As the Seahawks got back to work on Wednesday, the beginning of their practice week ahead of a Week 2 trip to Detroit, some veteran players noticed that the team's season-opening loss might still be lingering a bit.
For as long as Pete Carroll has coached the Seahawks, the team uses the day after a game, or Tell the Truth Monday as they call it, to review the previous game, take lessons from it, then begin the process of putting that result, win or lose, behind them so they can fully focus on the task at hand.
But sometimes getting over a tough loss can be easier said than done, so before the team took the field on Wednesday, Bobby Wagner told Jordyn Brooks he was going to talk to the team.
"Me and Bobby were talking about it, kind of feeling the energy, guys kind of moping around," Brooks said. "He told me before practice he was going to say something to the team, and I couldn't agree with him more. We had to get the energy picked up. That one happened, it's going to be in the history books, and now we have to move on to this week to make sure we don't start off 0-2. It was just clearing guys' minds of what happened and getting what we need to do now to move forward."
What followed that conversation was Wagner giving an impassioned pre-practice speech Wednesday, hardly a normal occurrence, but one that hit home for the team given the respect Wagner has in the locker room.
"That's exactly what we need," Brooks said. "Everybody knows Bobby. He'll talk, but he doesn't need to say something every day, that's not the type of leader that he is. He's more lead by example, but when he does speak, everybody listens. I told him, 'Hey, we need more of that. We've got a lot of young guys here that respect the hell out of you.'"
Said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, "It was about as well-captured of a moment as you can get. He did exactly what was necessary at the time, and they responded to the letter on what he was calling on. We had a really good Wednesday, and the week has followed right in the fashion that we're accustomed to. Guys are working hard, working together, focused and concentrated on getting the game plan in order. He did a great job."
The Seahawks re-signed Wagner in March after one year away in no small part for the on-field skills he displayed while recording 19 tackles in Sunday's loss, a total that is one short of the team record he shares with Brooks. But they also brought him back for moments like Wednesday's, which saw him recognize a potential issue and say what needed to be said.
"That's who he is, that's what he does," said Quandre Diggs, who shares defensive captain duties with Wagner. "That's why I lobbied to get him back here, not just off the field but on the field. I just think it was great that he did that. It's aways appreciated by me. It takes some of the stress and pressure off me to be able to go play ball. It's dope."
And while Sunday's game will be the real indicator of how effective Wagner's message was, early indications are that it did help the team get back on track.
Second-year cornerback Riq Woolen said Wagner was, "Telling us that yesterday is yesterday, you can't really change it. Have your mind ready for today because tomorrow you don't know what you're going to get, so just have your mind ready for today. Take care of your task at hand and 'Be where your feet at.' He kind of sensed that there's a vibe on the team that guys were still feeling some type of way towards the loss even though we have another game coming up and it was just Week 1.
"Yesterday we had a great practice, I feel like this is the type of stuff that you need on the team because Bobby is our leader. Whenever he senses something wrong with the team, it feels good to know we have a guy on the team that can help us self-reflect. But also help us come together as a team because that is what makes a team closer."
Brooks said he felt a shift in the team's energy as practice began.
"You can feel it, you can't always see it when you're watching from afar, but you can feel the energy, and the energy was definitely there," Brooks said. "Guys doing their assignments, being physical—obviously we can't tackle at practice—but being as physical as they can be."
The Seahawks know they still have 16 games to play and that all of their goals are still attainable, so there is hardly any sense of dread or panic around the building. As quarterback Geno Smith put it, "Oh-and-one is not the way we wanted to start but no one is hanging their head. Everyone is looking at ways to improve and really looking forward to going on the road in a tough environment and going out there and trying to get a win. I think everyone is really focused, has a huge sense of urgency, and we've been practicing like it."
But even with all of that being said, sometimes a team, and especially a young one like this year's Seahawks, can need a little extra spark that only a future Hall of Famer can provide.
"I think Bobby did a great job of just reminding guys who we are as a team," Smith said. "Whenever you have a tough loss like that, you can kind of start looking around and say, 'Hey, what's going on? We have to know who we are as a team and we're a confident bunch. We have to continue to remain confident and play with that swagger and that energy.' That was his message, being confident and having that energy."
Seahawks practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. on Sept. 14, 2023.