Hawk Talk highlights: About those penalties

Dec 17, 2013, 6:47 PM | Updated: 6:58 pm

By Brady Henderson

The Seahawks’ proclivity for committing penalties has been one of the few flaws of a team that has the NFL’s best record and what many would consider to be an excellent chance at reaching the Super Bowl.

Seattle leads the league with 112 of them – according to the website FootballDB.com – and in the past two games they’ve cost the Seahawks to varying degrees. It was what most players lamented after Seattle’s loss to San Francisco two weeks ago, and on Sunday against the Giants they negated a pair of Seahawks touchdowns.

Seattle’s penalty problem was a topic of discussion during the latest edition of “Hawk Talk” with Danny O’Neil. The full transcript can be read here. Highlights are below.

Seattle leads the NFL in penalties this season. (AP)

Chris asked if the Seahawks’ penalties and suspensions are products of the team’s “culture”.

O’Neil: No. I think they’re two very separate things. I think the penalty issue – in part – traces from the aggressiveness coach Pete Carroll wants his team to play with. Seattle was one of the least-penalized teams under Mike Holmgren. Why? Well, precision was the top priority under Holmgren. It was true for his offense and it was true for what he demanded of his players.

If you asked me the top priority for the Seahawks under Pete Carroll, I would choose a different P word. Physical. It’s how he wants his defensive backs to play, how he wants his offensive line to play. And the result of that emphasis is that there will be some penalties that come along with that. Pete would never concede that. He would never tell you, “Yes, we’re willing to accept such-and-such penalties as the cost of doing business.” But that’s exactly what is happening.

Beast asked if O’Neil gives credence to a report from FOXSports’ Jay Glazer that stated Seattle expects receiver Percy Harvin back for the regular season.

O’Neil: Yeah. I do. I think Jay Glazer has great sources. I also think the belief that he’ll be back in the regular season is subject to the same changes that we’ve seen slow down his return when he first started practicing after he first played and again last week. At this point, there’s exactly one thing that we know about Percy Harvin’ return: The Seahawks aren’t going to force it.

H asked if Seattle’s special teams group is one of the best ever?

O’Neil: It’s incredible, and I would go a step further and say that Seattle’s special teams has been the single most enduring strength since coach Pete Carroll’s arrival.

Kathryn asked why Robert Turbin has replaced Jermaine Kearse as Seattle’s kickoff returner.

O’Neil: Strictly a ball-security thing. Pete saw Jermaine Kearse cough up that one kick, and Pete likes turnovers like he enjoys a cold sore.

Beast asked if the Seahawks would have a better shot at retaining their assistant coaches if the team reaches the Super Bowl considering most head-coaching vacancies are filled by then.

O’Neil: It’s an interesting thought. That said, the likelihood Seattle gets a first-round bye means you can expect some guys to be getting interviews that first week off.

rodman asked if the emergence of Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane could impact the Seahawks’ negotiations with fellow cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond.

O’Neil: Great question from Rodman, and were it not for the Kam Chancellor deal, I would argue that it very well could create a scenario where Seattle lets guys walk. After all, value is so relative in the NFL. The concept of value is not whether a specific player is “worth” such-and-such amount, but how little you can pay someone else to do a comparable job. If you can get the level of play you’re getting from Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane – who still have years on their rookie deals – it might not make sense to pay to retain Brandon Browner or even Walter Thurmond.

But there was point in which Pete Carroll talked about the value of experience. And the fact the team retained Kam Chancellor speaks to he fact hat this team sees benefit – and in effect tremendous value – in having guys who are experienced remain with the team.

An anonymous guest asked if the Seahawks’ depth might lead them to value quality over quantity and move up in next year’s draft.

O’Neil: I expect the opposite. Given Seattle’s success at finding players in the lower rounds, and the reality that they need to restock the roster in anticipation that some guys will be moving on, they need to keep a broader selection of players knowing that not all will stick.

NW Homer asked if O’Neil thinks the Seahawks will move on from tight end Zach Miller after this season because of his contract.

O’Neil: No, I don’t. I think his cap number becomes more manageable next season, and I don’t see Seattle being ready to move on at that position. Even if you think Luke Willson is ready to start (which might not be the case giving his blocking ability) where else is the depth?

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