Pete Carroll gave his players a homework assignment on Bonus Monday: to watch the primetime contest between the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns.
Following the 49ers convincing 31-3 win, Carroll half-regretted assigning the task.
“I don’t think it was my best assignment as a teacher,” Carroll joked with reporters on Wednesday. “The game didn’t work out. I was hoping it was going to be a real battle. The game kind of got lopsided, so it wasn’t as beneficial.”
Now it’s up to the Seahawks to avoid taking the Browns lightly. Coaches and players will obviously say the right things during the week, but that was the case in Week 1 and Carroll still admitted that his squad was “a little arrogant” against the Bengals.
That task should be easier in Week 6. Although Cleveland, now 2-3, has been largely a mess through five games, its roster is still loaded with superstar talent.
“I like to live by the term ‘any given Sunday.’ You give every team their respect,” Bradley McDougald said. “They have some very good athletes, pure athletes. They have playmakers all over the field. They can get this thing clicking at any moment, we just don’t want it to be against us.”
Containing Nick Chubb will be a point of emphasis. The same goes for Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ has been extremely quiet so far this season. If you take away his 89-yard touchdown against the Jets, he’s only posted 246 yards on his other 22 receptions with no scores. Much of that has to do with Baker Mayfield's inconsistencies and Cleveland's issues in pass protection.
The Seahawks will choose to view it as Beckham is overdue for a monster game. Limiting his yards after the catch is crucial in making sure he doesn’t go off on Sunday.
“He’s very elusive when working in space and he has a great burst,” McDougald said. “When you try to get him down, he has some moves, but as long as you wrap him up and hold on – because you know the guys are coming. Yards after contact are going to be big this week.”
Defensively, the Browns are hoping to get back starting corners Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. Both players have been out the last three week with hamstring injuries.
It also goes without saying that Seattle will have to be aware of Myles Garrett on every play. Garrett has seven sacks on the season, and he’s already regarded as one of the game’s top edge rushers. Carroll said Garrett is about as much of a problem as you’ll face across the league.
“He’s a terrific athlete,” Carroll added. “He’s got great speed and burst and flexibility to bend and get off the ball and then get around the corner. He’s off to a great start. He has seven sacks and he could have had 10 at this point. Maybe more. He’s real legit.”
Seahawks players have one more incentive to avoid a potential trap game in Cleveland. Veterans with at least six years in the NFL are given the coach’s first-class seats on the plane ride home after road victories. McDougald has been the beneficiary of the upgrade twice this season already. He plans on enjoying the extra leg room on Sunday evening as well.
“I definitely try to take advantage of that,” McDougald said. “It’s a little incentive on the way.”