In addition to being one of the best defensive players of his era, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner has also been an avid reader throughout most of his decade-long NFL career, and from time to time he'll share recommendations.
Kicking off his Wednesday press conference, Wagner plugged Paulo Coelho's novel, "The Alchemist," a book he read early in his career while battling a foot injury in 2014, and one that he said has had a big impact on him ever since reading it. It also happens to be a book that has a message that is applicable to the current situation the Seahawks find themselves in with a 3-6 record.
"I was really down at that point, but reading that book, it really opened my eyes to focusing on being in the moment," Wagner said. "I have this weird theory that when I get hurt, it means it's almost like God's way of slowing me down, like I'm putting off something I'm supposed to be doing. There were things in my life I felt I was supposed to be doing, supposed to be focused on, that I wasn't. I felt like that was a way to slow me down. It really helped me in that moment, it really helped me in that time. I think that was the first year I ended up being an All-Pro and Pro Bowler, and it really let me know that a lot of times as human beings, we feel like we know the future, and we really don't. All we can do is control what we do in this moment and control our mindset in the moment, and the future always takes care of itself. That's when I really started to model my life after that.
"So I say that to say, I know that this season is not going the way we had hoped it would, but all we can do in this moment is focus on now and focus on the things we can get better at now and make those decisions to be better, play better, and the future will write itself."
With a 3-6 record after Sunday's loss in Green Bay, the Seahawks have put themselves into a position where they need to get on a roll, and do so soon, if they plan on reaching the playoffs for the ninth time in ten seasons since Wagner and Russell Wilson arrived in Seattle in 2012. Righting the ship this week won't be easy, not with the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals coming to town, but with only eight games to play, the Seahawks know they're running out of chances to turn things around if it doesn't start now.
"If we're going to do something, we've got to get it rolling and we've got to get rolling against good teams, and this is what we're getting," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "… There's a sense of urgency that's always here; you're always trying to create that and make sure that's present. But you can't help but feel that we want to get this done, we don't have any time, and there's no leeway here. We've got to go."
The Seahawks believe they can and will turn things around for a number of reasons, not just because they believe in the talent on the roster, but also because, as Wagner describes it, of the belief and level of care he still sees when he goes to work every day.
"I think everybody in the building cares, and a lot of time that's really all you need sometimes is for people to care," Wagner said. "Sometime, and I haven't been in too many losing programs outside of unfortunately Utah State, if you get to a point where you stop caring, that's when the losses start piling up. I don't see that. Everybody is caring, everybody is locked in, everybody understands and has the belief that we can get this turned around. Again, like I said in the beginning, we have to focus on this moment and what we can do right now because we don't know how to tell the future, but we can tell a lot in the moment."
The defense that Wagner captains has played very well in recent weeks, including on Sunday when for three-plus quarters they limited reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to a single field goal, and the play of that defense is a big reason why the Seahawks like their chances going forward. And while the offense did struggle in what was Seattle's first shutout loss in a decade, nobody is expecting Russell Wilson and company to stay down for long.
"What I do know is I'm a fixer of things," Wilson said after Sunday's game. "That's what I do, that's what I believe in. So I have great confidence in that.
"We have a good football team, and we're not going to get discouraged. There's a lot of football left. It doesn't feel great, of course it doesn't—it shouldn't. But the sun will rise tomorrow, and we'll go back to work with a great mentality. That's the only option."
Obviously being optimistic about the team's chances going forward isn't the same as being happy with what has transpired so far, and Wagner acknowledged there is some frustration around the locker room right now after yet another loss that saw the Seahawks fail to close out a close game in the fourth quarter. The belief is there that things will get better, but the Seahawks know timing is running out to make that happen.
"Obviously there's some frustration because you have a lot of guys that want to win, a lot of guys who are hungry to win," Wagner said. "The tradition here is winning. Obviously, it's not going the way we want it to go, but at the end of the day everybody just wants to win and do their part to turn this thing around. I think that's the gist of the locker room. It's, what can we do, right now, to start to chip away at this hole we put ourselves in?
"I think we're understanding that we don't have much more margin for error. We can't keep giving games away, we can't keep shooting ourselves in the foot. A lot of the messaging is getting out of our way. There were some penalties that we had that could have been avoided. Especially when you're playing great teams like Green Bay or Arizona or whoever we have coming up, there's already enough against us; we can't get in our own way."
The Seattle Seahawks and Delta Air Lines attended a recent Merging Vets and Players (MVP) meeting to surprise Matt Mickunas with the Delta Community Captain award. Mickunas, a former Army Infantry Senior NCO, is an active and standout participant in the MVP program and regional president for the Paralyzed Veterans of America's PNW chapter.