The Force Is Strong With These Seahawks & Other Things We Learned From Pete Carroll's Monday Press Conference

Key takeaways from Pete Carroll’s Monday press conference following the Seahawks’ Week 12 Win in Philadelphia.

The Seahawks returned to Seattle Sunday night with a 9-2 record and, for the first time in team franchise history, a 6-0 road record following a Week 12 win in Philadelphia. On Monday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll met with the media to discuss another win and, for the second week in a row, a dominant defensive performance.  

In addition to a handful of injury updates, here are five things we learned from Carroll's Monday presser: 

1. Carroll senses a special bond with this team.

Whether it has been the Seahawks' ability to come through late in close games, their ability to be resilient after falling behind, or in how they have managed to compile a 6-0 road record, Carroll repeatedly has pointed to the special closeness he has noticed about this team dating back to last season.  

"This is the team that I think we'll look back on, there was this deep seeded, longstanding care for each other that comes about in terms of harmony that they really are together," he said. "They're with us on everything and they're going along with it. They're pliable in a sense. They're growing into the belief that they can win football games. That's really powerful knowing when you get there. It's obvious with all of the close games that we've played. The ability to do that comes from the belief that they have for themselves, what they are capable of doing, what the guys around them are capable of doing. That's a very strongness in here. It's like, the force is strong in this room. It's pretty cool.

"I'm telling you that this is a very tight group and they're very energetic about all of the challenges. They're always upbeat. They're very positive. There just have been no hitches along the way. They're just going along with them. They've adjusted well to the issues we've had and the things that have happened. We'll be able to continue to be able to handle- I think we can handle anything. We're doing it through communication and guys working together. They're caring and all the really cool stuff that can happen on a team."

2. Quandre Diggs has been a difference maker.

The past two games have seen the Seahawks defense play its best football of the season, and while there have been a lot of factors contributing to that improvement, most notably a pass-rush that has produced eight sacks, it's hardly a coincidence that Quandre Diggs' first two starts with the Seahawks have coincided with the defensive improvement.

"It's just his presence," Carroll said of Diggs, who has contributed to two turnovers in as many games. "He's really even keeled. He's pretty quiet, but he's really in tuned. He's really intense about his work and his practice habits. I showed his highlights of him flying across the field, just like I used to show Earl's [Thomas] stuff, you know, because that's the way he works. I think he's raised the bar a little bit for the position in terms of experience, awareness and understanding, as well as communication and at an intensity. It comes from being a really good pro. He's been out there enough. He's learned the game. I continue to tell you that he's been coached really well. He's got a really good background. So, any type of technique principle and concept principle that I've thrown at him, he gets it. He understands it. He can make it work for you and all that. The first week, he kind of played conservative just to get out there and make sure that he wasn't having any bone head plays or whatever. He got through it. We said,' OK, let's crank it down. Let's bring it more towards the action.' He did exactly that. He's really a great guy to work with. I think the players feel the same thing. They can sense. They can tell. They're in the meeting rooms with him. They see him make the decisions and the choices and stuff. It gives other people confidence. I think he helps guys. I keep saying this, what good players do, they help other guys play well. He's one of those guys.

"We're thrilled to have him. I love to be able to communicate on the level that we're communicating on."

3. Ziggy Ansah is getting closer to full strength.

The shoulder injury that ended Ziggy Ansah's 2018 season caused him to come into this season lighter that usual and lacking his normal strength, and that was a factor in him not getting off to the start he and the Seahawks were hoping for. On Sunday however, Ansah came through with his best game of the season, recording 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble, and he also had another sack/forced fumble that was taken away because of a defensive holding call.

"He was aggressive," Carroll said. "He's always played with really good effort. He was more aggressive and physical. He was able to breakthrough some protection, was on the quarterback. We lose out the stats on the play that the great sack he had and a forced fumble, too. He was just more effective in all ways, but he was more stout. It just looks like he was just at a better level of the physical side of things. It was great to see."

Carroll later said that Ansah is "the strongest and heaviest he's been since he's been here. That just came about from the emphasis of the last three weeks, I'm glad to say that it's going to keep going. We're not going to back off on that. We're just going to keep helping him, we have a lot of time here. There's another month left of the regular season and hopefully more. He can keep improving."

4. Michael Dickson "had a great game" in how he changed field position.

Michael Dickson's first punt of the game was one he'd probably like to have back. Kicking into a stiff wind, Dickson didn't hit his best punt, and the result was a 27-yard punt that gave the Eagles good field position that they would turn into a field goal.

From that point on, however, Dickson was excellent, pinning the Eagles inside the 20-yard line on five straight punts, including one that was downed by Ugo Amadi at the 1-yard line, and one that Amadi downed at the 2-yard line. One of those punts was made even more impressive by the fact that Dickson had to leap to catch a high snap from the usually reliable Tyler Ott.

"It's a huge part of this game," Carroll said. "To back them up a couple times—he had five kicks inside the 20, and two of them inside the 5. One of those kicks, he had to get up out of his shoes to get the snap that was a high snap—that challenged him the first time this year. He came back down and put the ball at the 2. He had a great game for us. The situational play, we had a couple things. I'll give you a couple shots here. One would be the kicks, for sure, for field position, were huge in this game. The defense going out there after a turnover on the 33-yard line, or whatever the heck it was, and stop, and stop them in four plays and get the ball back. Huge situational sudden change play for the defense was enormous and we needed it to happen. I think those kinds of things are subtle in the game, but they're really enormous when you come back to it. Backing the team up and putting them inside the 5-yard line is such a valuable thing. We have lived for years doing that. Run the football. Play defense. Play good field position. It's hard to get beat when you play like that. We love to see that formula. Michael had a great contribution to that."

5. Shaquem Griffin "had some real flashy plays."

Shaquem Griffin saw his pass-rush grow in his second game in that role, playing 25 of Seattle's 76 defensive snaps, and while he wasn't quite able to record his first sack, he was disruptive, recording two quarterback hits and a handful of other pressures. He also helped blow up a running play, leading to a fumbled handoff that was recovered by Quinton Jefferson.

"He had some real flashy plays," Carroll said. "The big forced fumble that we kicked around and all the stuff that we did with that one. He initiated that play by being there… He's trying to find his way a little bit. We're trying to help him out and figure out how he can incorporate the style that he has. He can't rush in traditional fashion. He's 50 pounds lighter than other guys. They'd do the same thing. We're working on it. It's pretty exciting."

Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 12 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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