RENTON -- Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner is used to opposing quarterbacks being able to understand what defense their opponent is playing against them.
What he's not used to is an opposing quarterback being able to know the actual play call Wagner had just called in the huddle himself.
But that's the type of challenge the Los Angeles Chargers will present this Sunday with Philip Rivers under center.
The 36-year old former first-round pick is playing the best football of his career ahead of Sunday's meeting with the Seahawks. Rivers has thrown 17 touchdowns with just three interceptions through seven games this season. His 117.8 passer rating over that span would rank as the fifth-best mark in league history if extrapolated over a full season.
Which brings us back to the moment in the preseason Wagner spoke about on Wednesday.
"He's really smart," Wagner said of Rivers. "Even in a preseason game he called a time out one time because he was in an offense that wasn't good for the defensive play that we had and he knew the name (of the play).
"He called time out and it was like 'man, dang, they were running strong something' and I was like 'we just changed the name yesterday how'd you do that?' I think it was because Gus (Bradley) knows our defense so he was probably like it's either this or that so maybe he just luckily chose that. I don't know. It was kind of funny. I was like 'how did he know the name?' The quarterbacks know the play. They never know the name of the play."
While Bradley may have had something to do with Rivers know the actual play call Seattle had lined up in the preseason, it doesn't negate the fact that Rivers is one of the most cerebral quarterbacks in the NFL. He's been named to the Pro Bowl seven times in his 15 seasons with the Chargers and is well on his way to an eighth appearance in the league's All-Star game. Rivers had managed to accomplish that feat despite being in the same conference as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for the entirety of his career.
"He's so smart," head coach Pete Carroll said. "You just can't fool the guy. He just sees everything. He's got great sense. That's kind of where it starts. He also has extremely great accuracy. He throws the ball in all kinds of situations whether he's in trouble or not. He's not a guy that's going to run around a lot but he moves really deftly in the pocket. And then he finds ways to make great throws."
Rivers has twice played against Seattle teams led by Carroll in the regular season. He threw for a then record 455 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 27-20 loss to the Seahawks in 2010. He then completed 28 of 37 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns against the Seahawks in San Diego in a scorching hot game in Week Two of the 2014 season.
"He knows what he's looking for," defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. "You can't trick him and he has a fantastic group of receivers and weapons around him so it's going to be a real big challenge for us."
Mychal Kendricks suspension set at eight games:
The Seahawks finally got the answer they had been seeking over the the length of linebacker Mychal Kendricks' indefinite suspension.
The NFL set the suspension length at eight games in a decision first reported by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
"We were hoping for a better shot, more games (available to us)," Carroll said. "We were hoping for more. ... We'll look forward to getting him back when the time comes."
Kendricks was suspended following the team's Week Four game against the Arizona Cardinals for his guilty plea to insider trading charges in September. Kendricks has missed three games already before a final decision was set forth for the length of his suspension. He will be eligible to return to practice after six weeks with the ability to rejoin the roster for Seattle's game against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 10.
"We'll get a chance to re-acclimate him and we'll take care of that when the time comes.," Carroll said.
Jack Patera - Seahawks first head coach - dies at age 85:
The first head coach to ever lead the Seattle Seahawks as an expansion franchise in 1976 has passed away at the age of 85 due to complications from pancreatic cancer.
Jack Patera coached the Seahawks from 1976-82 and was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1978 for leading the team to its first ever winning record.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jack Patera and extend our utmost sympathies and condolences to the entire Patera family," the team said in a statement on Wednesday. "We will remember coach Patera most for his big heart, sense of humor, and genuine spirit."
Patera was 35-59 in his six-plus seasons as Seahawks head coach. He was fired by the team just two games into the 1982 campaign.
"He was a great coach, he was a great dude," Carroll said. "I know the guys who played for him really loved playing for him. They think the world of him. We meet them on the days they come in—the alumni days—and he was really important to all those guys, important to a lot of people, so we’ll miss him."
The Seahawks promoted wide receiver Malik Turner from their practice squad to fill the spot opened by releasing veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Tuesday.
Turner spent training camp with the team and re-signed to the practice squad in recent weeks.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 15: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers passes the ball during the first quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 15, 2014 in Seattle,Wa. (Photo by Otto Gruele/Getty Images)