Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson disagree on the impact of a big contract

RENTON, Wash. -- Russell Wilson insists that last week was no different than any other this season.

Coming off a game in which he completed 14 of 32 passes, Wilson fielded questions about his contract, his personal life and what went wrong in a costly loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The coaches pulled no punches, offering honest assessments of the quarterback's play and pointing out publicly that he left opportunities on the field.

"I ignore the noise and just focus on what we can control," Wilson said. "Do it together, prepare the best way possible. ... I’m not getting distracted by anything else."

On Sunday, Wilson responded, completing 82.4 percent of his passes, the best mark of his career and the highest number of any quarterback in Week 11. Granted, the performance came against a struggling San Francisco 49ers team, but Wilson looked comfortable, spread the ball around and made plays with his legs.

Wilson entered the game ranked 30th in passer rating against the blitz, but he picked the 49ers apart. According to ESPN Stats & Information, when San Francisco sent extra pressure, he went 11-for-11 for 136 yards and three touchdowns.

The Seahawks are 5-5 and in the mix for a wild-card spot. But it's possible they'll have to go forward without running back Marshawn Lynch, who is expected to find out Tuesday whether he's going to need sports hernia surgery. One way or another, the spotlight will continue to shine on Wilson.

"He understands the position that he’s in," coach Pete Carroll said. "He knows that people are going to scrutinize him heavily, and he expects that. With that, he takes it in stride. He knows that it’s about his own focus, and he’s got to not be sidetracked. NFL quarterback, these guys are in the fish bowl."

Carroll spends a fair amount of time considering the psychological aspects associated with athletes and teams performing at a high level. He spoke Monday about the specific challenges and locker room dynamics that come along with getting paid a lot of money. Wilson, of course, inked an $87.6 million extension in the summer.

"I think when guys sign their contracts, and it’s their time, it’s recognized by the players around them as well," Carroll said. "That they just got paid. And how they handle that and how they deal with it. The players are going to watch them, and they see them. Not that they’re trying to find out something wrong, but the dynamics shift.

"So there’s a responsibility on both ends of that. For the player who just got paid to understand, OK, you’ve done something that a lot of other guys wish they could do too. And then for the players that haven’t had their opportunity to respect the guy and his good opportunity and good fortune that came his way. So there’s a lot to that. And you don’t always know how that’s going to work out."

The initial question posed to Carroll was about what Wilson has had to deal with since signing his contract, but Carroll used cornerback Richard Sherman as an example of someone who approached his new financial status the right way. He said after Sherman got paid, he came back with even better work habits and had an outstanding year. He proved to his teammates if he was going to change because of the bigger paycheck, it was going to be for the better.

Asked if dealing with the contract has been a challenge for Wilson, Carroll said, "It’s a challenge for everybody. They’ve never done it before. It’s a first-time thing. So yeah. And I think the more grounded the guys are and all that and the good support system they have around them, the people they have around them, obviously the better they should perform in that situation and to come through. And we try to recognize it instead of being surprised.

"It’s managing that process and that transition as they go through. Because it’s not the same. It isn’t the same once you get paid. Things do change."

Wilson, however, is different than his coach. While he obviously knows that a big contract can change the dynamics in the locker room, the quarterback is reluctant to admit as much publicly.

"I don’t think it’s changed at all," Wilson said.

Asked if Carroll shared his differing view, Wilson said, "Not really. We kind of talked about it a little bit, but we didn’t really focus on it. I think the biggest thing, when it comes to that, you get excited for everybody.

"You’ve worked so hard your whole life, sometimes we forget that. You work your whole life to get an opportunity, to seize that opportunity, to make it in the National Football League or whatever profession it may be. That’s just the way we all look at it."

Through the ups and downs, Wilson says he pays no attention to the critics. When the TVs are on at the team's practice facility, he walks right past them. And he tells those close to him not to provide him with updates on what's being said.

"This sport is so much fun to play, but also you can get so engulfed in it that you can get distracted," Wilson said. "You can get distracted by the outside things, what people may have to say, what they think is right or whatever."

Wilson's season likely will be defined by how he and the Seahawks perform in the final six games.

"All the opportunities I’ve had to be on the field and to get high praise and also be criticized, it’s not necessarily a bad thing," Wilson said. "It’s part of the process. It’s part of the enjoyment of going through the peaks and valleys of a season, or a journey, or your career, whatever it may be. That’s what makes you tougher."