The Seahawks won another exciting, high-scoring game on Sunday, beating the Cowboys 38-31 to improve to 3-0 ahead of this week's trip to Miami. Head coach Pete Carroll addressed the media Monday to talk about that win, noting that all three games have played out similarly in terms of the Seahawks playing great on offense, and doing just enough on defense to hold on.
"We've seen three really consistent games in their style of play and how things have gone in that they've all kind of statistically come out the same," Carroll said. "We've done really well on offense, and we've played enough on defense to win the football games, and we see a start to the season now that's taken some shape. We'll wrap up the first quarter of the season with this game this weekend and kind of make an assessment of where we're going, how we're doing."
Here are five other takeaways from Carroll's press conference, including news that one player earned himself more playing time with his play on Sunday:
1. Shaquem Griffin earned another shot.
Shaquem Griffin was one of two practice squad players, along with defensive back Ryan Neal, who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday. And like Neal, who had the game-clinching interception, Griffin showed up in his 2020 debut, particularly on the final drive when he used his speed in the open field to eliminate some check-down throws to Ezekiel Elliott and other backs.
Both Griffin and Neal reverted to the practice squad Monday, part of the mechanics of the new rule that allows teams to elevate up to two players from the practice squad for a game without making a corresponding move on the 53-man roster, but Carroll made it clear that Griffin will be back in uniform this weekend. Carroll didn't specify how that would happen, but players can be elevated twice to from the practice squad in a season without being signed to the 53-man roster, so the Seahawks could do that again, or they could make a more traditional move and add him to the roster sometime this week.
"He did great this week," Carroll said. "He was hauling butt all over the field. We played him a unique situation that he really handled well. He did a nice job rushing the passer in his other (opportunities) that he had. So I'm looking forward to him continuing to contribute. I was really fired up about his play.
"When the opportunity was available, he jumped at it and did a great job. I'm thrilled about that for him. He looked really good, and he was running all over the place, all over the field. If we can keep him available for those kinds of opportunities, he's going to continue to show like that… I'm really excited to see him play again this weekend."
Asked later if those comments indeed meant that Griffin will either be signed to the 53-man roster or elevated again from the practice squad ahead of the game, Carroll said, "Yes. He earned it."
2. Jamal Adams sounds like a long shot to play this week.
Carroll reiterated what he said about injuries on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday morning, which is that for the most part the Seahawks escaped serious injuries.
"The initial reports we have back from the MRIs and the tests and all that is that none of the guys that got banged up got banged up seriously where it's going to take a long time," Carroll said. "We're going to have to go through the week and see how it goes, but no surgeries or any of that kind of stuff upcoming at this point," Carroll said. "So we might have dodged a bullet a little bit in that. It's going to be get back on Wednesday, see where guys are, see what they can handle… It's just going to take us all week long to figure it out. But we're really pleased with the reports that came back that there was nothing serious that's going to be like guys are out for a long time and you have to think about IRing them and stuff like that. That did not happen."
But just because none of the injuries are on the long-term variety, that doesn't mean everyone will be available this week, and Carroll indicated that All-Pro safety Jamal Adams isn't likely going to make it back from the groin injury that took him out of Sunday's game.
"Jamal is going to have a hard time with the groin strain, that's going to be hard for him," Carroll said. "We'll see if he'll be able to make it back."
3. L.J. Collier continues to show up.
L.J. Collier, Seattle's 2019 first-round pick, had a huge play in Week 2, taking out Cam Newton for the game-clinching stop at the goal-line, and while his impact wasn't quite as obvious in Week 3, Collier turned in another encouraging performance, one that included a couple of pressures on Dak Prescott, one quarterback hit, and a play that didn't show up in the stat sheet where he got into the backfield to blow up a running play, leading to a Alton Robinson tackle for loss.
"I'm really fired up about L.J.," Carroll said. "He's doing great. He has been really active in every game, really could be with three sacks or something already, has been a factor in some crucial situations, which is great to see. I know he's really excited about it. He knows that he didn't get as much done in this first year as you wanted to, and now he's really rolling and really right in the midst of everything, so that's a real positive. You could see just how much improved he is physically and mentally because of that really good offseason. He really worked his tail off and get in great shape. I've been telling you that the whole time that showed that he was stronger and quicker and more explosive, as well as understanding so much more from you know freshman year to sophomore year. So it's really pleasing, and I'm really excited for him, because I think he's just getting going, and he's got a lot of upside for us that he's going to show."
4. Offenses appear to be ahead of defenses early this season.
While the Seahawks' three wins have been some of the highest scoring games in the league so far this season, it isn't just them playing shootouts. Scoring is up league wide, and while Carroll admits he'd need more information to know for sure, his guess is that that lack of offseason workouts and preseason games hurt defensive play more than offensive.
"I really think that overall, just the lack of time working out on the field and missing the offseason and all of that really seems to have affected the defense more so," he said. "I think also the lack of opportunity to play full speed football in camp, which is a real benefit as you're developing your game, that being absent, there's a factor there. So I think the offenses are taking advantage of it a little bit, and they're just they've started faster. In our case, we have not balanced out running and passing as much as we normally do, but it's because we've been so effective throwing the football we've gone with it."
While Carroll likes what he has seen so far from the passing game, he still believes there will be times this season when the Seahawks will need to be more balanced if games, conditions or opposing defenses dictate it.
"I think you're going to find in the long term of it, that balanced football is really what is crucial to the success of this game," Carroll said. "In big-time success and championship success, you've got to be able to do everything that's available to you to get through these games. So far the offenses have been quite out of balance in our games that we're opposing, and it's hard to win that way."
Carroll noted a stat unearthed by 710 ESPN Seattle's Danny O'Neil that, after Sunday's game, the Seahawks are no 9-0 under his watch when opposing quarterbacks throw for more than 400 yards.
"I think somebody had the stat where, when people throw for 400 yards on us, I don't think they've ever beat us," he said. "(Passing yards) draws a lot of attention and a lot of focus, but it isn't necessarily winning football, so we'd like to keep that going if that's the way it goes, we're OK."
That being said, Carroll isn't excusing the big numbers and particularly the big plays his defense has allowed.
"We do need to catch up though. We have not been nearly as effective on our end of it, and you know maybe other teams feel the same way about that. Dallas gave up some big plays against us as well, so that kind of football, it can be fixed and can be can be adjusted. We certainly have to get that done to do our part. Just in general though, I think the offenses have just started much faster than the defense, and I think it would be attributed to the lack of time in camp."
5. Ugo Amadi "played a fantastic game."
Losing Marquise Blair for the season was a potentially big blow for Seattle's defense, but while Blair is certainly missed, the Seahawks are still getting strong play out of the nickel spot with fellow second-year defensive back Ugo Amadi taking over for Blair. After recording eight tackle, one for a loss last week, Amadi had seven on Sunday, a big stop-on a 2-point conversion with the Seahawks leading by 2, and two pass breakups on third down to end Dallas drives.
"I thought Ugo played a fantastic game," Carroll said. "He had a couple of big plays down field. He just continues to be really active. It seems like he's all over the field. The big play on the 2-point conversion, the big tackle he made. He's doing a nice job. I'm really pleasantly pleased that the play of that spot hasn't fallen off at all with Marquise not being there. I'm really thrilled for Ugo, because he's such a fun kid to put out there, he's got so much juice to him. All the way back to his college days, he's one of those guys that has that golden horseshoe in his back pocket; stuff just comes his way and he makes plays. He's been doing that in the two years he's been with us, and we'll continue to expect him to do that. He's done a really nice job taking advantage of this opportunity."