- Terry Blount, ESPN Staff Writer
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It was a homemade, Seahawks-themed billfold, given to Wilson by an 11-year-old girl named Allison, who is having heart-transplant surgery. She gave it to Wilson during his weekly visit to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“It’s one of a kind,” Wilson said, holding up the wallet. “The coolest part about it is it’s all made out of duct tape.”
Which led the first question of the day: “Russell, are you worried your offensive line will be held together by duct tape on Sunday against the Houston Texans and standout defensive lineman J.J. Watt?"
“I think we’ll do a great job,” Wilson said. “They’re obviously a very talented defense, and it all starts with J.J. and his ability to get to the quarterback and makes plays. We’re going to have to play our best football and step up to the challenge on the road.”
The Seahawks may start the game with backups at both tackle spots. Paul McQuistan will start at left tackle for Russell Okung (on injured reserve with a torn ligament in his big toe), and rookie Michael Bowie is preparing to start at right tackle for Breno Giacomini, who has a knee injury and has not practiced this week.
“I’m ready to go,” Bowie said Thursday. “I live for moments like this. I’m anxious. It’s a big test for me and it will allow me to see where I’m at. If I play pretty good, it will help my confidence and I’ll know I can only get better from there. I’m starting to learn the offense more and it’s allowing me to move faster.”
Bowie is a seventh-round draft choice who has played in one half of one game, last week against Jacksonville. So trying to go head-to-head with Watt, the 2012 NFL defensive player of the year, is a lot to ask.
Starting center Max Unger was limited at practice Thursday with a arm injury, but he is expected to play Sunday.
No one has to tell Wilson about Watt's talent. Watt left the University of Wisconsin the season before Wilson arrived.
“People love J.J. at Wisconsin,” Wilson said. “I remember at the Pro Bowl last year, J.J. and I were talking at dinner. He said, ‘Man, if I had stayed for my senior year we probably would have won the national championship.’”
But only one of them can come out a winner Sunday in Houston.
“It’s hard to stop a guy like that,” Wilson said. “The thing is, can we slow him down and make the plays when we need to? It’s about staying calm when the game is on the line.”
The Texans are an aggressive, all-out defense, which is the way defensive coordinator Wade Phillips likes it. The Texans blitz 80 percent of the time.
“I love playing for Wade,’’ Watt said Wednesday. “Wade is a great coach. Obviously, he’s been around the game for an extremely long time. He knows what he’s talking about. He trusts his players and he gives us opportunities to have success. He lets us go out there, fly around and have fun, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Wilson hopes the Seahawks can keep Watt and the Texans' defense from having too much fun.
“The biggest thing is getting the ball out quick,” Wilson said. “It’s being smart with the football and protecting, making sure the communication calls are right. It’s not always going to be perfect, but you have to take advantage of the times when you can step up and make a play.
“I’m always trying to get it to our true playmakers. When there’s a chance to make game-altering plays, we have to capitalize on those moments.”
Wilson has completed passes to 10 players in the first three games. Six of those players have averaged more than 15 yards per catch. He said Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell helps him find mismatches.
“And I’m not the type of guy to just throw it to one guy all the time,” Wilson said. “I believe you have to spread the ball around and get the ball to the right guy [at] the right time. We have so many talented receivers.”
But some of those receivers may need to help block this week more than usual.
“We have three tight ends that can really block,” Wilson said. “And [running back] Marshawn Lynch has the ability to move his feet and be so physical. Obviously, he can run the football, but you can’t underestimate his ability to block as well.”
Wilson is doing everything he can to learn where they can get an advantage on the Texans' defense, despite having some concerns on the offensive line.
Wilson was asked if he planned to watch NFC West battle Thursday night between San Francisco and St. Louis.
“I probably won’t watch it at all,” Wilson said. “I’ll be watching Houston [on video tape] and their blitzes and trying to figure out what they’re doing.”
Injury update: Defensive tackle Red Bryant (back spasms) was a full participant in practice Thursday, as was wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (sprained ankle). Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill was a limited participant. Fullback Spencer Ware (ankle) and safety Jeron Johnson (hamstring) did not practice, along with Giacomini.