Carroll: Seahawks leaning on Geno, DK to lead down stretch
The Seahawks will get a little extra rest this weekend, taking three days off from practice following their Thursday night loss to the 49ers before getting back to it next week to prepare for a Christmas Eve morning showdown with the AFC West-leading Chiefs in Kansas City.
The Hawks know just how important their final three-game stretch starting with that Chiefs game will be. At 7-7 overall this season, Seattle is on the outside of the NFC playoff picture, and it needs one of either the Washington Commanders or New York Giants, who are both 7-5-1, to slip while taking care of business itself to sneak into the postseason.
Seattle is banged up following that Thursday night game, with the most notable injury being a fracture to the hand of veteran star wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who will need to miss at least one game following surgery.
With all that in mind, who leads the charge for the Seahawks over the final stretch? Head coach Pete Carroll answered that question Friday morning while talking to former NFL players Brock Huard and K.J. Wright on Seattle Sports 710 AM, and he had two answers – one you probably would expect, and one you might not.
First, he pointed to quarterback Geno Smith, who has done a much better job than expected taking over as Seattle’s starter in the first season since the trade of franchise icon Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
“Geno is certainly a really strong voice for us, and I really wanted to push him to the front because he is ‘the guy’ and he’s had such a great season and all,” Carroll said of the 32-year-old signal-caller. “He is doing a lot of talking to the team.”
And the other name? DK Metcalf, the Seahawks’ superstar wide receiver who just turned 25 on Wednesday.
“Also, I think it’s really important that the way DK is playing, DK is laying it out there. He is trying in every way that he can to be a huge part of the game,” Carroll said.
That was clear Thursday when Metcalf was shown during the TV broadcast of the 49ers game visibly frustrated on the sidelines in the first half. That presumably was because he hadn’t been involved much in Seattle’s offense early in the contest, and the frustration would be understandable considering Seattle had just one first down in four drives, all of which ended in punts. Metcalf was targeted four times on the very next drive, including three times in the first four plays. That included back-to-back 13-yard gains that helped the Seahawks get their first points of the night against the 49ers’ dominant defense, a 38-yard Jason Myers field goal.
While Metcalf’s competitive fire has led to penalties on the field and even fines from the league, Carroll knows it also has a leadership value.
“You know, some people are gonna criticize him for whatever – trying too hard or pushing or whatever, but that’s who he is,” Carroll said. “And the fact that it’s important for him to continue to find how far he can take it, that’s really important to me, too. I’m gonna back the heck out of him because he’s doing everything he can. That’s the kind of leadership that will help others go beyond where they normally would go.”
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.