RENTON — Russell Wilson has quickly learned playing for the NFC title means more media and more scrutiny.
Wilson showed up Monday in his usual red practice jersey and camouflage Seahawks baseball hat to talk with the media, two days before his usual media stint.
Wilson has two more media meetings scheduled this week in the run-up to Sunday’s NFC title game against the San Francisco 49ers, tripling the usual number of press conferences he does each week.
Days after advancing to the title game, Wilson’s play has become a focal point. Marshawn Lynch ran for 140 yards Saturday in the Seahawks’ 23-15 win against the New Orleans Saints in a rain-soaked divisional-round playoff game. That made the running woes – Lynch had not run for more than 100 yards since Nov. 10 – appear cured.
Wilson was an erratic 9-for-18 passing in cumbersome weather, two games after going 11-for-27 in a 17-10 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
“We’ve played some really good defenses and they’ve made some plays,” Wilson said. “There’s definitely room for improvement on my part. That’s a thing I look forward to every week. I always think I can get better.”
In four of the past five games, Wilson’s efficiency has dipped well below his season average of 101.2.
He was crisp against St. Louis, producing a 102.1 passer rating, but Wilson’s been pedestrian the other four games. His quarterback rating has ranged from 49.6 against Arizona to a sufficient 86.3 against the New York Giants. Wilson also ran for 50 yards against the Giants.
“I think he’s doing great,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “I think he’s doing what we need to do in these games. We can always do better. He’s very concerned about leading us in the way that keeps our philosophy intact, which is take care of the football and he’s done a great job of that and he’s done that all year long. We’re always looking for more and he is, too, and all that.
“But as long as our football team is playing well and we’re playing within the formula and we’re playing good defense, we’re running the football, we’re playing on (special) teams, and we’re taking care of the ball and getting it (from foes), we’re going to have a really good chance to win and that’s what’s most important to us. It’s not about the stats.”
Carroll does have one stat he will heft: Turnovers. Wilson has three interceptions and no fumbles his past five games. With the Seahawks’ preference for forcing opponents into long fields against the league’s top defense, a lack of errors carries value usually more equated with highlight-reel plays.
“We didn’t put up a lot of yards against (the 49ers in a 29-3 Week 2 win) when we played them at home and we didn’t put up a lot yards against the Saints (on Saturday) to get our win,” Carroll said. “That has nothing to do with what’s important, as far as the game is concerned.”
Wilson and Carroll deflected suggestions that the team’s second-year quarterback is playing cautious. Wilson said the competitor within him wants to always make the right decision, whether that is considered a cautious one or not. He also had one other point.
“We’re winning a lot of football games,” Wilson said. “That’s the thing.”
Wide receiver Percy Harvin is going through the league-mandated concussion protocol after leaving Saturday’s game just before halftime to be evaluated for a concussion. He did not return to the game.
The Seahawks will know more Wednesday or Thursday about Harvin’s chances to play in the NFC Championship Game.
“We’re going to respect the heck out of this one, take care of Percy and make sure we do the right thing,” Carroll said. “We’re not going to stretch the limits on this at all. We’ve got to be very careful here, so we’ll do that every step of the way.”
Linebacker K.J. Wright (foot) ran Monday morning. Carroll said Wright has a chance to make it back for Sunday’s game. Asked if rookie left guard Michael Bowie will start again Sunday, Carroll said, “You’ll have to wait and see.”firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @Todd_Dybas