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Pete Carroll says there’s nothing Russell Wilson can’t handle

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Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll clearly recognizes what a special player he has in Russell Wilson. But that doesn’t mean Carroll won’t challenge the quarterback to improve in certain areas. And the reason for that? Carroll knows there isn’t anything Wilson can’t handle.

Carroll announced shortly after the Seahawks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Carolina Panthers that Wilson would be “going to school” in the offseason to tighten up certain aspects of his game, particularly improving on his ability to read defenses.

But Carroll insists challenging Wilson will pay enormous dividends due to his character, intelligence and talent.

“It’s always the right time to keep growing, but I just think he has come the furthest, and he knows the most, and he is most aware, and he has the benefit of the five years of putting things together,” Carroll said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings, via ESPN. “I think his vision will be even more broadened and receptive to what is going on in the game. There’s nothing that Russell can’t handle, so I need to creatively keep coming up with ways, as we all do as coaches, to keep pressing him forward so that he can understand more about the game so that he can function at the highest level he can function at.”

Wilson struggled somewhat over the first nine games of the season as the Seahawks posted a 4-5 record (10 TDs, seven INTs). This led to speculation that Wilson was turning into a “celebrity quarterback” of sorts, highlighted by his high-profile romance with now-fiancĂ©e Ciara.

The quarterback then absolutely erupted, going red-hot over the final seven games while leading the team to a 6-1 mark and a spot in the postseason.

The march to the playoffs was highlighted by a particularly torrid run of football when he posted a QB rating of 145.9 with 16 touchdowns and no interceptions in a four-game stretch, all Seahawks victories.

All told, Wilson finished the season leading the NFL in passer rating (110.1) and threw 34 touchdowns to only eight interceptions.

And that kind of play has shown Carroll that Wilson can perform at that level more consistently, as he has all the tools to do so.

“There is nothing holding him back — work ethic, he has the smarts, the mentality and the physical makeup to do whatever you can do in this game,” he said. “We just need to keep pressing ahead in that regard so he can totally command all aspects of the game.”