Thursday is the day of the kinda/sorta-big-game with the Minnesota Vikings. It's preseason, but if I'm Minnesota, I'm looking for a little payback, right? In this press conference, Russell Wilson describes playing with an empty backfield, and why he's so comfortable with it. Being so thin at RB last year, with Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls out, the empty package was used more. But this is SEAHAWKS football, and Russell knows it. So along with getting his own reps with the first team, he's eager to see continued progress at the RB position.
Russell on the Mic
How’s everyone doing?
Good. How you doing?
How is Christine Michael? How is he a different guy now than he was maybe his first season?
Well, he works so hard. He’s always worked hard. But you know I think that when a person like C-Mike, he’s gone from here to a different team, I think two other different teams, and came back here, the first thing I noticed was his maturation. His understanding that NFL stands for “not for long” and he only gets so many opportunities. He has a great opportunity right now to be really really successful. He’s got all the talent in the world. He’s got all the confidence in the world. The best thing is being out there at practice with him. He’s always over there catching extra footballs. He’s always working on extra drills. That’s what makes the difference. He’s got great talent and it’s really showing up. I’m excited about him this year. He’s going to be a big difference maker. Last year, when he played, when he came back, he was making a huge difference for us last year in big moments too. And he was running the football really well too. I’m sure you guys remember some of his highlights and things that he can do, so we’re excited about that. And the offensive line. Last week, they did a great job of blocking for him, letting him get to the edge, letting him be physical down the line, so that’s a good thing.
What do you want to see, building on last game… on offense?
We want to be great on third down, great in the red zone. Stay on the field and score a lot of points, that’s obviously always the goal. Score one more than them. But just execute. Be smooth. I thought we did a great job last week, honestly, of being smooth, especially the 1s, especially. And then we had that one play. I think really just focusing on execution, doing our job the right way. That’s what the preseason is for is making sure that we’re doing the little details right, and the rest will take care of itself.
Tyler Lockett, you talked before about his work ethic. When he first got here, when did that stand out? Was there a moment when you thought this guy’s kind of wired a little differently?
Oh, right away. Right away. As soon as Tyler got here, he’s been a guy that’s done tons of extra work. He’s determined. He doesn’t really talk all the time. But when he does, he makes a point. He’s a really really bright kid. He’s made so many great plays for us. We’re excited about him going into his second year, all the things he was able to do in his first year from the kickoff returns to the punt returns to the receiving skills that he has and all the plays that he made there. Which was maybe a shock to some people, but to us, it wasn’t a shock at all. We believed that he was going to do all the things that he wanted to do. He’s got great speed, great acceleration. He’s got great yards after the catch. So we’re looking forward to that this year, and he continues to work. Like I always say to you guys, when you have great leaders like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse to show him the way, and help with anything that he needs, that’s a huge part of it too.
Russell, going back to your rookie season, what’s it like stepping out onto CenturyLink Field for the first time?
Yeah, I remember my first game here at CenturyLink. I think it was against the Tennessee Titans and it gave me chills. I’ve played in some pretty cool stadiums before. Wisconsin, NC State; I've played Florida State, coming out of college I have played some pretty cool stadiums coming out as a senior years coming into a rookie. I think the biggest thing is just it gives your chills. Its emotional. You are grateful for all the people. You're grateful for all the people that have helped you get there. You're also motivated from all the people who didn't think you could get there. You just want one opportunity. You want one opportunity to show out and have a great game and you just focus on the moment. If you can focus on the moment, we talk about this to all these guys all the time. If we can just focus on the moment we are going to do a great job. I remember my first game like it was yesterday. It still feels like it was yesterday; a pretty special day.
[How does this team compare to past teams?]
Well we have had great teams before. I can honestly say this is the more competitive and talented team across the board. Especially the receiver position. You think of those guys, all the depth that we have, all the ability that we have. All the playmakers. There’s about 9-10 guys that can play great football. I’m not sure how many more. There’s probably another few after that. They’re all competing for this opportunity to be really, really special. And have the opportunity to make this 53-man roster, which isn’t going to be easy. And we’re looking forward to that. We like that.
How behind is (C.J.) Prosise? How much does he have to catch up on?
Well, Prosise has been out there every day, even though he hasn’t been able to play. He’s a really smart kid. A guy that has understood what it takes to… when you translate the studying into field work. He’s done a great job. The past two, three days he’s been out there. He’s done a great job of that. He looks really good out there. He’s fast as can be. He’s got great hands. He’s physical. I’m excited to see him play. I’m not sure if he’s playing this week or not. I’m excited to see him play when he’s ready. He’ll make a difference. We got tough competition at the running back position.
Has he been on the field long enough to know how he makes a difference in this offense? How you might be able to use him?
Well, you never really know how a person’s going to make a difference quite yet. I think that’s too early to tell, especially with a new guy and he hasn’t had the opportunity to be out there that much. But I know what he can do in the sense of all the plays that he can make and all the ability that he has. He’ll be able to catch the ball really well and make plays, coming out of the backfield and all that. In an empty package, he can do a lot of great things. He’s played receiver before so he knows how to run routes. Like I said, he’s a physical guy, knows how to get north and south, and that’s a good thing at running back.
You mentioned the empty package, what do you like about that? How does that give the quarterback an advantage or make things easier for you?
Well, I think we’ve done a great job of that, really for a while now and being in empty and kind of reviewing at the halfway point to last year especially. That’s something that we do really well and we want to be in that. It’s a good thing for us and then obviously when Marshawn (Lynch) and (Thomas) Rawls went down, you know, let’s capitalize on it even more. We got the playmakers out on the flank that can make those plays. We got so many different guys that can do so many different things and we have that option. It makes it tough on the defense to try to figure out what we’re doing. I’ve been in empty since I was a young kid myself. I’ve played in it a lot, N.C. State, even Wisconsin we kind of changed it up there and went a little empty there. I like spreading it out but I also like playing action game. You get to throw the ball deep. That’s always a fun part of the game too.
What are you looking to see from the first team offense tomorrow night?
The biggest thing is just staying on course, our rhythm, our timing, getting the ball out. I’m excited to see the running backs make plays again as they did last week. We’re going against a very very tough football team. So we’re liking this opportunity to play the Minnesota Vikings. We have a lot of respect for them and their players and their coach. So it’s going to be a great game.