Coming off a Thursday night victory over the Cardinals, the Seahawks had a rare weekend off at this time of year. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and his team are using the time wisely to get healthy heading into the stretch run of the season.
"We're trying to take advantage of every day that the guys get another break to return," Carroll said. "Everybody's banged up at this time of year, so these days are really important. So, the guys will feel better. They bounced around pretty good today. We'll get another day off for Thanksgiving here too, so we should be in pretty good shape for this weekend."
In addition to an extensive list of injury updates, here are five other things we learned from Carroll's Tuesday press conference:
1. After watching the film, Carroll believes the defense has taken a "step forward."
There's no doubt that the Seahawks' defense has improved in recent weeks. Since the second half of the Rams game (six quarters), the Seahawks have allowed 27 points and amassed four sacks. After taking the weekend to analyze more film, Carroll had some observations about why the group is playing better as of late.
"These last six quarters that we've played have been different," Carroll said. "The guys have really taken a step forward in owning what they're doing, in their communications, in their adjustments and utilizing the packages and disguising really well and really feeling comfortable with it. It's just kind of taken us a while to get the continuity so we could talk like that.
"I'm hoping that we take a real good step this week, too. Couple extra outings here at practice. We'll just continue to own what we're doing, and that may be the biggest statement. It's more the playing together and everybody understanding one another and maximizing what the scheme is all about. Hopefully we can continue to do that."
2. The tight end rotation won't change with Greg Olsen out.
Greg Olsen was placed on IR after suffering a fascia tear in Thursday's game and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks, but that won't change the tight end rotation. Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister will step up for sure. Colby Parkinson, the rookie fourth-round pick who has been on the field for a total of three snaps this season, will take on a bigger role as well.
"Colby's going right into the rotation," Carroll said. "We're going to just throw him in there. To make sure that everybody's fresh, he's going to just play. I'm not going to hesitate there.
"We're just going to make him play so we can keep our rotations alive. We're going to miss Greg tremendously. You can't replace that experience and that wherewithal, but Colby is going to come in here and do the best he can and see if he can help us."
3. Carson Wentz hasn't been himself this season, but the Seahawks are still prepared to get his best shot.
At just 3-6-1 this season, the Eagles clearly aren't where they expected to be after making the playoffs last year. Quarterback Carson Wentz leads the NFL with 14 interceptions, three more than any other player. He's also been sacked a league-high 40 times, seven more than the next player. Despite the disappointing season, the Eagles lead the NFC East and are fighting for a playoff spot. Carroll knows that Wentz and the Eagles won't be easy to beat on Monday night in Philly.
"As always, he's tough, he makes big plays, he's got the big throws and the big runs in him," Carroll said. "They haven't had the success that they want to have, but they're leading their division and they know they're battling for that. He's their leader, he's their guy, so he's a big stud quarterback who is hard to get on the ground. He's a lot like the guy in Buffalo (Josh Allen), and he makes things happen, so he's tough to deal with."
4. Players might be more focused without fans, but games aren't as fun.
The Seahawks announced Monday that fans would not be in attendance for their next two home games. While it's something that the team has gotten used to over the course of the season, Carroll said it does take away some fun parts of the game. Players are more focused, but the games are clearly missing that extra jolt of energy from the 12s.
"I don't think (focus is worse), it's just not quite as fun," Carroll said when asked if it was harder to focus without fans. "The fans and the excitement and all of that (is missed). Playing here is such a thrill, and our guys are missing out on what that part of it is about. But there's a very serious mentality that goes on in these stadiums and there's almost a purity to it without the fans that draws focus. I don't think it goes the other way around. The fans may be more of a distraction because they're such a big part of the game, a good part, but this is different.
"It's interesting to go from home and away and to see how it doesn't change as much. It used to be such a bigger factor when you're going on the road. Think of the teams coming in here and how thrilled they are to be playing here now. We have to generate our own juice and make sure we're feeding the energy."
5. Thanksgiving will be a nice day off, but the Seahawks still need to be vigilant about COVID-19.
Thanksgiving couldn't have come at a better time for the Seahawks in 2020. They played last Thursday and don't play again until Monday, so players can take the day off to rest and relax with family. This year, though, everyone has to be aware and cautious while celebrating due to the pandemic.
"The message is that we don't get all the stuff that we would like," Carroll said. "We don't get all the freedoms and the comforts and loving opportunities with our families this time around. We'll get through it, we just have to postpone some of the joy we normally get. We have to do it in other ways, we have to do it virtually, get on the phone, do what we can. We have to stay separate. The best way to do it is to act like you have it and if you get close to anybody you'll give it to them. I hope people will stay safe. The numbers are silly, and our own state needs to do way better (with COVID-19 numbers)."
Practice photos from the Seahawks' Tuesday workout at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in preparation for Week 12 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.