The Seahawks returned to work Monday for meetings and workouts looking to begin the process of bouncing back from a tough loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Of the utmost importance for Pete Carroll and the rest of the coaching staff is making sure the team does better in the trenches on both sides of the ball coming off back-to-back losses in which the Seahawks struggled to run the ball on offense and weren't able to stop the run on defense.
"We made it through the day today taking a really serious look at making sure that we get back on track in the areas that we didn't play well in yesterday," Carroll said. "That's the stuff that happened up front in the running game, really on both sides of the ball. We didn't come out of the bye as sharp as we would have liked to. I have no idea if that had to do with the bye or not, but we just didn't play well enough up front. That's where our focus will be, we have to get right here in the next couple of weeks.
"We are not as clean as we need to be. Both teams did a nice job against us, and we just have to get better and keep working it. We know where we have been, so we have to get back at it."
Here are five takeaways from Carroll's Monday press conference:
1. Carroll is confident the Seahawks can clean up the issues that have hurt them in the past two games.
The Seahawks played very well on both sides of the ball during a four-game winning streak, so while things haven't gone well in the past two games, everyone remains confident the Seahawks can get back to their winning ways, and get back to being a team that can stop the run on defense while running the ball on offense.
"I don't have any hesitation at all in saying that we can do that," Carroll said. "It's clear, the stuff that took place, and we have the guys to do that. We will get that done."
Asked about the run defense against the Raiders, who ran for 283 yards and averaged 7.1 yards per carry, Carroll said, "There were issues that we weren't connected as well as we want to be, where we fit right. We gave them some runs that we were a little bit exposed because we were doing some stuff in coverage. Those things are easily fixed, so I think we can get right back on track. We need to do a better job of the two-back stuff, which we have seen a little of during the season. We have to do better, we saw quite a bit of it in the game yesterday."
As for the offense, which gained 65 yards on 23 runs, Carroll said, "We struggled a little bit on some pickups and stuff that we haven't been. They were able to get some penetration that we haven't seen and they did a nice job with that. We couldn't get Kenneth (Walker III) started as well as we had. Again, that was not the same case with what happened a week ago, but they are all things that we know how to do and have done well, so we have to get back at it."
2. The pass rush needs to get back on track.
During a four-game winning streak, the Seahawks had 19 sacks and were able to make life difficult on opposing quarterbacks. Over the past two games, however, the Seahawks have just one sack, something Carroll obviously would like to see change.
"We're doing a lot of the same things and expecting the same results, but it kind of came out the same again," Carroll said. "We were disappointed by that. We thought that we could get some good edge pressure, get our guys up inside mixing with our stunts and all of that, but it just didn't. We didn't hit. They held the football quite a bit yesterday, he had some extra time and it helped him in the throwing game. We have to just tie it together, we have to make sure that we are tying it together and doing a good job of getting back on track."
Asked what a successful pass rush should look like, Carroll said, "It looks like we get a feel for the interior push whether we are stunting or not. We want to have a feel if the pocket is moving towards the quarterback, and then the guys off the edge are roaring. They work in conjunction. They'll work their games, and we have two-man games, and three-man games that we work, but it all starts with the push in the middle, and the factor on the edge. They did a good job against us, and they were concerned about it. They paid respect to it, and made it a little harder on our guys, but that is what we are trying to get done."
3. The run defense is a factor in the third-down issues.
Seattle's last two opponents have gone 18 for 29 on third down, and while the Seahawks expect to do better than that regardless of the length of those third-down plays, it hasn't helped that opponents have faced a lot more third-and-short situations, in no small part because they have been able to run the ball successfully on early downs.
"Of the 14 (third downs Sunday), I think there might have been eight third-and-6s or less, something like that," Carroll said. "That's attributed to well-balanced first and second-down stuff. They didn't have any really long ones. They had the really workable numbers, which is what you hope for. That happened last week also, same thing."
4. Geno Smith is showing his leadership.
Geno Smith put up big numbers again on Sunday, and even his one interception wasn't entirely his fault, Carroll said after the game, but despite another strong performance, Smith was hard on himself after the game, taking on a lot of the blame. And even if Smith wasn't deserving of all the blame he wanted to shoulder, Carroll likes the leadership his quarterback showed after the game.
"I think it's exactly what you hope you would get," Carroll said. "He couldn't be more willing to hold himself accountable. He's giving direction, he made a statement, 'We're not sneaking up on anybody, we've done enough stuff that people know we are coming.' I thought he showed some wisdom in that. He's very clear and very comfortable in accepting responsibility, obviously you have seen that. It's a great trait."
5. Tariq Woolen had a "particularly good game" despite the ball not coming his way.
Tariq Woolen is barely halfway through his rookie season, but already he is getting treated like an elite cornerback by some opponents, who have for the most part avoided throwing his direction. That included Sunday's game, during which All-Pro receiver Davante Adams did almost all of his damage while lined up on the opposite side of the field.
A stretch of four interceptions in four games can do that to a cornerback, but while the ball once again didn't come his way very often on Sunday, Carroll likes what he saw from the rookie.
"It looked like that in this game," Carroll said of the Raiders not targeting Woolen. "It looked like they were going the other way. I thought Tariq had a particularly good game with what he was challenged by with the routes that he had, but the ball just didn't go that way. So, we'll see what happens this week, one week at a time."
Check out some of the best action shots from Week 12 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders at Lumen Field on November 27, 2022. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.