Carroll: Seahawks have had ‘hard year’ on D but showing progress

Dec 16, 2022, 2:28 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2022, 11:05 am
Seahawks McCaffrey...
49ers RB Christian McCaffrey carries the ball against the Seahawks at Lumen Field on Dec. 15, 2022. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)

Thursday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers stung for the Seahawks.

It spelled the end of their division title hopes, further hurt their playoff chances, and came with a few significant injuries.

It wasn’t all bad for Seattle, however. Head coach Pete Carroll, ever the optimist, saw some good signs in an area where the Seahawks really needed to show progress.

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In the 21-13 loss, the Hawks had a much more respectable performance on defense than in the stretch leading up to the game. San Francisco had 170 rushing yards, an improvement over the 209.5 rushing yards allowed that Seattle averaged in its four previous games. And the 49ers managed just a single touchdown in each of the first three quarters and didn’t score in the fourth, though that ultimately was enough thanks to the showing of their dominant defense.

“We played alright on defense. This was the best game we’ve had in a while, and we played solid,” the Seahawks’ coach said Friday morning on Seattle Sports’ Pete Carroll Show. “We had a couple busts that were unfortunate. And really, you got to look at it, too, we missed three tackles downfield for enormous plays. We could have gotten out of those plays, you know, 10-15 yard plays, and they wound up being bigger than that. But I liked the way we played, and we played without some guys so the guys up front did a really good job to keep us in it.”

Carroll stressed to Brock Huard and guest co-host K.J. Wright that the Seahawks need to build off Thursday’s game rather than slide back like they did following a four-game win streak earlier in the season where the defense played much better.

“We’re going to make sure and capture the progress we made on defense,” he said. “We did something here that it’s going to be really important in these next games. I know our players are feeling better about everything. It’s been a couple waves this season of our improvement, and this is the one that we have to capitalize on to finish.”

The Seahawks have relied on several young players on defense this season, but their coaching staff is also pretty new on that side of the ball under first-year defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, who was previously Seattle’s defensive line coach. Carroll spoke about how those two things have dovetailed.

“Way back when, sometime in the summer, I was talking with Clint and said, ‘I want you to start to try to get ready for the all the things you can’t predict. There’s gonna be a lot of stuff that’s gonna happen. … We have to get ready for all of the difficult, challenging things that are going to happen so that we can weather them and keep moving ahead.’ And he’s done just that,” Carroll said.

“It’s been a hard year, it hasn’t been the one we wanted, and he’s really kept these guys on-point and kept them pushing forward and keeps supporting these guys as we’re growing. There’s just a number of young-guy errors out there that can knock us back, and those don’t go away until they go away. And so we keep putting the finger in the dike on stuff and we’re working hard at it, but it’s just hard, you know. It’s challenging for the guys. It’s hard for the new coaches, too. So there’s just a lot of stuff that we’re dealing with and Clint’s doing a marvelous job of keeping everybody tight.”

At 7-7, the Seahawks can still work their way back into a playoff spot in the NFC with a strong finish over their final three games. Carroll said it’s just important for Seattle to keep fighting over the stretch run.

“The messaging is really – we’re looking ahead to what we can become. We have some games left here to make some noise, but this is even more than that. The group, the mentality, their connected-ness, their willingness to keep fighting and holding a good mentality is what really is empowering us to keep going. And we know that there’s some fun out ahead of us and we got to go get it, you know, before it gets away. But there’s a really positive, forward-thinking mentality here. There is nothing that’s going to knock us down from that.”

The Pete Carroll Show airs at 9:30 a.m. the first weekday morning after every Seahawks game (usually Mondays) during Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710 AM. The podcast of Friday’s edition can be heard at this link or in the player below.

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