The San Francisco 49ers apparently think they have Russell Wilson figured out. And perhaps the Seahawks' offensive struggles at Carolina added to that potential overconfidence.
"Whenever you play that style of football where you're running around and some guys get open sometimes by (Wilson) running, you'll give (defenders) some opportunities," Whitner said.
Whitner cites the third-quarter third-down play at Carolina on which Wilson retreated 15 yards and chucked the ball to the sideline, where it was caught on a spectacular tiptoe play by Doug Baldwin for a first down.
"It was an excellent play on the sideline, but he (Wilson) still dropped back, ran around and just threw it to the sideline for anybody to get," Whitner said. "Those types of plays, when you see them as a defender, you have to take advantage of them."
Sounds good on the surface. But then you have to consider this: Despite being harassed by Carolina's talented front seven for most of that game, Wilson still managed to complete 25 of 33 passes for a career-high 320 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. That third-down play was one of only two or three questionable throws by Wilson, who generally took few risks despite being hassled all game.
Whitner also probably recalls the December game in which Wilson hit 15 of 21 throws for four touchdowns, with one pass picked off, in Seattle's 42-13 blowout.
Then again, maybe Whitner is thinking back to the first meeting last season in San Francisco, where Wilson's receivers dropped four passes and Wilson -- in just his seventh start -- forced a few throws, including one into triple coverage that was intercepted.
If Whitner thinks that is the Wilson the 49ers will face on Sunday, he figures to get burned more than once.
Meanwhile, the safety's perspective could be playing right into the Seahawks' hands.
Some think Wilson still holds the ball too long at times, but the difference between him and Tarvaris Jackson, his backup, is that Wilson does it with a purpose and generally turns it into something positive.
“I think the biggest thing is to try to extend the play and be smart," Wilson told reporters this week. "And I’m never really trying to run it, to be honest with you. I’m always trying to find someone to throw the ball to, get the ball in our true playmakers' hands, and let them go to work. You know if I can run, and I will get a positive gain and salvage the play in that fashion, then I will.”
Coach Pete Carroll encourages the improvisation.
"Scrambling is inherent to how we play and we look forward to what the results are," Carroll told reporters on Monday. "That’s something that we’re really trying to be good at. We want to be the best team in football dealing with the scrambling opportunities and maximizing those.
"It’s as hard as you can deal with on the other side of the ball," Carroll said. "So we’re going to try to make that a big part of us.”