During the first few days of training camp, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson missed a couple more throws than one might expect to see from a Pro Bowler heading into his sixth season. It was nothing close to alarming, but for as good as Wilson has been throughout his career, it was noticeable at times.
That's when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll approached his quarterback and as Wilson described it, told him, "Hey, I'm going to give you some more reps."
Whether it was extra reps or just Wilson settling into a rhythm after the first few days of camp, the quarterback has been, as Carroll described it, "on fire" over the past few days. Wilson put together what was up to that point his best practice on Sunday, then was again spectacular in Seattle's mock game on Monday, and he hasn't cooled off since.
"He has had a few really good days back to back to back," Carroll said earlier in the week, even before Wilson had added a couple more impressive practices to that stretch of strong play. "He's really on it. He's changing his reps a little bit. We want to get him a few more reps to make sure he's getting enough turns. Since we've done that he's really picked up. He's doing great, he's in good shape, and he's working the ball around really well.
"He's just feeling the guys he's working with really well. It takes a little bit. He has been really hot, executing a lot of difficult stuff. Situational, we're making it hard on him to try to pressure him and down and distance situations that he's got to come through on. He has done a really good job. The guys are catching it the ball really well and making plays for him too, which is always part of it. We have a good group and they have a good feel for him. It shows up the more we are out here."
Wilson said he didn't ask for the increased workload in practice, but it has helped, particularly in how he has improve his chemistry with the rest of the offense.
"I'm just big into getting into a rhythm I think more than anything else," Wilson said. "I try to play in practice just like a game; the timing, the getting the momentum, and making the key throws and the clutch throws and everything else. I think it's really not necessarily me, it's the receivers and tight ends making great plays. The offensive line looks tremendous too, they've been giving me some really good time, I think you guys saw some of that yesterday and in the past few days too. Those guys with the receivers and the tight ends and the running backs that we have, they make it a little bit easier on me for sure, and that's the fun part."
Wilson, who teammate Doug Baldwin described as "the consummate pro," changed his offseason routine and diet this offseason and reported to camp noticeably slimmed down, and that has shown when the quarterback has scrambled in camp. But as the past few days have shown, Seattle's offense benefits even more from an on-time and on-target Wilson than it does from a mobile one—though it never hurts to have both. And as Carroll noted, Wilson's hot streak in camp has more to do with just his play; his pass-catchers are also doing their part.
"I think a lot of guys are in sync right now," Wilson said. "Some of these guys I've worked with a bunch. From Doug Baldwin to Paul Richardson to Tyler Lockett, obviously Jermaine Kearse too, Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson. We've worked a bunch together, and I think that really helps."
In particular, that growing chemistry with Graham continues to show. Graham was unable to practice at this time last year due to the knee injury that ended his 2015 season, and while he still had a very good 2016 season, making his fourth Pro Bowl, Graham and Wilson are hoping to be even better this year now that they've had a full offseason and training camp together.
"We worked a lot this off season together and had really good quality time together and everything else," Wilson said. "I think also, we really play together now. Last year we had a really good season in terms of me and him and everything else. Jimmy is really healthy right now. Last year, he was coming off an injury in training camp and that whole spring, so we didn't get as much practice. I mean, we were able to throw a little bit and catch and stand there and everything else, but this off season, we were able to train a lot. He looks really good, he's super excited about having a great year. He's an exciting player, that's for sure."
Photos of fans from the ninth day of 2017 Seahawks training camp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.