Seahawks Insider Blog

Russell Wilson finds a place to "zero" his mind; Wes Welker's return likely to put Seahawks' Marcus Burley in spotlight

It might be the end of the tunnel that connects the Seahawks' locker room to the field. It might be the platform behind and high above the south end zone, where the 12th Man flag gets raised before every Seahawks' home game. Heck, it might be section 327, or any other random spot inside CenturyLink Field.

But there will be a point in Sunday's Super Bowl rematch with the Broncos that Russell Wilson will find his favorite place in his home stadium, look at it, and reset mentally.

"For me, I try to be poised. I try to be the calm in the storm, that’s my main focus," Seattle's quarterback said yesterday, going a tad telepathic. "Like I’ve told you guys before, I have that little spot in the stadium, whatever stadium we’re playing in, that brings me back to zero and that helps me a lot, too."

So when you notice Wilson staring off into someplace other than at coach Pete Carroll, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell or his offensive teammates, now you know why.

Wilson has another mental trick: He tries to pretend a random seven-on-seven play in a relatively random walk-through practice such as today's at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center like is the biggest play in the Super Bowl. After all, he would now know.

"I visualize all week. I visualize being uncomfortable all week so that way when I get to the game there’s no wavering in my emotions," he said. "Visualizing being uncomfortable means really feeling the emotions of the game, treating every rep as if it’s a game rep, the game is on the line. It’s third down and 6, it’s fourth down and 7, whatever the situation, and causing havoc almost, in terms of the emotions that you may have.

"Then when you go into the game, you realize how to control those emotions and control thoughts and control what you’re thinking about and control that checklist. Going through those progressions, going through you’re footwork and you’re fundamentals. And that way when you get to the game, you do what you have been doing all week."

One other way he creates discomfort during game week: He says he sleeps maybe four or five hours a night during the week leading up to a game. Then he spend Saturday sawing mega logs, getting perhaps 12 hours of sleep the day before the game.

This mental side is where Wilson, two games into his third NFL season -- all of which he's spent as the Seahawks' starter -- says he's grown the most.

"The experience that you have, the big match ups that you play in. Playing in a game like the Super Bowl, where all the lights are there and all the cameras and everybody is around -- can you control your emotions?" he said. "Can you control your focus and your poise and play great football and stay focused on the fundamentals? Over time, I’ve been able to learn that more and more and get better at that so hopefully I’m a better football player.

"Hopefully, my game has improved. I still have a lot more to do. That’s where my focus is."

By the way, if Wilson is staring at section 327 to get back "to zero" mentally during Sunday's game, here's what the view looking back at him would be.

--I intend to find out -- or at least ask Carroll -- today following practice what the statuses are of tight end Zach Miller and defensive end Bruce Irvin. Miller didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday with what the team is listing as an ankle injury, and Irvin did not practice Thursday with a new rib injury. If Miller is limited or can't play Sunday, that could mean more three- and four-wide receiver formations, which in turn could mean more of Ricardo Lockette or even the NFL debut of now-healthy rookie Kevin Norwood, and perhaps more of Robert Turbin as a lone running back on third downs.

Or it could mean third tight end Cooper Helfet, back after two weeks out with a knee injury, in a lot of two tight-end formations with Luke Willson to plow for Marshawn Lynch runs. I'm thinking if the Seahawks have Lynch getting 20 carries Sunday they win.

--Today's News Tribune main story has Earl Thomas being extra intense, which for him is saying something. I wrote on here yesterday of Thomas saying he realized after the loss in San Diego that he had somehow lost his "championship spirit" and now that he has it back he feels "I am about to go on a tear."

Thomas also said having to miss five defensive snaps to get intravenous fluids in the locker room last weekend is the first time the native of steamy Orange, Texas, has ever had to do that in a game.

"It was just a weird game," he said.

--si.com's Chris Burke goes deep inside some film clips to show how Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers carved up Seattle's defense last weekend by isolating the big tight end as the only receiver to one side of the field -- and Burke proposes Denver needs to do the same thing with Julius Thomas on Sunday.

The one issue I have with this otherwise good premise: How the Broncos have used Thomas and featured him more so far this season isn't likely to be how they use for him Sunday, not with Wes Welker eligible to play for the first time this season after his amphetamines suspension got reclassified by the NFL's new drug policy. Welker's return likely means the return to three- and four-wide receiver sets, which likely means the Seahawks will be in nickel with Marcus Burley as their fifth defensive back in the slot against Welker for much of the game. That's where Peyton Manning will be targeting most. I'd be surprised if Thomas the tight end is a featured part of the game plan.

As Earl Thomas said yesterday when asked yesterday if he expects Denver to be different Sunday than in its first two games because of the return of Welker: "That's a no-brainer."

--Turned these in last night for Sunday's News Tribune, for argumentative purposes, of course:

Houston at New York Giants, 10 a.m. Sunday, Channel 7

Texans are so good on defense they are allowing offense to borrow J.J. Watt for TD catches. Giants are so bad – everywhere -- right now.

Texans 20, Giants 10

Green Bay at Detroit, 10 a.m. Sunday, Channel 13

This is when Aaron Rodgers shows Matthew Stafford who rules the NFC North.

Packers 34, Lions 30

Pittsburgh at Carolina, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Channel 5

Panthers have allowed NFC-low 21 points in two wins. Ben Roethlisberger gets just enough help from his receivers, offensive line to spring upset.

Steelers 17, Panthers 14

Chicago at New York Jets, 5:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN

OK, who had Geno Smith – not Eli Manning – as the more popular quarterback in New York? Bears come back to real, Jay Cutler life following win over 49ers.

Jets 23, Bears 17

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San Diego at Buffalo

10 a.m. Sunday

Pick Bills 24, Chargers 23

 

Tennessee at Cincinnati

10 a.m. Sunday

Pick: Bengals 31, Titans 13

 

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

10 a.m. Sunday

Pick: Colts 38, Jaguars 14

Baltimore at Cleveland

10 a.m. Sunday

Pick: Browns 21, Ravens 20

Dallas at St. Louis

10 a.m. Sunday

Pick: Rams 30, Cowboys 28

Oakland at New England

10 a.m. Sunday

Pick: Patriots 45, Raiders 0

Minnesota at New Orleans

10 a.m. Sunday

Pick: Saints 41, Vikings 24

Philadelphia at Washington

10 a.m. Sunday

Pick: Eagles 37, Redskins 20

San Francisco at Arizona

1:05 p.m. Sunday

Pick: 49ers 20, Cardinals 13

Kansas City at Miami

1:25 p.m. Sunday

Pick: Dolphins 23, Chiefs 21

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