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#HawksMailbag - August 27

Posted Aug 27, 2013

Answering your on the field and off the field questions about the club on a weekly basis.

Welcome to the fifth edition of #HawksMailbag here on Seahawks.com.

Since we last met, the Seahawks earned a franchise record eighth consecutive preseason victory, but committed numerous penalties in the process. Several of your questions came in following that Friday night 17-10 road win over the Green Bay Packers, so let's get down to business.

Good question, Anthony - and nice name to boot.

During the Seahawks' third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, the club was flagged 14 times for a whopping 182 yards. That brought the preseason total to an NFL-high 34 penalties for another NFL-high 354 yards.

Head coach Pete Carroll put the blame squarely on himself Monday afternoon, when several members of the Seahawks media asked that very same question.

"We’ve made a tremendous emphasis for the last four months, so I’m not real pleased with the results of that," said Carroll. "I know a good deal of it is my fault because of the way of that I am calling on them on how hard to play. I want them to emphasize finishing and being physical, and attitude and all of that. And I need to make some good decisions myself in directing this. So no, I’m not pleased right now."

Carroll pointed to the Seahawks' youth as another reason for the team's penalty woes. Several budding players are "frothing at the mouth" - as Carroll put it - to make an impression on the coaching staff before the team's roster cutdown to 53 players this Saturday. Carroll noted the area is a major point of emphasis this week.

"The whole group, including myself, needs to get our act together," he concluded.

The Packers recorded four sacks last week against the Seahawks - three of which came on starting quarterback Russell Wilson and the team's number-one offensive line. Credit the Packers defense here. Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews racked up a sack and is going to pressure the backfield from time to time, regardless of how well a team can game plan against him. The pressures the Packers dialed up also forced a Wilson interception that was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

In preseason, teams don't spend an extended period of time game-planning against opponents like they would do in the regular season. So take last Friday's effort from the Seahawks' pass protection with a grain of salt.

"In a normal game plan, we would handle it better, particularly those back up guys," Carroll said Monday. "They gave us a hard time, which is good. It’s good for us. We're making adjustments on the sideline, the young guys had to come back from a funky play, and the quarterback had to deal with it and it affected everybody to some extent. But we survived it, kind of. They did a nice job."

Robert Turbin is still listed as the No. 2 running back behind Marshawn Lynch, but Christine Michael's impressive preseason performances are pushing the competition.

Michael leads the NFL in preseason rushing yards (186) and total yards (211), despite playing in just two of the team's three preseason games. Where Turbin has the upper hand on Michael is in his knowledge and familiarity of the Seahawks' offensive system, a sentiment head coach Pete Carroll alluded to on Monday.

"He doesn’t have the whole thing yet, he’s got a lot of work to do, and he’s not always reading things properly," Carroll said of Michael. "But he surely shows us the suddenness that gives you chance to make you feel like he’s going to bust something. It’s great to see him in the passing game, too."

So right now, it looks like Michael and Turbin will continue to do battle for playinig time.

"Marshawn Lynch, too," Carroll added for good measure.

Veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield sat out the Seahawks' third preseason game against the Packers with a sore knee.

"We just thought it was the right thing to do during preseason," Carroll said on Monday.

Winfield returned to the practice field this week, and Carroll noted he is feeling good.

While it can be tougher playing football - or doing anything - early in the day following a trip from the West Coast to the East Coast, it's all part of the game. The Seahawks have five games with 10 a.m. PT kickoff times this season, including their regular season opener September 8 against the Carolina Panthers.

In a related note, all but two of the Seahawks' 22 practices to date have been held at 10 a.m. PT. Last year, a good portion of the team's preseason practices started at 1 p.m. PT. It will be interesting to see if the team's early-practice schedule continues into the regular season.

Head coach Pete Carroll has said they are taking a conservative approach with wide receiver Sidney Rice (knee) and tight end Zach Miller (foot), eying the regular season opener as the duos return to game-action. Wide receiver Bryan Walters returned to practice this week after nursing a hamstring early in preseason and could be in line for playing time Thusday night against the Oakland Raiders.

Update: Miller said in an interview today with 710 AM ESPN Seattle's "Wyman, Mike and Moore" that he will play Thursday night against the Raiders. It will be Miller's first game-action since his eight-catch, 142-yard, 1-TD effort in the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons a season ago.

Outside of the team's regular season home-opener against the San Francisco 49ers on September 15, the Seahawks will not give away NFL-approved clear bags at CenturyLink Field. Be sure to plan ahead for Thursday night's exhibition finale against the Oakland Raiders by checking out www.nfl.com/allclear.

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