“You have to learn in this game, if you’re going to be really consistently good, to get out of your own way … and we haven’t gotten there yet.” — Pete Carroll
The Seahawks probably would love to be playing this Thursday, rather than next, so they could quickly expunge the bad taste of that loss to New Orleans.
But it’s probably a good thing they go to Arizona first, before a huge Thursday home game against the Rams as they face division foes twice in the next 10 days.
The Cardinals are really the ideal elixir for a good Seattle team that needs to show it is better at tackling, rushing the passer, holding the ball and coaching than it showed against New Orleans.
“There’s so much for us to do,” Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN. “There’s so much.”
Carroll is still lamenting some of his decisions vs. the Saints — especially the fourth-down choice from his 28 with about 10 minutes left, down 13. He definitely should not have gone for it. Failing there meant the end of the game when it didn’t have to be, and Carroll agreed, telling 710 ESPN: “Should have kicked the ball there and played out the next couple series. … I’ve got to coach better.”
One coaching decision he already has made is not to bench Chris Carson, who had perhaps his worst game as a Seahawk and has now lost three fumbles this season. Carroll: “Because we do believe in him, we’re going to continue to show him that.”
But the guess here is C.J. Prosise, who got more snaps than Carson vs. New Orleans, will continue to see time (as long as he stays healthy), and Rashaad Penny (hamstring) probably will be used sparingly even if he does return this week.
Plenty of people are lamenting (or mocking, if they are cynics) Seattle’s running game, which is off to a slow start. But — Carson’s mistakes aside — the unit did not do poorly against the Saints, and Carroll abandoned it only once they fell behind by three touchdowns. “We just have to stay with it and not put ourselves in position where we (trail by so much and) lose that opportunity,” Carroll said.
A big reason they got in that hole was Alvin Kamara, who apparently broke 18 tackles as he tied an obscure NFL stat record: his third game with 150 scrimmage yards, a rushing TD and a receiving TD. Carroll said Kamara was better than he appeared on TV/film and reminded him of Earl Campbell with the tackle-breaking power in his legs.
The Hawks’ poor tackling reflected a trend under this CBA: Missed tackles have gone from 9.5 percent in 2007-11 to 12.3 percent in 2012-19. The Hawks — especially guys like Mychal Kendricks, Bradley McDougald and Lano Hill — have to be more precise and finish plays.
The pass rush also is off to a slow start — the Hawks rank 21st with six sacks — but that is not unexpected. Pittsburgh and New Orleans have good lines and passing schemes that offset pass rush — they have yielded seven combined sacks.
“They’re a good pass protection group,” Carroll said of the Saints. “Wish we had done better.”
Remember, Jadeveon Clowney is still getting warmed up and Ziggy Ansah just played his first game. Both are basically in preseason mode still, and this unit will not be at its best until after Jarran Reed returns in Week 7.
Despite their flaws, the Seahawks are ranked the seventh-best team in the NFL (by Football Outsiders’ DVOA), fourth in the NFC. The next 10 days are a chance for the Seahawks to prove that ranking.
The Seahawks will be very motivated to win at Arizona, where they have not lost since Russell Wilson’s first game, in 2012.
Arizona rookie QB Kyler Murray has been sacked 16 times, including five in the fourth quarter of a 38-20 loss to Carolina on Sunday. Murray said they got “predictable” once they fell behind, so the Hawks need to make that happen again.
Then, assuming the Rams (ranked eighth in DVOA) knock off Tampa at home, the Hawks would host the undefeated Rams in an NFC West battle royale on Oct. 3. If Carroll and his Hawks have fixed their various issues by then, they should have a good shot at ending a three-game losing streak against L.A.