Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll found Seattle's first preseason game, "valuable."

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Pete Carroll found Seattle's first preseason game, "valuable."

Seattle coach Pete Carroll called the team's 19-17 loss to Indianapolis in the Seahawks' first preseason game of the season, "valuable," and generally appeared to be pleased with Thursday's outing while talking to reporters on Saturday following practice in Renton, Wash. 

Carroll spoke positively regarding the play of rookies, linebacker Shaquem Griffin, running back Rashaad Penny, tight end Will Dissly, defensive end Rasheem Green and cornerback Tre Flowers and praised the team's overall effort. 

But the most important positive element from Thursday night had to be the play of the starting offensive line. 

"The first group did a real nice job on offense," Carroll told reporters. "We got to see our guys come off of the ball a little bit and protect the quarterback."

Preseason game performances should never be overblown, but those should be sweet words for Seattle fans after how poorly the offensive line played last season. 

Thursday's starting group of left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Ethan Pocic, center Justin Britt, right guard D.J. Fluker and right tackle Germain Ifedi helped Seattle push its way 75 yards in 12 plays to start the game. The drive ended with a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to Nick Vannett

The line allowed running back Chris Carson, seeing his first action since fracturing his leg last year against the Colts, to gain 26 yards on four carries.

“They felt strong," Carroll said of the line. "They gave Russ (Wilson) a lot of nice spacing. Pocket was very solid. He moved because he didn’t find the receivers where he needed to find them, open, so he moved to make them open and he did it. It just felt better."

The tight end position helped the offense line function well even without veteran and projected starter Ed Dickson, who remains on the active/non-football injury list and did not play. That meant more opportunities for Vannett and Dissly. Both, according to Carroll, played well. 

'Diss (Will Dissly) did a really nice job," Carroll said. "He did exactly what we hoped he would have looked like in his first time out. He’s going to get better and understand things more and be more aggressive. But, he already showed the big body, and he showed the ability to hold the line of scrimmage. Go to the big play pass that Russ hits to (Tyler) Lockett, he does a great job blocking the defensive end on the other side and just locks him out. That’s a real positive, that’s a real plus for us.”

Better offensive line play. A rookie tight end that looks like a keeper as a quality run blocker. Seattle couldn't have asked for much more in its first outing. 

Key players will play more in the second preseason game, Saturday at San Diego (7 p.m.). 

The Earl Thomas situation needs a resolution

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USA Today

The Earl Thomas situation needs a resolution

Seattle's standoff with disgruntled Pro Bow safety Earl Thomas is closing in on becoming a complete quagmire that ultimately could fester into something quite ugly, if it hasn't already. 

For the franchise's sake, a resolution is needed.  

Thomas, who missed practices last week for "personal" reasons, is clearly not onboard with doing much of anything for the team other than displaying his talents in games, which he did on Sunday to the tune of two interceptions and a dramatic bow during a 24-13 win over Dallas at CenturyLink Field. 

At this point it's clear that Thomas is going to remain a bitter soldier the entire season unless he gets what he wants, and that isn't a positive for anyone involved, given his strong personality, presence, status and importance to this team. 

The situation is as such:

  • Thomas, in the final year of his contract, wants an extension from Seattle or to get traded to a team that will sign him to a new deal. He held out all offseason only to return just in time to begin collecting his $531,000 weekly game checks. 
  • Seattle hasn't budged on this issue and wants Thomas to play out the final year of his deal at $8.5 million. 
  • Thomas is balling out with three interceptions in three games but following Sunday's win stated: "I’m invested in myself. Now, if they was invested in me, I’d be out there practicing. But if I feel like anything, I don’t give a damn if it’s small, I got a headache, I’m not practicing."
  •  

[RELATED: Has Earl Thomas bowed his way out of Seattle?]

This situation simply cannot continue. While players such as quarterback Russell Wilson and defensive end Frank Clark expressed support for Thomas and his cause, and for him not practicing but still starting, over the long haul this situation is untenable. At some point, Thomas will shift from being viewed as a talented martyr out for what he believes he deserves to simply just another selfish diva pouting despite making the fourth highest salary on the team. 

