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Seahawks notebook: Pete Carroll on preparing for Pats’ new-look offense, injuries and air quality

Bobby Wagner and the Seahawks are no stranger to new Patriots QB Cam Newton. (Getty)

The Seahawks returned to team headquarters in Renton on Wednesday to begin preparing for a huge Week 2 matchup with the New England Patriots and their new quarterback, Cam Newton. As is usually the case, head coach Pete Carroll took to the podium to discuss the state of his team and Sunday’s game.

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Here’s a look at what the head coach had to say that stood out.

Hard to prepare for Patriots’ offense

With no preseason this year and Newton having taken snaps in just one game so far for Bill Belichick’s team, it’s a tall order for Seattle to know what to expect from the Patriots when they come to CenturyLink Field.

“We do have a real good background with Cam, but we don’t know what they’re going to do with him. It’s only one game,” Carroll said. “… They have been notorious for changing from one week to the next in how they approach their opponents and all, so we have to go into this game with a real wide-open look.”

The Seahawks can at least expect a lot more running by the quarterback than in previous meetings with New England when Tom Brady was at QB. The Patriots ran the ball 42 times to just 19 pass attempts in a 21-11 win over Miami last weekend, with Newton leading the team with 15 carries and 75 rushing yards.

“They showed that they really wanted to run the football quite a bit, ran it 42 times in the game which is a great commitment,” Carroll said.

What is helpful is that Seattle has a lot of experience playing against Newton from his time with Carolina, who the Seahawks had a seemingly yearly rivalry matchup with during Newton’s tenure.

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“I do like that we have seen Cam over the years in really big games and playoffs and all of that, and we’ve seen him in the most challenging settings so we do have a familiarity in that regard,” Carroll said.

Seahawks set the tone on defense

The Seahawks may have allowed 506 total yards and 25 points to the Falcons in Week 1, but it was still a strong debut for the defense as a good amount of those yards and over half of the points came in the fourth quarter when Seattle had a commanding lead.

What stood out was a more hard-hitting approach than last season, when defense was an issue for Seattle, and Carroll said the physical style of his team was “really noticeable.”

“The nature of these guys, they’re going for it and I really love it. I love the way that we were able to show first time out how we like to play the game. There’s a lot of improvement to be had, but I’m glad that the message was clear, that we’re coming to knock the (heck) out of ya when you play us, and that was fun.”

He gave shoutouts to a few players who excelled, including All-Pros Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams, plus safeties Quandre Diggs and Lano Hill and nickel cornerback Marquise Blair.

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“I thought Bobby played his best game pass-defense-wise that he’s played. He was most active and most obviously on-point with the breaks that he was making. He impacted our play quite a bit. You couldn’t miss the play by Jamal running and hitting, and I thought Q-Diggs too had some really good top-offs and some nice plays too, as well as the rest of the guys. Marquise for sure and Lano Hill, all those guys had some hits.”

Quick Seahawks injury update

The Seahawks came out of Week 1 very healthy, with only Rasheem Green nicked up. Seattle’s 2019 sacks leader was deemed questionable to return in the first quarter, and while the defensive end was able to get back in the game shortly after, his availability will be a storyline throughout this week.

“It’s gonna take all week for us to figure it out with him. Otherwise we’re in pretty good shape,” Carroll said.

Green was listed as a non-participant with a neck injury on Wednesday’s practice report. Tackle Cedric Ogbuehi was also out with a pectoral issue, and Duane Brown sat as a “resting veteran.”

Carroll added that wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who was inactive with a foot injury against Atlanta, was set to be back on the field in practice Wednesday. Dorsett was listed as limited on the practice report.

Smoke alert

Another thing to watch this week is the air quality in Seattle, which could impact when and if the game is played at CenturyLink Field. Poor air quality already resulted in the Mariners not only having to postpone a series against the Giants that was set to begin Tuesday, but to relocate the two games to San Francisco.

Carroll said there has already been contact with the NFL’s league office about the situation with the game, which is set for 5:20 p.m. Saturday.

“We’re in direct connection with (the league) and they are monitoring what’s going on, as we are as well. Hopefully we get a good shift in the weather here by the weekend, looks like it could change tomorrow some and into the weekend, so we’re very cognizant of it and we’re working to figure it out.”

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