Pete Carroll Preview: The challenge of Seahawks facing Cardinals again

Nov 4, 2022, 9:08 AM

Seahawks Tariq Woolen...

Tariq Woolen of the Seattle Seahawks reacts against the New York Giants at Lumen Field on October 30, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

As the Seahawks enter Week 9, they’re in a spot that no one thought they’d be in as they’re 5-3 and in first place in the NFC West.

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Seattle has especially played good football of late, as evidenced by a 4-1 record in October.

To win four of five, you need players to step up in big ways. That was the case for the Seahawks, and that was reflected in the NFL’s monthly awards as quarterback Geno Smith was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month while running back Kenneth Walker III was NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month. And on the other side of the ball, cornerback Tariq Woolen was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month.

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“It’s a great statement for those guys,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said during Friday’s Pete Carroll Preview on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM. “It’s a little bit about people’s expectations on the outside not thinking much of us and all of a sudden saying, ‘What’s going on over there?’ But the guys are really playing well.”

Smith in particular stands out to Carroll.

“He just keeps playing so well,” he told Steve Raible. “I wish you guys could see him in practice. He is so good in practice. He’s paid the cost to be the boss. He’s just doing it, and it’s really fun to watch.”

This week, the Seahawks face a team they played a short time ago in the Arizona Cardinals.

In Week 6, the Seahawks beat the Cardinals 19-9 in Seattle, the first of three straight wins Seattle rattled off.

While the game went well overall, Smith was sacked five times, and Carroll explained how that needs to change.

“Last time, they had three sacks on third-and-long situations. We need to do a better job there in not give them that opportunity,” Carroll said. “We need to get the ball out, we’ve got to make sure we do our protection calls and everything right. I think if we play better in the third down situation as far as protecting Geno, it’ll make a big difference for us.”

The Cardinals’ defense is “volatile” and “throw a lot of stuff at you,” and are very aggressive when it comes to blitzing, Carroll said.

“They’re very comfortable with taking (Cover-zero) blitz opportunities whenever they can get them,” he said.

Carroll also discussed the challenge of facing a team two times in less than a month.

“I think when you play a team for the second time (in a short span), first off, you’ve got to realize that it’s not the same as the first time. You can’t expect the game to come out the same,” he said. “The players will play different, the schemes will be different, everything about it will be different, so we have to approach it uniquely like it’s a one-time opportunity, knowing that they’ve got information, we’ve got information and we just put that into the hopper. I like it. It’s a coach’s challenge because we’re matching wits and we’re gonna see who tweaks what the best, and then also who adjusts to the new stuff the best during the course of the game.”

Something that will be very different in this game is the Cardinals have star receiver DeAndre Hopkins back in the mix as he was still suspended the last time these two teams faced off.

Hopkins is one of the best players in the NFL when he’s on the field, and is a key part of Arizona’s offense. He’s been targeted 27 times in two games.

“It’s a natural transition for them because he’s such a good player and they’re going to him,” Carroll said. ” … He’s a featured part of it, and they’re using him to move the football as well as convert on third downs and to try to make big plays with him, so he’s everywhere.”

Hopkins presents a big test for the cornerbacks, especially Woolen, Carroll said.

“He’s a different style player, a unique style of player. He’s going to be on Tariq’s side a lot because he likes to play over on that side, so we’ll get some great matchups there,” Carroll said. “It’s gonna be fun to see. It’s going to be a great step for these guys to realize that they can hold up and play against a guy of this caliber.”

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

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