams. But this is a quality group that has much better speed than it had a year ago.
Tight ends -- Better
Getting starter Zach Miller to restructure his contract was a huge plus for Seattle. Miller isn't flashy, but he plays at a consistently high level as a plus blocker and a man who can make key catches over the middle.
What will make the group better this year is Luke Willson having a full year under his belt. Willson easily was the highest-performing rookie for the team last year. He had 20 receptions and was a better blocker than expected.
The Seahawks also have Anthony McCoy returning after missing last season with a torn Achilles tendon.
Running backs -- Not as good
However, he has taken a pounding, averaging 300 carries per year the last three seasons. It's not just the number of carries; it's how Lynch runs, barreling over defenders in Beast Mode.
The other issue is Lynch's desire for a change to his contract, wanting more money up front this season. He attended minicamp (but did not participate due a sore ankle) because he felt the Seahawks would negotiate in good faith. Everyone put on a happy face and said all is well.
But what happens if Lynch doesn't get what he wants? How will it change things this season and is this his last season in Seattle?
No matter what happens on that front, it's likely Lynch will have fewer carries this season as the Seahawks try to gradually make 2013 rookie Christine Michael a bigger part of the offense. Robert Turbin also looked good in offseason workouts after having a knee problem repaired when the 2013 season ended.
Lynch also won't have his buddy in the backfield with him. The Seahawks didn't re-sign fullback Michael Robinson, who is like a big brother to Lynch. Robinson has health issues that probably have ended his career.
But the Seahawks won't lose anything in fullback production because Derrick Coleman is a quality blocker ready to step up. They also drafted a human concrete block in Kiero Small (5-8, 250), who will fight for a spot on the 53-man roster.
The Seahawks will continue to be a power-running offense, but look for them to throw a little more this season with speedsters Harvin and Richardson as consistent options.
Quarterback -- Better
Now Wilson will have a healthy Harvin on the field, and hopefully, a more consistent performance from his offensive line.
Tarvaris Jackson gives Seattle one of the best backup QBs in the league -- a man who knows the offense and is well-respected by his teammates.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Terrelle Pryor and whether he earns a spot as a third quarterback. Pryor was up and down in the offseason workouts, but his physical ability is unquestioned and the coaches have been impressed with his work ethic. It appears they have no interest in trying him at another position. B.J. Daniels will battle Pryor for a roster spot.
I'll list some key thoughts on the defense Friday. The media's only access this week was Tuesday, but there was a lot to see:
The slim-and-trim Carp: Who in the world was that man in James Carpenter's jersey? It was none other than the man himself, the greatly reduced version of the Seahawks left guard.
"He doesn't look like the same guy, physically," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "He's been focused. He's in it and he's moving like crazy. He's looked the best he's ever looked, by far. We're really fired up about James."
The coaches say Carpenter has dropped at least 15 pounds off his 2013 "listed" weight of 320 (a conservative estimate, to say the least). But he looked like he had dropped 50 pounds. OK, that's an exaggeration, but the man looked as fit as I've ever seen him. Maybe he is 305 now, but he probably was pushing 340 a year ago.
It's clear Carpenter got the message when Seattle didn't pick up the fifth-year option on his contract. In shape and focused, Carpenter can be one heck of a player up front for the Seahawks in 2014.
"This is probably the best I've ever felt since before college," Harvin said. "It's a true blessing. I'm happy to be healthy. The Super Bowl made things good and let me get some of the [anger] out. But I got home and was unsettled. I felt I didn't make my mark last season like I wanted to."
Hauschka still a kicking machine: One of the best offseason decisions the Seahawks made was signing kicker Steven Hauschka to a new three-year deal worth $9.1 million. Speaking of millions, the man is money on field goals. There wasn't any rust on him Tuesday, when he was 5-for-5 in field goals attempts during the scrimmage.
