'Our young guys need to step up to the next level': Wilson optimistic about Seahawks' season

SEATTLE – Seattle Seahawks doubters, this isn’t the story for you.

Russell Wilson has some thoughts about the upcoming season, and none of them involves anything less than a long, successful run in the playoffs.

“It’s a new year, it’s a new opportunity, and we’re excited,” Wilson said. “We’re excited just going through practice.

“This is Year 7, and it feels like it’s gonna be Year 1 for me all over again. I feel super young and ready to roll. It’s an exciting time.”

Some fans have expressed trepidation over the upcoming season after the Seahawks parted ways with the likes of Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Kam Chancellor, and turned over their offensive coaching staff to make way for new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and new offensive line coach Mike Solari.

“Those are big losses,” Wilson acknowledged. “Richard Sherman: Hall of Fame player. Michael Bennett: Such a big-time, impactful player in so many ways. And Cliff Avril, too, in terms of getting to the quarterback and sack fumbles.

“You can’t just replace that. What we have to do is our young guys need to step up to the next level.”

Wilson is coming off what was in some respects a historic season – which likely played a role in the exits of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and offensive line coach Tom Cable. Wilson accounted for more than 80 percent of the Seahawks’ total yards from scrimmage, something only a small handful of NFL quarterbacks have done.

Wilson, of course, wasn’t complaining about the workload – but does think the offense is pointed toward more balance this season. He said we’re likely to see a return to the play-action, thanks in part to a beefed-up rushing game.

“I think we’ve gotta do whatever we have to do,” he said. “I think our running game’s going to be better this year. I’m excited about what Coach Solari has these guys doing up front and what we’re going to be able to do and the attention to detail.

“What our running backs are doing in practice – I mean, it’s phenomenal.”

Part of the problem last season was a disappointing group of running backs. Chris Carson is back to full health, however, and Wilson said he expects big things from first-round draft pick Rashaad Penny.

“You talk about a rookie that’s come in, so professional, he’s gonna be a star,” Wilson said. “I think he’s a guy that can do it all. He’s desperate to learn. You want a guy that’s desperate to learn. You want somebody that wants to make the plays and step up to the plate.

“The exciting part of our team right now is that everybody feels that way – everybody wants to be that way.”