RENTON Russell Wilson was on an all-liquid, Smoothie-centric diet this past weekend.
Not by choice.
It was by Karlos Dansby.
Turns out, the hit Arizona’s pass rusher gave to the Seahawks’ quarterback’s helmet during Seattle’s win over the Cardinals last week--for which Dansby was penalized for roughing and fined $18,231 by the league--nearly broke Wilson’s jaw. That led to a string of straw-filled days with Wilson barely able to talk, until about Thursday.
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“I can halfway speak now, so I’m good,” Wilson joked to begin his weekly press conference Friday, three days before he plays against the Atlanta Falcons.
If you looked closely you could spot Wilson’s jaw line was perhaps swollen somewhat. He was aware of it enough to bring it up unprompted to begin his remarks.
Yet Monday will be his 102nd start in the 102 regular-season and playoff games Seattle has played it since it drafted him in 2012.
“Good to talk to you guys,” Wilson said, meaning literally. “I had a few extra days (to recover to do so).”
Wilson spent those days, through last weekend and into this week, narrowly avoiding having his jaw wired shut. That would have made for an interesting start Monday night, eh?
“Yeah, I had to wear basically like a splint, almost. Basically, a hard mouth guard, which would re-set my jaw a little bit and make me feel good again and speak to you guys again. ... The first two and a half, three days, I couldn’t really eat anything. I was just doing smoothies and all that kind of stuff.
“It was very hard to talk. It hurt pretty good. ... I’m fine. It’s good and like I said, I got tons of meds and everything else, so I’m good now.
“Maybe I’ll have to talk out of the side of my mouth for the rest of the year,” Wilson joked, “but I’ll be alright.”
Asked if he in fact had a fractured jaw, Wilson said, “No, I didn’t. I got images and everything like that. Sure enough, I was lucky. It was pretty close.
“The doctor was like, ‘Man, any harder we’d probably had to wire your mouth shut.’
“So,” Wilson deadpanned, “that was a good thing that didn’t happen.”
Yeah, very good. Not just for Wilson’s daily quality of life. For Seattle’s playoff chances.
Wilson has gained 82 percent of the Seahawks’ yards this season--2,543 passing and a team-leading 290 rushing. That’s the biggest portion by one player of any team’s total in the NFL.
Forget the official statistics that say Seattle is 22nd in the league in rushing offense. Take out Wilson’s yardage, almost all of which is on scrambles away from free-rushing defenders on pass plays, and the Seahawks would have 616 yards on the ground. That would be the 32nd, dead last, in the league.
Solely because of Wilson--he’s thrown every Seahawks pass this season--Seattle is ranked second in passing offense, rare air for a Pete Carroll-coached team.
We can talk Xs and Os and game-planning, whether Duane Brown’s ankle will heal in time for him to play Monday and whether it will be Thomas Rawls or Eddie Lacy as the lead back. But, honestly, Seattle’s right now offense is: Russell, go do your thing. Again. And then again.
Like this: Wilson’s ridiculous, double-spin, triple-escape, throw-it-up-for-Doug-Baldwin play that gained 54 yards and put away Arizona in the fourth quarter last week.
It appears it’s going to take more of those plays by Wilson to win Monday night, and to get the Seahawks one of the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs they set as their goal for this season way back in January.
I asked Wilson if he feels the burden of being the offense’s absolutely everything right now.
“No, not at all,” Wilson said. “I think we have to do what we have to do to win. I think that’s what I’m here for, is to help our team win.”
His answer sounded a lot like offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s the day before when the play caller was asked whether the Seahawks can keep winning like this.
“So I guess God has gifted me with talent,” Wilson said. “But at the end of the day, it’s a lot of guys making a lot of great plays, too, as well, and believing in that and believing in each other. And having no fear.”
No fear, apparently, of the NFL’s concussion protocol, either.
The league is continuing what its statement this week called a “thorough review” of how Wilson returned to last week’s game so quickly following Dansby’s hit and referee Walt Anderson sending him off the field for examination. Wilson returned after missing just one play, then finished the game. He acknowledged after it that Anderson sent him off to get checked by medical personnel.
“The league’s gotta do what they’ve gotta do. I think, obviously, it’s very important for player safety and all of that,” Wilson said Friday.
“I was completely fine. Just, my jaw got busted up pretty good, as you guys can see.”
“But we’re cooperating, doing everything we can to make sure that we are doing it the right way. That’s how we’ve always tried to do it. So, that’s all.”
I asked Wilson what Anderson said to him to send him off the field in the first place. Did he hear a directive to get checked for a concussion?
The quarterback is too savvy to answer that.
“That’s a whole bunch of stuff that we tal... you know, Walt did a good job,” Wilson said. “Everything was fine, and so we’ll talk about that with the league, and stuff like that.”
The Seahawks hosted a World War II Sherman tank at practice Friday. Following the workout Wilson followed Bevell over to the tank, which came from the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum at Paine Field in Everett.