By Brady Henderson
At this time last year, Russell Wilson was a third-round pick who splitting repetitions with two veteran quarterbacks during a training-camp competition that few – if any – expected him to win.
This year's training camp, which begins today at team headquarters in Renton, will have a much different feel for Wilson now that he's entrenched as Seattle's starter thanks to a stellar rookie season.
Gone – for the most part – are questions about Wilson's height. So is his status as an underdog. Expectations are elevated in 2013, not only for the Seahawks' star quarterback but for the team in general, which has found itself atop offseason power rankings and been projected to reach the Super Bowl.
Not that Wilson is paying much attention.
"Like I always say, I ignore the noise. I think the biggest thing is not worrying about everything that's going on outside," he told "Brock and Danny" Thursday, minutes before taking the field for the first training-camp practice.
Wilson knows a thing or two about exceeding expectations. Seattle's quarterback competition was supposed to be a two-way affair last season, with free-agent addition Matt Flynn considered the favorite over incumbent Tarvaris Jackson. The equation changed when Wilson wowed the Seahawks during rookie minicamp, so much so that coach Pete Carroll decided he'd already earned the right to enter the mix.
You know the rest of the story: Wilson won the job during the preseason, lead Seattle to an 11-5 regular-season record and the divisional round of the playoffs, made the Pro Bowl as an alternate and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. That rookie resume was even more impressive considering he took a third of the offseason practice reps.
That's no longer an issue.
"I think the biggest thing is the reps, knowing the guys, knowing the offense, knowing my offensive linemen, getting in and out of the huddle," he said when asked what's most different about this offseason compared to last year's. "You want that to be sharp and clean."
Consider that just one more reason why expectations are sky-high in Seattle. Wilson has a year of experience under his belt and the Seahawks had one of the busiest offseasons of any NFL team, adding wide receiver Percy Harvin and pass rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to a team that nearly reached the NFC Championship game a year ago.
"We're really excited about this opportunity that we have in front of us, but we can't go too far," Wilson said. "I think the biggest thing, like I've said and I keep going back to, is can we stay in the moment, can we stay in the right now? And if we can do that, with the talent that we have and the great coaching staff that we have and the fans and the energy that's around this football team right now, we'll give ourselves a shot and we'll see what happens."