One of the big keys to the Seahawks becoming the first team since the 1997-98 Denver Broncos to win consecutive Super Bowls will be quarterback Russell Wilson's continued development.
Wilson has had a historic two-year start to his career, but he can and will get better. Pete Carroll and his coaches will make sure of it.
“He needs all the attention that everyone else needs, and he’s gonna get it,” Carroll told Peter King of MMQB. “Russell’s just a young guy figuring it out. Of course, he applies himself so well that you think that he’s OK. I think that would be a tragic mistake. He’s just developing. He’s just coming on. He needs work fundamentally. He needs work on the principles of what we’re doing. He needs repetitions with the guys he plays with. All of that will just continue to add to his play.
"So we’re not going to treat him any differently than anybody else," Carroll said. "We’re gonna battle like crazy to make him push his game as far as he can take it."
Wilson probably will be able to take the offense farther than he did in 2013, when the starting tackles (Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini) missed half the season, arguably the team's two best receivers (Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice) were non-factors and Wilson was stuck going against great defenses nearly every week with his shorthanded squad.
The Super Bowl looked like the easiest matchup for Wilson in two months, and it showed as he had his best performance in that stretch (18 of 25 with two touchdown passes and a 123.1 passer rating).
Next season could bring more of the same. Yeah, the Hawks' offense once again faces top-five defenses in Carolina, San Francisco and Arizona, as well as the hard-charging Rams and a Giants defense that ranked eighth in 2013.
But the Hawks also face the defense-challenged AFC West and NFC East – Denver (19th in 2013), Oakland (22), San Diego (23), Kansas City (24), Washington (18), Philadelphia (29) and Dallas (32).
Some of those units surely will improve -- Denver added cornerback Aqib Talib and pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, and Oakland and Washington have tried to remake their poor defenses – but the Hawks seem likely to have an easier time on offense in 2014.
Wilson and company should benefit from last season's struggles. Add a healthy Harvin and some rookies to help make the line better, and the Hawks should take a couple of big steps.
"(Wilson's improvement is) what this offseason is about," Carroll told King. "He’ll be available as much as a guy can be available. He’s already traveling with our guys, throwing with our guys, working out with guys all over the country. He’s ringing the bell now. Wherever he goes, they know he’s coming. He’s gonna get them out and get them on a field somewhere, and throw the ball around, and do something with the fellas.’’
Allen explains why he picked Bears
Jared Allen was interested in the best combination of money and playoff potential he could find in a team in free agency. He reportedly turned down more money in Oakland and definitely declined a better chance to win the Super Bowl in Seattle.
The 31-year-old defensive end signed a four-year deal worth $32 million to leave Minnesota for NFC North rival Chicago, which in his mind offered the best compromise position.
"My process this whole time was that I really wanted to be thorough on what I did," he said on "NFL Total Access" on Monday. "I didn't want to just jump at the highest money. I didn't want to just try to pick who's going to win the Super Bowl."
He further indicated that the Bears had a quarterback, system and staff he believed in. It's hard to imagine he thought Chicago QB Jay Cutler is better than Seattle's Wilson or that Marc Trestman and his staff gave a better impression than Carroll and his crew. The only knock on Seattle, beyond money, probably was how Allen fit into the scheme – the Bears might have promised him a full-time role rather than the rotation role the Hawks likely preferred for him.
MORE HAWK TALK
**Washington signed safety Ryan Clark and appears poised to pick up DeSean Jackson, the mercurial wide receiver whose poor attitude led to his sudden release by the Eagles. Clark, 34, visited Seattle last week as the Hawks look for veteran help at safety. The Hawks were mentioned as a possible suitor for Jackson, but fortunately they did not pursue the immature chucklehead.
**Another troublesome receiver, Kenny Britt, reportedly signed with St. Louis. The Hawks reportedly checked into him, but they check into just about everyone, and they have no need for players whose legal and medical reports are longer than their vertical jump.
**Seahawks CB Tharold Simon talked about his "time to step up" now that Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond are gone. Foot surgery kept him out of action in 2013 and he's still not fully recovered.
**New linebacker Mike Taylor, a former teammate of Wilson at Wisconsin, will try to catch on with the Seahawks. He talks about his recovery from a major injury that prevented him from playing as a rookie in 2013.