Coaches talk third-down failure, but it starts on first two downs

seahawks-cowboys logoThird downs get such a bum rap.

One of these days, we hope, Pete Carroll and his coaches will realize third-down success starts on first down. They never seem to get that, constantly droning on after losses about how third downs ruined their offense.

It was more of the same after the 24-22 playoff loss to Dallas, with Carroll telling anyone who would listen that their failure on 11 of 13 third downs was what did them in — as opposed to any play-calling mistakes on the preceding downs.

Brian Schottenheimer continued the refrain Thursday, telling 710 ESPN: “The biggest issue that we had — and it was kind of the issue for us throughout the course of the year when we struggled – was third down. We weren’t able to convert on third downs. We weren’t able to get momentum going. We’re kind of an offense, because we run the ball and we throw the deep play passes, that when you’re struggling on third down it kind of hurts your ability to get started.”

It’s true the Hawks put themselves in big holes on third down; they averaged third-and-8 and went three-and-out six times in 12 possessions.

But how do you get into trouble on third down? How do you get into a spot that is too challenging to overcome? By messing up on first and second downs. And the Seattle offense finished the season just as poorly as it started it.

Continue reading Coaches talk third-down failure, but it starts on first two downs

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Carroll’s Hawks will run, but they ‘have to adjust a little bit quicker’

schotty“The Seahawks are going to be a running team as long as Pete Carroll is the coach. If you can’t handle that then you probably should pick another team to root for.” — Bob Condotta on Twitter

Condotta is right: Pete Carroll is not going to change his philosophy — or his offensive coordinator. Nor should he.

Unlike some fans, we have no issue with Carroll’s overall tactic of controlling the game with the run and great defense. This is the same philosophy that took the Seahawks to two Super Bowls, and Carroll is very confident it will take them back.

But he will evaluate how the first year with Brian Schottenheimer went, and they hopefully will improve their in-game adjustments so they can avoid the kind of unnecessary playoff loss they just experienced in Dallas.

As Carroll said, “We have to adjust a little bit quicker.”

Continue reading Carroll’s Hawks will run, but they ‘have to adjust a little bit quicker’

Offseason to-do list

Salary cap logoSince training camp last summer, Russell Wilson has said these Seahawks remind him of the 2012 team he led as a rookie, which exceeded some people’s expectations by reaching the second round of the playoffs and then came back to win the Super Bowl in 2013.

While this crew also surprised a lot of people, it didn’t do quite as well as the 2012 squad, failing to win a playoff game. But, even after the 24-22 loss in Dallas, Wilson thought the comparison valid. “If precedence has any truth to it,” he said, “hopefully we can find a way to do something good like that.”

Some think this team is ready to contend in 2019.

“We have everything we need,” Doug Baldwin said. “You have all the pieces. You have all the right mindsets, personalities, everything. It’s just we’re a young team. With the time comes progression, comes growth, comes learning. This team will be better.”

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Shoddy finish to Schotty’s first season

logo-playoffsWhen Pete Carroll hired Brian Schottenheimer to be his new offensive coordinator a year ago, skepticism was rampant. Many people thought he had made a lateral (or worse) move from Darrell Bevell.

We withheld judgment until after this season. Well, after poor scheming cost the Seahawks four games, ending with a 24-22 wild-card loss to Dallas, the doubters sure look like they could be right.

And how ironic the way it unfolded.

Carroll and Schottenheimer didn’t run the ball enough in the first two games of the season, losses in Denver and Chicago where Russell Wilson was under assault. Seattle committed to the run the rest of the season and ended up the No. 1 rushing team in the league as they won 10 of the final 14 games.

They took that rushing mentality into Dallas against the fourth-ranked run defense, but they could not run. Passing yards were clearly there for the taking, but Schottenheimer refused to take them.

Continue reading Shoddy finish to Schotty’s first season

CHAWK LINES -- Seahawks at CowboysAs usual at playoff time, the injury list gets pretty small. Pete Carroll said J.R. Sweezy “has got a good chance.”

Earl Thomas had two picks against Dallas in Week 3, when the Cowboys did not yet have Amari Cooper. Bobby Wagner said the Hawks have adjusted to losing “a great, great player” and the only new thing about Dallas’ offense is Cooper, who “changes your offense.”

But which version of Cooper are the Seahawks going to see?

