Pete Carroll knows his team has let a lot of opportunities get away this season.
The Seahawks have had late leads against some of the best teams in the NFL this year, including in three of their last five games, only to lose to Carolina, Cincinnati and Arizona on their way to a 4-5 record. Now, beginning with Sunday's game against San Francisco, the Seahawks hope to start climbing back into contention, and by doing so, to turn those heartbreaking losses into a footnote in a successful season instead of the defining moments of a heartbreaking one.
"Seasons have their challenges and I have to roll with it and try to keep maximizing the opportunities that are there," Carroll said. "It kind of wouldn't matter how it was going, that's what I'm going to do anyway. But I'm disappointed that we haven't taken advantage of some fantastic chances. Three great teams we've played, three great opportunities to win all those games, and those getting away, that's frustrating. Because we were good enough to win those games.
"I don't want that to be the story of this season. I want to get this thing rolling so that isn't the story and we have a chance to do some really good things at the end of the year. We've got a long ways to go to get that done."
That "long ways to go" started Wednesday with the first practice of the week as the Seahawks prepare for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. Carroll and his players know they still have time to make this a successful season, but they also know the margin for error is slim because of their 4-5 record.
"This is a real important week for us to bounce and come back to playing football like we like," Carroll said. "We're really disappointed in the way we went out last week, as we started that thing we were off. So it's really important to us to get this thing going and have a good week of work."
Being disappointed in where they are doesn't mean the Seahawks have lost faith they can get to where they want to be come January. Obviously this season hasn't gone according to plan, but with seven games left and a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, there is still a belief that they have time to right the ship.
"You're frustrated, but as I told them Saturday night, every team has its own journey," offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable said. "You have to decide in July in August what you want to be and eliminate distractions and cut out the noise. We've been really good at that in our past, and we haven't quite captured it, so you keep working. You keep working until you get it right. Everything we want to do is still ours to do, so will we choose to do that? That's ultimately what it will come down to.
"This is a good team. It's a good team that has to play football good from beginning to end. In our past we've been really fortunate to capture that. So we're working to capture that, and we haven't done that yet. We've done it at times, but the truth is we haven't done it for four quarters, and we're still searching for that. We're kind of like the norm now, and in my opinion, I don't like being normal. I'd rather be us."
Yet even if every season is its own journey, the resilience the team has shown in the past gives players confidence they can still turn things around.
"The guys in this locker room," receiver Doug Baldwin said when asked why he still has hope for this season. "We've always shown the propensity to get back to the grind, to focus on the task at hand and try to take advantage of what we have in front of us, and not look back or look too far ahead. That's what I have hope in. We've been able to come out of the trenches before, out of the gutter, so to speak, and fight our way back… It's a little deeper because it's a little later in the season. Obviously we're under .500 right now, so it feels a little deeper, but there's nothing we can't do."
Added defensive end Cliff Avril: "Everybody wants to get better and everybody wants to turn this thing around, and we all believe we can. I mean, you guys might not, but we'll see by Week 16."
It was an "important week" for the team to get back to the practice field as the Seahawks returned to another Competition Wednesday to prepare for the San Francisco 49ers coming to town.