Does anyone really believe that teammates making a fraction of what Thomas pulls down want to hear the weekly whining about him having to play out a contract worth $44.75 million over five years? Not likely. 

Seattle coach Pete Carroll was peppered with questions regarding this ordeal on Monday. He said that practice is important and that Thomas wouldn't be simply allowed not to show up and then play on Sunday as he did last week. 

“There is consequences," Carroll said. "You can serve that any way you want to.”

Carroll wouldn't elaborate on what those consequences could be. However, it has been reported that Thomas does face extensive fines for skipping practices. 

"I’m not going to talk about it very much because we’re working on stuff on the inside and I’m working with a guy we’ve been working with for a lot of years," Carroll said. "I care a lot about Earl (Thomas) and I want to do him right and want to do our players right and our team right. That’s what we’re doing. Under the considerations in the circumstances, one guy is in a position he feels that’s different than other guys. We’re dealing with it in a very direct fashion.”

Both sides have legitimate arguments. Thomas wasn't financial security before putting his body in harms way and risking serious injury that would lessen his value. Seattle, which is paying former safety Kam Chancellor $25 million over the next three years even though he is essentially retired because of a neck injury, is taking a wait-and-see approach with Thomas. The Seahawks would receive a third-round pick as compensation should he leave as a free agent during the offseason, and they have the option of slapping the franchise tag on Thomas in the offseason. That would likely only further irk Thomas, although such designation would net him about $12 million next season. 

The trade deadline is Oct. 30.  Dallas and Kansas City are reportedly interested but aren't willing to offer the first-round pick that Seattle seems to desire as compensation for parting ways with one of the greatest defensive players in franchise history. 

Carroll, who says Thomas' concerns about his future are legitimate, has said in the past that he wants Thomas to remain with the Seahawks for his entire career. Seattle reportedly won't deal him unless it is blown away by an offer it can't refuse. To acquire left tackle Duane Brown, Seattle traded a third-round pick in 2018 and a second-round pick in 2019 to get the former Pro Bowl lineman and a fifth-round pick in 2018.

Seattle, reportedly and understandably, wants more for Thomas than what it traded for Brown. Or, Seattle could ultimately re-sign Thomas. 

“Everything’s possible, everything’s possible," Carroll said. 

Seattle has a plan for how it wants to handle this situation and that plan is based on what the hierarchy believes is best for the franchise. Thomas and his agent are orchestrating a plan they believe is best for his future. Somewhere along the line the team must be taken into consideration by both parties. A season is underway and a weekly circus won't be healthy for anyone involved.

A resolution is needed. Seattle must pay Thomas, or trade him. Or, Thomas needs to drop this conflict and be all in with his teammates. 

Otherwise, too much more of the current dynamic in play could eventually erode the team from within.  

Chris Carson, offensive line re-establish Seahawks' identity

Chris Carson, offensive line re-establish Seahawks' identity

SEATTLE - Seattle right guard D.J. Fluker had a message for the offense prior to and during the team's 24-13 win over Dallas on Sunday. 

"He made the comment, 'just keep dialing up the right side runs,'" left tackle Duane Brown said. "I didn't take any offense to it."

Nor should he have. As it turned out, Seattle (1-2) dialed up 36 rushing attempts to running backs while attacking a variety of areas and re-establishing itself as the run-oriented team the Seahawks have strived to be during the Pete Carroll era. That total number of carries exceeded the number for backs in the first two games combined. The result was a 32-carry, 102-yard performance for running back Chris Carson, a more balanced attack, better pass protection, a worn down Dallas defense and a fresher than usual Seahawks' defense that spent just 27 minutes on the field.

"When you're able to run the ball effectively and the defense knows you're going to run it and you're still able to get yards, there's no better feeling," Brown said. 

Let's start with the much-maligned offensive line coming to life. The Cowboys (1-2) sacked Russell Wilson just twice after allowing the Pro Bowl quarterback to go down in the hands of pass rushers in Denver and Chicago a combined 12 times.  Part of the problem, according to Carroll, was a lack of production on third downs, but that came about because of a lack of commitment to and production from the running game. 

"When we have a balanced attack I think it makes us a better offense," Brown said. "Defenses weren't able to pin their ears back."

