The Seahawks held a "Bonus Monday" practice to kick off their week of preparation for their upcoming game at Cleveland. With a Thursday game in Week 5, the Seahawks got a little break over the weekend, and thanks to the Browns playing on Monday night football, Seattle practiced just a couple hours before their Week 6 opponent had even played its Week 5 game. With that in mind, here are five takeaways from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's Monday press conference:
1. Players have a Monday Night Football homework assignment.
In a normal week, the Seahawks would play at the same time, or at least on the same day, as their opponent for the following week, meaning they'd study film of that team after the fact. But last week's Thursday game means Seahawks players can get a head start on studying the Browns, watching them in real time as they played the San Francisco 49ers.
"We'll get a chance to look at it, a little homework assignment for everybody tonight," Carroll said. "They're an interesting team, they've got all kinds of firepower. Just in the early stages of learning about them, they've got a lot of dangerous players on both sides of the ball."
Carroll, a known multi-tasker, said he'd be watching as well, but would likely be juggling multiple other tasks.
"I don't (usually) sit down and watch the game, tonight's a rare opportunity to do that," Carroll said. "That won't be the only thing I'm doing though. They'll be a couple of other things that will be rolling at the same time."
2. Russell Wilson's consistency has stood out as much as the gaudy numbers.
Russell Wilson has played himself into the early-season MVP conversation, and the stats are incredibly impressive—he leads the NFL in passer rating (126.3) and touchdown passes (12) is second in completion percentage (73.1), and he has not thrown an interception—but what really stands out to Carroll has been the week-in, week-out consistency from the eighth-year quarterback.
"What stood out is his consistency," Carroll said. "He's making the same plays one week to the next to the next. He's just going one to the other. It's his level of play that is really showing up. Depending on who he's playing, we've had interesting chances already where we've thrown the ball a lot and not thrown the ball as much in different weeks. He continues to find enough opportunities to be productive. To have a game that made such an impression and he only threw about 23 times (against the Rams), that's pretty remarkable. His consistency is there. His confidence. His command has been the same each week, week to week. It's exciting to see. It's something that I'm not surprised, I'm just wanting to see really when he's really going to take over and really own it. I think we're seeing that from last year and this year that he's getting into that mode."
3. Carroll can feel the pass rush "coming alive."
While the Seahawks were able to affect Rams quarterback Jared Goff at times last week, they failed to record a sack, their second time not recording a sack in the past three games. Carroll expects to see the pass-rush production pick up soon as new defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah continue to get more comfortable in a new defense and get more up to speed physically—Ansah is coming off of shoulder surgery that kept him out of the preseason, and Clowney held out of training camp and the preseason with Houston before being traded to Seattle.
"There was real good activity from Jadeveon for certain, as well as Quinton (Jefferson) was really active too," Carroll said. "Those guys were around the ball a lot. We were so close to three or four sacks. You can just feel it's coming alive. I think just the combination with Zig outside and what's going on inside, I think we're going to be able to work together better. We'll spot them a little better."
As Carroll mentioned when asked about his team's pass rush against the Rams, Jefferson continues to play very well after opening the season with a pair of sacks.
"He's playing ball," Carroll said. "He just continues to do stuff every week. He's really fundamentally sound, and well versed. He does so many things right, in the program a long time, knows what's expected of him, Quinton's done a great job of finding his style of play, and the way that best suits his abilities. He just continues to be a really good player for us, and making things happen every week."
4. Jamarco Jones "played admirably" in his debut at guard.
Jamarco Jones had never played guard before in a game—at any level—before taking over for an injured D.J. Fluker on Thursday night, but the second-year tackle more than held his own in his first NFL action on offense (he had only played limited snaps on special teams prior to last week).
But while it was his first game action at guard, Jones was ready for it because he has slowly been working his way into playing that spot over the past few weeks in practice.
"It was weeks ago when we started flipping in and out and moving him around," Carroll said. "When you're a backup guy, the more you can do, the better. He's been working at it. It's not his first time ever; it's his first time ever in a game for him. He's had considerable work, but he's a left tackle by his background. So, going over to the other side is enough of an issue in itself. It's a really first class come through for us that he went over there and played so admirably under the circumstances and the guys he was playing against felt rushed. It's been awhile that he's been working at it. It's just not a lot at any one time yet."
Jones playing well isn't a surprise for the Seahawks, who really liked what they were seeing out of him as a rookie in training camp before he sustained an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve for the 2018 season.
"He had made really good impressions, because he's really smart and picked things up really quickly," Carroll said. "Mike Solari was talking about him a lot, that he seems like a real natural player, stuff makes sense to him. That kind of thing. He got off to a really good positive impression that he made. He just wasn't able to be around long enough."
5. Rookies Phil Haynes and Demarcus Christmas are close to a return from the PUP list.
A pair of 2019 draft picks, offensive lineman Phil Haynes and defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas, both opened the season on the physically unable to perform list, but both are making good progress in their recovery. Players on the PUP list are eligible to return after six weeks, and while the Seahawks don't have to bring them back right away—players on PUP can begin practicing after Week 6 before being added to the 53-man roster—they should be ready soon if the Seahawks need them.
"Both guys seem to be killing the trainers," Carroll said. "Those guys they're working out with, they've worn those guys out. They can't work against each other either, so it's just with the trainers. Our guys are coming in pretty battered and bruised—that's not the players, that's the trainers from the workouts. They're ready to go. They're working as hard as they possibly can so that the transition they have to make will be as minimized as possible. We're really looking forward to them coming back."
On tight end Ed Dickson, who is on injured reserve, meaning his return has to wait until after Week 8 at the earliest, Carroll said, "He's going to week eight. He's entering into that mode now. In the next four weeks or three weeks—whatever it is, he's got to get going."
The Seahawks don't have to put out a practice report after a Monday practice, so Carroll didn't give much in the way of updates on D.J. Fluker, who injured his hamstring on Thursday. Carroll did say that Ethan Pocic, who has missed three games with a back injury, "is going to practice this week. We'll see what happens. He has to make it through the work. Really Thursday's practice will be the big tell for him, so we won't know anything until Friday."