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Russell Wilson's MVP Chances, Ahtyba Rubin's Impact, What's Next at Running Back and more in this week's Seahawks Q&A

Questions about Russell Wilson, the running game, Ahtyba Rubin's singing voice and more in this week's Seahawks Q&A.

It's Tuesday, which means it's time to answer your Seahawks questions. As always, thanks to everyone who submitted questions, and my apologies if I was unable to get to yours.

@johnpboyle Do you think RW can keep up his 138+ passer rating to finish the season?

@The_Sandman25 asks, "Do you think Russell Wilson can keep up his 138+ passer rating to finish the season?

A: Russell Wilson has been playing at an incredibly high level over the past four games, throwing 16 touchdowns without an interception while posting a passer rating of 138.5 or better in each game. With last week's five-touchdown performance against Baltimore, Wilson joined Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to have four straight games with at least three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Which brings us to the Sandman's question. As much as I believe that much of what Wilson and the offense are doing is sustainable, posting that high of a rating every week is hard to see for another three games. One errant throw or tipped pass or even an accurate one that a receiver can't handle, or one successful gamble by a defensive back could become the interception that lowers Wilson's rating below that mark, which is part of what makes is current streak so impressive. Then again, I would have said after two games that this streak likely couldn't continue, so what do I know?

And on a related note…

@seahawkscout asks, "Why do you think Russell Wilson is getting dismissed as an MVP candidate when Cam Newton has an elite defense and run game?"

A: If Wilson maintains this torrid pace for three more games and the Seahawks finish strong and make the playoffs, Wilson will be a part of the MVP discussion, and deservedly so. Wilson, who has a league-best 110.0 passer rating, has been better than Carolina quarterback Cam Newton in a lot of areas, statistically speaking, but Newton has also thrown two more touchdown passes, rushed for more yards and has seven rushing touchdowns. And not at all insignificant to the argument, Newton's Panthers are currently 13-0. Wilson definitely deserves consideration if he and the Seahawks keep performing at a high level, but catching Newton will be tough if the Panthers keep winning.

@Gink_1228 asks, "Is it true that Ahtyba Rubin sings "Holly Jolly Christmas" better than Burl Ives?

A: I have no clue, as I've never heard Ahtyba Rubin sing. I will however, use this as an excuse to point out that Rubin, who has a musical nickname (Tuba), is quietly having one heck of a season. Defensive tackles don't always get a chance to stand out on the stat sheet, but Rubin has been instrumental in the Seahawks ranking second in the league this season in run defense at 83.2 yards per game. Seattle has held four straight opponents under 60 rushing yards, including the Adrian Peterson-led Vikings, who came into that game as the No. 1 rushing team in the league.

"Ahtyba has been a fantastic addition to us," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He's been very consistent, just been so rock solid and so hard to knock off the football. You can't do those kinds of numbers without that kind of play starting right there. The safeties and the guys on the edge, they just can't affect it that way as much as the guys in the middle. So we owe a lot to (Rubin and Brandon Mebane) setting the standard for us for being able to fit with the discipline that it takes, and the consistency that they've been able to bring back and forth week after week has given us a chance to keep that running game in order. They're doing a great job."

@TWhitehead1081 asks, "What's your best assessment of the RB scene and likely outcomes, and will Fred Jackson get a chance to shine?"

A: Understandably there were a lot of questions about the running back situation this week with Thomas Rawls being placed on injured reserve and Marshawn Lynch still recovering from an abdominal injury. With Bryce Brown re-signing this week and DuJuan Harris being waived, it would appear right now that Brown is in line to be the lead back, because Carroll said Monday they would prefer to keep Fred Jackson in a role similar to the one he has played all season, which is being featured on third down and in hurry-up situations.

"We're going to keep Freddy in his role," Carroll said. "We like what he's doing for us and fitting into that as well."

Carroll did, however, say that fullback Derrick Coleman, who played running back at UCLA, will get a look at running back as well after he gained 19 yards on his only carry against Baltimore.

@Girouvy asks, "Is a hot dog a sandwich?"

A: I'm not sure how, but the "is a hot dog a sandwich?" debate has become a popular one on social media and in other forums over the past few months. Seriously.