Michael takes charge: With Marshawn Lynch skipping the first day of practice, Christine Michael got the first-team reps at running back and made the most of it. Michael had several impressive carries in the 11-on-11 scrimmage. There was no tackling, but he obviously would have broken into the secondary a couple of times and showed quite a burst at the line of scrimmage.
"We have very high expectations for him," Carroll said of Michael. "He's going to get a ton of work. He's just a million miles ahead of where he was in terms of understanding what we want scheme-wise, pass protection wise, route wise, and we know he's a natural runner. He's got explosive talent and we just want to get him to fit in."
Pryor gets a lot of work: Quarterback Terrelle Pryor looked comfortable in his first chance to run the Seattle offense, often moving players around who lined up in the wrong formation. Pryor had nice throws, but he also missed throws, some of which were too low.
Nevertheless, Carroll is pleased in what he's seen from Pryor.
"He's been exactly on the mark," Carroll said. "He's studied like crazy and he's taking great pride in being able to transition to a new team. His communication is on it, his attitude is good and his physical stuff is there.
"He's a big thrower and we know he can run, but we haven't seen him run very much because you don't get that until live situations. But he's done an excellent job so far."
As it turned out, the Seahawks were able to do that without him, but 2014 should be a much different story for Harvin. After undergoing hip surgery in August to repair a torn labrum, Harvin played in only one regular-season game and two playoff games.
But his limited time on the field showed why the Seahawks were willing to pay so much to get him. He had a 58-yard kickoff return in the November game against his old Minnesota teammates.
Harvin was the surprising leading rusher in the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos -- two carries for 45 yards on end-around plays, but he put the game out of reach when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 87 yards for a touchdown.
Seahawks fans hope it was a glimpse into the future on what he can do. Harvin should be 100 percent healthy for 2014 and is expected to be a major contributor to the offense and special teams.
He is one of the fastest players in the NFL and has the athletic ability to be the best player on the team. Everyone is hoping 2014 is a chance to make up for lost time.
Contract status: Harvin is the highest-paid player on the team, with a cap hit of $13.4 million in 2014 and a salary of $11 million in the second year of his six-year deal, including $25.5 million that is guaranteed.
But Tuesday night, Chancellor sent out a tweet that seemed to indicate surgery wasn't happening:
Huh? No surgery here. Ready to Win
This is not a new problem. Chancellor talked early last season about how he sympathized with Harvin because Chancellor played through a similar hip issue in 2012.
But Chancellor said his injury was far less severe than Harvin's torn labrum, which required major surgery in early August and included a four-month recovery before the Seahawks receiver returned. And Harvin still had issues with his hip that kept him out until the playoffs after returning for only one game.
Chancellor's hip issues returned late in the 2013 season. He did not practice several times during the playoffs, but Chancellor started all 19 games last year.
It isn't known what the recovery time will be if Chancellor has the surgery, which would be just a clean-up procedure. It's unlikely to cause him to miss any time since training camp is still four months away.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Russell Wilson went to last season's Super Bowl to do research. So confident was the Seattle Seahawks' rookie quarterback in his and his team's ability to reach the NFL's championship game -- and reach it soon -- that he wanted to know everything he could about what it felt like to be there.
"I wanted to get a sense of how it was going to be," Wilson recalled Sunday night. "I wanted to know how the pregame was going to go, halftime, all of it, the whole experience, so I could be as prepared as possible."
This is why what happened Sunday night, with Wilson and the Seahawks trouncing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8 in one of the most one-sided Super Bowls, is so scary. Wilson doesn't just ponder his future, he works to grab as much control of it as he possibly can. At 25 years old, he is already a Super Bowl champion quarterback. And while nothing for him or anyone is guaranteed, the possibilities for Wilson at this moment in time are dizzying.
He has the keys to the hottest car in the league and seems uniquely equipped to drive it. The Seahawks are the second-youngest team in the NFL and the second youngest ever to compete in a Super Bowl. The only younger roster in Super Bowl history was the 1971 Miami Dolphins, who lost Super Bowl VI to the Dallas Cowboys and then went undefeated the following season. These Seahawks have already done that group one better, and they did it with the defense leading the way. As Wilson improves with the wealth of young talent around him, only better things await.
