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Seahawks takeaways: Carroll says focus is still on run game, another reunion for Brandon Marshall

Seahawks' Russell Wilson found Brandon Marshall for a touchdown in Week 1. (AP)

RENTON – With the Seahawks’ Week 2 game set to kickoff on Monday, head coach Pete Carroll had his typical Wednesday press conference on Thursday afternoon. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall – who could see more targets with Doug Baldwin injured – also spoke to reporters.

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Here are a few takeaways from the day at Seahawks headquarters:

Getting back to the run

The Seahawks had 64 rushing yards last week against the Broncos on 16 attempts (seven carries apiece for Chris Carson and rookie Rashaad Penny, and two for quarterback Russell Wilson). Obviously this wasn’t the game plan Carroll had in mind when he stressed an emphasis on the run this offseason.

When asked Thursday what went wrong, Carroll pointed to the team’s third-down conversion rate. Seattle converted just two of its 12 third-down situations. A handful of those were third-and-6 or more yards. And that lack of early downs – Seattle had just 13 total first downs compared to Denver’s 25 – kept the playbook limited.

“We messed it up,” Carroll said. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to convert. And really there was five third-and-5 or less (plays) and we needed to get every one of those. And we didn’t… so it’s interesting how it always kind of comes out to that third-down conversion numbers will give you the indicator of how (the run game) went.”

The focus on the run hasn’t gone away. Carroll emphasized as much both earlier this week and at Thursday’s press conference.

“(Being able to run) is huge,” Carroll said. “It’s huge. It’s huge for us. We have to convert on third down so we can get the next series going and expand on the play list and let you see what we’re trying to do. But without the running game, you’re going to feel like you don’t control the game at all. And so it’s a big deal.”

Carroll indicated the team could lean more into Carson as the starter, but both Carson and first-round pick Penny will continue to share the load. The Bears’ defense ranked 11th overall against the rush last year and have become a formidable force since adding three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Khalil Mack via trade earlier this month.

Back-to-back reunions for Brandon Marshall

Marshall could see more targets Monday night with Doug Baldwin (knee) sidelined. Marshall had 46 yards and a touchdown on three catches in Week 1.

Week 2 also affords Marshall another opportunity: the chance to return to his former home. The six-time Pro Bowler opens the season with a pair of reunions, having spent time with both the Broncos and the Bears.

“Probably about two weeks ago I realized man, back-to-back, that’s pretty cool,” Marshall said about the trips to Denver and Chicago.

The reunion will bring an interesting twist on the Seahawks’ last trip to the Windy City.

Seattle’s last game in Chicago was on December 2, 2012. Then-rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns and running back Marshawn Lynch rushed for another as the Seahawks beat the Bears 23-17 in overtime.

Marshall had 10 receptions for 165 yards that night.

“Going into that game, I just thought there was no way this kid was going to come in and beat us,” Marshall said. “With Lance Briggs, Peanut Tillman, Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Tim Jennings, and (Israel Idonije). I was like there’s no way this guy is going to come in here and do anything against this defense, (they were) doing record-breaking things every single game. And he came in and destroyed us.”

Status quo with injuries

The Seahawks are likely to be without linebacker K.J. Wright and Baldwin for Monday’s game, though neither player has officially been ruled out. The team could also be seeing J.R. Sweezy at right tackle again if D.J. Fluker is unable to return from a hamstring injury.

Carroll was asked about all three injured players Thursday. Given the irregular schedule (with Monday’s game, Wednesday was a day off for players), there weren’t many real updates for either player.

“(Wright) is running today, felt pretty good,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how he goes. He’s going day-to-day. So he ran yesterday and he’s working out again today. He’s making progress (and) feeling pretty good.”

Carroll said Fluker is also day-to-day.

“We’re looking at him every day to see what each day tells us,” Carroll said. “So I don’t know anything more than that.”

Carroll added that there is no update on a recovery timeline for Baldwin.

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