I've never really given the topic much thought because, well, who cares? But if you're going to put me on the spot, I'll say, yes, it has meat and bread, so we'll call it a sandwich. As comedian Hannibal Buress put it in an interview with Esquire Magazine, "It's not a sandwich like, classically, but it's a sandwich in spirit and it has all the things a sandwich would have."

On a side note, here's a video of Buress doing stand-up, just because he's funny and laughing is good for you:

@DennisGill10 asks, "Could Russell Wilson break Dave Krieg's season touchdown record and Matt Hasselbeck's season passing yardage record this season?"

A: With 3,289 passing yards and 26 touchdowns through 13 games, Wilson is indeed on pace to match or break both of those records. Wilson is averaging two touchdowns per game this season, which would put him at 32, tying Krieg's record, but obviously Wilson has been well over that pace over the last month. Hasselbeck has the franchise record with 3,966 passing yards in a season, and if Wilson maintains his average of 253 passing yards per game, he would finish with 4,048.

@feruccistyle asks, "Who is the bigger loss this season: Thomas Rawls or @TonyDrovetto?"

A: For those who don't know what Pamela is talking about, Seahawks digital content coordinator Tony Drovetto decided on Friday that he is done participating in "The Daily Stretch" podcast… while the podcast was being recorded. You can hear Tony walk out at about the 1:50 mark.


But as much as we'll miss Tony on the podcast if he doesn't come back, and as much as he brought to the table, the success of the Seahawks on the field is just a wee bit more important than a podcast, so we'll go with Rawls as the bigger loss.

710 ESPN Seattle's @BradyHenderson asks, "Can I have the sunscreen you left in your old cabinet in the media room? And the 1999 Titans media guide?"

A: Apparently Brady now sits where I did in the media room when I was with the Everett Herald. The sunscreen is all yours Brady, though the media guide wasn't mine to begin with.  

@DaRockOfJustice asks, "Moving forward, will Seattle transition and become a pass-first offense if the situation at running back doesn't not improve?"

A: This is an understandable question considering the Seahawks are without Thomas Rawls for the seasons and Marshawn Lynch for the time being, but Carroll has made it clear that his team will still run the ball.

 "Our commitment is going to stay the same because we have a balance that we really play with and we have a philosophy and an approach that doesn't need to be changed right now," Carroll said. "If we were having issues and troubles, then maybe something would happen. The whole idea of being a balanced attack is that when you need it you can go to it. If we need to throw the football more, we will. If we need to run the football more, we will. So we'll see how that goes, but right now we're going to stay on course and continue to push our approach and see if we can't keep it on a really good track. We know how to predict what's going to happen in a sense, we have a good eye on how this should turn out, and see how it goes."

As you can see in the "if we need to throw the football more, we will" part of that quote, balance doesn't mean being stubborn to the detriment of the team, but the fact that the Seahawks finished last week's game with three more rushes than pass attempts while playing without Rawls for all but one possession shows the commitment to the run will be there regardless of who is carrying the ball.

@AGarrett90 asks, "How much of a head start would you need in a 40-yard dash in order to beat Tyler Lockett?"

A: 30 yards… at least.

@johnpboyle Do you think @TDLockett12 has a chance for rookie of the year. Thank you #GoHawks — Rich (@HawkmanRich) December 15, 2015

@HawkmanRich asks, "Do you think Tyler Lockett has a chance for rookie of the year?"

A: This is the second week in a row that somebody as asked about a different Seahawk as a rookie of the year candidate, with Thomas Rawls being the subject of the question last week. As I said last week of Rawls, Lockett is deserving of consideration—he and Gale Sayers are the only rookies in league history to have five receiving touchdowns, a kick return touchdown and a punt return touchdown—but he's facing some very good competition. At Lockett's own position, Oakland's Amari Cooper has 62 catches for 920 yards compared to Lockett's 41 catches for 540 yards. Lockett has been incredibly efficient with his opportunities, but probably not to the point that voters would ignore that gap in raw numbers, even with Lockett's return contributions factored in. Two quarterbacks, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are also having strong rookie seasons, as is Rams running back Todd Gurley.

But even if Lockett doesn't win, the fact that this question came up about him this week and about Rawls a week earlier shows just how much the Seahawks are getting out of some of their top rookies this season.

Week 14 proved to be another successful business trip for the Seahawks and team photographer Rod Mar shares some of his favorite moments from the weekend, including Coach Carroll's viral photo atop of the team lockers postgame. 

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