"He just wants to be great so much," Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin said. "I haven't seen anybody prepare like him."
Here's what's special about Wilson's opportunity. He is set up, yes, with a dominant defense, power running game and a player -- Harvin -- that Wilson didn't even get to use this season waiting to do big things with him in 2014 and beyond. Having lasted until the third round of the 2013 draft, Wilson carries a mere $817,302 salary-cap hit for 2014, obviously less than he's worth. For now, he allows Seattle to continue to put great pieces around him. When you're still a couple of years from having to really pay your franchise quarterback, you can trade a first-round pick for Harvin. Your GM's offseason priority list becomes a lot more fun.
"Obviously, we feel like we have a really strong foundation," Seattle GM John Schneider said. "Every team's looking for a great pass rush, a great quarterback and a strong runner like Marshawn [Lynch]."
The Seahawks have all of that, and, unlike a lot of Super Bowl champions, it appears they will get to keep all of it for a while and build on it. As they do, they take great comfort in the knowledge that their 25-year-old quarterback won't let them get complacent.
"He refuses to fail. He refuses to let himself fail. And he's going to refuse to let anyone else around him allow that to happen," Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "So he's always going to be grabbing guys and making them watch a little more film, make them work a little bit more on this play or that play. A lot of the things that you would say about Peyton Manning, he has a lot of those qualities."
Ah, yes, Manning: the established superstar vanquished by Wilson's Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. This game had a chance to be Manning's coronation -- a victory that could have erased so many of the things his critics hold against him and anointed him the undisputed best of all time. That must wait now, and, at 37, Manning has to know he's running out of chances. Wilson inhabits the other end of the spectrum and can legitimately dream about winning countless more.
"We've already said it," Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. "We're going to win this one, and then what's next is we're going to win it again."
Seattle has a team-wide swagger befitting its youth, but Wilson has a leader's mien, and a leader's responsibility to be more circumspect.
"The goal was to win the first one," Wilson said. "We've got a great group of guys, and I believe we can do it again, but it's not easy. So you can think about the future and how many great players we have and one of the youngest teams in the league, but we just wanted to win this one. To think about the future, that wouldn't be us."
I thank Wilson for his permission, and here goes: There's no one in the NFL you'd rather be right now than Russell Wilson. He knows for a fact he can win the Super Bowl and has a team around him that's deep and solid enough to be a clear-cut Super Bowl favorite going into 2014. But what should frighten the rest of the teams in the NFL is Wilson knows the breadth of his opportunity and feels a responsibility to work hard enough to cash it in. Sunday was the night of Wilson's life so far, but there's ample reason to believe there are more nights like this to come.
It was as good as it had to be. Russell Wilson's passer rating was 123.1, eight different players caught his passes and he wasn't sacked or intercepted. Seattle raced out to a huge first-half lead, so Wilson didn't need to put up gaudy stats to win. But he was 4-of-5 for 64 yards on third-down plays in the first quarter, when the game was still in doubt, and he was still flinging it around in the fourth quarter as the Seahawks padded their lead.
Marshawn Lynch struggled to find room against Terrance Knighton and a Broncos defensive front focused on stopping the run. But Seattle's yards-per-carry average got a boost from Percy Harvin's 15-yard and 30-yard runs on jet sweep plays, and Lynch was able to muscle into the end zone on second down from the 1-yard line after a pass interference penalty in the end zone set up the game's first touchdown.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning won his fifth MVP award for a season in which he threw a record 55 touchdown passes. But he was a mess all night against Seattle's pass rush, throwing two interceptions. Led by Cliff Avril, Seattle's line moved Manning off his spot all night and batted down some key passes while the big, physical defensive backs made life miserable for Broncos receivers before and after the catch. The "Legion of Boom" lived up to its name, outmuscling the top-scoring offense in NFL history.
