Leaving Soldier Field on Monday, the Seattle Seahawks had fallen to a much dreaded 0-2 record while losing their Pro Bowl Center Justin Britt to injury. Before the buses rolled out of the stadium, Pete Carroll spoke to the media about the game and followed that up on Tuesday by talking to Brock Huard and Mike Salk. While many of us will be inclined to dismiss what Pete says as the usual coach-speak there were a few nuggets of pretty useful information and they were not encouraging.
On the Seahawks’ defense, in both interviews, Pete mentioned that the Chicago Bears had a pretty good game, especially early on and played to their preferred style with plenty of ball control and running back play. He was also generally happy with the play of his LBs and even 1st time starter Akeem King at RCB. While he was disappointed with the penalties on Chicago’s opening drive that undid all the work they’d done on special teams to pin them inside the 5 yard line, felt as an overall unit they came together well.
Interestingly, when asked on Tuesday about Mychal Kendricks’ situation, Pete admitted that the potential suspension is a bit of a ways away, hinting that there will be enough time for the starters KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner to both come back from their injury layoffs. Given his performance alongside Austin Calitro, whom Pete admitted was relaying the the playcalls on Monday, there’s a good chance the starting tandem will be allowed to get to 100% before rushing them back on the field.
On Shaquill Griffin, Pete was (understandably) effusive in his praise and mentioned some time they spent discussing how former Seahawk and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman made his name. “It’s all about staying on top of things,” Pete said, emphasizing that taking away the deep ball and making plays on the ball in those cases is what made Sherman special.
The Seahawks offense is where things get depressing.
Pete’s first comment was that the first-half of the game was pretty similar to the Denver game in that they had no control over the opposing pass rush and struggled up front.
Staying on theme, he mentioned with Brock and Salk that Russell is trying too hard and pressing for plays that don’t exist and unwilling to simply give up on a play when it’s bad, especially on 3rd and long. Of course, a big part of the problem is getting into these situations in the first place.
Pete emphasized that Russ doesn’t have the comfort or familiarity with his receivers to take chances, especially on some of the deeper balls. He also mentioned that the Bears did very well covering those plays up, leaving Russ to choose between holding the ball until someone comes open late, throwing the ball to the defense of putting it out of bounds. Worsening an already bad situation, Pete indicated on Monday night that Chris Carson wasn’t seeing the ball in the 2nd half because he was “gassed” from playing special teams snaps in part because they were so light at safety and linebacker.
By Tuesday he was already walking that back, saying that he misread Chris’ fatigue on the sidelines and had already wanted to see some of the other guys get snaps so made the call to go with the other guys. This, less than a week after saying that Carson had taken the lead in the RB competition is more than a little frustrating given the lack of production from the other running backs, particularly a certain 1st-round pick.
There were other red flags though, like calling a timeout after Russ had tried to audible out of a playcall and pressing Brian Schottenheimer to take more deep shots in the 2nd quarter and parts of the 3rd at the expense of offensive fluidity and the run game.
Woo boy, check out this sequence— Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) September 18, 2018
1. Schotty calls in play
2. Wilson checks, gain of 4 & first down
3. Next play, Wilson checks again
4. Carroll calls timeout, presumably because Wilson keeps checking
5. Wilson visibly upset pic.twitter.com/yYwnotxhq5
While Carroll readily admitted to making these mistakes during the game and vowed to work towards fixing them, it does continue a worrying trend of obvious brainfarts and sub-optimal decision-making that the front office and coaching staff seem to be making with alarming frequency.