Wednesday cyber surfing: Wilson exceeding expectations, developing better rapport with receivers

Russell Wilson

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 19.

The club made a roster move yesterday afternoon, releasing tight end Evan Moore and promoting rookie tight end Sean McGrath from the practice squad to the active roster.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times writes why Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson deserves the NFL’s Rookie of the Year award, “Wilson, unlike the other rookies, wasn’t granted the luxury of time. His future was now. He had early games against Dallas, Green Bay and New England. If he wasn’t ready, if he made even the usual amount of rookie mistakes, the Seahawks could have been buried early and the call for Flynn would come swiftly and loudly from the sellout crowds at CenturyLink. But the Hawks won all three. Wilson has surpassed — I suspect even Carroll’s — most optimistic expectations. And, with two games left in the regular season, I believe he should be NFL Rookie of the Year. Wilson had to win. And he has. He had to get better. And, oh my, has he. He has run the Seahawks like a 10-year veteran. He has dodged blitzes and escaped pass rushers like no quarterback since the Minnesota Vikings’ Fran Tarkenton in the 1970s.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune highlights the relationship between Wilson and wide receiver Sidney Rice, “In the past seven games, Rice has 27 receptions for 422 yards and five touchdowns, becoming the big-play threat the Seahawks were looking for when they signed him to a lucrative deal as an unrestricted agent during the 2010 offseason. Wilson has developed a better rapport with Rice, Golden Tate, Zach Miller and the rest of Seattle’s receiving threats, throwing more passes in rhythm and doing a better job of anticipating when players are coming out of their breaks. ‘Things have slowed down for him some,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Wilson. ‘He’s much more comfortable with situational football — red zone, he’s better at because he has had repetition running the offense. Third downs, he has been more consistent lately. I think he’s way more comfortable throwing the ball to Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Zach Miller primarily, with Anthony McCoy getting in there as well. I just think he’s better and more comfortable.’ ”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Seahawks fans have the right to dream big, “This is a team, after all, that is hitting its stride at the right time, and momentum has often proven to be more important than seeding in the NFL playoffs. After starting the year as a team hoping to win with defense and a running game, the Seahawks are suddenly dangerous on offense. One of the lowest scoring teams in the league early on, the Seahawks now rank 11th in scoring at 25 points per game, a scoring average they haven’t bettered since 2005. Buoyed by back-to-back blowouts, Seattle now has a plus-131 point differential this season, a total that trails just New England, San Francisco and Denver. And even if the Seahawks can’t take over first place on Sunday, they can with one more victory clinch a playoff berth as well as their first 10-win season since 2007. But as much as the Seahawks have done to change people’s opinions of them while winning five of their past six, nobody is patting themselves on the back just yet. ‘We ain’t done nothing yet,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘When that happens, it happens. Every one of these games are championship matchups. Every one of them makes the statement that you’re still in it and you get it. We just have to go play this football game, and play it really, really well.’ ”

Brady Henderson of notes that San Francisco 49ers second-year linebacker Aldon Smith, who has 19.5 sacks through Week 15, is the latest challenge facing the Seahawks pass protectors, “San Francisco’s defense ranks second in yardage and first in scoring. It has playmakers and Pro Bowlers at every level, but it’s the guys up front that seem to generate the most fear. ‘Really, their front seven is I think definitely the best in the league. They’ve shown it,’ Seahawks tight end Zach Miller told ‘Bob and Groz’ on Monday. “They have a great defense with those two linebackers, [NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis], and then you’ve got Aldon Smith coming off the edge and Justin Smith in the middle there. There’s some challenges we’re going to have, but I like what we’ve been doing lately.’ What the Seahawks have been doing lately – aside from scoring at least 50 points in their last two games – is protecting their quarterback much better than they did a season ago. Seattle allowed 50 sacks last season, the fourth-most in the NFL. That number is 26 through 14 games this season, tied for eighth-fewest.”

Mike Salk of has a look at why the Seahawks’ zone-read offense has been so successful under Wilson in this short video.

Mike Sando of has his latest “MVP Watch” putting running back Marshawn Lynch at No. 7 and Wilson at No. 9 on his list of 10 candidates, “Lynch trails only Peterson in rushing yards this season. He has 21 carries for 241 yards over his past two games. The four other backs with at least 200 yards over that span have needed between 42 and 55 carries to get their yardage. That includes Peterson (55-366), Knowshon Moreno (54-237), Alfred Morris (50-216) and Arian Foster (42-211). Lynch has eight games with at least 100 yards this season. He has four additional games with at least 85 yards. He also ranks tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns with 10. … A strong performance in victory against the 49ers might be enough for Wilson to overtake Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as the perceived leading candidate for offensive rookie of the year. Wilson was the only one of the three to appear in MVP Watch this week for three primary reasons. One, Luck has slipped a bit lately and is coming off a defeat. Two, an injury forced Griffin to watch from the sideline while Kirk Cousins led Washington to victory in Week 15. Griffin’s injury status is affecting his candidacy. Three, Wilson has been sensational. He leads the NFL in Total QBR (85.1) and ranks second to Rodgers in passer rating (106.7) over the past 10 weeks.”

Sando also has a look at NFC West QBR ranks from Week 15, “Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (99.2 QBR, 104.4 NFL rating). Wilson completed 14 of 23 passes (60.9 percent) for 205 yards with one touchdown, zero interceptions, two sacks and 10 passing first downs. He carried nine times for 92 yards and three touchdowns, with five first downs rushing. He had no fumbles. The Bills sacked Wilson on the first play of the game. They had a hard time getting a hand on him most of the day, however. The Bills did not touch Wilson on any of the quarterback’s nine rushes. Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch continued to play off one another effectively on option runs.”

Here at Clare Farnsworth has a recap of “Tuesday in Hawkville” with a focus on rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane, who has gained the confidence and trust of the coaching staff with his recent play.

Farnsworth has his first look at the San Francisco 49ers, who are 5-0 in primetime games this season and will face a Seahawks team on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field that is 6-0 at home.

Farnsworth also recaps a surprise visit from Wilson to Skyline High School quarterback Max Browne, who was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year yesterday, “Browne’s selection as National Player of the Year shouldn’t come as a surprise, despite the stiffest of competition, because he was awesome during his senior season. He led the Spartans to a 14-0 record, capped by the victory in the state title game. He passed for 4,526 yards and 49 touchdowns while completing 277 of 377 passes and throwing only five interceptions. During his career with the Spartans, Browne set the state record with 882 completions, which led to 12,947 yards. But there’s more to Browne than just impressive stats and overwhelming victories. He has a 3.5 GPA and volunteers for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and Generation Joy. Sound familiar? Browne shared the stage on Tuesday with another QB who’s too good to be true – on and off the field. ‘He’s just a tremendous person, first of all,’ Wilson said. ‘He has a great attitude, a great personality. He works so hard. Max is a tremendous football player and Gatorade found the best football player in the country. Max does a tremendous job in the three pillars of what Gatorade does in terms of naming a National Player of the Year. Athletically, obviously he’s very good.  But academically he’s carried a 3.5 his whole career in high school. And then to do what he does in the community, and put so many smiles on so many faces, is really unbelievable.’ “

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