Total domination. And yeah, the Broncos had to get away from the run because they were down 15-0 before they had a chance to run their offense. But Seattle's front bottled up Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball, holding Denver to 27 yards rushing on 14 carries, forcing a fumble (that Denver recovered) and stripping the Broncos of any chance to maintain any level of balance on offense.
Harvin barely played all season. Finally healthy, he was a difference-maker in the biggest game of his career. Seattle's 22-0 halftime lead looked tough to overcome, but the 29-0 lead they had 12 seconds into the half after Harvin's 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown looked impossible. Seattle's kick coverage team held electric Denver return man Trindon Holliday in check.
Give Pete Carroll the grade for the full year, as every move he made seemed to pay off. He had enough faith in his defense to let Manning start the game with the ball after he won the coin toss and to kick a first-quarter field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-short inside the Denver 10. He also stayed aggressive even as his team was rolling early, calling timeout on a Denver fourth-and-2 from the Seattle 19 with 1:06 left in the first half. Seattle didn't even try to move the ball in the final minute after stopping the Broncos and taking possession, but it showed a coach in control of the game. You also have to hand Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn the victory over Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase in the matchup of hot head-coaching candidates.
Here are five things the Seattle Seahawks must do well to defeat the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium:
1. Pressure Peyton Manning: It’s a mammoth task against a quarterback who gets rid of the football so quickly, but it isn’t so much about getting sacks as it is putting enough pressure on Manning to take him out of his comfort zone.
Everyone knows Manning is a classic pocket passer. He likes to step up in the pocket to make his throws. That will make it difficult for a talented edge-rusher like Cliff Avril to get to Manning.
"There’s no certain way to get to Manning," Bennett said. "It comes down to doing what we do and beating your man."
2. Let the quiet Beast loudly rumble: It’s been a strange and somewhat stressful week for Marshawn Lynch, having to do media sessions on three consecutive days. Not his cup of tea, and a distraction the Seahawks could have lived without, but that is all behind them now.
When asked what his biggest concern was regarding the Denver defense, Lynch didn’t hesitate. "Pot Roast," he said, which is Knighton’s nickname. "He’s a big boy."
The Seahawks might use a third tackle with Alvin Bailey, as they did against the 49ers, to line up with tight end Zach Miller and use a muscle push to run Lynch off the edge of the line and hope he goes Beast Mode.
3. Keep the Broncos guessing with Harvin: The Seahawks need to make the most of their X factor in receiver Percy Harvin. The Denver defense can’t know exactly how to account for a guy who played only six quarters this season, but they know he’s faster than a cheetah with its tail on fire.
"We’re excited to have Percy back, because he brings more to the table," Tate said. "He's going to open it up for other guys more."
4. Punish the Broncos on crossing routes: The Seattle defense can’t allow Manning and his receivers to nickel-and-dime them to death with short passes over the middle and quick slants.
"We are a physical bunch," Chancellor said. "We like to be physical. We like to be hands-on. We like to make you feel our presence. That’s how we operate."
5. Play with poise: This is the most important point. Seattle is the more talented team overall, but the Seahawks must play smart and not get over-amped in the biggest game of their lives. Careless personal fouls and false starts can be the difference in the game, and too much emotion can cause a player to make a mistake he wouldn’t normally make.
The same is true in the Super Bowl. Play your game and don’t give the Broncos a freebie. Do what you did to get here.
"Respect the journey," said Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. "But at the same time, enjoy the moment. Take it all in. It is real. Just be poised and respect the process. I’m going to play with a smile on my face and just go for it."
Good advice. If the Seahawks follow it, that should be enough.
Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin will play in Super Bowl XLVIII. If this was your company softball team playing for the league title, you’d be adding a ringer moments before the first pitch.
It is one of the most unusual situations ever, adding a Pro Bowl-caliber player who only played in six quarters all season, for the biggest event in sports.
“It’s not about me,” Harvin said. “I’m just adding another playmaker. We already have three or four good receivers out there. I’m just adding to the mix.”
