The Seahawks are back in Seattle and looking to right the ship after a Sunday night loss in Pittsburgh. At 2-4, the Seahawks have a lot of work to do to make up ground in the playoff picture, but as head coach Pete Carroll noted on Monday, there is still a lot of season left, so he's going to hold off on making any judgements about this season.
"It is a challenge for all of us in that this didn't start the way we had planned," Carroll said. "So what's going to happen now? A year ago we were 5-0 and we were flying and going and you're really feeling the positive about it. This is a different challenge for us, and we will not be able to call the story of this season for a couple of months. It's going to take eight, 10 games before we know what's going on, and it's going to be a long ways down the schedule. There's a lot of things that will happen around the league, and we've got to take care of our business. But as is always the case, postponing judgment is really a powerful tool if you have it, and that's what we have to do. We've got to take one game at a time and we've got to stay really focused on that, and just postpone what this story is going to be. We know that's the truth, but it's hard to do, so that's what we're going to go about doing. It's a challenge, and I've got to lead the charge, and I'm going to kick ass on that."
In addition to Carroll's big-picture outlook on things, here are six takeaways from Monday's press conference:
1. The news continues to be positive on Darrell Taylor, who could possibly return this week.
The scene of Darrell Taylor down on the ground for several minutes, with both teams out on the field to show their support, was a very scary one, but the updates on the second-year defensive end continue to be positive, so much so that Taylor has a chance to play when the Seahawks host New Orleans in a week.
"A really, really positive report," Carroll said. "His MRI stuff was clear, his CT scan stuff was clear, so he does not have any neck injury. He got jammed pretty good. We've got to wait and see what it's like, but it may be a little bit more in his shoulder as we as we figured out. He's not out of the woods to play this week, so that's a thrilling response to what it looked like and everybody could have anticipated, so we'll see how that goes. He's got to have a good week to do that. I haven't talked to Darrell since the MRI stuff came back, I talked to him last night, whenever it was in the middle of the night, and he was very positive about it and all that. So we'll see what happens, but a really, really good report. I know a lot of people were really upset about that, for good reason, whenever they take a guy off like that, the threat is so huge. Anyway, he came out great, so we'll hope for the best and he may have a chance to go this week."
2. Alex Collins avoided significant injury.
While running back Alex Collins wasn't able to finish the game due to hip and glute injuries, Carroll said Collins avoided serious injury.
"He got beat on beat on pretty good you know, cramped up a little bit too, he had aa little bit everything happened, but as far as I know right now—and it's going to take the next couple days to determine—he just got a lot of wear and tear last night," Carroll said. "He played a great football game for us, and he's really tough, so we'll see what happens, but he didn't have a significant injury."
3. Updates on Russell Wilson & Chris Carson.
Prior to Sunday night's game, Russell Wilson went through an extensive pregame workout, simulating plays, making calls at the line of scrimmage to imaginary teammates, and doing just about everything he could to get in some game-like preparation before the first game of his career he would spend watching on the sideline.
Because he is on injured reserve, Wilson will miss at least the next two games leading into the bye, and while there is no timetable yet on his comeback from the finger injury, Carroll isn't ruling anything out when it comes to Wilson getting back.
"I don't know that because I'm not the medical side of this thing, but I know Russell, and if it's possible, it's going to happen," Carroll said when asked about a potential return after the Week 9 bye. "If it's possible, it'll happen. I don't know if you guys saw him last night in the way he was preparing to going after it; he is not going to miss a trick, so I don't put anything beyond his capabilities, he can do some special stuff, so we'll see what happens.
Asked if running back Chris Carson, who also went on injured reserve Friday with a neck injury, could return after the bye, Carroll said, "I don't know that about Chris. Chris has got to make good progress where he feels really confident and all that. Chris practiced last week and ran around and all, so he can move and all that kind of stuff, it's just whether the contact is going to set him back. So we'll take the full time that we have to do that. But just imagine if Chris and Alex were out there going 1-2 last night. Just imagine how much fun that would have been to watch."
4. The Seahawks have had conversations with former MVP quarterback Cam Newton.
With Wilson going on injured reserve, the Seahawks have been doing their due diligence on free agent quarterbacks, and that has included having talks with former league MVP Cam Newton. That's not a reflection on the confidence the Seahawks have in Geno Smith, but rather the way the Seahawks always approach things in terms of doing their due diligence on just about every player available.
"We're doing everything we can with everybody that's available, always," Carroll said. "So I talked to him a couple times, just trying to see what was going on his world and all that, and we're wide open and continuing to compete with. There was nothing to be done then, and we're really counting on Geno to do the job, and that's how the conversation went with him too, we were counting on Geno to do the job and all that. So we'll see, we'll see what happens. I don't know what's going to happen next."
5. Tre Brown "is going to play more."
One of the bright spots in Sunday's loss was the play of rookie cornerback, who was making his NFL debut after coming off of injured reserve. And after watching the tape of Sunday's game, Carroll had more good things to say about Brown, including that the fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma earned more playing time.
"He did really well," Carroll said. "He played really well. He made a couple of big hits, covered well when he had his chances. He was right where he was supposed to be. I've said this a lot to you guys, it's a lot to ask of a young guy, but he gives you the sense that he really has a terrific feel for playing the position. And he helped himself he's going to play."
6. Carroll wants to see the team build off of the success it found in the running game during the second half.
With the Seahawks trailing by two touchdowns and struggling to get going on offense, they went run-heavy to start the third quarter, with Alex Collins leading a touchdown drive to open the third quarter. And by the time the game was over, Collins had become Seattle's first 100-yard rusher since Chris Carson in Week 15 of the 2019 season, and the Seahawks had a season-best 144 rushing yards. If the Seahawks are going to find success, particularly with Russell Wilson out, Carroll knows the offense needs to build off of that successful run-game performance.
"We have to do that," Carroll said. "That's going to make the difference in this turn right here. Its going to make a big difference, in all phases. It affects everything about our game. This is nothing new; we're not recreating the wheel here. We've been able to demonstrate how you play football in that style. It just hasn't quite caught on yet. Last night was really obvious. It's couldn't have been more obvious how well our guys could come off the football up front, how efficient we could be, how many points you could score, and also how you can be explosive. They had two explosive plays, we had six or something like that. We did a lot of good things. It's not three yards and a cloud of dust—everything else fits off of it. The keepers, play actions, all of that. You saw the big play we hit to Gerald (Everett) it was a huge play in that game. Unfortunately, we were play passing on the last play when we got banged and lost the football. It's just makes our style come to life. It felt awesome to see our guys play like that. We're going to go for it. This is a really good time for us to focus. Geno (Smith) will benefit from that as well at the quarterback spot, like we've been saying. We love playing that way."
Carroll said he saw similarities to the 2011 season when, heading into a midseason game against Dallas, the Seahawks decided to commit to Marshawn Lynch and the running game, a move players and coaches later credited with not just turning the season around but with setting the tone for future success in the following years.
"I really do feel that," Carroll said when asked if it felt similar. "I think you're right on point. It couldn't have been more obvious. Shane (Waldron) jumped right on it and did a great job to adjust, and we were talking about it all night, on the plane and on the bus. Everything about how it fits together and how it felt and all that kind of stuff and how we want to build from it. It was a good turn for us, and we're maybe not too late. Let's go."