Seahawks Mailbag: Russell Wilson’s MVP Chances, Players Weekend Off & More

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The Seahawks are 4-1 after last week’s big win over the Los Angeles Rams, and they’re heading into Week 6 well rested thanks to a weekend off. Up next is a trip to Cleveland to face a Browns team that will be looking to bounce back from a tough Monday night loss to San Francisco, but before we shift our focus to that game, it’s time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if we couldn’t get to yours this time around. And remember, you can ask questions both via Twitter and also online at Seahawks.com/SeahawksMailbag.

@BritishSeahawk asks, “Do we think Russell Wilson has a realistic chance of MVP if he keeps up his current form?”

A: If Wilson keeps this up, then yes, he’s absolutely a legit MVP candidate. Of course the Seahawks will need to keep winning—nine of the past 10 MVP winners were quarterbacks of teams that won their divisions and earned first-round byes—but based off the start Wilson and the Seahawks are off to, it’s hard not to see him being in that conversation as the year progresses.

Seattle’s commitment to balance on offense means Wilson isn’t likely to lead the league in passing yards or completions, but he’s still putting up numbers that clearly make him one of the best quarterbacks in the game, regardless of attempts. Through five games, Wilson leads the NFL in touchdown passes (12), quarterback rating (126.3), is second in completion percentage (73.1), third in yards per attempt (9.0), and has yet to throw an interception. Add to that his contributions to the running game—Wilson has 120 yards and two touchdowns—and it’s hard to argue against his MVP credentials five games into the season.

Mark Westphal from Pasco asks, “How does Coach Carroll motivate his players so well?”

A: Pure, unadulterated fear.

OK, that’s not really it at all. In fact, the answer lies more or less in an opposite approach. For Carroll, a huge key to success has been the culture he has built in Seattle. To make players perform their best on the field, he wants to help them be their best in all walks of life, football-related and otherwise.

“This is about helping people be the best they can be,” Carroll once said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with sports to me. It doesn’t have anything to do with sports. It has to do with parenting, it has to do with mentoring, it has to do with coaching and leading, if you want it to.

“We’re trying to help them be the best they can be. Simply that’s what guides everything that we do. So whatever it takes to get that done is what we’re charged to find. In that, I think a person has a chance to be much closer to their potential if they get true to who they are, rather than something you might want them to be or try to govern them to be.

"It’s simply that. If I’m going to find somebody’s best, I need to get them as close to what their true potential is, and connected to who they are, and call on that to be consistent. It’s really hard to be something that you’re not, but that’s asked of people a lot. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re trying to realize that these guys have really special, unique qualities about themselves and then try to figure out how to fit it together. And sometimes it doesn’t fit. Sometimes it’s not right, and we have to govern and adjust.”

The Seahawks are a very disciplined program under Carroll, and they compete in every walk of life, but what’s also important to Carroll is the relationships he builds with his players, coaches and staff.

As Carroll explained while taking part in the “Compete to Create” podcast with Dr. Michael Gervais, with whom he co-founded Compete to Create, an online live education platform designed to transform individuals and organizations, “What you’ve watched us do is come in and care for people with an undying commitment to figure out a way to make sense that you care so much that once our guys realize it, I kind of think that after a while they’ll give us everything they’ve got because they know that I’ve proved it to them in every way that we can that we’re going to look after them in every single way to help them be what they want to be and be all they possibly can be.

“In that, there’s an environment that surrounds the culture. The environment that we create, I want it to be a frickin’ blast. I want it to be so much fun to come to work. I want every part of it to be challenging, upbeat, alive, thriving, heartbeat-pumping, and so the music is always playing, the competition is always on.”

@jdnlndn asks, “Any moves before the trade deadline?”

A: The NFL trade deadline is later this month, and while we won’t know for a while if the Seahawks will or won’t make any deadline deals, what we do know is that they’ll at least be having conversations about it. As general manager John Schneider always likes to say, the Seahawks will explore every possible option to make the team better, which means if the right player is available for the right price, then yes, a trade is always possible.

Gloria Hunter from Springfield asks, “Why do the sideline hats have 1976 on them?”

A: Those hats represent a nod to Seahawks history, which began with the team’s inaugural season in 1976.

@michaelpherman asks, “I saw Michael Dickson shopping for shoes at the Landing this weekend, what did other guys do with their weekend off?”

A: Players indeed got the weekend off following a Thursday game, and in addition to shoe shopping, players spent time with family—center Justin Britt took his kids to a pumpkin patch—went to high school football games and movies (Tyler Lockett), or in the case of Russell Wilson, flying to New York for a playoff baseball game, then back to Seattle to support the Sounders, a team he bought an ownership share in earlier this year. More important than what players did specifically with their free time is that they got some free time to relax and recover following a Thursday game, something they hope helps them come back refreshed for their Week 6 game in Cleveland.

Georgia Giacobbe from The Dalles, Oregon asks, “Russell Wilson is such a great all-around quarterback—he throws, he runs, he even blocks. Does he happen to kick too? Would we ever see Wilson kicking?"

A: Wilson is a very good all-around athlete, as is evident in his professional baseball background, and he has posted videos of himself kicking a soccer ball with some decent skill. That being said, he and the Seahawks hope he’ll never have to kick in a game, because that would mean things would have gone terribly wrong to be without kicker Jason Myers and punter Michael Dickson, who is the emergency backup kicker.

@Elsaucy asks, “With two players coming off the PUP list, what are the transactions that will follow?” @aiiye also asked about players returning from PUP and Jarran Reed returning from suspension, and on a similar note, @Lougheed_E asks what will happen when Ed Dickson is eligible to return from injured reserve?”

A: Indeed Reed, Demarcus Christmas and Phil Haynes are all eligible to return following this week’s game, but I’ll hold off on speculating about corresponding moves for now. Reed will likely come back right away, necessitating a roster move prior to Seattle’s Week 7 game against Baltimore, but in the case of Christmas and Haynes, a pair of 2019 draft picks, the Seahawks can, and barring injuries, probably will want to bring them along slowly. Players coming off the physically unable to perform list can return to practice without counting towards the 53-man roster, so the Seahawks can take their time with those decisions if injuries don’t force their hand. The same goes for Dickson’s return, which can happen after Seattle’s eighth game.

@HolliWinters asks, “Who will play right guard this week?”

A: We likely won’t get a definitive answer out of Carroll on this until later in the week, if at all, but if D.J. Fluker’s hamstring injury keeps him out of this week’s game, the Seahawks do feel good about what they saw out of second-year lineman Jamarco Jones, who took over for Fluker in last week’s game and played well despite being an offensive tackle who had never before played guard in a game. The other uncertainty at this spot is Ethan Pocic, who has missed the past three games with a mid-back injury, but who returned to practice last week. If he’s game-ready this week, he’ll also factor into that decision if Fluker can’t go.

Mary Alexander from Issaquah asks, “Do the players have a cafeteria at the training facility?”

A: That they do, and Seahawks employees are also fortunate enough to enjoy the delicious food prepared by executive chef Mac McNabb and cooks Pedro Flores, Trevor Lux, Stuart McNabb, Rudy McLean and Nick Berge. It’s one of the many perks of working here. Tuesday’s lunch offerings included a taco bar with beef brisket tacos, and it was on point.

To kick off the 2019 Crucial Catch campaign, representatives from the Seahawks, Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan participated in a ceremonial flag raising at CenturyLink Field on Friday, October 4.

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