Carroll vowed during the week that Seattle would get back to being run dominant after running backs received just 14 carries at Denver and 19 at Chicago. The commitment to the run aided the third down conversion rate (7 of 16). 

"The guys upfront played a really good game today," Carroll said. "They were solid throughout. They had the right attitude about it."

Part of that attitude came from Fluker, the free agent acquisition from the New York Giants who missed the first two games of the season but is all business when it comes to run blocking. 

"Physicality," he said when asked what he brought to the line. "Trying to put guys down field."

He moved plenty and the team ran behind him often. 

"He brings a spirit, personality and attitude on this club," Carroll said. "He's extremely valuable. We certainly missed not having him the last couple of weeks."

The line added Fluker but subtracted left guard Ethan Pocic, out with an ankle injury, and started Joey Hunt at center in place of Justin Britt, who played but didn't start because of a shoulder injury.

Even with the lineup changes, the communication across the line improve, according to Fluker and Brown, allowing the unit to matchup better against Dallas' numerous stunts. Plus, Dallas had to respect the run, which made it easier to protect Wilson. 

"No one wants to drop back 40 to 50 times a game," Brown said. "You want to be aggressive and come off the ball. That's what we want to do as offensive linemen."

Dallas' defense had plenty to worry about with Carson pounding at them to execute its attack on Wilson, who did a lot less scrambling and holding on to the ball too long in this game than the previous two.

Carson, who had 213 carries in two seasons at Oklahoma State, said he hadn't had 32 carries, or so, since his days at Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. or Butler Community College (Kan.),

"You run the ball it opens windows for the receivers," Carson said. "It's just a balance you want to keep on the offensive side and it showed today."

Carson has overcome a lot. The 2017 seventh-round pick fractured his leg in the fourth week of his rookie season and missed the rest of the year. He worked his way back to regain the starting job despite Seattle selecting Rashaad Penny in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. 

"I just love seeing guys like Chris who work so hard," defensive end Frank Clark said, "who get injured, then you work so hard to get back and you get comfortable and you feel like you're getting your vibe back, you're getting your grove back. I love seeing that. I love seeing that boy smile and being happy."

The running game also brought a smile to the faces of Seattle's defensive players, able to get more rest on the sideline and spend less time on the field. Seattle's defense were on the field for 35 minutes at Denver and 34 minutes at Chicago.  

"It definitely helps," middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. 

Now, will this brand of football continue for the Seahawks?

Seattle plays at Arizona (1-2) on Sunday. The Cardinals rank 28th in rushing defense (131.3 yards allowed per game). Sunday will present a great opportunity for Seattle to get back to .500 and continue its commitment to the running game. 

"I'm just excited," Brown said. "We've got to keep this formula going."

Has Earl Thomas bowed his way out of Seattle?

Has Earl Thomas bowed his way out of Seattle?

SEATTLE - Safety Earl Thomas has put forth a one-man theatrical performance worthy of an ovation.

Sunday against Dallas at CenturyLink Field, the Pro Bowl safety who missed practice during the week for personal reasons causing speculation that he could once again be holding out, showed up to face the team he had requested trade for him, and then showed out. 

Thomas made his second interception of the afternoon late in the fourth quarter off of a pass tipped into the air by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, hopped up off the ground, jogged toward the Cowboys' sideline and literally bowed as if he had just completed performing in a Broadway play. 

 

Seattle led 24-13 at the time with 3:09 on the clock. Game over. 

CenturyLink Field certainly isn't a Broadway stage, but the script playing out involving Thomas has been nothing short of pure melodrama.

After Seattle coach Pete Carroll claimed during the week that Thomas missed practice for personal reasons, Thomas said after the much-needed Seattle win that he didn't practice because he wasn't 100 percent healthy and that this approach could continue.

"I’m invested in myself," Thomas said. "Now, if they was invested in me, I’d be out there practicing. But if I feel like anything, I don’t give a damn if it’s small, I got a headache, I’m not practicing. But I don’t want that to be taken the wrong way. I know I’m going to get fined, but that’s just where I’m at with that."

Stay tuned.

Maybe Thomas simply doesn't need practice. Despite missing all of training camp and last week's practices, Thomas got his second and third interceptions of the season on Sunday for Seattle (1-2). 

