The Seahawks are playoff bound, but they still have one more regular season game on the schedule, Sunday's home game against the Arizona Cardinals. A lot of you had questions on how the Seahawks will approach that game given the fact that they've already clinched, so we'll get started with that. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around.
@BritishSeahawks asks, "Are we likely to see a number of key players rested for the final game against Arizona, or are we keeping the momentum going with a full strength side?" And @Dusk118 asks, "How is Pete Carroll going to balance preparing for the playoffs and attempting to finish the season at 10-6?"
A: The Seahawks have no intention of treating Sunday's game as a meaningless one in which they can rest a lot of key starters, because the way Carroll sees it, part of being prepared for the playoffs is using every opportunity to get better, and to keep momentum going after winning five of six. On top of that, Sunday's results could impact seeding, and there's value in being the No. 5 seed vs. the No. 6, so as Carroll said earlier this week, "we're going for it."
"Every game that we've ever played has always been the same, in that we're trying to give everything that we have to get the kind of performance that gives us a chance to be as good as we can possibly be," Carroll said. "I know you hear it all the time, but that's what they keep getting pounded with and I have never backed off of that and we're not starting now. If we start doing that and trying to figure out which game is more important than another one, I don't think you can count on getting back on track. You don't know. You may be able to, but you may not so we're not going to take that chance. We're just going for it.
"I think anytime that you back off, you stand the risk of not being able to get back on. We just keep pushing. We've been pushing for – this is 21 weeks we've been going. This is 22 coming up, I think. We've been going at it since we started playing games. That's the only way that we do it. We leave no room for error in that approach, ever. That's the idea."
@Cleavessss asks, "What do you think of the Seahawks making a Super Bowl push this year?"
A: I'm in favor of it. Oh, do you mean what do I think of their chances? The Seahawks have been playing about as well as any team in the NFL during the second half of this season, and they just beat what is arguably the best team in the AFC, so it's safe to say that no playoff opponent will be taking the Seahawks lightly. The Seahawks have been a pretty good road team in recent years, but it's very hard to win playoff games on the road, especially the three in a row the Seahawks would likely need to win to get to the Super Bowl. But the way they're playing of late, I like their chances against just about anybody, and more importantly, so do they.
"This is a really good accomplishment, this is a really special accomplishment, but what's really exciting about it is that we're so young and we're just getting started," Carroll said after Sunday's win. "It feels like we're just getting warmed up. We don't care who we play or where we play, it doesn't matter. We're going to go play the way we've been playing and see if it holds up, and count on that it will. For everybody to embrace that—they all know, that locker room knows. They know what we're doing, they know who we are, and we're ready to go, so it's thrilling."
@tyler_jordan89 asks, "What does WOOTS mean?"
A: Over the last few years, you've probably noticed Seahawks receivers using the term "WOOTS" on social media, or even in press conferences. After Sunday's game, Doug Baldwin was asked about the big plays Seattle's receivers made, and answered, "That's the WOOTS mentality. We don't care about how many targets we've had throughout the course of the game or what the numbers are, we're savages. When it's our time to make plays and when we're given the opportunity to make play, we are going to make them and we have shown that. The WOOTS legacy and tradition has been since Sidney Rice was here, so it's not going to change. I'm so proud of the receivers because they—that third down catch that (David Moore) had to get the first down, come on now, he's a savage for that. Then, Tyler's (Lockett) unbelievable go-ball catch. Granted, Russ (Wilson) threw a beautiful ball. When you're called upon to make plays and you make plays, there's something to be said about that."
So what does WOOTS stand for? Well receivers have often let a bit of mystery surround that phrase, but if you've been paying close attention, the cat has been let out of the bag on a few occasions, including by Ricardo Lockette in his retirement press conference when he said "WOOTS, Wide Outs On the Scene," before telling his fellow receivers to play their hearts out.
@509HawksGuy asks, "Longest drop-kick field goal Dickson has made in practice?"
