Pete Carroll Show: Addressing Seahawks’ defensive woes, offensive struggles
Another week, another tough loss for the Seattle Seahawks, who now find themselves at 1-2 after falling to the Vikings 30-17 Sunday in Minnesota.
Rost: The tough realities Seahawks are facing after 1-2 start
As he does every day after Seahawks games, head coach Pete Carroll joined Mike Salk for 710 ESPN Seattle’s Pete Carroll Show on Monday morning. As you might imagine, Carroll was frustrated with how Sunday unfolded.
“We went up against a team that had been doing well quietly. No one realized they’d been putting up 30 points a game and been doing their thing and had looked really good on offense, and we didn’t change that,” Carroll said of the Vikings, whose win over the Seahawks was their first of the season. “We weren’t able to get them off track. It was going to take a day of third downs and kicking butt, but we didn’t … They had a big day and it’s really frustrating for our guys because we have high expectations, so we’ve got to get through this and get going and get rolling.”
Listen to the full Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player here. Below, let’s dive into what else Carroll had to say Monday morning.
Defensive woes continue
Last week, the Seahawks allowed over 500 yards to the Tennessee Titans in an overtime 33-30 loss. They allowed 453 to the Vikings in Week 3, and it didn’t appear that the Seahawks were able to put much pressure on them.
“We’re trying to be aggressive,” Carroll said. “We want to put the attack on them. It didn’t feel like that yesterday. We want to make them have to function under duress.”
Fast Facts: Seahawks’ defensive issues continue in loss to Vikings
Carroll said there were a few instances where Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins made plays under pressure, but “there wasn’t enough of those and we needed to keep the pressure on them.”
A big complaint among many fans during the game was the play of cornerbacks Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed as Vikings receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen both had big days, especially on shorter and intermediate routes. Carroll said there’s more that goes into those plays adding up than the play of the cornerbacks.
“We’re playing deep zone concepts with the corners and if the ball gets thrown underneath, it looks like they’re not playing aggressively enough,” he said. “Well, that has to do with (underneath) coverage and a lot of stuff … We were trying to stay on top of these guys and not let them get any big plays, which we did that part of it for the most part. It gets frustrating when they continue to get (completions) …We’re no different than we’ve ever been conceptually and all that.”
The Seahawks added a veteran cornerback who has starting experience earlier this month in Sidney Jones, but he’s yet to play. Carroll said that could change very soon for the former UW Huskies star.
“The issue is just getting these (new) guys adapted and trying to gauge from the snaps they’re getting in practice how game-ready are they for all the things that happen,” he said. “… He’s done a nice job in practice and he’s looked good and he’s a nice football player. I would love for him to get a chance to play some, so you’ll see what happens this week.”
Could the Seahawks turn to the trade market again or free agency to get more help on defense?
“Mike, we’re always working it,” Carroll told Salk. “(General manager John Schneider) is never quiet on stuff. He’s got conversations really with people all over the league for opportunities and it takes two to tango and stuff … We’re looking at everybody. We always are, so that is ongoing.”
Offense starts hot, goes cold
The Seahawks scored all 17 of their points in their first three drives of the game, and like last week against the Titans failed to move the ball in limited opportunities in the second half.
As far as star quarterback Russell Wilson goes, Carroll liked what he saw.
“I thought he played really solid … I was really impressed,” Carroll said. “Right off the bat, the first three or four drives, we went right up the field and everybody functioned and Russ was right in the middle of all of that. I thought he handled it really well. Unfortunately, we didn’t see it really continue. We didn’t quite get the momentum that we had early, but I thought he did a really good job.”
What happened after that? The Vikings, like the Titans, dominated time of possession and Seattle had few chances to move the ball. And when the offense did get on the field, it didn’t sustain drives.
“Really it’s just unfortunate. We had five plays one drive, five plays the next drive and we get the ball back with 4:30 left. That’s it,” Carroll said. “It just amplifies the execution. It has to be there to get the drive going. We didn’t get it done and then the ball goes back to the other team and they’re holding it. It’s happened both (losses) that way and really in frustrating fashion for us. Because really, each play is so crucial.”
Carroll made it clear that the lack of execution was because of what they did and not anything the Vikings did on defense.
“They didn’t do anything different,” he said. “We didn’t function as well and we need to get off the field on the other side.”
The decision to punt
With the Seahawks down 10 and on their own 43-yard line with 11:48 to go in the fourth quarter, Carroll made the decision to have the Seahawks punt on fourth-and-7. The Vikings then drove down and kicked a field goal, taking over 7 minutes off the clock in the process.
Salk asked Carroll about the decision to not go for it with the offense.
“If you don’t make that, you pretty much gave them the game,” Carroll said. “We had confidence that we could handle our situation and get ourselves through that and give ourselves the opportunity to get the ball back and do it.”
Carroll said converting on fourth-and-7 is not easy and that the percentages aren’t in your favor, which factored into his choice.
“If you don’t make it, you’re handing them the ball at midfield and that’s their game and the clock is on their side and all that stuff,” he said. “That’s just the way we do it.”
The Seahawks had a few players get banged up Sunday in addition to multiple players who missed the contest due to injury. Carroll provided an update on a handful of guys.
Both running back Chris Carson and wide receiver Tyler Lockett left the game with injuries but returned. In Lockett’s case, it appeared to be very serious as he was on the ground for some time after twisting his knee in the second half. Carroll said Carson had cramps while Lockett appears to be fine moving forward.
“We didn’t hear from Lock this morning, but we think he’s OK,” Carroll said. “He was really, really relieved that something bad didn’t happen and we took the time to make sure we measured that well and he came back and played, so we think he’s good.”
Linebacker Jordyn Brooks was carted off at one point, which was due to cramps in both his calves, Carroll said.
“It took him a while to get the juice back and get back into the game,” he said.
Defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. left the game with a concussion, and Carroll didn’t know how far along he was in concussion protocol.
Rookie receiver Dee Eskridge missed his second straight game with a concussion, but Carroll thinks he’ll be ready for Week 4.
“We’re counting on him coming back, yeah,” he said. “We got a great report over the weekend so we think he’s going to be able to work this week, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Carroll was less optimistic or clear regarding running back Rashaad Penny (calf) and right tackle Brandon Shell (ankle), however.
Seahawks Takeaways: Defense the big issue again, but offense is lacking