Seahawks Notebook: Carroll updates injuries, laments run game

Jan 2, 2024, 1:15 PM | Updated: 1:45 pm

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was not his usual optimistic self Tuesday during his weekly show with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk when asked about the status of injured right tackle Abe Lucas.

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Lucas had to leave the first half of Sunday’s 30-23 loss to the Steelers because of the same knee issue that has limited him to six games this season.

“It’s not like it’s not stable. He just doesn’t feel the power,” Carroll said. “You could see it in plays before we got him out of there. You could tell he wasn’t able to drive the way he would like to and wasn’t able to play like he’s capable.”

Center Evan Brown (concussion) also had to leave Sunday’s loss, but Carroll said Brown has shown signs of recovering and that they’ll know by the end of the week if he’s cleared for Sunday’s regular season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Carroll added it’s “less likely” Lucas will be able to recover in time to play Arizona.

If Lucas can’t play, it doesn’t bode well for a Seahawks running game that averages just 90.1 rushing yards per game, ranked 29th in the NFL. The Seahawks need a victory Sunday and for the Chicago Bears to beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field to reach the postseason.

Seattle’s issues on the ground

Carroll has long emphasized having a physical running attack that wears down defenses. The Seahawks finished 31st in rushing yards per game during Carroll’s first season with the Seahawks in 2010 but have routinely finished in the top half of that league during his tenure with Seattle thanks to the likes of Marshawn Lynch and Chris Carson.

This season, establishing consistency on the ground has been a struggle despite having two talented running backs in Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet.

“If you’ve listened to me over the years, it’s the running game that closes the circle of toughness on your team,” Carroll said. “It’s special teams, it’s defense, and then it’s that running game element. That has not been part of our team the way we would like it to be.”

Carroll blamed the offense’s struggles on third down for hurting the run game, arguing that not converting enough has limited opportunities. The Seahawks rank 25th in the NFL at third-down conversions at 35.38%.

“We have not captured enough of the run game to (make it) part of our makeup,” Carroll said. “And that’s something we’re still fighting for. It’s not that we don’t know it. It’s not that we’re not tuned into it. It’s not that we don’t want it. It’s just not coming to life the way we need it to.”

Carroll on curious late-game decisions

Carroll made two decisions late in Sunday’s loss that left fans confused.

With a little more than six minutes remaining, Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph completed a pass to George Pickens down to Seattle’s 5-yard line. Pickens only needed to reach the 7 to get a first down, and it appeared he clearly got past that mark by a couple of yards. Carroll opted to challenge the spot, lost and surrendered a timeout.

Why did he throw the challenge flag? It sounded as though he simply thought Pickens stepped out before the marker when he saw the replay.

“At that point, I’m throwing the flag, I’m not worried about the timeout that I’m going to miss out on,” he added. “If I can get a chance to stop him right there, it was worth it. We just missed the hop in the one look that we got. He stepped out of bounds, but it was the 5, not the 7.”

Then with 2:01 remaining and the Seahawks trailing 30-23, Carroll opted to try an onside kick rather than kick it deep. The Seahawks failed to recover and Pittsburgh ran out the clock.

Why not kick it deep and try to get a three-and-out when the Seahawks still had two timeouts plus the two-minute warning?

Carroll argued he’d rather take a shot at recovering an onside kick at that point and sounded less worried about field position, knowing they would need a three-and-out to extend the game in either scenario.

“We know we’re trying to get the ball back, we want to take a shot at getting the ball back, ” Carroll said. “We practice it all the time. We rep it, so we know really exactly how it’s supposed to go. We’re good at what we do there. It’s something we’re competent at. So I took a shot. That’s not a new thought. That’s not some random thought in the moment.”

Status of Seattle Seahawks’ Jamal Adams

Carroll said the decision Saturday to place Jamal Adams on injured reserve, shutting him down for the rest of the season, simply came down to his knee injury. Adams never returned to 100% this season after tearing his quad in the first game of the 2022 season and missing the entire year.

“It’s from the surgery from last year, all through the early part of the season,” Carroll said. “He was struggling to just get through the week, he couldn’t practice or he could only practice in limited fashion because he couldn’t take the wear and tear the beating on it. Then the game would have an effect and then he’d have to wait for the next couple days, and so he never, ever got in the rhythm of it.”

Carroll expects Adams to be fully healthy for next season.

The Pete Carroll Show airs live at 9:30 a.m. the next non-holiday weekday after each Seahawks game during Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. Listen to the podcast of this week’s full edition at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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