The Seahawks concluded the 2023 preseason with a 2-1 record following a 19-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. While the record doesn't matter, the experience gained for the players is key. Episode 8 of "The Sound" continues the theme of Season 2, providing an inside look at the staff behind the scenes helping to make the team go.
The episode kicks off by introducing senior defensive assistant/defensive pass game coordinator Karl Scott. Over the last 15 years, the Houston native has risen from graduate assistant at Division II Delta State University to Division I stops at schools like the University of Alabama to the NFL. Scott takes the first interview of the episode to discuss getting settled in with the franchise in year two, and the difference in the environment at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center opposed to other stops on his journey.
"Honestly," said Scott. "A second year, you know what to expect. If you haven't been in this building before, it's truly unique, one-of-a-kind and it can be eye-opening when you first get here, the way things go (In a great way). Second year now, knowing what to expect, knowing the 'lay of the land' - very excited to be here and try to take advantage of every opportunity we get."
Chemistry is just as important between players and coaches as it is between teammates. Safety Quandre Diggs discusses finding common ground with Scott as Houston natives while praising Scott's ability to find a healthy player-coach balance and effectively teach.
"With K. Scott," said Diggs. "We have really good ties because we're both Houston guys. We get along really well, we both know each other's jokes - but as far as coaching, he's one of the guys that he's going to teach you. He's come from that Nick Saban tree, where it's defensive backs and box DBs - and being here with Pete (Carroll), has continued to raise that bar for him. He's always teaching, he's always there for the players. He's going to make the room light, but at the end of the day, we can always get serious and have those serious convos. If something didn't go right in the game, we're going to get it fixed. But he's not one of those guys that's an emotional rollercoaster, he's what you want as a DB coach. I enjoy it every day, I'm blessed to have him as a coach. Year two should be even more fun."
Diggs earned his third-consecutive Pro Bowl nomination in 2022 in his third full season with Seattle. As Year 9 approaches, Diggs reflects on being a leader and voice of reason for the young Seattle stars of the future.
"Those guys are the foundation," said Diggs. "When you look at what this time is going to be in the future, those guys are learning how to lead. They've learned how to play football. They know what it is, nothing can surprise them on game day anymore. It's more of just locking down their keys, and knowing who they are. Those guys have made tremendous jumps. I'm excited to play next to them, because when I retire, I'll be able to look on TV and tell guys 'Yeah, those are my young guys right there, and they're making an impact in the league today.' So, whenever they need me, they always reach out. And for me, I just want to be that steady presence for them and continue to see them grow."
One such player being second-year linebacker Boye Mafe who heads into his sophomore campaign with less weight on his shoulders.
"Be where your feet are at means that whatever game or situation you are in today is the most-important," Mafe said. "You can't think about down the road, you can't think about two, three, four weeks from now. It's whatever's in front of you right now. One of the things I've taken into account is every opportunity to go out there, I've got to put on my best show, because that's the next opportunity. Keeping that in my mindset helps ease you to play, and you don't really think about much else aside from what you have going on right now."
Outside linebacker Tyreke Smith saw preseason action and his first career sack this summer after spending his rookie season on injured reserve due to a hip injury. In the 2022 draft, Seattle selected the Ohio State University alum with the No. 158 pick in Round 5. After having to wait his turn to see the field, Smith discusses the cohesiveness of the front-seven and the feeling of contributing to the team.
"It felt great," said Smith. "From my position, that's what you're looking for. It's not everything you want, but it's something we strive for. We work every day in practice, so to hear the 12s screaming and to end the game like that was a great feeling. The relationships are tight in the room. It's a brother-like feeling in there, everybody helps each other, no one's selfish. Everybody is just trying to help everybody else. When one guy subs out, we're expecting the next guy to come in and not have any slack. We're just picking up where we left off. The guys were all on the sideline happy for me, showing so much love and support. The whole game, they were hyping me up, and when I finally got the sack, they were really happy. So it was cool to see."
Episode 8 continues the trend of explaining what makes each player and coach go, giving fans a visual idea of what "grit" looks like for the Seahawks organization. Diggs closes the episode by explaining what kicking the season off with a win means.
"I want to put people on notice the first week," said Diggs. "But it's just Week 1. We've got Week 1, and then we go brick-by-brick. At the end of the day, it's always the first impression that you want to leave and our first opportunity, first impression is to do it Week 1 against the Rams. They just happen to be the opponent, so for me, I'm going to be locked in and ready to go. And I'll rally the guys. I think we're going to go out there with some good energy."
Check out the behind the scenes of the eighth episode of season two of The Sound "Locked In". This episode focuses on the Seahawks finalizing training camp and getting ready for the start of the regular season.