Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll met with reporters a day after his team defeated the San Francisco 49ers in their home opener, 12-9. Here are four takeaways from his press conference with the media:
1. Michael Wilhoite Performed Well At Strongside Linebacker
Veteran Michael Wilhoite started for the Seahawks at strongside linebacker against his old club with Terence Garvin nursing a shoulder injury. Wilhoite made his season debut against the 49ers and recorded two tackles on 23 defensive snaps and one special teams tackle. Carroll thought Wilhoite, who is still in the mix with Garvin for the starting job, filled the void for the Seahawks defense well on Sunday.
"Michael did a nice job," Carroll said. "He made a couple of good tackles, took care of his assignments really well, took care of a couple special, difficult plays that a first-time starter might not make. He did a good job."
2. He Felt The Offensive Line "Got Better."
Carroll and Seahawks offensive line coach and assistant head coach Tom Cable said they were disappointed with how the offensive line played in the season opener against the Packers after what they saw during the preseason. Against the 49ers, Carroll believes the Seahawks improved from their first game and remained optimistic about the unit's future the remainder of the season.
"We got better," Carroll said. "We came off the ball much better than we did in Week 1. More confidently. We need to keep growing. I thought we did an adequate job of getting through the preseason and I thought we were making progress, and then we took a step backwards in the first game, but we came back to it. I think we'll continue to grow … we're going to get better. The games are harder in the regular season than they are in preseason, but I think we can see us making the improvement that's going to be important for us."
Carroll said competition on the line is still ongoing, so there could still be the possibility rookie Ethan Pocic, or veterans like Oday Aboushi and Matt Tobin see more action going forward. Another intriguing option for the Seahawks could be Isaiah Battle, who the team acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs at the beginning of the month and is still working to get in-tune with the team's system.
"Really like what's doing," Carroll said of Battle. "He's got an unusually gifted style in pass-protection and we're trying to catch him up with the system right now so that he can compete to play. But he's done some really good stuff, he's gone against their best guys in practice in pass-rush and things like that and he's been very competitive. Really excited about what's coming. I don't know how fast we can get him caught up, though, but he's done well."
3. Chris Carson Has Been Very Consistent.
Rookie Chris Carson continued to make the most of his opportunity with the Seahawks by rushing for 93 yards on 20 carries against the 49ers. As the Seahawks slowly worked Thomas Rawls back into the rotation in his regular season debut, Carson had success on the ground and ultimately closed the game out for the Seahawks late. Carroll said Carson handled the uptick in carries well and they look forward to giving him more chances going forward.
"Everything that he's done has been very, very consistent," Carroll said. "I think he can continue to go and he didn't have any problem carrying it 20 times, which is a good sign. I've told you he's a good pass blocker, he had a couple of opportunities to do better … he's done everything we've really asked of him, so we're going to keep going with him and mixing him in with the fellas and try to get really good production out of that position. We're happy with the guys that are going.
"Chris was there and available for us and he did a nice job."
By how he's played in the preseason and thus far in the two regular season games, Carson hasn't looked too much like a rookie. From a mental standpoint, Carroll said he's handled the transition to the NFL just fine.
"He's been no problem at all, really," Carroll said. "No problem. There's still stuff in terms of the reads and after the snap stuff that he'll find consistency I think in weeks ahead. Also, the running backs, lots of times they need to be out there and they need to see things how they fit in them and they'll get better. I have the thought that just because everything else has fit so well, I think he'll be able to do that and I think he's going to be pretty sharp. We're not restricting anything when he plays, we can do anything we want to do."
4. He Was Disappointed In The Dropped Passes.
The Seahawks unusually had a few dropped passes against the 49ers that cost them big opportunities. Tanner McEvoy was unable to hang on to a potential touchdown and later a first down, while C.J. Prosise dropped a third-down pass. Receivers don't usually drop many key passes for the Seahawks, but Sunday's rainy and wet conditions could've played a factor.
"Yeah, I was disappointed," Carroll said regarding the drops. "That was a factor in the game and I can rarely think of times when that's ever come up. It's unfortunate that that was part of this game and the guys that had drops catch the ball really well, but sometimes balls get away and you don't make the play that you used to make and that kind of happened."
The Seahawks come out victorious for their home opener at CenturyLink Field 12-9 against the 49ers.