By Brady Henderson
Linebacker K.J. Wright was the first player Pete Carroll mentioned after Seattle's 34-7 rout of New Orleans Monday night, singled out for the role he played in one of team's most complete defensive performances in recent memory.
"A bunch of guys played well," Carroll said, "but he jumped out."
The praise kept coming when the Seahawks' coach joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" a day later and said that just like the rest of Seattle's defense, Wright didn't do anything out of the ordinary.
Linebacker K.J. Wright was a defensive standout in Seattle's 34-7 win over New Orleans. "A bunch of guys played well," coach Pete Carroll said, "but he jumped out." (AP)
Wright made six tackles, including one for loss, and helped contain Jimmy Graham, who was on pace for the most prolific season by a tight end in NFL history. While Graham scored New Orleans' only touchdown, he was targeted nine times and finished with three catches for 42 yards, marking one of his least productive games of the season.
Wright also swatted away what would have been a long touchdown reception, which Carroll said was an example of how his 6-foot-4 frame can be an asset in pass coverage.
"He's not as fast maybe as some of the guys that we have – although he can run really well – but he's so long that it just gives him an advantage," Carroll said. "It's kind of the same advantage that our corners have at times."
Bruce Irvin's move to strong-side linebacker pushed Wright to the weak side. It was a switch Wright embraced in part because he'd be playing off the line of scrimmage, taking on fewer blockers and thereby freed up to make more plays. Through 12 games he's third on the team in tackles with 77, which puts him on pace for the highest total of his three-year career.
Harvin update du jour
Carroll said wide receiver Percy Harvin was "feeling really good" Tuesday morning after missing Monday night's game because of discomfort in his surgically repaired hip.
Harvin missed Seattle's first 10 games before making his Seahawks debut in Week 11 against Minnesota, playing 16 offensive snaps and returning one kickoff in what was his first action in more than a year. Seattle had a bye the following week before hosting New Orleans, and Carroll reiterated that the reason Harvin didn't play was because of how his hip responded after his debut.
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That's been Carroll's refrain to what have been weekly questions about Harvin's ever-precarious status.
"Percy, there's nobody that wants to get out there more, and he'll do everything he can possibly do. He's done that," Carroll said. "He's done a marvelous job of rehabbing to get to this point. It's been frustrating, but he's going to pop out now. He's going to pop out of this thing. He's going to be ready here pretty quick, and we'll welcome him back when he gets in."
Wilson in the MVP discussion
Russell Wilson played one of his best games of the season Monday night, a three-touchdown, 310-yard and zero-turnover performance that added up to a 139.6 rating and also strengthened his MVP candidacy.
He's now thrown for 22 touchdowns to six interceptions, has a 108.5 rating that ranks third in the NFL and is as big a reason as any that the 11-1 Seahawks own the league's best record. Carroll said that while Wilson deserves to be in the discussion for the league's most prestigious annual award, it's not something he's worried about.
"I think what usually happens is the teams that have the most success really kind of attract that kind of attention. There's no question he's playing that kind of football and if we can continue to go then he'll be in the discussion," Carroll said.
"Really, it's fun and that's cool and all of that, but that don't matter. It really doesn't, and I think Russell would tell you the same thing. If it comes, it comes. But right now he's just trying to have fun playing football and keep leading this team."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.