With snow in the Green Bay forecast, Seahawks may have to brave the elements again
Dec 8, 2016, 2:33 PM | Updated: 2:44 pm
RENTON – Pete Carroll did what a lot of coaches tend to do when he was asked how the cold weather that’s in the Green Bay forecast will impact Sunday’s game against the Packers. He tried to downplay it.
“It will probably be the same on both sides,” Carroll said Wednesday. “Unless it’s snowing on one side and not the other side or something like that, it’s going to be equal. We’ve been in some pretty severe situations so we’re OK about it.”
Indeed they have. The Seahawks withstood sub-zero temperatures in Minneapolis last January when they beat the Vikings in the wild-card round of the playoffs at outdoor TCF Bank Stadium. At minus-6 degrees, that was the third-coldest game in NFL history. That’s one reason why the cold weather awaiting the Seahawks at Lambeau Field doesn’t seem like quite as big of a deal as it may have in years past.
“That’s as extreme as you can get,” Carroll said of the game in Minneapolis, which Seattle won 10-9 after the Vikings missed a chip-shot field goal. “I love that that’s happened and we’ve been through that and our guys know what that’s all about. I don’t think it’s going to be quite like that. It’s good to have that in your background.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the AccuWeather forecast calls for a high of 28 degrees and a 56 percent chance of snow on Sunday in Green Bay. Frigid, to be sure, but nothing like what the Seahawks experienced during their last trip to the upper midwest.
The extreme cold that day in Minneapolis impacted the game in several ways. The ball didn’t travel in the air like it usually does, which was evident on a few notable plays. One was a deep throw from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin that could have been a touchdown had it not hung up in the air long enough for a Vikings safety to close in and break it up. Seattle kept its offense on the field on fourth-and-13 instead attempting a 48-yard field goal, which would have been well within Stephen Hauschka’s range in normal conditions.
These were not normal conditions.
Cornerback Richard Sherman recalled Wednesday how his contacts seemingly began to freeze during pregame warmups. He said he noticed his lenses becoming glassy with the combination of the wind and chilly air. Then they hardened.
“I hadn’t wore a visor the whole year and had to put one on as more of a windshield than anything,” he said.
Asked if that game can help the Seahawks mentally prepare for what awaits them in Green Bay, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said: “They know it’s not going to be colder than that. Anytime it’s snowing, from when I’ve been in the snow, it’s usually warmer than normal. It’s definitely not going to be that cold so I don’t think they’re really worried about it.”
But the snow would be a different element to contend with. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has played in his share of snow games, mentioned on a conference call this week that it can make the footing especially difficult for pass-rushers and running backs in particular.
Bevell, who played collegiately at Wisconsin and coached with the Packers, acknowledged that the weather does impact the game plan to some degree.
“You have to take into consideration,” he said. “There’s certain things – obviously when we went to Minnesota last year and how it was – there’s things that you’re taking into consideration, yes, and then you kind of have to see what happens when you get there. We were supposed to get this mass blizzard here, that tsunami or whatever was coming (in October), and it never showed up. You have to be able to still adjust.
“We know that the forecast is coming, but then if it’s 55 and sunny we’ll go ahead and play it normal, and if it’s 33 and snow, then we’ll be able to make some changes. You have to determine how the field is. It could still be a fine field and guys are running around no problem in the snow, or it could get real slippery and have to make adjustments. We’ll kind of go on the fly with that.”