SEATTLE - There
shouldn't be any surprises for coach Mike McCarthy or his Green Bay
players when Seattle's Russell Wilson steps under center Monday
The Packers saw
plenty of Wilson a year ago when he was just a couple of hours down
the road in Madison, leading Wisconsin to the Big Ten championship
game and the Rose Bowl.
manager Ted Thompson got quite familiar with the prospect.
"Ted makes his
annual pilgrimage down to Madison each year — he actually just did
it a couple of weeks ago — and when he came back last year he was
very impressed with Russell at practice, and it was no surprise the
type of year he had for the Badgers," McCarthy said. "For
him to be starting right away I think speaks volumes."
Many of those fans
Wilson made in his one-year stint at Wisconsin won't be pulling for
him when the Seahawks host the Packers.
After facing the
Packers in the prime-time showcase, the Seahawks will play just once
at home over the next five weeks — and that one won't be any
easier with reigning AFC champion New England the foe. Seattle has
road trips to St. Louis, Carolina, San Francisco and Detroit before
finally getting a couple of weeks at home in early November.
It's not as though
Green Bay is trudging down an easy path. The Packers get their first
road game in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL, return
home to host New Orleans, then play three straight on the road.
If there's one
thing the Packers have proved under McCarthy it's their ability to
win away from Lambeau Field. Green Bay has won its last six road
openers and is 8-2 in September road games since McCarthy became
But none of those
has come in what quarterback Aaron Rodgers considers one of the two
loudest outdoor venues in the NFL.
not the right word, but you have to be aware of it," said the
2011 league MVP. "It's a factor. Those fans are intelligent.
They know when to cheer. They're so stinking loud out there."
The Packers come to
Seattle trying to solve an offense that has yet to show any of the
firepower from a season ago. Green Bay managed just 46 yards rushing
in its opening loss to San Francisco, and Rodgers passed for just
215 yards in a 23-10 win over Chicago in which the Packers' defense
Rodgers started the
season with consecutive passer ratings under 100. Dating back to the
end of last season, he's failed to top 100 in four of his last five
regular-season games. But McCarthy believes it's far too early to
start worrying about a stumbling offense.
Missing so far for
Green Bay are big plays. Through two weeks the Packers have just
eight plays of more than 20 yards — an average of four per game.
Last season the Packers averaged nearly five plays per game of more
than 20 yards.
"I'm not real
big on making huge decisions after a two-game evaluation. I think
after four or five games is when you really identify yourself as a
football team, particularly as a unit. ... So we're not far off on
offense," McCarthy said. "I don't want to say this — I
hate when people say: 'If we make this play or that play, you
wouldn't have to ask me the question.' But we'll play better on
offense. I'm confident with that."
When the schedule
was released in April, the Packers were probably thinking they would
see a familiar face at quarterback after former Green Bay backup
Matt Flynn signed a three-year deal to presumably be the franchise
QB in Seattle. But that was before the Seahawks drafted Wilson, who
has won over teammates at his college stops with North Carolina
State and Wisconsin, and now with the Seahawks.
Flynn was left with
the job of impersonating Rodgers this week, rather preparing to be
his starting opponent.
"It's not my
decision to make," Flynn said. "I'm proud of the way I
played and how I picked everything up and how I handled coming into
a new situation. I can't control anything. I'm just trying to make
the team better."
with protection from the offensive line in Seattle's season-opening
loss at Arizona, Wilson was given enough time last week against
Dallas to be the game manager the Seahawks want. Wilson threw just
eight times in the second half, including a 22-yard touchdown strike
to Anthony McCoy, but he wasn't asked to try and win the game.
Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and a touchdown, and Seattle's run
game did its part to control possession, rushing for 182 yards.
Seattle's defense held the Cowboys to less than 100 yards in the
second half, 51 of those coming on the Cowboys' final drive. But the
Seahawks know there are just as many, if not more, offensive
challenges the Packers will present.
really smart in that they run the ball when the numbers fit and they
throw when they fit properly, and that's all on the shoulders of the
quarterback, and he can do it," Seattle coach Pete Carroll
said. "They really take advantage of a really sharp signal
caller and we're going to have to stand up against some of their