The whole praise/criticism scale has a broad range of descriptors. Parents take care to pluck words of encouragement when discussing their children, while their offspring—well, their response is likely dictated by their age and if they need to protect their "coolness" factor.
But what about a head coach in the NFL when talking about his prized rookie quarterback? How important are the monikers he uses?
Pete Carroll is famous for being a master spin doctor. He can dance around an issue with the best politicians and leave fans mesmerized and ready for the playoffs.
So what should fans make of a somewhat glum coach in his Week 4 postgame press conference, along with his latest comments on the performance of his offense?
To be fair, Carroll seemed to perk up a bit when talking about Russell Wilson's performance, but I was surprised to hear how he described his play.
Mitch Levy of KJR radio in Seattle also shared the comment that I found a bit disturbing.
"He's running the plays we're calling," Carroll said. "He's running the plays we're calling, and he's doing all right.— mitch levy (@kjrmitch) October 1, 2012
It's hard to consider "all right" a ringing endorsement for the quarterback that made Carroll and his staff downright giddy during the preseason.
The best analogy I can offer is the polite response people give their server when they aren't really happy with the meal. The lukewarm soup? It was "all right."
"All right" rarely means that all is right.
It definitely isn't the benchmark the Seahawks should be setting for the quarterback position.
To be fair, Carroll is right. Wilson hasn't played poorly. He did have three interceptions on the day, but the turnovers weren't exactly all his fault.
His second-quarter pass to Doug Baldwin (at the 30-second mark of the video below) was on target, but the throw lacked the velocity needed to allow Baldwin to secure the ball before contact.
Wilson had his arm hit on another pass attempt on a play where he had the opportunity to step to the side of the pocket to avoid pressure. He had hit the four-second mark after the snap and should have known he had a blitzer at his back.
Granted, with better pass protection this wouldn't have been an issue, but Wilson doesn't seem to be recognizing where pressure is going to be coming from.
The offensive line held up very well on this play. They gave him four seconds to throw, and Wilson also had a lane from which to avoid pressure. This play was one of several that could have been a turning point on the day, and one where a better pre-snap read or quicker decision with the ball could have made a difference.
The final pick of the day falls squarely on the heels of Anthony McCoy. Well, at least on the one heel that lost contact with the turf in the Edward Jones Dome.
There are several small but identifiable things that contributed to the loss in St. Louis. Untimely penalties, failure to keep the Rams from converting on 3rd-and-long and a few dubious play calls all did more damage than did Wilson's play.
Issues with pass blocking also made it hard for Wilson to get comfortable in the pocket.
But winning franchises in the NFL rarely ask what the quarterback did to not lose the game. Even with the "game manager" approach that Carroll and the Seahawks espouse, the quarterback still needs to do something to help the team win.
Wilson isn't meeting that minimal threshold.
Seattle's young quarterback is failing to see open receivers, he doesn't readily recognize defensive fronts or make pre-snap adjustments and he's struggling with the skill NFL linemen have at clogging passing lanes.
These deficiencies are impacting his play and are the type of issues common among rookies. They are also some of the concerns raised by a short quarterback.
UPDATE: October 1, 2012 7:30 p.m. ET
Pete Carroll has discussed the health of Matt Flynn today and announced that he is not currently healthy enough to act as the team's starting quarterback. His lingering elbow issue is limiting his throws in practice.
There is currently no timetable for Flynn's expected availability as anything but a backup option.
---End of Update---
One has to ask if Wilson doesn't need some time to adjust to the NFL and if that would be better done as a backup. Matt Flynn doesn't have experience as a starter but four years spent learning NFL defenses and watching most every move made by Aaron Rodgers has to count for something.
Fans will likely find out in the coming weeks how much stock the Seahawks coaches put in Flynn's experience by how patient they are willing to be with Wilson.
The patience of fans and local media has certainly waned.
Love hearing ppl say "Flynn would do no better in this offense." If that's the case, they haven't done a very good job building the offense.— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) October 1, 2012
Over the Russell Wilson experiment.Put in Flynn, offense can't get much worse.W/O replacement refs Seattle is 1-3 with worst O in NFL— Brent (@brentb1984) October 1, 2012
Even fans from opposing teams have responded, sharing their preference on the quarterback situation.
@brentb1984 Wilson isn't the answer, far too small for the NFL, I'd be worried if Flynn starting against us, Seahawks have solid D— Blairy Appelton(@HoneyBadger49er) October 1, 2012
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and Seattle Seahawks.
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