"[Earl Thomas] is the GOAT," defensive end Frank Clark said. "He keeps playing like greatness. He's playing like he deserves one of those yellow jackets."

And, maybe a fat new contract. 

With each passing week until the Oct. 30 trade deadline comes and goes, speculation regarding Thomas' future will swirl. Will he get dealt? Will he remain with Seattle for just this season? Will Settle sign him to an extension? Thomas is in the final year of of his deal and will make $8.5 million this season. 

"I love Seattle," Thomas said. "My family is here. I’m hopeful that these guys would call my agent, we’d work something out. But if not, I want to be taken care of."

One could argue that Thomas' play makes it seem even more and more ridiculous that the team won't pay to keep the 29-year-old likely future hall of famer. On the other hand, Thomas is raising his trade value each week he plays like the superstar defender that he is. 

According to the trade rumor mill,  Dallas and Kansas City have shown the most interest in dealing for Thomas, who is from Texas has has publicly stated how much he would like to play for the Cowboys. But Dallas has only offered a third-round pick for Thomas around the time of the NFL Draft. Seattle balked seeking at least a second-round pick. Dallas reportedly offered a second prior to the start of the season, but again, Seattle decided it wanted to keep Thomas. 

Thomas said he wondered if this might be his last game with Seattle given all of the "chatter." 

"People was coming up to me and saying that a trade might happen," Thomas said. "Even pre-game, a couple of Cowboys coaches – I don’t know if they were trying to play psychological games – but they were like, ‘You ready for the trade tomorrow?’ But at the end of the day, man, I had a great time with the guys that I had been practicing with or I hadn’t been practicing, but the guys I had been around. It was just fun out there."

For Thomas, it's all about more money, which he equates to a show of respect.

"I just want to be appreciated," he said. "That’s it."

As for his play on Sunday, teammates said that they weren't worried about Thomas missing practice because they knew he had some issues to attend to. 

"If he had a family problem, he had a family problem.,"  Clark said of Thomas, whom he referred to as his "brother." "He doesn't owe anybody an explanation about a problem he had with his family. And at the end of the day, we respect that."

Clark added that Thomas communicated with his teammates during the week to let them know what was going on. So while people outside of the team speculated, the Seahawks knew Thomas would likely be at the game. 

When Carroll was asked if there was a chance Thomas wouldn't play, the coach responded, "no."

Carroll said he had yet to talk to Thomas about the entire situation but would do so next week. 

"Let me tell you what I do know," Carroll said. "What I do know is he gave everything he had today. He was in every step of the way, every aspect of the game."

Reports indicate that Seattle will indeed fine Thomas for missing practice. 

As for the bow...

"He wanted to let them know that you could have had me," Clark said.

If the price is right, Dallas still could. And it would be getting one hell of a player. One that skips practices and still plays elite football. 

"I think everybody needs to practice," Clark said. "I'm not going to sit here and say he doesn't have to practice and hit you with the Allen Iverson line. Everybody needs to practice when you're trying to perfect your craft."

Thomas admitted that practice is a big deal, but maybe not as much so for him. 

"In my younger days, it made me who I am," he said. "I always practice hard, but I understand now, especially, I’m going to be careful with myself."

That said, Thomas, Clark said, is simply special. 

"Things Earl can do, certain people can't do," Clark said. "Things Earl can get away with, certain people can't do."

The drama continues for Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas

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USATI

The drama continues for Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas

After a lengthy training camp hold out, it is no secret that Earl Thomas is not happy in Seattle. This situation may be escalating quickly as the Seahawks are reportedly looking major fines and talking to trade partners:

More on this story as it develops, and be sure to follow our NFL/Seahawks Insider Aaron Fentress on twitter. 

Shaquill Griffin developing into a star for the Seahawks

Shaquill Griffin developing into a star for the Seahawks

Shaquill Griffin had a specific goal in mind to accomplish in his second season with the Seahawks.

The cornerback wanted to get his hands on more footballs that actually remained in his grasp. Griffin, a third-round pick out of Central Florida, had 15 passes defended as a rookie but just one interception. Griffin already has two interceptions this season, both coming in Monday's loss at Chicago. And both the product of increased confidence. 

