Focus on: An always-compete Christmas

Posted Dec 26, 2013

Christmas dinner at Russell Wilson’s house turned into a cooking competition, and it was the level of difficulty that helped the quarterback’s brother and sister-in-law take the grand prize that really was.

Are there any limits to Pete Carroll’s “Always Compete” philosophy and the impact it has on his players?

Apparently not. Christmas dinner turned into a competition at the home of second-year quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, Ashton. Wilson’s family is in town and, well, let him explain.

“I had a great time with the family. I had a really good time. I actually had a cooking contest with my family,” he said through a large smile Thursday while standing behind the podium in the auditorium at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

A Christmas dinner cooking contest? Yes, complete with a very-grand prize.

“It was very competitive,” Wilson said. “I made a little traditional bet that whoever won the cooking contest with the family got a free first-class flight on Alaska Airlines to wherever they wanted to go. So it got kind of intense.”

And the winners were (drum roll, please) …

“My brother (Harrison) and his wife won,” Wilson said. “They made like jasmine rice and some chicken curry and some other stuff. Their level of difficulty was higher than everybody else’s.”

An always-compete Christmas dinner. Intensity. Level of difficulty. Carroll, the team’s fourth-year coach, has to love that.

But that tale of the Wilson family cook-off wasn’t the only thing out of the norm about his weekly Q&A session with the media. Wilson usually fields questions about how he was able to do this or that in the Seahawks’ latest impressive victory. This week, there were questions about why Wilson hadn’t been able to do this or that in last week’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals – the Seahawks’ first at CenturyLink Field since the 2011 home finale, when Wilson was still the quarterback at the University of Wisconsin.

There was the Seahawks converting only two of 13 third-down situations, including going oh-for-the-last nine. There was the Seahawks scoring only 10 points, their fewest since a Week 7 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco last season. There was Wilson passing for a career-low 108 yards. There was Wilson completing 40.7 percent of his passes (11 for 27), including two of 11 on third downs. There was Marshawn Lynch rushing for only 71 yards, extending his streak of games without a triple-digit effort to five in a row – his longest since starting the 2011 season with six. There was the fact that this was the Seahawks’ second loss in three games, after they started 11-1.

“I’m not worried about it at all,” Wilson said with a resolve that was genuine. “Sometimes you just have a bad day. Sometimes your days are great, sometimes they’re good and sometimes you just have one or two bad days in there. Hopefully, you get rid of those days.”

Wilson then reached into his baseball background for an analogy.

“Some days you go 0 for 5,” he said. “That’s one of those things where you come back and keep swinging.”

Or flinging, as the case may be.

“I’m not going to waver,” he said. “I never will. I never have, never will.”