Peeking through my fingers at the infected blister of the Monday night TV game between Tennessee and the New York Jets, I saw something other than wretched pro football. I saw what Pete Carroll was talking about.
Watching Titans quarterback Jake Locker, the former Huskies' stalwart, bravely flinging himself, upper body first, into Jets tacklers, it was easy to imagine the Seahawks coach pulling together videos of Locker's rushes, followed by a lecture to his quarterback, Russell Wilson:
Carroll: "If you ever run like this, I will take away your starting job, your shoes, your helmet and your booster seat. That's my deal."
Wilson: "Go Hawks!"
For fans equal parts thrilled and scared when the Seahawks rookie out-swivels the rush and breaks downfield toward the arms of large, sweaty, angry men, Wilson, according to Carroll, seems ideally suited to survive the read-option part of the offense that has had such resounding success lately.
Wilson has passed through the macho imperative of the NFL and has come out the other side more mature than many of his contemporaries. Not to mention intact.
"He won't run [the option] again if he starts running up in there sticking his head in there trying to run over linebackers," Carroll said. "That's been made clear. He gets it."
To prove the point, Wilson, who dazzled Sunday in the Seahawks' 50-17 mashing of Buffalo with his first rushing touchdowns of the season — three in the first half, a Seahawks QB record — did something even more impressive than rushing for 92 yards in nine carries:
He was never tackled.
The Herald of Everett's John Boyle reviewed Wilson's nine rushes and discovered that the rookie either scored, ran out of bounds or slid and was touched down. He was never hit when he chose to run.
"I trust him," Carroll said. "He understands what he is doing. He's demonstrated that he knows how to take care of himself out there. He's not going to try and be the macho guy and run over somebody. He's going to go for the next play, and the next play, he's not going to try to get it all done in one moment. . . . He's a very mindful, very conscientious kid about his position and his role in the offense."
Unlike other rush-minded QBs such as Locker, Michael Vick and even fellow rookie Robert Griffin III, Wilson appears to understand that his continued good health and availability makes the Seahawks better; thus, avoidance of collision is not equivalent to an absence of manhood.
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