The mix now has a player who might be the fastest man in the NFL. Speed is a dangerous thing when you add in all the other skills Harvin possesses -- a precise route-runner, elusive ball carrier and explosive kick returner.
“His acceleration is unbelievable,” Seattle tight end Zach Miller said. “He’s a playmaker. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he is so explosive and so fast. He’s definitely a threat to score every time he touches the ball.”
Harvin has started almost every interview this week with this statement: “I’m just glad to be here.”
Obviously, but considering what he has endured this season, it’s a little like leaving a prison cell for a penthouse suite on Park Avenue.
He signed a six-year, $67 million deal with the Seahawks last March and was widely viewed as the offensive weapon that would propel the Seahawks to the next level. But Harvin had major hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum.
He returned Nov. 17 for the game against his former Minnesota Vikings teammates, showing his talent with a 58-yard kickoff return and a spectacular one-handed catch on a third-down play that kept a scoring drive alive.
Maybe it was too much too soon. Harvin aggravated his hip injury, which became inflamed afterward. He missed the rest of the regular season. Seattle coach Pete Carroll was about to put Harvin on injured reserve before the playoffs started, but Harvin convinced Carroll he could play.
Harvin caught three passes in the New Orleans playoff game, but suffered a concussion at the end of the first half. He didn't make it through the mandatory concussion protocol in time to play in the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco.
“It’s been weird, frustrating, disappointing, all the above, man,” Harvin said. “I had a tough time, and it wore on me a little bit. But my teammates have been A-plus-plus. This whole organization has been top of the line.”
Harvin said one teammate helped him more than any other.
“A couple times I was really down," Harvin said. “But [cornerback] Richard Sherman, I don’t know how he even read me, but he came up and said, ‘Man, I kind of see you’re really down. You’ll get through this. We have your back.’ I’m so grateful for that.”
Now Harvin is back for the biggest game of his life. And he’s smiling, something he hasn't done much of this season. He was grinning from ear-to-ear at every media session. Something has changed beyond the obvious. Harvin is healthy, finally, and he knows he has a chance to show what he can do on the NFL's biggest stage.
“You can really see it in his eyes,” Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung said. “You know that anytime Percy gets the ball, he’s looking to run by a guy and score. Anytime you have a guy like that, he’s hard to beat. He has a zeal for the game. I can’t wait to have him out there. It’s almost something magical.”
That likely means Harvin will return kickoffs along with playing receiver.
Four players did not practice Friday -- receiver Doug Baldwin (hip pointer), linebacker K.J. Wright [foot], running back Marshawn Lynch [knee bruise] and cornerback Bryon Maxwell [neck]. All four are listed as probable for the Super Bowl.
"Actually, they’re more than probable," Carroll said. "They’re fine, and they’ll play."
Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was limited in practice with a sore ankle, but Carroll said Mebane will be fine by next weekend.
Receiver Doug Baldwin and running back Marshawn Lynch didn't practice Thursday, but both should be fine for the game on Feb. 2.
Baldwin has a hip pointer, but said Thursday that he's fine. Lynch is listed as having a knee injury, but his non-participation in practice is more about getting rest.
Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who has a sore ankle, returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday. He also should be full speed for the Super Bowl.
Lynch was getting his usual Wednesday day of rest. He had a bruising 109-yard rushing performance on 22 carries in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Mebane has a sore ankle and Baldwin has a hip pointer, but Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday that both men should be fine by Super Bowl Sunday.
As expected, receiver Percy Harvin was a full participant in practice after missing Sunday’s game with a concussion.
RENTON, Wash. -- Never in Seattle Seahawks history has one man done so little and been talked about so much.
Percy Harvin will not play Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. So what?
I’m not blaming Harvin, the multi-talented receiver who hasn’t been able to get healthy or stay healthy all season.
But the Seattle receivers have heard the same questions everyone else hears week after week. Will Harvin play? Can he make a difference? Can they win a tough game without him?
The receiving corps is sick and tired of it. They are up to their chin straps in Harvin questions and how he could make them better. It’s ad nauseam at this point.