The last time Cooper played the Seahawks was in London when he was still with Oakland. He didn’t last long — knocked out by Bradley McDougald.

Carroll said Jerry Jones’ massive AT&T Stadium feels like a nightclub.

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Roster review as Hawks prep for Dallas

logo-playoffsWell, that finale against Arizona wasn’t pretty. But this is all that matters: The Seahawks are headed to Dallas for a playoff game Saturday.

The last time they faced the Cowboys, the Hawks were just rediscovering Pete Carroll’s long lost preferred formula for winning.

It worked in that Week 3 game: The Seahawks hit the magic 50 (runs and completions), were plus-three in turnover differential and won the third-down battle in a 24-13 victory in Seattle.

The Seahawks didn’t run the ball very well (2.9 yards per carry), but they kept pounding it anyway (39 times) and Russell Wilson took advantage of some coverage holes for a pair of TD passes.

“We didn’t really kill it that day. We had a hard game against those guys,” Carroll said. “I think Chris (Carson) rushed 32 times in that game for 100 yards. That wasn’t what became a little bit more standard, what we were shooting for during the season, but it was a step in the right direction and the commitment came through. We were just getting started.”

Continue reading Roster review as Hawks prep for Dallas

Hawks should be rooting for selves & Rams

logo-arizonaThere seem to be far too many Seahawks fans calling for Pete Carroll to rest a bunch of guys against Arizona on Sunday. Fortunately, Carroll is much smarter than that.

The Seahawks absolutely should prefer to go to Dallas rather than chilly Chicago in the wild-card round. To do that, they have to beat Arizona, or Minnesota has to lose to the Bears, who are angling for the No. 2 seed.

Dallas would easily be the best postseason matchup for the Seahawks, who then would head to New Orleans if the No. 3 seed (Chicago or L.A.) also won in the wild-card round.

Of course, if the No. 6 seed (Minnesota or Philadelphia) were to win, that would send Seattle to the No. 2 seed. And that’s why the Hawks should be rooting Sunday for the Rams to beat the 49ers (or the Bears to lose).

The Seahawks just don’t want to go to Chicago in mid-January, when temperatures are as frigidly unfriendly as you can get. They surely would prefer to play the division rivals they came close to beating twice earlier this season and probably are well suited to beat in a prospective third matchup in sunny California.

Continue reading Hawks should be rooting for selves & Rams

With Carroll re-signed, playoff-bound Hawks ‘just getting started’

Logo -- Kansas CIty“It feels like we are just getting started.” — Pete Carroll

Consider the Seahawks’ next Super Bowl window officially open.

A day after Pete Carroll led the Hawks to the playoffs for the seventh time in his nine seasons, he signed an extension keeping him in Seattle for three more years.

It does indeed feel like the Seahawks are just getting started — both this year and beyond.

Continue reading With Carroll re-signed, playoff-bound Hawks ‘just getting started’

CHAWK LINES -- Chiefs at HawksTedric Thompson has an unusual chest condition that involved a fluid buildup, so he is being held out as the team waits for it to subside.

Despite 16 listed injuries, the Hawks apparently have just three game-time decisions. K.J. Wright will return, and fellow starting defenders Bradley McDougald, Jarran Reed and Shaquill Griffin are expected to play through injuries.

One-time Seahawk Spencer Ware, who replaced Kareem Hunt when he was cut, is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

Pro Bowl linebacker (again) Bobby Wagner talked about the key to his success.

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‘SNF’ matchup vs. Chiefs will tell whether Hawks are ‘worth anything’

Logo -- Kansas CIty“If you’re going to be worth anything come playoff time, you’re going to have to beat a team like this.” — Pete Carroll to 710 ESPN, on facing Kansas City on Sunday night.

This is it — the game everyone (maybe even some Seahawks, ahem) wanted to see last week. As Pete Carroll said, this game against Kansas City will tell us everything we need to know about whether the Seahawks are good enough to do much damage in the playoffs.

As everyone hoped, this game means something to both teams, and they will be balling out the entire way Sunday night — the Chiefs trying to nail down the top seed in the AFC and the Seahawks just trying to secure a playoff spot after they badly whiffed against the 49ers.

Continue reading ‘SNF’ matchup vs. Chiefs will tell whether Hawks are ‘worth anything’

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