A: Ah, yes, the Dickson drop kick, a fun subplot of the rookie punter's Pro Bowl season. The Seahawks have used Dickson drop kicks on kickoffs a few times this season, including twice last week after Sebastian Janikowski was briefly hobbled by a hit that drew a flag for roughing the kicker. Janikowski was OK to finish the game, handling the rest of Seattle's extra point and field goal attempts, but Carroll confirmed this week that had Janikowski been too injured to kick, Dickson would have drop kicked those attempts.
"He'd drop kick, yep," Carroll said. "He's dropping it. We've worked on the snaps and all that, so he's ready to do that."
After Wednesday's practice, Dickson explained that they're still working on the mechanics of a drop kick attempt, most notably how deep he would take the snap—usual field-goal depth, punt depth, something in between?
As for how long he could hit, Dickson isn't exactly sure of his in-game range because he's never tried it in that situation with a rush coming, but the NBC broadcast showed him make one from 55 yards in pregame warmups, and Dickson said he has hit from a bit farther in practice.
"I've hit like a 60 in warmups," Dickson said. "But that's different. I don't have to catch a snap and doing within a fast operation."
@sunscreenpapi asks, "Who is the Seahawks' best offensive lineman this year?"
A: There are a few candidate here, because that unit has performed so well as a group—hence the Seahawks leading the NFL in rushing yards while Russell Wilson is also having one of the most efficient seasons of his career.
Justin Britt continues to grow in his third season as a center, free-agent signings J.R. Sweezy and D.J. Fluker have been great additions—Sweezy even was named a Pro Bowl alternate—while Germain Ifedi has grown a ton in his third season, and his second at right tackle. But if I had to name one, I'd go with Duane Brown, who at 33 continues to show off a ridiculous level of athleticism while also bringing a lot of leadership to Seattle's offense.
As Carroll put it after Brown was left off the Pro Bowl roster, "I don't know how anybody had a better year than Duane Brown did. I don't know how that would happen. He's been there before, but the league is looking at the throwing game, maybe. Meanwhile, we're running it."
@RAYKation asks, "Favorite Simpsons character/episode?"
A: The gif probably gives it away, but for favorite character, I'd go with Ralph Wiggum, who provides so many memorable one-liners. In fact, I once dressed as Ralph Wiggum as Idaho for Halloween. And yeah, nobody really got that, but I thought it was funny. As for favorite episode, there are so many from my childhood that stand out, but if I had to name a couple, I'd go with "Homer at the Bat" and "Marge vs. the Monorail."
And now I have this song stuck in my head, so thanks for that, Ray.
@Davehill777 asks, "Will Bo Scarbrough get any snaps this week?"
A: Scarbrough, who the Seahawks signed off Jacksonville's practice squad last week, was inactive against the Chiefs, which makes sense given how little time he had with the Seahawks. But yeah, I could see him getting some playing time this week. Rashaad Penny is expected back, but after two games off with a knee injury, the Seahawks may want to ease him back in a bit. Also, while the Seahawks don't plan to rest a bunch of starters, I do wonder if they might try to lighten Chris Carson's work load at least a little bit. Carson, who on Sunday became the Seahawks' first 1,000-yard rusher since Marshawn Lynch in 2014, has carried the ball 71 times and caught six passes over the last three games. Seventy-seven touches is a pretty heavy work load for a back who plays as physical as Carson, so even if he feels capable of carrying the load against the Cardinals, coaches could decide the prudent thing to do is to spread the work load around a bit.
@lucasshimizu06 asks, "Any chance of Earl Thomas playing in the playoffs?"
A: It's fair to wonder this since Thomas' leg injury happened early in the season and the Seahawks only returned one player, J.D. McKissic, from injured reserve and teams are allowed two. But unfortunately Thomas' injury is one that would not allow for a return, even in the event of a deep playoff run, hence Carroll joking earlier this year that Thomas might return if the season went into "March or April or something like that."
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 16 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.