Dear Russell

Dear Russell,

This is a long and tiresome letter so bare with me or not. I know you are very busy young man and i won't be offended if you ignore it. In your place i probably would...

With the middle of your 2nd season as our QB coming tonight it's amazing to see such a huge transformation over the scope of 25 games.

You started a little over a year ago as a rookie protected by his team and coaching stuff. All you were asked to do was manage a basic game plan and avoid costly mistakes.

Within less then 10 games you became the leader of the team with the whole playbook open for you to win games.

By now, in the middle of your 2nd season, you are charged with taking the risks, reaping the rewards and making up for whatever deficiencies the team has on the field. Quit a lot for a young man to carry on his shoulders and you do it wonderfully.

Your constant statements regarding living in the now, every week is championship week and the only record that matters is 1-0 every week speaks volumes about your mental fortitude and your competitive attitude.

We are indeed very lucky to have you lead us.

However, as a coach in another sport, it is time for you to keep growing beyond your years as you did so far.

Yes, playing every game like it's a championship game is a great attitude to have and it will bring you and your team as ready as possible to take the field on game day.

Obviously, when every game is a championship game – every drive is a championship drive and every snap is a championship snap. That’s the true way for a warrior to play.

You have proven yourself to be the ultimate warrior for us and we all thank you for being who you are.

Being prepared, focused on the here and now, striving to do the best and be the best, avoiding distractions and always moving on to the next snap is admirable indeed.

However, there is always a "however" somewhere. You are not just our champion warrior. You are our leader. You are our commander on the field. You are a decision maker and decision makers need to have a broader view. A great decision maker knows how to factor the "big picture" into his focus.

Lately you have been forced into a very difficult spot being the risk taker. With the Offensive line providing very little protection you are forced to look to make plays in any way you can. With the opposing defense rushing all over you, you need to find a way to make plays knowing they are coming for you and risking those dreaded turnovers.

Being the consummate focused competitor that you are you seem to be making those decisions on a play by play basis. Being a leader requires seeing more then the right now.

I know you are frustrated with those plays. You want then cleaned out. You want to be perfect in everything you do so here are a few observations from an old dog in sports.

Play beyond the current drive/snap. Not every snap is a championship snap and not every drive is a championship drive. Play the snap within the drive within a game played by a whole team. Understand the momentum of the game and play to enhance it in your favor.


The Texans game – Your team is dominated by their defense. They own the momentum. They are in the lead and they have stopped your offense for most of the game. The defense seems to be making a stand but without scoring the game will be lost. This is the time to make a difference. The offense must change the momentum of the game. It's the time to take risks, to play outside the box, run and scramble and do whatever you can to change the momentum. You did just that, well done.

The Arizona game – Your team is dominating the game. You lead it by 14 points away from home. Your defense look awesome and they are overpowering the Cardinals. Palmer is being sacked repeatedly and their offense is showing signs of fear and desperation. You have the ball and you are ready to go for the kill. Another score will break them totally. This is warrior talk not leader talk. When you lead by 14 and your defense is killing them you do not give them a chance to change to momentum back. An offense will never keep scoring on every drive but a defense can keep opponents out of the end zone for whole games. This is a time to be careful and calculated. Avoid risks and play safe. Accept the sack if you must, let the drive die but do not give them a chance for a turnover. Those 2 fumbles could cost you a game.

Know who your team is, where you come from and were you are heading. It's a bit of the opposite of "be focused in the now". You are the QB of the mighty Seahawks this year. You lead a 6-1 team on a quest for the SB rings. You are backed by one of the best defenses in football and you currently play behind a banged up offensive line doing their best to survive. Why should it matter? you may ask. It matters because you are not the only one preparing for each game. The other team prepares for this game as well. They prepare to play you, your offense and your defense. They prepare to face the mighty 6-1 Seahawks. Their offense is ready for a hard game against a very tough and physical defense. They know it won't be easy and with all their motivation and preparation once your defense performs as advertised they will succumb to their roll as the banged up party just like they saw other teams succumb to it on tape all week. Their defense on the other hand is preparing for you. They watch the games tapes and they know that this is on them. They know that the only way for their team to win it is if they can take advantage of what they see on tape and balance the damage our defense imposes on their offense. Their game plan will be clear – Stop the run, cover deep on play action and go for the fumbles against our Oline. They will practice it all week and they will come to impose their will on the field. Seeing other teams do it will make them believe it can be done and will add to their determination to fight their way to get to you. Once their efforts are rewarded there will be no stopping them. In their minds the next turnover could be just around the corner. This is where your big picture view comes into play. Understand what it is that the other team feels they can be successful in doing and make sure they are frustrated in failing to do it. Just think what it is you'd be trying to do in their place and make sure they don't get it. Right now it's open season on the Seahawks Oline in pass protection. Every team will prepare to get to you and strip the ball. They saw it happening on tape, they know it can be done, they smell the blood in the water. They are coming for you and they will get to you one way or another. Being pressured and sacked is a bitch. Being fearless facing it is brave. Being reckless facing it is dumb. I know it's all on your shoulders. It's on you to overcome it and keep the chains moving somehow. Just remember, you are the QB of the mighty 6-1 Seahawks. We win football games. We have a defense that can win games 12-7 if needed. Just imagine in your mind the coaches of opposing teams watching the tapes and saying – we can pressure him all day long but this guy is elusive and he won't fumble the ball so go for a safe sack rather then aim for the ball. What you did or did not do yesterday effects what you face today and what you do today effects what you'll face tomorrow. The big picture.

The next championship game is tonight. The game plan has been published by everyone already. With Clemens at QB the RAMS offense is seriously hampered and will try to be very conservative. Teams have been successful running against the RAMS so we'll gladly pound it on the ground and…Long and Quinn are watching sack fumble tapes all week. Their game plan will be minimum risk on offense and hoping they can benefit from their defensive line doing what others did.

Your "big picture" game plan should include – As long as we are not behind on the scoreboard – protect the ball at all costs. We will win this game either way but protecting the ball will help us win the next games easier. Remind Lynch too – Today we protect the pig skin. You don't win wars by dieing for your country – you win wars by letting the other guy die for his country.

I thank you for your attention to the mindless rumbling of an old dog and if you found anything of value in it we are all the better for it. If not, go and makes us proud anyway.


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