Carroll optimistic about Seahawks’ future prospects

Dec 26, 2011, 1:50 PM | Updated: Dec 27, 2011, 12:52 am

By Michael Simeona

Saturday’s 19-17 loss to the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers may have ended the Seahawks season, but head coach Pete Carroll sounded more than optimistic about the future of his young team.

“I’m most proud that we’ve found our way to win football games — we’ve found our style,” coach Carroll told the “Brock & Salk Show” on Monday. “In that, we’ve done it in a fashion that we’re really fired up about. A formula that will give us a chance to be a championship football team.”

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RB Marshawn Lynch became the first player to score a rushing touchdown on the 49ers this season. (AP)

With a physical defensive line and a young, ballhawking secondary, Carroll has helped mold the Seahawks defense into one of the best young units in the NFL. The Seahawks have the 10th-best defense in the league based on total yards per game (328.5 yards/game), and are tied for second in the league in interceptions with 21.

Nobody expected the secondary to be this good considering they lost two projected starters — veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant and second-year cornerback Walter Thurmond III — to season-ending injuries early in the season. But the Seahawks’ secondary gained a dose of physicality and nastiness thanks to rookie cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner.

Looking forward to next season, Carroll knows he’ll need his young players to transition quickly in order to return to winning football.

“Our young guys aren’t young guys anymore — they’re experienced players in the league. So as we come back with that freshman [to] sophomore jump, it can be huge for us. There’s so many guys that can make that step that I’m really excited to see how we grow.”

One player who made tremendous strides this season was fifth-year running back Marshawn Lynch.

Before the season began, the Seahawks hadn’t seen a 1,000-yard rusher since the Super Bowl season of 2005 when Shaun Alexander led the league in rushing with 1,880 yards. But a revitalized Lynch reached the 1,000-yard plateau in 13 games, quite the accomplishment considering more than half his starting offensive line was out for the majority of the season.

As Lynch enters free agency this offseason, the Seahawks’ primary concern is keeping their star running back in Seattle.

“We’re all over it,” Carroll said in regards to re-signing upcoming free agents. “We’re all over the activity that we have to be involved with and talking to these guys. We’ve got some guys we really love and we want them on our team and we’re going to do everything we can keep them, but it’s a business issue with money.

“We’re very, very busy with all that right now. You just don’t know about it.”

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