Earlier this season, Colts owner Jim Irsay took to Twitter to vow better protection for quarterback Andrew Luck. Seahawks owner Paul Allen won’t need to; his head coach already has acknowledged the problem.
“Both of the last two weeks, Russell has taken what they’re giving him,” Carroll said Monday, via the team’s official website. “There have been a considerable amount of issues in protection that have let guys show up quickly in the pass rush, and he’s had to make a decision what to do with it.”
The issues have arisen in large part from injury. Carroll told reporters that center Max Unger is expected to return to practice this week, after missing the last two games with an injury to his triceps muscle. Carroll was less optimistic about tackle Breno Giacomini. Left tackle Russell Okung remains on injured reserve, with the designation to return.
“He knows,” Carroll said of Wilson using his legs more quickly than usual. “He knows what’s going on. He realizes that that’s happening. But he’s taken full advantage of it and he’s made it difficult on opponents. It’s not exactly the way we like to do it — how to pick them up and throw the football and let him take off at a later part of the rhythm of the play. But he’s been as resourceful as you can be and he’s been very effective.”
The problem for quarterbacks who display their resourcefulness by running is that they can get hit and, in turn, get hurt.
“Russell is going to keep doing it until we settle it down in the pocket,” Carroll said. “I’m a little concerned about that, because he’s so resourceful. He is doing what we have to do right now. And in that regard, he’s done a really good job managing this.”
Carroll is right. Wilson’s mobility allows him to buy time to make a throw or, if necessary, to take off with the ball. His uncanny instinct for self-preservation also means he’ll know when to get out of bounds, when to hit the deck, and how to turn his body the right way to absorb a hit that otherwise could inflict injury.