With the Seahawks splitting with their most explosive players, and amid talk of locker-room strife, you could make that argument that this week was the first time the aggressively boring and uncontroversial Russell Wilson has had to face public adversity. You could, but Pete Carroll would tell you that's a dumb thing to say.
"We've been prepared all year that there would be stuff like this, there would be controversy, there would be story lines that would try to get in between us," Carroll said before yesterday's 13-9 win over Carolina. "We're fine. That isn't the adversity. The adversity is we're 3-3. That's the adversity."
After a win to make them 4-3, the Seahawks lined up one-by-one to tell reporters that the rumors had it all wrong: there's no problem with malcontents, despite the team recently parting with two—soon to be three, if the Marshawn Lynch reports are to be believed—of the team's best skill position players over behavior issues; there's no rift between Wilson and his team, despite one claim that "some of the black players think Wilson isn't black enough"; and even the existence of false rumors wouldn't serve as a distraction.
That sort of thing is easier to say after a victory, especially a tight slog where Seattle's defense played more like its old self and Russell Wilson was able to make things happen without the benefit of the big-name offensive weapons the Seahawks seem to frequently tire of. Wilson marched 80 yards in 3:50 for the winning score, running twice for 20 yards after having picked up just 15 to that point. He was 4-for-4 in the air on the drive, completing passes to guys you've never heard of: Cooper Helfet, Kevin Norwood, Paul Richardson, and Luke Willson.
It was an efficient, unsexy game-winning march, and if it encouraged the Seahawks to circle the wagons, in emboldened Russell Wilson to volunteer a response to the
"not black enough" report:
"I think it was people trying to find ways to knock us down, but we just keep swinging and keep believing in each other. We keep believing in the people that we have in the room and we keep believing in the coaching staff. We keep believing in our fans, we keep believing in each other and there is no doubt that we are together. There is no doubt that we are more together than ever before.
"And so, in terms of me, the 'not black enough' thing I think you are talking about, I don't even know what that means. I don't know. I believe that I am an educated, young male that is not perfect. That tries to do things right, that just tries to lead and tries to help others and tries to wins games for this football team, for this franchise. And that's all I focus on."
That's an exceedingly dull response; we wouldn't expect anything different from Wilson. Nor do the Seahawks expect anything else. Wilson said that his job as quarterback is to be "the calm in the storm," which means letting others—usually the defensive backs—be the loud ones. Of course, it's a hell of a lot easier to let your play do the talking when you've got the likes of Golden Tate, Percy Harvin, and Marshawn Lynch available. If Pete Carroll was right, and the only adversity is substandard performance, it's not going to be easy for Wilson to keep this calm.