The Seahawks are back on the road this week to face the NFC East leading Washington Football Team, and while Washington is a much different team than the last time these two teams met, there's still an element of familiarity thanks to head coach Ron Rivera, who the Seahawks know well from his days in Carolina.
Prior to Wednesday's practice, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll met with the media to talk about the Washington Football Team and more. In addition to some injury updates, here are five takeaways from Carroll's press conference.
1. Brian Schottenheimer would be "an incredible candidate" for a head coaching job.
Over the years, Carroll has always made it clear that he will do everything he can to help assistant coaches advance their careers, even when that means losing good coaches. And since this is the time of year when jobs come open as head coaches lose their jobs, and because the Seahawks are routinely one of the league's top teams, it's normal for Seahawks coordinators to be connected to job openings late in the season. This year, it's offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer who is reportedly a candidate for some jobs, and if that opportunity were to materialize, Carroll believes Schottenheimer would be ready for it.
"I think he's an incredible candidate," Carroll said. "I think he's exactly what owners are looking for. He's been around, he's been in charge, he commands the whole team with his leadership. You got great background. I say that because he's been through our program for enough years, I know that he's got his philosophy in order, he's got his approach and how he would do it, because we've worked on all that stuff. So he's ready to go. We haven't talked about it this time around yet, but we've talked about it in the past."
2. This is clearly a Ron Rivera led team.
The Seahawks know Rivera well from playing so many games against his Panthers teams over the years, and nearly every one of those games went down to the wire and featured two tough, physical teams. Carroll is expecting more of that from a coach he greatly respects.
"Absolutely, yeah, you can tell this is Ron's team," Carroll said. "In all ways, the balance, the creativity on offense, the aggressive defense, the commitment to the 4-3, pressuring on the edges with their DBs and their linebackers. Really solid kicking game. All of our games it seemed like every one was a dogfight all those years. It seemed like we always had to go play in Carolina. He's a terrific ball coach and he's shown that, and he's doing it again. To overcome all of the things—1-5 (record to start the season) and all that, and sick and everything else, and a pandemic, you name it, new job, just a fantastic accomplishment."
3. Washington Football Team is home to two feel-good stories.
A new head coaching job is a big challenge on its own, but Rivera faced a much more serious obstacle this summer when he was diagnosed with skin cancer. Despite going through treatments into the fall, Rivera kept coaching, and after a slow start he now has Washington in first place. And Rivera isn't the only person in that organization overcoming a big medical challenge—quarterback Alex Smith returned to the field this year, and eventually took over the starting job, two years after a severe leg injury that required 17 surgeries and that caused a life-threatening infection.
"I don't know how you could have a more inspiring story ongoing than they have," Carroll said. "I mean, that's just a human interest (story) that everybody can relate to what they're going through and what they pulled off. Alex's thing is well-documented and extraordinary. To see Ron be able to withstand, during this other stuff that's going on, as well, to deal with his cancer and all that and pull through, but not just make it but to make it and excel, both guys excelling at what they do, it's just as good as it gets in terms of inspiration, and I'm sure motivation for a lot of people that are trying to make it through a lot of hard stuff. Both those guys have come across with such feeling and empathy for others and willing to share their story and all of that, that it's really powerful."
4. Brandon Shell has impressed, and Carroll hopes to keep him around for a long time.
Right tackle Brandon Shell has quietly been a big pickup for the Seahawks, having joined them in free agency this year. And while he signed a short-term deal to come to Seattle, Carroll said Wednesday that they hope to keep him around for a long time.
"He's been really steady," Carroll said. "Strong in the run game, in the pass game, assignment sound, accountable. He's real quiet. He's really quiet, doesn't say a word. He's in on everything, cares about everything. I love that acquisition. I think he's so steady and he's going to really—I hope he can be around for a long time with us."
5. Carroll is happy with no bubble.
There had been some speculation with COVID-19 cases rising that the NFL would have teams form "playoff bubbles" to try to limit cases. Instead, however, the league decided to stick with the protocols it has in place, and as the coach of a team that has not had a positive test all season—defensive tackle Bryan Mone, who is on injured reserve, went on the COVID list last week, but for a close contact, not a positive test—Carroll is happy to stick with what has been working so far.
"I totally agree with that and have spoken out about that," Carroll said. "I really think that that's the way it should go. If you've gotten this far, then you should do it the way you've been doing it. Who's to say that they're going to take you somewhere else and it's going to be better. All along it's been on the clubs. Just like it was on the states, well, it's been on the clubs the whole time to figure it out, and the league has supported us well and stayed with it, and for this far we should keep doing what we're doing and try to finish it off."
The Seattle Seahawks take on the Washington Football Team for Week 12 of the 2021 season, the 19th meeting between the two teams. Take a look back at some of their previous matchups.