The morning after the Seahawks' 27-17 loss to the Packers in Green Bay, Pete Carroll joined the team's flagship radio station 710 ESPN Seattle for a conversation with hosts Brock Huard and Mike Salk. Here's three things we learned from the Seattle head coach's "Brock and Salk" segment:
1. Why The Offense Aired it Out in the Second Half
The Seahawks tried to get Marshawn Lynch going in the first half of play, with 12 of the running back's 15 carries coming in the game's first two quarters as Seattle put up a total of three points heading into the break. With the way the offensive line was protecting in the passing game, Carroll said there was a concerted effort to throw the ball more to open the second half of play. That's when the Seahawks found success, putting together two touchdown drives on their first two possessions of the third quarter as quarterback Russell Wilson found running back Fred Jackson and wide receiver Doug Baldwin for scores.
"We changed modes a bit in the second half because we were pass protecting really very well and I wanted to see what would happen if we just went after it throwing the football and changed the tempo of how we were going at it," Carroll said. "And I thought that you could see the change. Russell had plenty of time to do what he had to do. We also got him carrying the football a little bit more than we had when we did run it and it just changed the tempo of the game for us. We didn't feel like they were going to stop us at all."
The Seahawks did get stopped, though, punting on their third possession of the second half and tossing an interception when down 24-17 in the fourth quarter that the Packers turned into three more points to put the game out of reach.
"That was a crucial time and it was two good offenses that were punching at it," Carroll said. "And they had the ball last and they were able to get it done."
2. Jimmy Graham's Involvement
After making six grabs for 51 yards and a touchdown on eight targets in the regular season opener against the St. Louis Rams, tight end Jimmy Graham recorded just one catch for 11 yards on two targets in Seattle's loss at Green Bay. Carroll expressed dissatisfaction with the situation, noting the Seahawks had several plays designed to get the football in Graham's hands, but the plays never materialized.
"It's frustrating," Carroll said. "It's frustrating, just like anybody watching. We had so many cool calls in that game where we're trying to get him in position to make the play and just for one reason or another - we're not neglecting it at all - it's just we're not hooking it up and it's not getting there. We have to find our way to get this done. It's not that we've missed the intent. It's not that we've missed the value of Jimmy as a player. We love him. And he knows the calls, but the ball didn't get there."
Carroll said the Packers didn't do "anything special" to limit the three-time Pro Bowler's opportunities in the passing game and sounded encouraged that Graham will factor in more moving forward.
"Jimmy's doing his part, Russell's trying to get it done, and the coaches are trying to get it done, so I understand the frustration," Carroll said. "But I think this is going to show up and be a real big part of our offense."
3. The Seahawks Tried Too Hard at Times
Penalties were costly for the Seahawks in this game. Defensive end Michael Bennett jumped offsides three times in the first half alone, giving Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers free plays that he turned into a 22-yard gain, a 29-yard touchdown, and a play that resulted in a 52-yard pass interference call on cornerback Richard Sherman. Carroll said mistakes like that throughout the game were the result of players trying too hard to make a play.
"There's just some areas that we can be better and it's some of the most subtle things that'll be hard for you to appreciate, but it's just taking advantage of the consistency of alignments and getting our nose in the right spot and not trying too hard to make a play," Carroll said. "It's just some really fundamental things about it that's always the case in football when you're playing at our level of stuff, it makes the difference sometimes."
Carroll said that will be an area of focus as he meets with Seahawks players to assess the game film on "Tell The Truth Monday."
"When we want it so bad and we're playing so hard, sometimes we over-try and we make mistakes trying too hard to make a play and it's really the difficulty of staying with the scheme that we're going to talk about," he said. "That's where I'm pointing my focus at, and we've been there before. We know where that is, we've just got to get back and get more right than we've been."
- Carroll said he thinks Frank Clark will start to get more plays as the season goes on. Clark, the rookie who led all NFL defensive linemen in tackles (15) during preseason play, has worked into Seattle's D-line rotation through the first two weeks of the year, "He's working hard and he's doing things right. ... He's going to continue to contribute. We've got to bring him along."
- Carroll said he was pleased with the play of Seattle's secondary overall, noting the unit played "good, solid football" in giving up 249 yards and two touchdowns to Rodgers. The Seahawks head coach praised cornerback Marcus Burley for his work in the nickel and DeShawn Shead for his play at strong safety in place of Kam Chancellor, who has not reported.
Photos from the 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football.