Two days did nothing to lessen Pete Carroll's optimism about having his starting quarterback available for this week's game against the New York Jets. As was the case when the Seahawks head coach met the media on Monday, Carroll said again Wednesday that Russell Wilson, who sprained his knee Seattle's Week 3 win over San Francisco, is on track to play at New York this weekend.
"He's doing well," Carroll said. "He's going along just like we've seen the last few weeks. He's upbeat and feeling good, and he has worked really, really hard to do everything he can to be right, and he's going to (practice). We'll know more after today what he feels like."
Asked if he would be surprised if Wilson doesn't play, Carroll said, "I would be surprised. He's pretty determined to get this done."
If Wilson is able to play this week after playing through a fairly significant ankle sprain the past two weeks, it will be another example of the type of perseverance and grit the Seahawks like in their players.
"Where does it come from that drives a person to not accept the fact that they're hurt and not allow the injury to consume their thoughts and their focus?" Carroll said. "There's a common quality and trait about it, and it goes back to the way we describe the kinds of players we want to have in our program. They're passionate about what they're challenged by, they're passionate to deal with whatever's there. They've got this really strong sense of persevering, and they're not going to let something take them out of what they want. They've got a resilience about them. Those are all the elements we talk about when we're defining grit. That's a big part of it."
Carroll noted they saw the same thing in tight end Jimmy Graham as he worked his way back from a last year's season-ending knee injury.
"It's a makeup that we really cherish around here, and I think it's pretty common that they're just not going to accept the fact that they can't go," Carroll said. "Jimmy is a great example of that. As hard as it was and as dark of days as he had, he never gave up on the thought that he knew he could get back and play at a really high level, and it's that will that comes out of that mentality that drives people to do things that surprise you and shock you."
Yet as much as players want to fight through injuries and stay on the field, Carroll said coaches and trainers need to be able to protect players from themselves when toughing it out can actually mean a player putting himself in danger of more serious injury.
"You can have a mentality that pushes you past the point where you're not using all the information, you're not using the best sense," Carroll said. "It's really important for us to understand the individuals, and that's why all of this is so important to get to know these guys so you can figure out what they need and what they don't need and how to keep them from putting themselves in harm's way, because sometimes the will and the drive is so overpowering that they don't see what they need to see.
"When we make these decisions with our players and how we support the information and how we support the process of the comeback and all of that, it's really clear—I'm doing this like these guys are my own kids. What would you tell your own son? How would you look after them so that they're safe for the long haul and they learn how to understand the challenge? There's a process here, but yet you're looking after them because you care so much about them that you're not going to put them in the wrong situation. That's how we're guided… We take it very seriously. Very seriously. This is not, 'the game is so big that nothing else matters,' that's not how this works. We're here for the long haul, and we know that by caring so much for the people here in the program, we'll help them find their best and they'll find ways to do the extraordinary things that people can do sometimes, and we'll cherish that when it occurs."
Carroll said rookie guard Germain Ifedi, who missed the past three games with an ankle injury, went through Wednesday's walk-through practice and will practice Wednesday afternoon, though he'll be somewhat limited.
"He's going to be a little bit limited just in the number of reps, but he's really practicing all day—he'll practice throughout the practice," Carroll said. "We're really excited about that. We're so pumped about everything he had done to get this thing started. I know he's really fired up about it and all, and we're looking forward to adding him in."
Tight end Nick Vannett, who has also been out with an ankle injury "will practice today in a limited fashion and we'll see where he is," Carroll said. "It's a really important day to get information on how he's handling it."
Carroll also said rookie defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson is having his hand evaluated again this week. Jefferson played sparingly in Seattle's first two games with a cast on his hand, then was inactive against San Francisco.
The Seahawks improved to 2-1 on the season with a dominating 37-18 victory over the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers, and team photographer Rod Mar was there to capture exclusive moments from Seattle's Week 3 matchup at CenturyLink Field.