Pete Carroll Preview: Getting the Seahawks’ defense right vs Lions

Sep 30, 2022, 9:15 AM
Seahawks Pete Carroll...
Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on against the Atlanta Falcons at Lumen Field on September 25, 2022. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)
(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

After starting the year with a win over the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks have dropped two games in a row and are looking to get back on track in Detroit against the Lions.

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The Seahawks did turn a corner offensively in Week 3, improving the passing game and running game against the Atlanta Falcons after doing next to nothing against the San Francisco 49ers. They also continued their strong play on special teams.

The issue, though, has been the defense, and head coach Pete Carroll made it clear during The Pete Carroll Preview on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM Friday morning that improving the defense against the Lions is a focal point for the Seahawks.

“Defense didn’t get it done as much as we wanted to,” Carroll told Steve Raible of the Seahawks’ Week 3 loss to the Falcons. “They were tough and physical and all that, but we’re still working at executing better, and that’s going to happen. And so going into this week, there’s things that we can control, so we’re positive in the outlook of that. What’s happened so far isn’t going to define what we are and what we’re doing. There’s too much ahead of us here, so we’re going to keep working on it.”

So what are the Seahawks working on?

“Really there’s a couple areas that we really have to improve in. A big area for us is a little bit hidden in the sense that the third down stuff has not been good enough,” Carroll said of Seattle’s 29th-ranked third-down defense. “We’ve had a number of penalties on third down trying to win on those routes and stuff that give them first downs.”

Carroll said the Seahawks have struggled with penalties on third down, giving up first downs due to pass interference calls and more.

“Stuff that that we know we can put those to rest … That’s six first downs that wouldn’t have happened and you’re sitting down on the (sideline) and the offense is back on the field. So that’s stuff that we can really control and we need to clean that up,” he said.

The other area needing improvement? The run defense, which is allowing roughly five yards per carry and is tied for 30th in the league in total rushing yards allowed.

“I’d like to see the running game really get shored up. We’ve got some real clear thoughts and that will continue to get better,” Carroll said. “And then we’ve got to keep working on the pass rush so that we get the ball away from them. So there’s a number of things we’re working on, but those are the things that you always work on. The third down numbers in particular, that’s going to make a big change when we play better there.”

For the Lions, the run game is a critical part of their offense as they rank third in the NFL in rushing through Week 3.

What should help the Seahawks is Detroit lead back D’Andre Swift (ankle and shoulder) is not expected to play. He’s eighth in the league in rushing yards and has two rushing touchdowns. But his backup, Jamaal Williams, is capable as well, as he ranks 20th in the NFL in rushing yards.

Carroll called the Lions a “committed” running football team and that even if Swift is out, their offense should be in good shape with Williams.

“Jamaal Williams is a really good player, too. And he hammers the football. He’s carried the ball quite a bit more than Swift has so far in the first three weeks, so they don’t have any problem going to him,” he said. “So we’ve got to do a really nice job. And they have a varied game, a lot of different kinds of runs that we’re  preparing for this week, and we need to play the scheme really well.”

While the Lions have a good running team, that’s not because of a dual-threat quarterback.

After three weeks of facing mobile starting quarterbacks, the Seahawks will face a pocket passer in Jared Goff, who they know very well from his five years with the Los Angeles Rams.

“He’s a good player now. He’s always been an efficient quarterback. He’s been really good with the drop-back game,” Carroll said.

Carroll called Goff “in command” of Detroit’s offense, but him staying in the pocket is something the Seahawks are looking forward to.

“He’s very quick to get rid of the football, and he’s an accurate thrower,” Carroll said. “He’s in the pocket. He isn’t going anywhere. So we’re different in the kind of guy that we’re preparing for. It’s a different style that we’re kind of excited to be able to rush the passer here.”

Listen to Carroll at this link or in the player below.

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