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Tuesday in Hawkville: Wilson gets a needed, and deserved, start

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 21:

FOCUS ON

Russell Wilson. The rookie quarterback is getting his first start in Friday night’s preseason game against the Chiefs in Kansas City. But he plans to prepare for it in the same manner he has while serving as the backup to Matt Flynn in the first two games.

“I’m very excited. It’s a great opportunity for me,” Wilson said. “I’ve just got to keep working. There’s a lot more to do and I have to keep improving. That’s my main goal every day when I wake up.”

Wilson definitely has opened some eyes with his second-half performances against the Titans and Broncos, passing for three scores and running for another in directing five touchdown drives.

Coach Pete Carroll announced after today’s practice that Wilson would get the start, a needed next step in determining if he can indeed be the starter for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona.

How does Wilson plan to keep this first start from being bigger than it is? “I’m never afraid to excel,” he said. “I don’t try to change the moment at all. I think that it’s a great opportunity. I’m taking it one play at a time, just like I always would – taking it one practice at a time and just play to the best of my ability. Play smart. Lead the guys out there. Make the other 10 guys in the huddle better. And that’s my goal.”

PLAYER WATCH

Sidney Rice.  The on-the-mend wide receiver had his first “real” day of practice, as he caught several passes and took a couple of hits in the process during the full-pads practice. Rice had surgery on each of his shoulders during the offseason.

“He had a great day today. This was Sidney’s first full-speed, all-out, one-on-one, everything today. It’s the first time he’s had a full-go day,” Carroll said. “This is the first day that I really feel like, ‘OK, he’s in it now.’ ”

Carroll said he isn’t sure whether Rice will make his preseason debut against the Chiefs.

POSITION WATCH

Middle linebacker. What had become obvious is now official – rookie Bobby Wagner is the starter. It had happened even before veteran Barrett Ruud was traded to the Saints on Monday. It was Wagner’s quick grasp of the mental aspects that come with playing the position, as well as his physical skills, that made Ruud expendable.

“Bobby’s going to start for us,” Carroll said. “He’s done a great job and we’re thrilled with his progress that he’s made so far.”

Special teams standout Heath Farwell will serve as the backup, but the coaches also could move K.J. Wright from the strong side to the middle.

“K.J.’s a legitimate, big-time (middle) linebacker, as well,” Carroll said. “So we have some flexibility.”

UPON FURTHER REVIEW

As Carroll views it, Flynn threw two touchdown passes in the first half against the Broncos on Saturday night – the one that Terrell Owens didn’t catch and the one Golden Tate did, although out of bounds.

“He threw two great touchdown passes in that first half,” Carroll said. “I told Matt, ‘Those, to me, count. Those are the plays you made.’ There’s a discipline that comes with that. You have to discipline yourself to say, ‘Those were part of his game.’ He had a heckuva game. Two touchdowns in that first half under the pressure would have been a great first-half performance. He did that. That did happen, in my mind. Whether that counted or not, I don’t care.”

IN ’N OUT

Doug Baldwin, last year’s leading receiver, had a procedure on the hamstring that has been bothering him, Carroll said, and could return to practice next week.

Fourteen other players also were sidelined today: running back Marshawn Lynch (back), fullback Michael Robinson (toe), center Max Unger (calf), tight end Cameron Morrah (toe), offensive linemen John Moffitt (elbow) and James Carpenter (knee), linebackers Matt McCoy (knee) and Allen Bradford (hip), defensive linemen Pep Levingston (knee) and Jason Jones (knee) and defensive backs Ron Parker (knee), Roy Lewis (unspecified), Coye Francies (head) and Walter Thurmond (leg).

Wide receiver Ben Obomanu, tight end Zach Miller, defensive end Cordarro Law and linebackers Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan returned to practice after missing time.

UP NEXT

The players will practice Wednesday and again Thursday morning before the team flies to Kansas City for Friday night’s game.

YOU DON’T SAY

“He’s a nightmare out there, the way he moves around.” – Carroll on the pressure the elusive Wilson can put on a defense


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