#HawksMailbag - November 19: Bye week an unwanted distraction?

Posted Nov 19, 2013

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

It may say bye week on the schedule, but the content don't stop here at

We fielded several of your Twitter questions following the Seahawks win over the Minnesota Vikings, and this week you guys want to know a little bit more about the team's scheduled week off and the role wide receiver Percy Harvin will play moving forward. Let's jump right in.

After Sunday's 41-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings, head coach Pete Carroll just about said the exact same thing.

"I don't think that it comes at a great time because we'd like to keep playing, to tell you the truth," Carroll said of the Seahawks bye week. "But we'll use it and we'll get some guys rested. We're in pretty good shape at this point. It's still going to help us, we think. But we'd like to keep playing."

Carroll echoed those comments on Monday afternoon- not wanting to distract the club from the tried-and-true weeks of preparation they have strung together to earn the NFL's best record at 10-1. Unfortunately for the firing-on-all-cylinders Seahawks, the bye week is mandatory.

"We talked about the things where we’re strong and where we want to add to when we come back, just particularly about football," Carroll said of his bye-week message to the team. "I think it’s real important that we compete all week long, that’s the message. That they compete to get the most out of the recuperating from the game and rehabbing that needs to take place."

Pretty much the entire week. The players were in on "Tell the Truth Monday" to review Sunday's 41-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings and select players will be in and out of team headquarters for rehab, but it's basically a ghost town around Virginia Mason Athletic Center. The team will receive six days off (Tuesday - Sunday) before returning to the facility on Monday, November 25 to begin preparation for their Monday Night Football matchup with the New Orleans Saints in Week 13 at CenturyLink Field.

Rest is important, especially at this point in the season - the NFL's latest possible bye week. But head coach Pete Carroll doesn't want his players completely relaxed in the "mode of shutdown," noting everybody has something they're working on during the week off.

"They’ve got it planned to work out this week," Carroll said of his team on Monday. "We’re encouraging everybody to do all of the things to take care of their bodies, eat well and sleep right, so that when we come back we don’t have any issues."

Percy Harvin's first catch as a Seahawk would have been one to remember no matter what, but the added flair of Sunday's 17-yard, one-handed, diving grab against tight coverage that converted a third down and kept an eventual Marshawn Lynch touchdown drive alive made it that much more memorable.

So, did we infuse Harvin with dolphin DNA, you ask? Not exactly. That was just Percy being Percy, and there looks to be plenty more where that came from.

After his 58-yard return that set up a touchdown just before the half in Week 11 against and the Vikings, and after what head coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Monday, it's safe to say it's "The Percy Harvin Show" at kick returner from here on out.

"I can tell you that he's in full rotation now," Carroll said. "He’s going to be back there for kicks."

The Vikings kicked away from Harvin the next time he trotted out for a return, giving the Seahawks the ball at the 35-yard-line after fullback Michael Robinson recovered the short kick and ran it back four yards.

"That’s respect," Carroll said. "They demonstrated that. So we may see more of that in the kicking game."

Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse did suffer a concussion in Week 11 against the Vikings, but head coach Pete Carroll said he was feeling much better the day after the game and emphasized Kearse should be able to return to action in time for the Seahawks game against the New Orleans Saints.

"He'll benefit from this week off," Carroll told reporters on Monday. "He'll have two weeks before he has to get back, so we would think that he'd be able to make it. He's not in bad shape at all now."

Start? I can't tell you that. What he will do is continue to work into the offensive rotation. Harvin came out of Sunday's game against the Vikings a little bit sore, which is to be expected after playing his first game in more than a year. But Carroll said Harvin will play a "regular amount" and there will be no snap-limit on his work load when the club comes back from the bye week.

"We’re not changing the offense," Carroll told reporters on Monday. "I told Percy that the first night I talked to him. I told him we’re not going to change because you’re coming to our team. We’re just going to add you in and hope you can be a factor to help us, which he’s going to be.

"There’s no question, he’s a fantastic player, but that’s it. We love the way they’re all playing and so he’ll just be another issue, and it’ll be obvious that he’s out there. He’s that good of a player, it’s really clear.”

I think that will fully depend on the situations that those games down the stretch present. Thus far, running back Christine Michael has been relegated to clean-up duty behind starter Marshawn Lynch and second-year pro Robert Turbin.

Head coach Pete Carroll has said on numerous occasions that Michael needs to improve in pass protection and in reading the run game in order to see more of the field. More live action reps will help him get there, but again, those opportunities are limited behind Lynch and Turbin.

Michael's most extensive work of the year has come when the game looks to be rolling in the Seahawks favor, as he racked up nine carries in a win against the Jaguars in Week 3 and eight carries in a win against the Falcons in Week 10. If Seattle can find a way to build comfortable leads in games down the stretch, we'll very likely see more of Michael's development. Until then, look for Lynch and Turbin to continue carrying the load - a formula which has been pretty productive so far.

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