RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coaches have consistently pointed to the bye week last season as the turning point for their offense.
That's when they implemented adjustments for Russell Wilson to get rid of the ball quicker, which led to increased efficiency and fewer sacks. From Week 10 on, the offense averaged 31.25 points per game, second in the NFL to only the Carolina Panthers.
"We really emphasized the quickness in getting the ball out, and we called a lot more calls that dictated the rhythm and the timing as opposed to mixing things," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Thursday. "And so we just emphasized it, and [Wilson] was ready and willing, and it really helped the protection progress. We made great strides protection-wise. All the negative numbers went way down."
This is a quality that Carroll truly appreciates in Wilson. Since the pair started working together in 2012, whenever Carroll has asked his quarterback to fix or tweak something, Wilson has answered the call.
"He wants to know what he can work on," Carroll said. "So when you throw something out, or you challenge him with something, he’s gonna jump all over it. That’s a real characteristic of grit. When a guy’s got a mistake, he gets right to it and gets after it until he fixes it. He’s really the epitome of that."
Last season, Wilson set career highs in completion percentage (68.1), yards (4,024) and touchdowns (34). From Week 10 to Week 17, he tossed 25 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
This offseason, he worked out with his receivers in Los Angeles to continue to build chemistry. And he's looked consistently sharp during offseason practices open to the media.
Carroll is noticing improvement in specific areas, like Wilson's ability to move defenders with his eyes and set up defensive backs, along with his accuracy and precision.
"He’s made a clear step ahead," Carroll said. "His command is all-time."
Wilson is still only 27 years old, and he returns his top four receivers from a year ago.
There are question marks for sure on the offensive line, but by all accounts, the idea is to follow the plan that produced so much success in the second half of last season. Specifically, to mix in a steady dose of the quick passing game, especially when the offensive line is struggling or looks outmanned.
From Week 10 on, Wilson was sacked on just 4.9 percent of his dropbacks, the eighth-lowest rate among 32 quarterbacks.
"It’s taken all of this time to get to this point, and he’ll still improve," Carroll said. "But you can really see him as a real, true vet now, I think. Coming off of last year with the great success that he had in the second half of the season, he’s taken it right into the offsesaon, and here we go."