RENTON — Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson woke up Tuesday and almost immediately went swimming.
“I probably got about 25 (laps),” Wilson said. “A good 25.”
Wilson first started dabbling in swimming in his second year in the NFL in 2013 — the same year the Seahawks won the Super Bowl — thinking it might prove helpful in recovering from the bumps and bruises of game day. That’s something that’s even more critical this week with the Seahawks playing their one Thursday-night game of the season.
Wilson added a more regular swimming routine to his schedule over the next few years following the 2013 season as he continued to further refine his game-week regimen, one he said he’s always willing to tinker with to get the best possible results (he also revealed Tuesday he uses a hyperbaric chamber for two hours at a time a couple of days a week).
But it’s hard to argue with anything Wilson is doing right now, four games into his eighth season in the NFL, off to what coach Pete Carroll on Monday said is “his best start ever.”
Wilson has a 118.7 passer rating and a 72.9 completion percentage, which would each be the best of his career for a full season. The stat Carroll might like the most is a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 8-0, particularly the zero.
Of 34 quarterbacks with enough attempts to qualify to be among the league leaders, Wilson is one of just four who has yet to throw an interception. Of those four he has the second-most attempts — 97 — behind only Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’ 106.
Asked about Carroll’s comment during his weekly meeting with the media Tuesday, Wilson began the way he always does when asked such questions: by saying he can always be better. But Wilson ultimately couldn’t deny what the stats and eye tests have shown to Carroll and everyone else.
“I feel locked in, for sure,” Wilson said. “If you’re asking how I feel, I definitely feel locked in and ready to roll.”
And if you’re looking for a reason, Wilson pointed to a continued refining of that game-week routine.
That might not be the most headline-grabbing answer to that question. But for a player such as Wilson, who from his rookie season has lived by a motto that “the separation is in the preparation,” it’s one that’s also impossible to argue.
“As you go through your career you learn how to prepare that much more,” he said.
behind moments, too, prepares you throughout your career. ... It allows you to continue to get better.”
Experience ultimately being the best teacher, in other words.
Certainly, Carroll sees it that way. Carroll on Monday said Wilson is “in command of everything,” such as his ability to set pass protections at the line of scrimmage and change plays when necessary.
To Carroll, that has always been the key in Wilson’s improvement — his continuing evolution in learning the game of football, understanding with each year that much more keenly what defenses are trying to do and how to attack them.
Wilson said a key to that is that how he studies film — the biggest part of his game-week routine other than what he does to keep himself physically right — has continued to evolve. Wilson credited Dana Bible, his offensive coordinator at North Carolina State, with first teaching him how to watch film to get the most out of it.
“(But) as you progress and grow wiser and more efficient with your time, you figure out how to find things, what you are looking for,” Wilson said.
Specifically, Wilson said he carries with him to every film session a list of what he wants to get out of it. As in, how does the opposing defense line up when it blitzes out of its base alignment? How does it line up in the red zone or on third downs?
“I never leave the room until I feel like I have checked everything off the box and made sure I have looked at everything,” Wilson said.
Wilson is in his second year working with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, which has also undoubtedly factored in to this year’s hot start.
There was a “feeling-out” process last year in Schottenheimer’s first season — Wilson threw three interceptions as Seattle started 0-2 in 2018. But Wilson has thrown just four interceptions in 18 games since then as they have continued to get to know each other better.
Schottenheimer said Tuesday that Wilson now often understands what Schottenheimer is going to tell him during games after just a word or two. A year ago, Wilson might have needed to hear the entire play. That, Schottenheimer said, has allowed the Seahawks offense to play more consistently at its desired tempo.
“If you look at it closely, our ability to get in and out of the huddle this year is better than it was last year,” Schottenheimer said. “A big part of that is him hearing me and knowing what I’m saying, and half the time he waves me off like ‘I’ve got it. I know the play.’ He hears a couple of the words and he’s able to process it.”
But if Wilson knows more than ever, he says another key is realizing he can never know everything.
“My whole goal my whole career from day one (has been to) treat every day like it’s day one,” he said. “Treat every day like it’s my first day, treat every day as if it’s the first time I’ve ever done it. First time I’ve ever seen a play, first time I’ve ever seen the film. And then use the experiences because those are real. Use the experiences to continue to grow.”