Guess what? The Seahawks receivers, sans Harvin, are not The Three Stooges. You would think the team was using three guys at the receiver spots who were playing shuffleboard at a retirement community last week.
“We hear it all the time that we’re not worth squat,” receiver Golden Tate said this week. “But at the end of the day, we make the plays that we need to make to help us win. We’re playing in the NFC championship. You can’t do that without us.”
Don’t get the wrong idea. To a man, the Seattle receivers feel for Harvin. They understand what he’s going through. Doug Baldwin and Harvin have become close friends.
“It’s tough because we’re all close to Percy and we all love him as a teammate,” Baldwin said. “It hurts us to not have him out there on the field. We know how badly he wants to be out there.
“But like we consistently say, we have guys around [quarterback] Russell Wilson, weapons on the outside, that can make plays and that have been making plays all season long. I don’t think it’s going to be much of a hit, production-wise.”
That’s right, I said without him. Yes, he played sparingly in two games and showed his amazing skills, but the Seahawks would have won both those games without him. And they can win Sunday's without him. Tate and Baldwin, in particular, are on a mission to prove it.
Moments after announcing that Harvin wouldn’t play Sunday, coach Pete Carroll came to the defense of his receivers.
“It’s a really competitive group,” Carroll said. “They’re very athletic, clutch, tough, and they block well. They get after it. They do everything we need them to do. You never know which one of them is going to have a big game. And they can make the big catches at crucial times."
Baldwin caught 50 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns. His ability to make acrobatic sideline catches in key situations was the difference in several games this season, including the playoff game last week against New Orleans. And Kearse has four TDs in only 22 receptions.
“I’m around these guys every single day,” Tate said. “I see the plays that they make every day. I honestly feel like if you put any of our receivers somewhere else, they would catch 90 balls and be well over 1,000 yards. But that’s not how this offense works.”
“The good thing about it is we’re all unselfish players,” Tate said. “We want to win, so we just do our jobs. We take a lot of pride in blocking for Marshawn, and when the big plays come, I feel like more times than not, we’re going to come up with the big ball.”
But you wouldn’t know it from all the talk of the savior, Mr. Harvin. Frankly, it’s become almost comical -- not that his injuries are anything to laugh about.
A week doesn't go by when I'm not asked at least 30 times if Harvin will play. It’s a question on every radio interview. Anyone who has anything to do with this team hears the Harvin questions every day. And it’s gotten tiresome.
Look, Harvin has worked hard to come back from major hip surgery in August. He now has a concussion issue to deal with, and it’s been frustrating for him, to say the least.
Sure, the Seahawks could use him Sunday. He could help them against one of the best defenses in the league. He could return kickoffs. He could be a spark to a passing game that has struggled in the past five games.
All of that is true. But what’s equally true is this team achieved the best record in the league this season and made it to the NFC title game -- without Harvin.
The receivers are a talented, underrated group who can perform at a level that enables Seattle to win this game, and the Super Bowl, whether Harvin takes another snap this season or not.
Harvin must go through the NFL concussion protocol all week before a determination is made about his ability to play Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Carroll also said that outside linebacker K.J. Wright, who had surgery one month ago to repair a foot fracture, returned to practice. Wright suffered the injury Dec. 8 at San Francisco.
The formula for success hasn’t changed all season. The Seahawks have played stone-cold defense, steamrolled opponents on the ground with powerful running back Marshawn Lynch and done just enough through the air to win 14 times in 17 outings.
Quarterback Russell Wilson is coming off a career-worst 103 yards passing. He passed for fewer than 110 yards in two of the last three games.
The Seahawks scored 100 points total in the last five games. A 20-point average would rank 25th in the regular season. But the Seahawks also didn’t have a turnover in the past two games.
“If we keep taking care of the football, it will give us our chance to get the wins,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We would like to make it easier and see the yards there, but as long as we’re playing within the formula, then we’re OK.”
