Pete Carroll was a little surprised by the enthusiasm he saw from his team when the Seahawks took the field for a "Bonus Monday" practice coming off of their bye week.
Unlike a normal season when players might have been returning from all over the country, everyone was forced to stay in town due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while that meant a more boring bye week, it also meant a more productive one, and that showed on Monday.
"This was probably the most productive bye we've had, because everybody was here," Carroll. "Without having a lot of things that they could do on their own time, they spent a lot of time in here working out and take care of themselves, getting the best treatment possible. So it just seemed more connected than normal.
"I'm telling you, I don't remember going on the practice field after a bye with the guys all fired up like they were today. We're just out there, just a regular bonus Monday for us to get back in action to start moving around, and they're all out there standing in line ready for stretching them out, over five minutes early. I don't know what the heck they were all fired up about, but they were jacked and ready to go. So they're kind of chomping at the bit to get back at it… They just were kind of feeding off one another, so it was really good feeling today. We didn't execute as well as we needed, and that's why we have this practice, so the first day back isn't in the middle of the game week and all that. But it was very, very good response to come out of this thing. We are healthier and they feel better physically, and that that was expressed today."
One reason nobody was able to leave town is that NFL COVID-19 protocols called for players and coaches to be tested daily throughout the week, and as has been the case throughout the season and training camp, the Seahawks continued to return only negative test results, though as Carroll acknowledged, the tests throughout this week will really tell the story of how things went over the week off due to the virus' incubation period.
"All of that worked out just exactly like we'd have hoped," Carroll said. "That means that everybody continued to do right, take care of their off-the-field family issues, where they live, how they take care of themselves. Everybody did a great job, coaches and administration as well as the players, all of that worked out great. Now we won't really know the result for (last) week until we get to the end of this week because there's a little lag time there, but everybody is really tuned in, and that discipline that it takes to continue to do that is what is going to carry us through as long as we can stay diligent about it."
As for the coaching staff, Carroll and company did their usual bye week self-scouting, a process that involves both evaluating individual players as well as their own play-calling tendencies to see if they're doing anything that other teams can learn from.
"We take a big deep dive into the stats and the numbers," Carroll said. "Not necessarily the stats that are on the stat sheet, but this is all about, how many times we've called plays and defenses and pressures and coverages and situations. There's a number of ways we look at all that stuff. We start what we would normally do in the offseason, a quicker version—we only had five games to do so we can get through it—and that's to make sure that we know what it looks like we're doing, and the messages and signals we've sent to our opponents to figure out what we want to do about that. So it starts there, really the analytics start with the numbers, and then we go from there. Then that takes us back to the film, takes us back to looking at, once we know what we've done, numbers wise. We keep up on it, so it's not that big of a difference from what do from week to week, but it is our chance to kind of total it all. So we do all that stuff and then figure out what we want to adjust and change.
"There's a big assessment of every individual to know how they're making their progress, making sure that we're up on what's going on. Sometimes until you go back and you take a look at guys individually, you're not quite sure, or you see things you might not have seen before. For the most part, we know what's going on, but this just gives us a really focused opportunity. And then it's all about, what we want to do with the next step that we take. So there's a million things that we were looking at, but that's basically kind of how we go about it."