The Seahawks are fresh off a wild win over the Bills that improved their record to 5-2-1, and while this week is a bit compressed due to a Monday night game, we still have time for questions from you the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who submitted a question this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
@oldsailer_501 asks, "On the last play of the game, Richard Sherman knocked down Walter Powell in the end zone? Is that not pass interference?"
A: Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman did indeed knock Bills receive Walter Powell down on Buffalo's final play of the game, something that might have looked illegal if you're not aware of what before Monday night was a little-known rule. Once a quarterback leaves the pocket, he's considered a runner, which means receivers can be considered blockers, allowing defensive backs to fight off that potential block. What Sherman did was not only legal, but as Carroll explained on 710 ESPN Seattle Tuesday, it's something the team coaches.
"There's talk about Sherm's chuck down there, that's totally legal," Carroll said. "When the quarterback moves outside the pocket, you're allowed to chuck the receiver."
Asked if the Seahawks teach defenders to do that when a quarterback leaves the pocket, Carroll said, "Sure, sure you do. You have to do it legally—you can't take a cheap shot on the guy. He did it exactly right, it just happened to be a very physical shot, but you have a chance to eliminate receiver. That's what you're trying to get done in that situation, you're plastering them. Everybody functioned beautifully and we covered them up really well."
@NWSQB asks, "Is a healthy Thomas Rawls the answer to the ground game?" And @conradkrueger16 asks, "Will Thomas Rawls be the starting running back once he returns from injury?"
A:Thomas Rawls isn't expected back for this week's game at New England, but he should return to practice with a chance to play in Seattle's Week 11 game against the Eagles, Carroll said. To the second question about the starting job, I wouldn't be surprised if Christine Michael and/or C.J. Prosise still get the majority of the playing time when Rawls first returns—he has been out since Week 2, after all—but look for Rawls to eventually take back the starting job. This is a player, after all, who led the NFL in rushing yards-per-carry as a rookie, and the Seahawks did name Rawls their Week 2 starter after he was limited in the opener due to last year's season-ending injury, so if they saw him as the starter then, there's no reason to think they won't when he's back up to speed this time around.
Which brings us back to the initial question: is Rawls the answer? I'll answer that by saying, sort of. If Rawls makes it back to playing at the level he performed at last season, that'll be a big boost, but putting the running game's struggles on any one player or position isn't really accurate.
As Carroll mentioned again after Monday's game, Russell Wilson's injuries—and the limited mobility that have come with them—have been a big factor in the running game. Wilson is getting healthier, so that will help move things along. The line, which is made up of three new starters and a fourth who changed positions this year, should also get better as the season goes along, and other factors such as avoiding penalties on offense or getting off the field on third down on defense can help the Seahawks run more total plays, which means more chances to run the ball. So yes, Rawls' return will certainly help, but there are a lot of things that will go into Seattle getting the running game going.
@The_KayBee asks, "How's your mustache coming along?"
A: I wish I was kidding when I tell you that this is the first question I received this morning. The answer is that my week-old mustache is, well, kinda gross. So the usual. For those who don't know, I grow a mustache every November as part of Movember, which raises money for men's health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention. Basically, the deal is guys look silly for a month, and their friends and family donate money to a good cause. I haven't had time to put a photo of this year's yet, but will do so at some point this week. And if you don't like it, you should have voted last week:
@DanCohen17 asks, "With Pete Carroll talking for numerous weeks about the run game, why do we still have no run game?"
A:You're right that Carroll has talked about the running game a lot of late, and that's because he's not happy with his team's inability to run the ball consistently. The Seahawks have been one of the best running teams in the league dating back to the middle of the 2011 season, so this is foreign to Carroll, who preaches balance on offense.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of factors are at play when it comes to Seattle's rushing game, ranging from the number of plays they have run to the execution on those plays. Carroll is confident improvement is coming, but the good news is the Seahawks have also shown at times that they can move the ball very well without much in the running game, which was the case Monday night.
"In the upcoming weeks, we need to run the football better to make a run of this season, and make something out of this season, and we know that," Carroll said after the game. "There is no mystery to me. This is not the format that we want, but it's the format that we have right now available. I thought that tonight was a great illustration of adapting and adjusting during the week, by Bev and Tom (Cable) to get this done and make this shift we've called for, and they did it. You could see that it couldn't have been more obvious. Hopefully, we'll just keep going."
@Hawks078 asks, "Any news on Mike Morgan? Missing his intensity. When is the earliest he can come back?"
A: Carroll has been optimistic about Morgan's chances of returning ever since the starting strongside linebacker went on injured reserve following sports hernia surgery. Morgan has already resumed running, Carroll said last week, and could be back as soon as he is allowed to come off of IR—teams can bring one player back from IR per season, but only after that player has been out for at least six weeks. This week's game marks the sixth week out for Morgan, so he could return to practice next week.
Getting Morgan back would be a big boost not just for Seattle's defense, but also on special teams where Morgan has long been a big contributor.
@Kv_7599 asks, "Approximately when will Russell Wilson stop wearing the knee brace?"
A: There's no way to know if or when Wilson will ditch the brace this season, but he did say last week that he switched to a lighter brace, and it was clear in Monday's game that he is continuing to get healthier. Wilson isn't all the way back yet, but he showed Monday that he's getting better, and as he continues to improve, so too should the Seahawks offense.
"It can't be more obvious, we're not the same right now, and we haven't been for eight weeks," Carroll said Monday. "That's just the way it is. Russell's an extraordinary football player. You saw the effects of a quarterback who could run his butt off. (Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor) was phenomenal tonight, we couldn't get him down. That's what Taylor's all about, and that's what Russell's like. That factor has not been there. So is it going to be the same? You can keep asking for it to be the same, and it's not going to be. It's not the same yet. I'm so impressed and so thrilled to see what Russell has pulled off to make it through this time, to play for his teammates and play for this team and keep us moving forward and keep us where we are, with a lot of upside ahead of us."
@Cg_Fuerte7 and @Ninjakito13 both ask if Kam Chancellor will play this week against New England?
A: Carroll said after Monday's game, then again on Tuesday that Chancellor is on track to return after missing four games with a groin injury. That's the most definitive Carroll has been on Chancellor, so there's a good chance the Pro Bowl safety will be back, but as Carroll himself noted, Chancellor has to get through the week of practice without any setbacks before they know for sure that he will play.
@TheCrappyTotals asks, "Why are the Seahawks having such a hard time getting off the field on third down?"
A:Going off of the last two games, it's understandable why there has been frustration with the Seahawks' third-down defense. Carroll himself pointed out a couple different times in his postgame press conference that his team needed to clean things up in that area after the Bills converted 12 of 17 third downs.
"We need to get off the field better on defense," Carroll said. "You saw that in the third-down thing that kept us from getting our opportunities."
That performance followed a game in which the Saints converted 9 of 15 third-down attempts against Seattle, so this is something the Seahawks defense knows it can clean up, but before anyone panics too much, it's worth remembering that in their first six games, the Seahawks did not allow an opponent to convert more than 48 percent of their third-down attempts, and the Seahawks kept four of their first six opponents to 27 percent or less on third down.
Get up close to the Seahawks players and coaches with these sidelines shots from Week 9 at CenturyLink Field vs Bills.