DANNY AND GALLANT
Pete Carroll Show: Wilson and offense back to ‘Seahawks football’
Dec 14, 2020, 12:21 PM | Updated: 12:33 pm
The Seahawks are 9-4 after a blowout 40-3 win over the winless New York Jets in Week 14, and as you’d expect after such a resounding win, head coach Pete Carroll has a lot to be happy about.
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“It worked out just the way we wanted it to,” he said Monday morning on The Pete Carroll Show with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant. “We were hoping to play like that (against) a team that’s struggling, we should hopefully be in great shape by the end of it and we were, and it was really fun to see our guys play like that.
“We were really consistent throughout and there aren’t many games in the league that are like that, so when you get one you’ve got to enjoy it.”
Carroll went in depth on his team’s success on Sunday during the interview. Here’s what the head coach had to say.
Wilson and offense played “Seahawks football”
In the Seahawks’ loss to the New York Giants in Week 13, quarterback Russell Wilson was off his game and it was unclear what the issues were. Wilson put together a solid performance against the Jets, though, completing 21 of 27 passes for 206 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Carroll thought Wilson played “an excellent game” in the team’s latest win.
“He was clear all the way through what we were doing, how we were functioning and we played with great tempo,” Carroll said. “I just thought he played a great game. That’s the kind of game, that’s really good Seahawks football where the quarterback doesn’t have to do everything and we don’t have to have the tailback rush for 150 yards. We can mix it and match it and put together a really solid game.”
No tailback rushed for 150 yards, but the Seahawks did run for 174 yards as a team. Chris Carson led the team with 76 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and Carlos Hyde also rushed for 66 yards on 15 carries. Both have battled injuries this year and Carroll said having those two in the backfield helps Seattle do what they want to do offensively.
“The ferocity that they hit the line of scrimmage and take to their attempts is noticeable and it’s notable for us,” Carroll said. “There’s style to it and it’s the style that I like. I like when you can see us and feel us and that’s what I like so much about our play yesterday because all aspects we were functioning and we had a way about us.”
Having that running attack with Wilson making plays in the passing game gives the Seahawks the offensive balance that Carroll strives for.
“That’s the way we’re at our best and the whole team fits together well,” he said. “It gives us the thing we always talk about with the running game, it just makes everything happen. It was a beautiful thing to watch.”
Defense rising at key stretch
The Seahawks put together their best performance of the season on defense, holding the Jets to under 200 yards and just three points. Seattle now has given up point totals of 21, 17, 17 and 3 over the last four games. Carroll said it’s clear to see that unit is gelling right now after early struggles.
“It’s a culmination of what’s been happening and we could play those guys like that and we did,” he said. “… This has been coming, so no time like now. We’re going to need it when we go east this weekend (to play the NFC East-leading Washington Football Team) and we’ll need it all the way down the stretch here.”
Carroll added that the defense’s approach and scheme has stayed the same throughout the year, but it’s easy to see that his players are really owning their roles.
“We’re good athletically. We’ve got guys who can move. It’s a good, athletic group with big playmakers in there, too,” Carroll said. ” … It just was a matter of time of keeping them after it so they could all get comfortable, understand what’s going on and really function freely. That’s the whole thing on defense. You want guys to be able to run and hit without having to think too much and it takes time to get those concerns out of their head.”
One player who has quietly had a good season is third-year defensive tackle Poona Ford. Ford, who has started all 13 games this year, has two sacks, eight tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits and a forced fumble. At 5 foot 11 and 310 pounds, Ford doesn’t have the typical size that most defensive tackles possess, but Carroll said he’s one of the better athletes on the team.
“He doesn’t have the body that would demonstrate he’s a good athlete since he’s so small and compact and all that, you wouldn’t think it,” Carroll said. “But he’s a high-motor skill guy … and he has a special knack when he’s playing the game.”
Ford could “play baseball or basketball” if he wanted to, according to Carroll, but he’s the entire package when it comes to playing defensive tackle for the Seahawks’ defense.
“His decision-making, his quickness, his anticipation, his sense, it’s special and that’s why you see him make things happen from that package that he brings,” he said. “He’s a good football player … He’s doing a nice job.”
Jamal Adams handled the week well
One narrative with the Seahawks facing the Jets was new Seattle safety Jamal Adams facing his former team for the first time.
The Jets drafted Adams in the first round in 2017, but the two sides had a falling out when New York chose not to pursue a contract extension that Adams felt he deserved, so he requested a trade that ultimately landed him in Seattle. Despite the messy divorce, Carroll said Adams handled the lead up to the game as well as the game itself as well as he could have.
“Ever since we’ve been in contact and he’s been with us, he’s never spoken in a disrespectful manner towards them. He’s held them in high regard,” Carroll said. “… He respects the fact that they chose him and gave him a chance and stood by him … He did handle himself really well when it could have been different and he could have been taking a shot or been hot headed or tried to stuff it in somebody’s face or something like that. He was not like that and he isn’t like that.”
Carroll called Adams a “classy, humble, really unique person” and that his makeup also shows up when he takes the football field as well. That was clear as Adams capitalized on his opportunities in 2020 to set the new NFL record for sacks by a defensive back in just nine games while missing four due to injury.
“His intensity about seizing the opportunity is just first class. It’s as high as you can get,” Carroll said. “It’s that sense he has when he sees an opportunity, man, he can just pour every once of his ability and his quickness and explosion and creativity to get there.”
Carroll said the closest comparison for Adams is former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who Carroll coached in college at USC, but Adams reminds Carroll of a lot of great players and defensive backs he’s coached throughout the years.
“There’s just been a lot of guys who have a lot of traits, but it just seems like Jamal has most of them and he can do a little bit of everything that all the really good guys could do, and he has such great conviction when he goes and that’s what separates his playmaking,” he said.
The Seahawks entered Sunday with one key starter out in defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who missed the game as he nurses a foot injury. Carroll said the hope is that sitting him against the Jets helps him going forward.
“We realized the thought was he won’t be better if he plays again in the next game, so we’ve got to do something to give him the chance to start improving otherwise he’ll just start carrying this week to week,” Carroll said. “It’s a thing that’s kind of a unique thing on the bottom of his foot that’s really sore and kind of works into his big toe and it’s a real debilitating injury when when it’s really active, so we thought it’d be better to see if we can start slowing it down because it wasn’t any better than it was last week.”
Starting right tackle Brandon Shell returned to play his former team after missing two weeks with an ankle injury, but he left the game in the second quarter. His backup, Cedric Ogbuehi, missed his second game in a row with a calf injury. Carroll seemed optimistic about both of them for next week.
“(Shell) came out of the game, it was sore during the game, he said (it was) no worse than it was last week, so that’s a really positive sign for a chance for him to play,” Carroll said. “We need Cedric to come back too to help us and get back in the rotation. He should be back, too.”
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