One came on a leaping, turning play on the ball that defined his goals to improve. Griffin said he's much further along this season than he was last year in the art of tracking the ball. 

"I’m glad I’m finally getting the ball in my hand," he said. "I feel like that’s the main thing I wanted to work on. That’s just a huge confidence booster for me to finally start getting the ball in my hands early in the season. That’s something I’m going to continue to work on."

Griffin said the trick is being more confident in getting his head turned around to find the ball, which he did while making a leaping interception at Chicago on a sideline pass intended for wide receiver Allen Robinson. 

"Last year I felt like I was just playing it safe when I know I can punch the ball out," Griffin said. "I know I’m good at tracking the ball and just make sure he doesn’t catch it. I said, now that I know I’m finally doing good with that, let’s try and get the ball in my hands, I just try to turn my head around."

Griffin had the benefit last year of playing opposite former Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, now with San Francisco. Sherman, according to Griffin, shared with him some valuable advice.  

"He was telling me, when you’re running, you got to look up straight in the air because that’s where the ball is at," Griffin said. "The ball is not coming straight to you. So, it was the little stuff that he was teaching me, but he also wants me to feel comfortable doing it."

Even though Sherman is now with the 49ers, Griffin said his mentor and "brother" remains only a phone call or text message away. 

"That’s the type of person Richard Sherman is," Griffin said. "He’s always willing to help and that’s something that you as a rookie last year, somebody you can always ask for and love to have from a person like Richard. So, to this day I still would ask questions or anything that I need to know, or I want to know, he’s always willing to help. So that’s awesome from him.”

As it turned out, Shaquill this season moved from right corner to Sherman's former left corner spot. 

"It meant a lot actually, because I felt like that means they have a sense of trust in me to take that role," Shaquill said. "Especially being that’s Richard Sherman’s spot and everything that he’s done here in this organization. That means they had a sense of trust in me to take over that role and kind of pick up where he left off from.”

Filling the spot of a former member of the Legion of Boom is different than trying to live up to that legacy. 

"I feel like we’re not trying to live up to the standard. We’re just trying to find our own identity and continue to use what the guys have put down before us," Shaquill said. 

Despite being a starter, Shaquill is the lesser-known Griffin brother. His twin brother, Seattle linebacker Shaquem Griffin, has made headlines for playing college and NFL football without having a left hand. Shaquem started the season opener in place of the injured K.J. Wright and had a rough day. 

The twins review game film in a theater room in the apartment share. Shaquill said the room is equipped with lounge chairs for comfort.

Is there a small refrigerator, as well?

"No," Shaquill said. "But that's a good idea."

Much of the film sessions involve Shaquill helping Shaquem learn the defense and examine his mistakes. The sessions also include Shaquem offering Shaquill some pointers. During games, they make a point of finding each other on the sideline to go over aspects of the game. At Chicago, Shaquem made sure his brother remained properly hydrated during the humid Chicago evening.  

"He was like, ‘Are you good, you need some water? So, it’s good to have him out there checking on m," Shaquill said. "Every series is just a couple words here and there. People don’t understand, just those few words help someone, any player, just calm down just a little bit more."

Seattle is more than pleased with how well Griffin has performed at the left cornerback spot. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. pointed to Griffin's understanding of the position. 

“You can see he’s a guy that really understands the corner play," Norton said. "He knows how to go up and get the ball, he’s really fast, he understands his technique. There’s no limit for how good he can be. It’s just a matter of practicing and continuing to learn, continue to improve and then the good stuff starts to come.”

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said he's seen a dramatic increase in Griffin's confidence. 

"He had it last year, but it’s definitely grown because you have all offseason, all summer, to kind of sit there and, and really dissect what you did good last year, what you did bad, be able to be in a system for a long time," Wagner said. "You see his confidence, he’s kind of like, he wants somebody to try him. When they tried him, he got two picks.”

For Carroll, Griffin's consistency has been great to see. 

"He’s just played the same every time he goes out," Griffin said. "He’s got a consistency about him and he’s really gifted because he’s so fast and he’s athletic and all the rest and he’s tough, that he’s got a consistency to him that he could be a really good player here in. You got to put time together to make that work, but I’m really hopeful for it.”

