Thursday, April 25, 2024

THE CHEAP SEATS with STEVE CAMERON: C’mon, Pete, #LetRussCook a little earlier

| August 19, 2020 1:15 AM

Well, Pete?

Gonna air it out?

In case you haven’t been following this campaign all summer, Seahawks fans are begging coach Pete Carroll to, well…

As the popular, oft-retweeted Twitter hashtag says: #LetRussCook.

Supporters are pleased, of course, that quarterback Russell Wilson has been able to conjure up routine fourth-quarter magic — putting opponents on their heels and often creating victories out of nothing.

But the fans (and maybe Wilson, too) have been sending messages to Carroll with a pretty simple idea…

Why not let Russ torch teams in the other three quarters, instead of relentlessly running the ball and assuming Wilson can close the deal in the final few minutes?

Even Wilson himself, always the diplomat, nevertheless has referenced an amazing statistic.

Since he’s been the Seahawks quarterback, they are 57-0 when leading by four points or more at halftime.

So, if we follow the hashtag logic, why not let Russ cook through the first three quarters?

Maybe all these cliffhangers could be settled much earlier.


Just open up the game, hurry the pace, and get the ball into Wilson’s hands as often as possible.

Maybe it WOULD be explosive, and allow Seattle to take command of games by halftime.

You don’t see Kansas City pounding away with runs and ineffective short throws, and then cutting loose Patrick Mahomes in the fourth quarter.

No, they’re going for your jugular from the first series of the game.

The Seattle fans’ logic is pretty simple…

If you have one of the most elite QBs in pro football, why not let him do his thing from start to finish?

To use a basketball analogy, if you have a superstar scorer, you let him shoot.

So why, in Seattle’s case, does Wilson remain relatively under wraps until late in the game?

First of all, Carroll may look and act young for his age (68), but don’t let that fool you.

He’s an old-school coach who is running the ball for a purpose. Pete wants to physically batter the opposition, so that they’ll lose their edge as a game wears on.

It’s demoralizing to discover that a team can slam Chris Carson straight at you, and consistently gain five or six yards.

All that pounding also allows Wilson to pick his spots with play-action passes — generally giving him plenty of time to throw and find an open receiver.

On third-and-13, though, it ain’t all that much fun.

In 2018, the Seahawks led the NFL in rushing, and yet Wilson was sacked 50 times.

Reason: Russ was trying to convert second- or third-and-long, and had to hold the ball for ages.

THERE’S another reason why savvy and accurate quarterbacks like Wilson can get teams flying up and down the field in the fourth quarter.

Defenses are tired.

Pass-rushers, in particular, get gassed — and now that elite QB is free to slice and dice.

The 49ers made it an organizational goal to have two complete defensive lines, so that they’d still be fresh at the end of games.

Yet in the Super Bowl, both San Francisco lines were totally exhausted from chasing Mahomes around (pretty successfully) for three quarters.

After that, they were doomed.

Those 290-pounders not only have to hack and club their way along while pass-rushing, they have to hustle downfield after a 25-yard completion.’

It’s just a fact of football.

As Vince Lombardi put it: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”


With all due respect to Mahomes, nobody can carve up a tired defense like Wilson.

Having said all that, however, I agree that Russ should be given a few chances earlier in games — suddenly showing a hurry-up offense that basically pits Wilson against a defense that’s hustling to adjust.

To quote another legendary coach, Paul Brown, when he was asked why gave his Hall of Fame runner Jim Brown so many carries…

“If you have a big gun…shoot it.”

Russell Wilson is the Seahawks’ biggest gun.

So, yeah, Pete should pull the trigger a little more often.


Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns appear in The Press on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “Moments, Memories and Madness,” his reminiscences from several decades as a sports journalist, runs each Sunday.

Steve also writes Zags Tracker, a commentary on Gonzaga basketball, once per month during the offseason.