The Seahawks were off Sunday, but linebacker Bobby Wagner still found himself on TV during Seattle's bye week, appearing on FOX NFL Sunday.
Wagner's appearance on FOX's Sunday pregame show was just another sign of his status as one of the best defensive players in the league, and while over the years the stars of Seattle's secondary have received a lot of the attention and accolades, Wagner has without a doubt cemented his status as one of his team's most important players.
A two-time first-team All-Pro, Wagner is off to another great start in 2017, totaling a team-high 41 tackles through five games. Wagner also ranks second on the team with three passes defensed, is tied for second with four quarterback hits, has one interception and one fumble return, which he returned for a touchdown in Seattle's Week 4 win over Indianapolis. In other words, he has been exactly what the Seahawks were expecting out of their defensive co-captain who a year ago set a team record by recording an NFL-leading 167 tackles.
"He's a great team member, he's a tremendous performer, he is just rock solid day-in and day-out, stands up for what we're all about, and demonstrating it every day forever, and he's just awesome," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last month when Wagner was voted defensive co-captain along with Kam Chancellor. "… I think it's a really accurate and correct evaluation by our team."
It's no coincidence that part of Carroll's praise for Wagner involved the linebacker's work day-in and day-out. Throughout his career, and particularly the past couple of seasons, one of Wagner's biggest areas of focus has been his consistency.
"I just try to get better and better every year," Wagner said. "I try to be really consistent. I feel like that's rare nowadays, being consistent. That's kind of my focus, and everything else takes care of itself… I just feel like I've been very consistent, I've found a good routine."
Part of that routine is the work Wagner puts in during the offseason and on his own time during the season to maintain his body. Between boxing training in the offseason to early morning track sessions to hatha yoga—"I just stretch," Wagner clarified. "You're not going to see me balancing on my head or anything like that"—Wagner goes above and beyond to make sure he is still on top of his game six seasons into his career playing one of the game's more physically demanding positions.
The end result of that hard work, along with his natural athleticism and his smarts and football savvy, is a level of play that has Wagner as the top-rated linebacker in the league according to ProFootballFocus.com.
And if you think Wagner is off to a slow start from a tackles standpoint considering his eye-popping total last season, remember that last year he had "only" 30 tackles through his first four games prior to Seattle's bye, then had 13 or more tackles in five of his next six games after the break. So as good as Wagner has been, recent history says he could get even better after the bye, and most importantly to him, he plans on maintaining a very high level of play on a weekly basis throughout the season.
"I take a lot of pride in (consistency)," Wagner said. "I feel like people remember consistency a lot. A lot of people have good games here and there or splashes here and there, but you always remember a consistent person that you can be accountable for. So I take a lot of pride in that."
Team photographer Rod Mar shares exclusive behind-the-scenes images from the Seahawks' 16-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams during Week 5 at L.A. Coliseum.