On Sunday against Dallas, the Griffin brothers will play their first regular season home game at CenturyLink. Shaquill has experienced the noise levels fans create. Shaquem has not. 

"It’s extremely loud, but it’s exciting," Shaquill said. "I can’t wait for (Shaquem) to get the full experience.  He was telling me, ‘oh, I ain’t know it going to be this loud’, and this was preseason. It’s a totally huge difference between the preseason game and a regular season game at home. So, I’m curious to see his reaction. I think the first thing I’m going to do if he’s on kick off is look in his face and see how he looks. I just want to catch the reaction of his first time on the field at a regular season game at home.

SEAHAWKS INJURY REPORT: Key players return while someone new is out

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USA Today

SEAHAWKS INJURY REPORT: Key players return while someone new is out

Seattle left guard Ethan Pocic is listed as "out" for Sunday's game at home against Dallas along with linebacker K.J. Wright and wide receiver Doug Baldwin

Pocic injured his ankle during Monday Night's loss at Chicago. Baldwin injured his right knee in the opener at Denver and was expected to miss two weeks. Wright, it was hoped, would return after missing the first two games but is listed as "out" for the Cowboys with a knee injury.

Back in action will be middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (groin).

[RELATED: Seattle MLB Bobby Wagner ready for action]

Listed as "questionable" are center Justin Britt (shoulder) and outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks (ankle).  Britt will be a game-time decision, according to coach Pete Carroll. 

“We’re going to go all the way up to game time with that one, see how he’s doing,” Carroll told reporters.  “He’s feeling way better.”

Backup center Joey Hunt would start in place of Britt. Hunt started one game last season in eight appearances. 

“Joey did really well last week when he played, and he has always done well when he’s in there,” Carroll said. “He’s a really savvy football player."

Right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring), after missing the team's first two games, will play on Sunday. That means J.R. Sweezy, who filled in for Fluker, can replace Pocic at left guard.

Cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) will also return this week after missing the loss at Chicago. 

 

 

 

Seattle MLB Bobby Wagner ready for action

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USA Today

Seattle MLB Bobby Wagner ready for action

While the Seattle Seahawks were losing at Chicago to move to 0-2 on Monday night, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner sat helpless at home nursing a groin injury.

“I watched the game from home," he told reporters today. "It sucked to sit there and watch the team play and not be able to do anything. But, you use the time wisely to try to get better, so I’ll be ready for this week.”

The Seahawks' defense played solid football without Wagner - and once again minus outside linebacker K.J. Wright, who missed his second game with a knee injury - but certainly will need him against Dallas on Sunday. Seattle is in desperation mode and can't afford to fall to 0-3 if it is to maintain any realistic shot at making the playoffs. 

Also expected to return to the lineup are cornerback Tre Flowers and right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring). Wright is not likely to play. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee) is certainly out. The status of center Justin Britt (shoulder) and left guard Ethan Pocic (ankle) remain in doubt. 

Filling in for Wagner at Chicago was Austin Calitro, who had a solid game. But he is no Wagner.

Wagner said he found himself getting into the game, only the second he has missed in four seasons.

“I’m definitely a guy that yells at the T.V.," he said. "You call out plays and think that they’re going to hear you say what you called out.”

Wagner injured his groin early in the second quarter two games ago in Denver. 

"I didn’t think it was anything serious until after the game and got it checked out," he said. 

Now healthy, Wagner is ready to help his team get a much needed victory. 

"I look at it as we’re coming back home, (and) you want to win every game at home," he said. "This is our first opportunity to be at home and give our crowd something to cheer for. We’re going to come out, we’re going to do our thing, I’m not worried about it."

For the Seahawks, it's run the ball or lose

For the Seahawks, it's run the ball or lose

RENTON, Wash. - Chris Carson, speaking softly while sitting in front of his locker in the Seahawks' practice facility, put forth his best impression of a running back content with having received just six carries Monday night in Chicago.

"It just wasn't in the game plan at the time," he said. 

Rookie running back Rashaad Penny also leaned on diplomacy regarding his 9.5 carries per game this season. 

"I think we just put ourselves in a situation where we can't run the ball," he said.

