Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was "under siege" in Sunday's game and can expect more of the same this weekend from Dallas.
RENTON — The Seahawks rookie quarterback was left exposed in his first regular-season start.
That had nothing to do with Russell Wilson’s readiness for Sunday’s game and everything to do with his team’s pronounced difficulty in protecting him. Wilson’s ability to scramble was the only thing that kept him from being a sitting duck against Arizona’s pass rush.
“He was under siege,” coach Pete Carroll said in Monday’s postmortem of Seattle’s season-opening loss in Arizona.
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Remember that while scrutinizing Wilson’s performance. His final pass to Braylon Edwards could have been a few inches lower. On the play before that, Wilson made the pass to Charly Martin way more difficult than it should have been. But as those nits are picked, realize that Wilson spent more than three hours evading a near constant downpour of snarling pass rushers.
Wilson was sacked three times in the game, but that doesn’t give an indication as to how much pressure he faced nor how often he was hit.
“He wasn’t as sharp,” Carroll said of Wilson. “But it was because I really feel like he had so much pressure that he was dealing with.
“So he’ll do better. There’s things that he can do better. We need to help him more by playing cleaner up front.”
Arizona threw a heavy diet of blitzes at Wilson. Carroll estimated the Cardinals deployed more than four pass rushers on more than half of the plays. The types of blitzes weren’t a shock, but the volume was higher than Seattle had seen from Arizona.
“There really wasn’t anything that we weren’t able to handle,” Carroll said. “We just didn’t handle it as well as we should have. And we will. We’ll get better. That’s just part of playing together.”
Consider it a template for what Wilson can expect in the near future. The Dallas Cowboys come to Seattle on Sunday, and they have one of the league’s premier pass rushers in DeMarcus Ware. Not only that, but Rob Ryan is one of the league’s most aggressive defensive coordinators, so the Seahawks better batten down the hatches, ASAP.
Seattle expects to have guard John Moffitt back this week. He was inactive for Sunday’s game because Carroll said his second-year player needed a little more time before he was ready to return after undergoing elbow surgery last month.
Carroll said he would wait and see where Moffitt might work into the lineup. He started nine games at right guard last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Rookie J.R. Sweezy started at that spot Sunday and found himself in the crosshairs of Arizona’s pass-rush plans.
“He struggled a little bit,” Carroll said of Sweezy. “It was hard on him.”
There was a good reason for that. Sweezy spent a good chunk of Sunday’s game trying to stop Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who proved himself a constant menace.
“Very, very aggressive,” Carroll said. “And he was hard to handle. He was really the big factor in messing things up quite a bit.”
Seattle was supposed to have gotten past these kinds of protection problems after enduring the growing pains last season.
Seattle gave up 29 sacks the first eight games last year, but reduced that to 21 over the second half of the year. The Seahawks returned all but one starter from last season, so Seattle figured to continue its improvement up front. Instead, the floodgates opened in Arizona.
“This one just got a little bit more aggressive,” Carroll said. “It started early, and we weren’t as effective as we needed to be.”
• OT Russell Okung was diagnosed with a bruised knee, which left him unable to finish Sunday’s game. Carroll said it’s expected Okung will be able to play this week.
• Martin suffered a bruised lung on Seattle’s second-to-last play and remained in Arizona after the team returned to Seattle. Martin is expected to return home later this week and will miss at least a couple of weeks as he recovers.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil.