Bobby Wagner set for return, KJ Wright unlikely in Seahawks’ home opener

Sep 21, 2018, 10:34 AM
Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks...
The Seahawks should see LB Bobby Wagner (groin) return this Sunday. (AP)

The Seahawks will get a boost on defense with the return of linebacker Bobby Wagner this Sunday. The team will be still be without linebacker K.J. Wright — Carroll said he’ll have a chance to return next week — but will have some help at the position from newly-signed Seahawk Mychal Kendricks.

Pete Carroll joined 97.3 KIRO FM’s Dori Monson ahead of the Seahawks home opener against the Dallas Cowboys to talk about Seattle’s linebacker group, the run game, and making a return to CenturyLink Field.

“(Kendricks) is physical, he’s really fast, and he very instinctive and he’s had great experiences, too, so you can draw from him when you play with him and when you coach him,” Carroll said of Kendricks, who had one sack in his first game with Seattle last week. “It’s going to be interesting to see how this turns out when K.J.’s back. Bobby’s back this week and K.J. has a chance to make it back next week and we’ll see what happens.

“But in the meantime we’re very fortunate to have him join our team and we’re going to see him through his concerns and issues that he’s got to deal with,” Carroll said, referencing Kendricks’ charges of insider trading, “and try to help him through it as much as possible and try to see what it all means when all the information comes down.”

The Seahawks will be seeking their first win of the season Sunday in what will also be their first home game of 2018.

“Our season will probably be dictated by how we play at home,” Carroll said. “So that’s where this thing starts and our guys know that, and we’d like to get off on the right foot.”

Here are a few other notes from Carroll’s interview. You can hear the full interview on 97.3 KIRO FM at 12:30 p.m. Friday:

You started 2015 season with two road games, both losses. What are the similarities and differences between that team and this year’s? “It’s harder at times to get started on the road. When you go to Denver, we knew it was really difficult. And Chicago Monday night, that should have not been a big deal for us (because) we played with the right attitude and personality and stuff like we want to in those big-stage games. But we just didn’t play clean enough. There are similarities, because you’ve got to keep hanging and you’ve got to keep believing until you start to make the turn and make the change. This is such a good group of guys, attitude-wise, that I can’t imagine that we’re not going to hang in here and get this thing rolling.”

What does it look like when a team is about to  make that turn? “There’s kind of a lack of acknowledgement of the situation, because guys are just looking forward to the good stuff happening. This is a young group that really seems to be like that. They’re not letting anything bother them. Yeah, they’re disappointed, and they want to get the wins surely. But the week we put together in preparation for this game, you would not (think) these guys aren’t really on top of stuff and aren’t ready for something great to happen. They really have the right mentality, that’s why I’m so encouraged.”

Your run game has been struggling. What goes into one unit or one aspect of the game not performing well? “If you look at it and go, ‘Well, the guys aren’t blocking well enough and that’s why we’re not running it,’ that’s not what’s going on. That would be a mistake to see it that way. It’s come down to our inability to convert on third down. We were 2-of-12 the first week. And you just don’t have enough first downs to take charge of the game and mix the way you want to. I’ve said it to you guys before, but that’s just the facts. The other night I think we were 2-of-8 or something in the first half. That’s just not good enough to get a feel for it… You have to convert and you gotta keep moving the sticks and you gotta get those 1st-and-10’s so you can mix the game the way you want to. I think we ran 19 times the other night, and I wish we would’ve ran that many times in the first half. So we have to make our third downs and that’s really the call and the focus.”

What went into weighing the on-the-field and off-the-field factors when you brought Kendricks aboard? “John did a great job of doing all the background checks and all the history and all the follow through, and tried to learn as much as we could about Mychal and where he’s coming from. This is a situation that happened four and a half years ago; it’s an old story and he has done everything he could by owning up to it and paying  back the money and all of that, as well as take the hit through the process. And he still doesn’t have a final judgement on what’s going to happen yet… He’s a really good kid that wants to do right and wants to help out. Matter of fact, he’ll meet with our rookies this weekend and talk them through his situation (and) what happened to share his experience and make sure it doesn’t happen to another guy… he’s got a really good heart about it and we’ll see him through it.”

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Bobby Wagner set for return, KJ Wright unlikely in Seahawks’ home opener