The Improving Pass Rush & Other Things We Learned From Pete Carroll's Monday Press Conference

Takeaways from Pete Carroll's press conference the day after a disappointing result in Buffalo.

The Seahawks returned home after a long trip across the country to Buffalo. After suffering its second loss of the season, Seattle is ready to get back on track against the Rams in Los Angeles next week. First, though, Pete Carroll and the team reviewed the film to identify where they need to improve.

"We have been through the film, extensively, to see what happened and what took place," Carroll said at his Monday press conference. "We came out just not executing some really basic stuff that we needed to do. These guys gameplanned well. Things that we did in practice, we didn't execute in the game. So, we're really disappointed in that because generally that isn't the case. We just missed some stuff and they took advantage of it."

In addition to some injury updates, here are five other things we learned from Carroll's press conference:

1. Carroll believes the pass rush is picking up, but the secondary has to follow suit.

After allowing 44 points to the Bills on Sunday, the Seahawks clearly see that their defense must improve. One bright spot for that unit was the pass rush, which totaled a season-best seven sacks. Led by Jarran Reed's 2.5 sacks, the pass rush looked as good as it has all year while the secondary fell behind. The Bills totaled 415 passing yards and had their way all afternoon.

So, while the front is getting better, the back end must step up to complete the defense. Carroll expressed confidence that the group would pull it all together at some point. The Seahawks have 19 sacks through eight games and 10 of them have come in the last two weeks. If the two parts of the defense can play their best at the same time, this could be a dangerous group.

"We would like to be aggressive and get after it," Carroll said. "In the last couple of weeks, we've turned our focus back to that somewhat in an attempt to get some heat on the quarterback. And we have, we've had a lot of sacks the past couple weeks. We're moving in the right direction in terms of that. We've got to make sure we're complementing it with our play on the back end. We continue to give up stuff we don't need to give up – there's just too many plays that have gotten away from us."

2. Carroll is happy to be leading the division even though he "wants to be undefeated."

Through the first five games of the year, Carroll's season was going exactly as planned – the Seahawks were a perfect 5-0. Three games later, Seattle is now 6-2 and has some issues to work out, but the standings still show the Seahawks are where they want to be.

The NFC West is the toughest division in football with three teams above .500 and a fourth just one game below. To be on top of that division after eight games is no small feat, and Carroll recognizes that. The Seahawks have four division games remaining, including the next two weeks against the Rams in Los Angeles and the Cardinals in Seattle (on a Thursday night).

"If you asked me at the start of the season 'Where do you want to be at the halfway point,' I would've said I want to be undefeated. But the next thing I would've said is 'I want to be first place in our division because that's where all of our focus lies.' You finish out the season (in the lead) and you have a chance to play at home in the playoffs. So, that's the best way to control that. To be in first place at the halfway point is where we need to be."

3. Carlos Dunlap impressed in his Seahawks debut despite "probably only knowing half the guys out there."

The Seahawks acquired Carlos Dunlap from the Bengals on Oct. 28, but he didn't make his debut until this past week due to COVID-19 protocols and testing. Dunlap – a two-time Pro Bowler – made an immediate impact against the Bills with a sack and a team-high three tackles for loss. Even more impressive, he did it all while barely having time to meet his teammates.

"It was a good, solid game," Carroll said. "He did a lot in a short amount of time just to get there and play the whole game. He had a missed assignment, misread something one time in pressure, but he played really well under those circumstances. Again, he didn't know who he was talking to hardly – he knows Bobby (Wagner) and K.J. (Wright), maybe (Jarran Reed) and Poona (Ford). He probably only knows half the guys out there. He did very well. He showed what he always shows, he overwhelmed a tackle one time and had a clean sack – and that's what he's been famous for. He added a couple of tackles in the backfield and did some really nice things, so I think it's a really positive move for us."

4. Jamal Adams will keep improving as he returns to full health.

Jamal Adams has played just four of eight games this season due to injury, but he's made his presence felt in each start. Returning to the field against Buffalo after a four-game absence, Adams had 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and five total tackles in the loss. Despite playing in just half of the Seahawks' games, Adams is tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks.

With such a long time period between games, Carroll was impressed that Adams made it through all four quarters. As he continues to work his way back into game shape, the star safety is only going to get better.

"Jamal played really hard, he was really aggressive," Carroll said. "He had a couple plays that got away from him that he would like to play better, but he was a factor. He's really aggressive, really tough. I thought playing four quarters was a challenge for him, but he was a stud about it and got through it. He hadn't played in a month, so he'll be better that way as we go into the next couple of weeks. He was really a factor and we just have to keep putting him in the right spots and cutting him loose."

5. This could be the week Damon "Snacks" Harrison is elevated from the practice squad.

Damon "Snacks" Harrison, an eight-year veteran defensive tackle, was signed to the Seahawks' practice squad last month. Harrison was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2016 with the Giants and totaled two sacks in 15 games for the Lions last season.

Defensive tackle Bryan Mone suffered a "pretty good" ankle sprain on Sunday, according to Carroll. With the injury, it could be time to elevate Snacks from the practice squad and onto the active roster.

"He's available, he's ready to go," Carroll said. "The way it looks – we've got to have some more information on Bryan's situation so we can take care of him – but this is where Snacks would jump right now. This is what he's been looking for and preparing for."

The best photos from Seahawks vs. Bills at Bills Stadium. Fueled by Nesquik.

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