The Seahawks were back to work Monday following a tough Week 13 loss to the Giants, and after reviewing the game film, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said things looked a lot like they felt the day before. There were struggles on offense and two series of bad run defense, but there were also some really good individual performances, including from Jamal Adams and rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks, and more strong play on special teams, continuing a season-long theme for that unit.
"There's some real obvious things," Carroll said. "Third downs on offense would have made a huge difference, not converting, we got to stay out of the real long ones, it's so difficult. And that's because of the plays that happened before. We want to run the ball, always want to run the football. Chris looked really good; I'd love to see him more. Defensively, we had a portion of the game in the third quarter—it was really the third quarter was where we just lost our edge for a moment then regained it. I'd like to see the consistency all the way throughout. I really liked the way the defense was running and hitting. I thought Jordyn Brooks really showed up. I think this was by far his best game. I really liked the way Jamal played, he was all over the field making things happen. And so, there's tons of stuff—I thought special teams really play good again and love the way that those guys were running and hitting and making their plays. It's good and bad. It's never as bad as it seems and it's never as good as it seems, and that's kind of what this was all about looking at the film."
Here are some injury updates from Carroll and other takeaways from his Monday press conference.
1. Injury updates.
Carroll didn't give any updates on new injuries coming out of the game, but he did say earlier in the day on 710 ESPN Seattle that safety Ryan Neal's hip injury doesn't look to be serious, though at this point they don't yet know about his status for this week's game.
Several players who either played through injuries Sunday or who missed the game are getting healthier, Carroll said, including running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde, who were both playing through injuries Sunday. Carson has been limited in his reps the past two games since returning from a four-game absence caused by a sprained foot, while Hyde was playing through a toe injury.
"He feels better this week going into the week than he's felt at any time, so I think this week is really a time we have a chance to cut him loose and he can take the full load. That hindered us a little bit in the thinking," Carroll said. "Carlos entered the game kind of gingerly as well, so both of those guys, it affected us a little bit and unfortunately that's just the way it went. Chris looked really good, he handled what we did. He came out of the game better, so in the long run of it, we'll have him, we hope, full-speed, full-load this week."
Also getting healthier after playing through injury is defensive end Carlos Dunlap II, who played Sunday despite not practicing all week. Dunlap was limited in his playing time due to the injury, playing only 41 percent of Seattle's defensive snaps.
"He's better off today than he was, so that's a good start to the week," Carroll said. "By Wednesday, Thursday, we'll know where we're sitting with him, but he feels better about it and it's real positive signs."
The Seahawks will also get running back Rashaad Penny back in practice this week, though it's not certain yet how much practice time he'll need to get game ready. Penny has been on the physically unable to perform list this year, the result of the ACL injury that ended his 2019 season.
"We're really excited to get him back on the field with us," Carroll said. "It's just been a long haul. It's very meaningful for him to get back out there. You really want to see him bang his breaks and really get down and hit it and give good tempo in practice… I've said it the whole time, the last thing we're going to do is rush the timing of this."
Also expected back at practice is cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who has been on injured reserve for the past three weeks with a knee injury.
"I expect him to practice this week, we'll see how he does," Carroll said. "I'm excited that he's coming back out. He's has a really good process to get back. He's been able to condition more so than he had before and work on it, and I'm hoping his knee has really quieted down. We'll just have to wait and see how the week goes, but he is going to practice."
The Seahawks are also hoping to get back starting right tackle Brandon Shell, who has missed two games with an ankle injury, and his backup, Cedric Ogbuehi, who missed Sunday's game with a calf injury.
"Shell's coming back to us, we believe. He thinks he can practice this week. And Cedric will come back this week as well. That's a nice little boost right there."
Rookie defensive end Darrell Taylor, who has been on the non-football injury list due to a leg injury he played through during his final year at Tennessee, was away from the team last week and got an injection that is the next step of his treatment, Carroll said, adding it will be a couple more weeks until they know more about his status.
2. With defenses starting to catch up to offenses, balance will be important down the stretch.
As the Seahawks and a lot of other teams put up big offensive numbers early in the season, Carroll noted that that it appeared that offenses were ahead of defenses in this unusual season that had no preseason and no in-person offseason workout program.
Defenses are starting to catch up having seen more out of their opposing offenses, however, and to combat that, Carroll said his offense needs to be ready each week to do whatever it takes to move the ball both on the ground and in the air. That version of balance, being able to do whatever it takes to move the ball, not an even run/pass ratio, is what will be important down the stretch, starting with this weeks game against the Jets, who just made a change at defensive coordinator.
"We need to be balanced; we need to have our balance about us and able to go wherever we need to go," Carroll said. "Down the stretch here we're going to need to be ready for anything.. There's a lot of information—if you notice there's a lot of scores that are starting to go the other way now, starting to cut down a little bit on the all the points. There's been enough time for the defenses to see everybody, and right now it's going to be more challenging. Early in the year it was wide open, it was like the Wild Wild West out there on offense. And we fell prey to that as well. But it's tightening down, so we're going to need the running game, we're going to need the throwing game, we're going to need to be able to do all the things we need to do to take what's there in the games as it unfolds. Here's a great example—we're not sure what (Jets interim defensive coordinator Frank Bush) is going to do with his with his defense, so we're going to have to be ready to play real good solid ball that we can count on, and then go where we need to go when they show their hand. It's going to be an exciting run here down the finish."
3. Defenses have adjusted to the Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, so they need to adjust in turn.
Sunday's game was a tough one for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense, and it marked the third time in the last five games he has been held to a passer rating under 100 after being over that mark in six of his first seven games. Carroll doesn't see one common theme in what has changed for the offense, but said teams are adjusting how they're playing Seattle, which means the offense needs to adjust to that.
"Each game has been unique," Carroll said. "We started so fast, and people have changed a little bit the way they're playing, so we have to adjust and adapt to it. He wants to do really well, he doesn't like not killing it, so he's determined to bounce back and have good game this week and get going."
4. Jordyn Brooks played his best game.
Rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks has continued to impress teammates and coaches since taking over a starting role earlier this year, and Sunday's game, in which he recorded 11 tackles, matching Jamal Adams for the team high, was Brooks' best performance yet, Carroll said.
"He played hard now, he had some great plays in this game," Carroll said. "If you go back and you have a chance to go look at the TV copies or whatever and see it, there's four or five really, really beautiful tackles in the line of scrimmage, coming off blocks and fitting into the running game. He played like a real veteran in this game and he was confident and physical, and he and Bobby (Wagner) were banging folks, and it was really great to see. This was just his best game. That's how he's going to play. I don't think this is like he won't be able to attain this level again, this is just who he is. We've been really excited about him and, and those plays show you why. He almost had to pick too on a lowball, so it's nice stuff."
5. Bryan Mone didn't have a positive COVID-19 test.
The Seahawks' status as the only team in the NFL to not place a player on the Reserve/COVID-19 list this season came to an end on Saturday when defensive tackle Bryan Mone, who has been on injured reserve since Week 8, was placed on that list.
Mone did not, however, test positive, Carroll explained.
"He has not tested positive," Carroll said. "We're exercising extreme caution right now because of a (close) contact. So we're just trying to do it exactly the very best way possible and keep our fingers crossed that he's OK. Right now he hasn't tested positive. Nobody's tested positive yet."
The best photos from Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants at Lumen Field. Fueled by Nesquik.