It’s time to open up the playbook for Russell Wilson

Oct 10, 2012, 3:10 PM | Updated: 3:27 pm

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The Seahawks are 31st in passing due largely to the conservative approach they’re taking with Russell Wilson. (AP)

By Steve Sandmeyer

After this weekend’s game against Tom Brady and the Patriots, the Seahawks will have played more than a third of their regular-season schedule. By now, you’re keenly aware of the following three realities:

• The Seahawks possess what could be a record-setting defense.
• They have an above average running game.
• Their passing game is woefully behind the pack.

Everyone has a theory as to why the third reality exists. I am no different. So here it goes:

If Russell Wilson is truly the guy we’ve all been told he his – mature beyond his years, prepares like no one else, shows great poise, bounces back from bad plays, is a natural leader – and so on, why not utilize all of the playbook instead of some?

The standard answer: it’s too risky, more turnovers will result, it’s too much to put on Wilson’s plate.

I’ll respond with a question: what if it’s not?

Are you absolutely certain it’s too risky? Are you 100 percent convinced there would be adverse results? What if the kid actually excels? What if the Seahawks score more touchdowns instead of field goals?

Most importantly, how will we ever know if they don’t try?

Coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, try as they might, cannot escape the following three realities:

• For Wilson to truly succeed, he has to be given the chance in the first place – the full playbook.
• This includes giving him the chance to fail as well.
• If Wilson is the guy they all think he is, he can handle it – including some failures along the way.

That’s what taking a risk is about. This is the NFL. The Hawks need to be ahead of the curve – proactive instead of reactive. Don’t wait for the game that the defense can’t win by itself (perish the thought) and then address the passing game afterward.

The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t work in the NFL. Teams’ performances and seasons’ fortunes change on a near weekly basis. Teams become more familiar with opponents each passing week. So why wait with Wilson? Perhaps the more appropriate question is this: how much longer do you want to wait? Week 8? Week 10? Week 12?

The writing is on the wall. The Hawks must address their passing game. Now. Give the kid the keys.

What’s the worst that could happen? Do you really think Wilson doesn’t have the fortitude to respond from a few interceptions or a bad game? Are you that concerned about Wilson’s confidence after hearing time and time again how mature and poised he is?

Furthermore, if a few more interceptions occur, are you telling me you’re not at least somewhat confident this defense can limit the damage? We’ve already seen the defense bail this team out the first five games of the season anyway.

I’m not saying throw caution to the wind. I’m just hoping the Hawks will introduce more risk/reward situations for Wilson because I think he can handle them and I think we’ll see more touchdowns instead of field goals as a result.

Wilson has made decent incremental steps so far. It’s time to stop taking baby steps and start taking big boy steps. I think Wilson wants to. I think he’s ready and I think the Hawks should let him.

Carroll mentioned this week during a conversation with “Brock and Salk” that he doesn’t want to put too much on Wilson’s plate, that he didn’t want him to be “shell-shocked.” This seems so uncharacteristic and counter-intuitive to all the accolades thrown Wilson’s way to begin with.

I, for one, don’t believe Wilson will be “shell-shocked” if they were to put more on his plate.

But we’re not going to find out – and this passing game won’t make significant steps – until they do.

Steve Sandmeyer is a fill-in host on 710 ESPN Seattle. You can also follow him on Twitter @SteveSandmeyer or find him on Facebook at the “Steve Sandmeyer Fan Page”.

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It’s time to open up the playbook for Russell Wilson