Not buying it. There is no conceivable way that Carson and Penny are pleased with the team's lack of attention to the running game. They want the ball. And in order for Seattle to find success, both need to get the ball early and often. This is not debatable. Seattle coach Pete Carroll has insisted that the running game must be robust. Yet, it hasn't happened and the team is 0-2. 

Statistically, Seattle is living up to the worst fears of the fan base. The Seahawks rank 29th in rushing offense (69 yards per game), 27th in yards per carry (3.6) and lead the league in sacks allowed (12). 

“We need to be more efficient," Carroll said. "We were better this week than we were last week. We just need more runs. We just need more first downs and more runs. It’s an important part of the way we play. That’s no change...We just haven’t got it done yet."

Time is running out. Seattle (0-2) hosts Dallas (1-1) on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Although the season is young, this is a must-win situation for Seattle only because it's next to impossible to imagine this team going 10-3 after a 0-3 start to reach 10-6 and make the playoffs. A win on Sunday would set up Seattle with a strong possibility of getting to 2-2 given that the Seahawks play the following week at woeful Arizona (0-2). 

Running well against Dallas won't be easy. The Cowboys are allowing 91 yards per game on the ground, 12th in the league, and 3.7 yards per carry. But Seattle must commit to at least trying to establish a running game if for nothing else to take pressure off of the pass protection. Seattle has allowed quarterback Russell Wilson to be sacked a league leading 12 times. 

Carroll took blame for some of the lack of rush attempts, stating that at times he becomes impatient and tells offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to be more aggressive with the passing game. 

"I’m over that," Carroll said. "Both games were so close throughout. We were close enough we could have done whatever we wanted to all the way down to the end of it. I just got a little bit impatient, threw the ball a bit more than we needed to, and so you look back and that’s with limited opportunities because we weren’t converting."

Seattle converted 2 of 12 third downs in Denver and a semi-decent 5 of 13 in Chicago. At Denver, Seattle had great success throwing the ball on early downs. However, this team isn't built to have Wilson sling the ball all over the field. He is better when armed with a strong running game. 

Right tackle Germain Ifedi said he also believes that the coaches will put the team in a position to win and remained diplomatic about the lack of consistent rushing attack. However, he said that pass protection becomes easier when the opposing team must respect the running game. 

"It's a little bit more challenging," he said. 

Complicating matters this week is that center Justin Britt and left guard Ethan Pocic have been held out of both practices so far with injuries. 

What's perplexing is that Carson, the starter, has received just 13 carries despite averaging 5.8 per attempt. In Chicago, he all but disappeared from the game plan. Carroll said after the game that he went with other running backs because Carson was being used extensively on special teams and became fatigued. Carson said on Wednesday that he was never too tired to play on offense. 

"I screwed up," Carroll said. "I thought he looked like he was winded early in the game, so I was just concerned about him, and I thought it was because of the special teams because he hadn’t had a lot of plays yet. I talked to him. He didn’t think he was winded when I talked to him afterwards, you know, today I mentioned it to him"

Carson appeared to be frustrated after the game but didn't express that emotion on Wednesday. 

"As a running back you want to get the ball but if it's not in that situation then you have to be patient," he said. 

Carroll said that he sees on film that the offense is close to breaking out. Alas, he added, that has to be proven, not stated. To be fair, there have been signs. It's not as if Seattle has been getting blown out and the offense hasn't moved the ball. There just hasn't been much consistency in any area.

"We know things are going to start rolling our way," Penny said.

They had better start rolling on Sunday or the season could be lost after just three games. 

What They're Saying: Watch your back, Russell Wilson

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NBCSNW

What They're Saying: Watch your back, Russell Wilson

Coming off their first win of the 2018 season last week, the Dallas Cowboys (1-1) now travel to the PNW to face Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (0-2). 

What kind of a run-game will Zeke have against Seattle? With Seahawks' stud linebacker Bobby Wagner out last week due to groin injury, head coach Pete Carroll says Wagner will be back this Sunday. This Wagner vs. Zeke matchup should be a fun one to watch:

Of course, the #CowboysNation fans have to bring up that Seattle offensive line...

Game Information:

Dallas at Seattle; Kickoff at 1:25 PM; Century Link Field, Seattle, WA; Sunday, September, 23rd, 2018.