Carroll thinks people are making too much out of the team’s lack of explosiveness on offense. And he has no problems with Wilson’s performance.
“He’s doing what we need to do in these games,” Carroll said. “We can always do better, but he’s very concerned about leading us in the way that keeps our philosophy intact, which is take care of the football. He’s done a great job of that, and he’s done that all year long.”
In four career games against the 49ers, Wilson has completed 53 percent of his passes (47 of 88) with six touchdowns and four interceptions while averaging 158.5 passing yards per game.
Wilson, however, has played well in the two home games against San Francisco, completing 23 of 40 throws for five TDs and only two interceptions. The Seahawks outscored the 49ers 71-16 in those two games.
But the fact remains that the Seahawks' offense hasn’t produced an efficient passing game over the past month.
“We’re trying to make things happen,” Carroll said. “But I’ve attributed some of that to the teams we’ve played that were really loaded up on the other side of the ball.”
Seattle faced four of the top 10 defenses in yards allowed over its past five games -- San Francisco, the New York Giants, Arizona and New Orleans.
“We’ve played some really good defenses, and they’ve made some big plays,” Wilson said. “But there are tons of throws I can make and I know I will make. I have no worries about that.”
There was also the factor of gale-force winds in the Saints game that changed how the Seahawks approached play calling.
“We didn’t throw as well as we like to, but there were reasons why,” Carroll said on his 710 ESPN Seattle radio show. “We did have to play differently with the weather and the wind. Throwing and catching the ball was an issue.
“We played it the way we imagined playing it in those conditions, with the focus going to the running game. It was what we planned to do, but there always are things you’d like to do better.”
Wilson threw only 18 passes against New Orleans, completing nine.
“When the wind is severe, you have to be smart," Wilson said. “There were circumstances where I have to be conservative throwing the football, making sure I’m not taking shots down the field.”
Former Seattle coach Mike Holmgren, now a radio analyst at Seattle’s KJR (950 AM) radio, believes the Seahawks defense this season is so good that it can cause the offense to play too conservatively.
“There’s a danger,” Holmgren said. “It can affect your offense. You don’t have to be reckless. You know you can play conservative and you’ll be fine.”
Wilson believes there's a difference between being cautious and playing scared.
“I’ve never played scared," he said. “I never have, and I never will. I always try to make the smart decisions and keep the play alive. But I’ve learned over the years that there are certain situations in a game where you can lose by not playing it safe.”
Seattle turned to its workhorse in Lynch, who rushed for 140 yards on 28 carries while scoring two touchdowns against New Orleans.
“We needed to run it, and we did," Carroll said. “Marshawn gave us the game we needed. He was cranked up out there. He was in command and wanted the ball again and again.”
Lynch also was the mainstay of the Seahawks' offense in both games against the 49ers this year, rushing for a combined 170 yards on 48 carries.
“We’re winning a lot of football games, and that’s the most important thing," Wilson said. “I can always do better. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but I’m expecting to play a great game Sunday."
If receiver Percy Harvin returns from his concussion, he can make a difference as well. He had three receptions in the first half and was targeted five times before leaving the game.
“We’re always looking for more, and [Wilson] is too,” Carroll said. “But as long as our team is playing well, playing within the formula, playing good defense, running the football and taking care of the ball, we’re going to have a really good chance to win. It’s not about the stats.”
Wilson doesn’t think passing yards should define the success of Seattle's offense.
“There are a lot of factors that go into winning a football game,” he said. “We just need to execute one play at a time. That’s what it really comes down to.”
Carroll said the status of receiver Percy Harvin, who suffered a concussion in the first half of the playoff game Saturday against New Orleans, depends on how he makes it through the concussion protocol procedure this week.
"We have to make sure we do the right thing,” Carroll said. "We're not going to stretch the limits on this. We're going to make sure he's OK.”
Carroll said they won't know until Wednesday or Thursday if Harvin is cleared to play. Carroll said there were no other injuries against New Orleans and everyone else is expected to play Sunday.