Carroll discusses Seahawks without Brooks, facing Rams, rooting for Lions

Jan 6, 2023, 12:57 PM

Seattle Seahawks Jordyn Brooks...

Rams QB John Wolford is sacked by Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks on Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The 2022 NFL regular season wraps up this weekend and for the Seahawks, they take on the L.A. Rams in a game that has major playoff implications for the NFC.

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With a win, the Seahawks will be pulling for the Detroit Lions to beat the Green Bay Packers. That would get Seattle back in the playoffs after missing out last year.  If the Seahawks lose, the winner of Packers-Lions will secure that final NFC playoff spot.

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll stresses that every game is a championship opportunity, and that’s especially the case for his Seahawks this Sunday.

“Now that it’s down to your final games, it couldn’t be more real,” he told Steve Raible during Friday’s Pete Carroll Preview on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM.

It’s the second week in a row that the Seahawks need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. It worked out well last weekend with Seattle beating the New York Jets 23-6.

“Last week was a tremendous performance under those same circumstances and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to put together another game where all three phases really work in concert and we can play a terrific football game to give us the opportunity that comes on Sunday night when everybody’s sitting back partying and watching that ballgame,” Carroll said. “We’ll be watching.”

If the Seahawks do in fact beat the Rams, they have to wait a bit to see if they make the playoffs as Green Bay-Detroit is the Sunday Night Football game that will begin a little over an hour after Seattle’s game with Los Angeles concludes.

As you might imagine, Carroll and the Hawks will be pulling hard for the Lions to beat the Packers.

“We’ll be rooting for them and all that. We’ve got to take care of business (first),” Carroll said. “And our guys are really tuned in. They’re really focused. They aren’t worrying about the other game at all. People would wonder, ‘Oh, you’re thinking about it?’ No, we’re not at all. There’s so much at hand right here in playing the Rams and and all of the background in the history we have with this game. This is a huge opportunity for us to do something good. We’re going for it. I’m looking forward to it.”

The Rams have had an interesting 2022 season, to say the least.

After winning the Super Bowl last year, the Rams enter Week 18 at 5-11. Many of their star players have gotten hurt, including quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The last time Seattle and L.A. faced off, the Hawks got a 27-23 win. That came when John Wolford started at quarterback for the Rams. This week, former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield will be the Rams’ starting quarterback.

In four games with L.A., Mayfield has completed 67% of his passes for 703 yards and four touchdowns to one interception.

How different of an offense are the Rams with Mayfield under center?

“They are very similar. They had made some concessions when they changed quarterbacks before, and they’ve made some in that they just had to go back to more of the basic stuff of their offense,” Carroll said. “They look very familiar here. We’ve watched this offense develop over the years, and we’ve seen all the aspects of it, but the last month has forced them to train a new quarterback.”

Mayfield has been “pretty hot” of late, Carroll said, and the Seahawks have “got our hands full right now” as a result.

Mayfield will also be playing a different-looking Seahawks defense this week as inside linebacker Jordyn Brooks is out for the year with a torn ACL.

Brooks, Seattle’s leading tackler, is also the Hawks’ defensive play-caller on the field.

Needless to say, it’s a big loss for the Seahawks.

“It’s a challenge. Shoot, we’ve been playing with him for a couple of years now. He’s been a 130-tackle guy or whatever he is now,” Carroll said. “… It’s kind of like trying to replace Tyler Lockett. You don’t have the same guy out there. But Tanner Muse did a nice job (last week) and we’ll move some things around and some of the young guys will get a shot in there to play also, and Cody Barton has got to do a yeoman’s job here to take care of all of it.”

Barton, a fourth-year linebacker, has started alongside Brooks on the inside of Seattle’s defense this season. He took over as the “green dot” on-field play-caller last week when Brooks got hurt, and that will continue this week against the Rams.

“But now he’s had a chance to think about it all week long and prepare for it, and he’s done a great job in practice and he’s taking tremendous pride in leading the crew and he’ll do a fine job for us,” Carroll said.

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

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Carroll discusses Seahawks without Brooks, facing Rams, rooting for Lions