Seahawks’ Pete Carroll: Improving on D, facing Murray, Woolen’s emergence

Oct 14, 2022, 10:05 AM

Seahawks Cardinals...

Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals avoids a sack by Darrell Taylor of the Seattle Seahawks on January 09, 2022. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Seahawks enter a Week 6 NFC West clash with the Arizona Cardinals at 2-3 and an opportunity to really get into the thick of things in the division.

Rost: Similar situation for Seahawks’ D vs Cardinals, but with extra help this week

When it comes to what needs to happen for Seattle to take the next step forward, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll pointed to his defense.

“The No. 1 thing is we’ve got to slow down them down on defense. We’ve got to stop the big plays from happening,” Carroll said Friday morning during The Pete Carroll Preview with Steve Raible on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM. “… We have to execute better, but we also have to get rid of these penalties that have been in crucial situations. Those are things we really can really control that. I know we can turn that,. But we’ve got to elevate our play. We’re seeing a ton of running game, and they’re continuing to hammer the ball. We have 47 runs (against us) last week, you know, so we have to take care of the running game and make sure that we get that thing together before we really turn the corner.”

Someone Seattle brought in this week to help the defense turn that corner is veteran linebacker Bruce Irvin, a 2012 first-round pick of the Seahawks who joins the team for the third time. He’s on the practice squad, but Carroll said this week Irvin could play this Sunday against the Cardinals.

“We’ve been in touch with Bruce throughout. He and I are pretty close and we’ve been through a lot together,” Carroll said.

Carroll said Irvin had an “excellent career” with the Seahawks and described him as an “in the fabric” type of person. He also helps fill an area of need that has lacked depth, which is that outside linebacker spot.

“When we looked at our rotations, we lost a little edge in our rotations here with (Darryl) Johnson not being available and we haven’t gotten Alton Robinson back yet. We just needed another guy to contribute to the rotation,” Carroll said.

Irvin had a “fantastic” workout, Carroll said, and his familiarity with the team’s defensive scheme from his time in Chicago last year was also a big plus.

“We get an experienced guy that’s been around, that’s got a real level head about him, he’s been through it all, and he’ll help our young guys,” Carroll said.

If Irvin plays, he’ll be tasked with helping defend Pro Bowl quarterback Kyler Murray, one of the NFL’s top dual-threat passers.

“He really is a unique, one-of-a-kind guy, because he looks so small on the field and he’s so extraordinarily quick and explosive that he just gives us nightmares thinking about the kinds of things that he can do,” Carroll said.

Murray not only can run, but he’s great at extending plays. Carroll said the team’s outside linebackers – which could include Irvin – will be key on Sunday.

“We have to be really good on the edges. Our outside backers are really going to have a big responsibility this game in keeping him from running the football and also playing the perimeter game,” he said. “They throw the ball on the perimeter more than anybody in football. They don’t throw the ball downfield much. They’re a real sideline to sideline team and try to spread it out, and he’s really good at it. That’s all part of his college upbringing with his coach.”

Tariq Woolen’s potential

If anyone has stood out for the Seahawks on defense, it’s been fifth-round rookie corner Tariq Woolen, who has started all five games for Seattle and has interceptions in three straight games and also blocked a field goal that led to a touchdown.

Woolen is 6-foot-4 with very long arms and ran a sub-4.3-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine before the Seahawks drafted him in April.

“He’s got all the talent you could ever want … He’s got all of the quickness and the speed (and it’s) explosive speed, almost famous speed right now,” Carroll said. “His receiver background has made him available to make catches. He can catch the football well. He’s learning how to recognize what he’s up against. He’s really calming down as he grows in experience in terms of the different style of players that he plays against, where he stays within his technique and he plays the way he wants to play and doesn’t get caught adapting to guys and thinking he needs to do different things.”

Carroll had some more very high praise for Woolen.

“I’ve just never seen a guy like this. There’s nobody we’ve ever had that had more potential to be a great player,” he said. “He’s got a long ways to go, but he’s had three picks and he also had the (blocked) kick, too. So he’s had a lot of impact already in this early season.”

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

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