A day after watching his team beat the Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll remained very encouraged with what he saw on Sunday, not just because his team won, but because of how they played.
“We’re real happy with the game yesterday,” Carroll said. “It was a real good turn for us to make as a team. Everybody in all phases contributed. We had a really nice, balanced ball game. Defense did a nice job in general, and the offense came through and took care of the football and owned it. Special teams got the job done. None of them were spectacular in performance but everything was really solid and so it gives a real balanced game.”
In addition to Carroll’s overall pleasure with the way his team performed, here are five things we learned from his Monday press conference.
1. Justin Britt “should be fine” and other injury updates.
The Seahawks played without starting center Justin Britt because of a shoulder injury, but his absence should be a short one.
“He should be fine,” Carroll said. “If the week goes well and he doesn't have any setbacks, he should be fine to play.”
And while the Seahawks will want to get their starting center back as soon as possible, they feel very good about the play of Joey Hunt in that role as well.
“Joey did a really nice job though,” Carroll said. “He was really aggressive and tough and did a fine job coming in off the bench… He can do everything. He's just that well-versed. He’s a really, really bright football player. He's been with us a long time, so that's really the reason we don't have to change anything when he plays.”
The status on two other starters who are out with injuries is less clear.
On linebacker K.J. Wright, who has yet to play this season while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, Carroll said, “I don't have any updates for you and we won't until we get back. I don't know what happened today with his workouts. I can't tell you that he's going to be back for sure this week. I don't know that yet.”
On Doug Baldwin, who missed the past two games after spraining his knee in the season opener, Carroll said, “I don't know yet. I can’t tell you. I won't know until they start reporting back on how they're doing this week, like today and tomorrow.”
2. Turnover differential was big.
Considering how much Carroll preaches his “it’s all about the ball” philosophy, it should hardly come as a surprise that he was very pleased to see his team have a plus-three turnover ratio on Sunday. For the defense, Sunday’s game continued a trend of getting takeaways, with that unit upping its total to eight, while for the offense it was the first game without committing a turnover this season.
“It's really been important,” Carroll said. “We really haven't cashed in on (the takeaways) like we could have in the first two weeks unfortunately. It has been a real consistent effort. I think a lot of it's coming from more aggressive play calling from Kenny (Norton Jr.), and we're getting after it in a good way. All of that usually comes from what you do with the pass rush, in effecting the quarterback to throw the ball to us. Our guys are coming through in a big way, making their picks. I think we’re being little bit more aggressive and it's just paying off for us in terms of getting the ball. There's nothing better. There's nothing better than taking football off your opponents. Of course, we should mention that the fact that the offense didn't have turnover. We basically win when that happens. You put those two together, three turnovers and then we don't turn it over, we're going to have a good game.”
3. Frank Clark is off to a great start.
With Cliff Avril unable to play because of a neck injury and Michael Bennett being traded to Philadelphia, expectations have never been higher for Frank Clark than they were heading into this season, and so far he is thriving in a bigger role. Clark has recorded a sack in each game, and his pressure on Dak Prescott set up another sack for Mychal Kendricks, and overall Clark has enjoyed a really good start to his season.
“Frank’s doing really well,” Carroll said. “He has been really active. He has been after the quarterback. He's just missed on two or three others, maybe three or four other sacks already. He's got some numbers already rolling. He has been disruptive in the running game. His effort has been really good. His focus and attention in the way he’s competing in practice are excellent. I've really seen Frank just kind of merging into a mature competitor on our team in a lot of ways and I'm really excited about that for him. He's a leader by the way he works. I've been able to point him out on practice sessions and show the other guys that this is what it looks like when you're giving everything you got on a Friday practice, for instance, because he's really working hard and doing everything he can do to be as good as he can possibly be. I'm really fired up about him in that regard.”
4. D.J. Fluker has an infectious spirit.
After missing two games because of a hamstring injury, D.J. Fluker was back in the lineup at right guard, and Carroll made it clear both after the game and again on Monday that the free-agent addition makes his presence known not just in his play, but with what Carroll described Sunday as his spirit.
“He’s just loves the game,” Carroll said. “He loves to play. He loves practicing, he’s got one of those personalities that’s always upbeat, always looking to play tough, always wanting to push— the harder you push him, the more he likes it and he’s vocal about it. If you watch him, he’s responsive to plays when they happen and he’s going to be the first guy picking up Chris (Carson) in the end zone or whoever it was. It’s infectious and it’s refreshing and I love that he’s on our team.”
5. Carroll’s thoughts on Earl Thomas.
There’s no denying how well Thomas has played since returning to the team from a holdout just before the start of the season, but Thomas has also made it clear he wants a new contract. Carroll again raved about Thomas’ on-field performance on Monday, while adding that he understands Thomas’ concerns.
“I totally understand when a guy is at the end of their contract and they want to get another contract,” Carroll said. “We’ve been through that for years, so it's nothing new. It’s legit. It’s legitimate. Guys are concerned about their future. I get it and we respect the heck out of that. There's a lot of business that goes beyond just one person's business and there's a lot of things taking place and there's a lot of things going on. It's all under consideration as we work forward. We’re trying to do really good stuff by our guys, we always have, and we will continue to try to do that whenever we can.”
Asked if a contract extension is still a possible outcome with Thomas, Carroll said, “Everything's possible, yeah. We can do whatever we can do. There's a lot of guys that are also involved. This is not just one person's concern. We have a lot of things going on. It's a team and there's a lot of guys on this squad and there's a lot of guys who have contracts that are under consideration, which we're always working on. On a very long-range plan. Things fit accordingly and I think John (Schneider) has done a fantastic job of orchestrating it and we're continuing to work at it. We're on it.”
Game action photos from the Seahawks' Week 3 game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Seahawks won 24-13 at CenturyLink Field.