There was an overriding message Russell Wilson and the Seahawks wanted to share Saturday night.
It’s only August.
Wilson looked as bad throwing as you will see him in a game Saturday night as he and the starting offense struggled through their 2 1/2 quarters played of a 16-15 preseason win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.
“It was not as sharp,” coach Pete Carroll said of his passing offense that finished with 56 yards while the starters were in. “We missed throws we normally make.”
“We” was specifically “he.” Wilson missed wide-open tight end Jimmy Graham in the second quarter over the middle deep in Chargers territory that ended with one of Steven Hauschka’s three field goals instead of a touchdown.
In the third quarter, Wilson threw over and past a covered Graham at the goal line. And after he scrambled on third and goal Wilson threw well wide of Jermaine Kearse, who was breaking free across the back line of the end zone.
He finished 7 for 15 passing for 56 yards. He was sacked once, avoided many more, and had a meager passer rating of 56.5.
“Ultimately, we have to finish drives. That’s on me. But we’ll hit ‘em,” Wilson said. “We’ll be just fine. So I’m excited about it.”
For the preseason — entering a preseason finale which he may barely play Thursday at home against Oakland, Wilson is 17 for 31 passing for 146 yards and a passer rating of 67.4. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass, and has lost a fumble while sacked for one of his three times in three games.
It hasn’t helped Wilson was taking snaps for the second consecutive week from new center Drew Nowak, who was a defensive tackle in college and a practice-squad guard last season. Justin Britt, last year’s rookie starter at right tackle, started his second game at left guard. Garry Gilliam, undrafted last year and a tight end for three years at Penn State, started his second game at right tackle.
And left tackle Russell Okung was out with what coach Pete Carroll said was a “sore” shoulder coming out of practice this week. Backup Alvin Bailey played for him, and got run past by Chargers for much of the night.
Is that 80-percent turnover on the offensive line affecting Wilson so far?
“I think the offensive line is doing a tremendous job, honestly. We are just a hair bit off,” Wilson said. “We’ll make sure we fix it.
“We’ll just have to stay the course.”
Asked how ready he is for the real games that begin Sept. 13 at St. Louis Wilson said: “I definitely think I’m ready. Can’t wait to play.
“We are definitely moving the ball,” he added. We just need to finish. That’s the most important thing.
“And we will.”
DION BAILEY IMPRESSIVE AGAIN
One of Seattle’s primary tasks this week and weekend was to determine who will fill-in at strong safety if Kam Chancellor continues his holdout into the regular season. The team leader was away for the 30th day, with no end to his impasse of wanting more than his $4.55 million pay this year in sight.
Dion Bailey started after practicing with the first team this week. He made three tackles on the first defensive drive, two sure ones in the open field that will get coaches’ attention — especially a couple plays after fill-in free safety Steven Terrell missed a tackle for a big Chargers gain. Terrell has started this month while All-Pro Earl Thomas readies his surgically repaired shoulder for the regular season.
But Bailey left in the first half with what Carroll said were back spasms, after he had made six tackles to lead the team through two quarters. Exactly what a strong safety should do, and his tackling has impressed coaches all month. Once the former USC linebacker filled hard on a run play and combined with defensive tackle Jordan Hill for a tackle.
DeShawn Shead alternated in for Bailey during drives throughout the first half and finished the game with two tackles.
Starting outside LB K.J. Wright left in the first quarter after getting hit legally — and hard — at the end of a play by San Diego’s massive LT King Dunlap (6 feet 9, 340-plus pounds). Carroll said Wright banged his shoulder “pretty good” but didn’t make it sound like a long-term injury. ... His replacement, Mike Morgan, left soon after with a hamstring injury. ... David Paulson’s family was here Saturday night to watch the former Auburn Riverside High School and University of Oregon tight end play backup tight end for the Chargers. Paulson was on San Diego’s practice squad after spending his first two NFL seasons, 2012 and ’13, with Pittsburgh. He started nine games and had 13 total catches in those two seasons with the Steelers, but word around the Chargers is Paulson may have a tough time making this San Diego team.