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Three Things we Learned from Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll's Week 3 Wednesday Press Conference

Key takeaways from Pete Carroll's Wednesday press conference ahead of Sunday's home-opener against the Chicago Bears.

By now you've probably heard that strong safety Kam Chancellor has rejoined the Seahawks after sitting out training camp and missing the team's first two regular season games. If not, be sure to check out digital media reporter John Boyle's story on that topic right here.

As you can imagine, Pete Carroll was hit with plenty of questions about Chancellor's return during his regularly-scheduled Wednesday meeting with the media. Again, you can check out Boyle's story to see his answers on the subject.

In this space, I'll recap three non-Chancellor things we learned from the Seattle head coach's Wednesday meeting with the media:

1. The Seahawks Need Jimmy Graham To Be A Factor

Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, acquired in an offseason trade with the New Orleans Saints, came away with one catch for 11 yards on two targets in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers. A week prior against the St. Louis Rams, Graham recorded six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. It's the most-recent performance that people remember most, though, with Carroll himself saying earlier this week that he was frustrated and disappointed with the way things went this past weekend as the team continues to look for ways to get Graham the football.

"We're going to keep doing the things that we know how to do system-wise and preparation and continue to tweak until we find the right balance," Carroll said. "We haven't quite found that yet. I'd liken it to looking at the other side of the ball when we're trying to figure out pass rushers, or how we're trying to combine the guys that we use in the secondary to utilize their strengths. That's what we're trying to do."

Carroll said he expects quarterback Russell Wilson to become more comfortable with Graham the more they work together. He said the two players have worked "really hard" practicing different throws and catching angles to try and take advantage of Graham's unique speed and 6-foot-7, 265-pound frame, saying his quarterback and tight end "need more turns" to see their hard work pay off.

"We need him to be a factor, because he's an amazing factor if you create it," Carroll said of Graham, who's averaged 89 catches, 1,099 receiving yards, and 11.5 touchdowns the past four seasons. "So that's what we're trying to get done and see how that compliments the rest of our game."

2. Drew Nowak & The Offensive Line Are Showing Improvement

Sunday was a big day for Seahawks center Drew Nowak. Not only was he making his second NFL start ever at the position, but he was doing it in the town where he grew up, against a team he once rooted for, and in a historic stadium jam-packed with his family and friends. The Green Bay native Nowak, whose family owns stock in the team, was also going against one of the game's better nose tackles in Packers D-lineman B.J. Raji, who Carroll said got after Nowak "pretty good" at times.

"I think it was a really good experience for him, and he played against a really good player that showed him some stuff," Carroll said of Nowak's game at Green Bay. "He learned some stuff, and he handled it later on in the game as the game moved on. I thought he improved during the night."

Carroll said the Seahawks will feature the same starting five - Nowak at center, Russell Okung at left tackle, Justin Britt at left guard, J.R. Sweezy at right guard, and Garry Gilliam at right tackle - for this week's game against the Bears, and with it comes another new adventure for the former Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year Nowak.

"This is going to be his first game ever playing a full game at CenturyLink," Carroll reminded. "These are new experiences, so we grow with him, and the fact that he keeps battling, and he's smart, he's getting better and improving. Our communications were the best in that game under those conditions. That's good, so we're improving."

3. It's All About The Finish

The Seahawks have given up fourth-quarter leads in each of the first two games they've played this year.

Against the St. Louis Rams in Week 1, Seattle held a 31-24 lead late in the game after cornerback Cary Williams returned a forced fumble for a touchdown. But the Rams tied the game with a touchdown on the ensuing drive and won the game in overtime, 34-31. At Green Bay, Seattle took a 17-16 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Packers went on top with an 80-yard touchdown drive and sealed a 27-17 win after turning a Russell Wilson interception into three more points. Carroll said its an area the Seahawks are focused on improving after being one of the NFL's best finishing clubs the past three seasons.

"We have to continue to do things right," Carroll said. "Be in the right spots, make sure we make the plays that we always make. It's always been the battle cry about finishing is that you do right longer than the other guys. We've made enough little errors - not in position here or there like we have been earlier in the game, or like we need to be, and so it's really just the focus on the details as we finish the game out.

"This is an area we can specifically improve on, and it's very important and very crucial to us obviously in the last couple of weeks. We've got to get something done there and we're after it."

Extra Points

  • Cornerback Tharold Simon, who missed the regular-season opener with a toe injury, didn't participate in practice on Wednesday after seeing action in this past Sunday's game against the Packers. "He's still hobbled," Carroll said. "He didn't come out of the game better. He did play a little bit. He felt good in pregame, he got through it. But then the response to it, it's like we always talk about, how does he react the next day? Not very well. So he's going to be slowed down this week. I don't know if he'll make it back or not by the end of the week."
  • Steven Terrell (hip flexor) was the one injured player Carroll called out in his postgame press conference at Green Bay and the safety was sidelined to start the week of practice. "He's pretty sore," Carroll said. "He won't practice today. That's all I can tell you."
  • The Seahawks and Boeing today announced recipients of the 2015 Legion of Youth Powered by Boeing game tickets, distributed to community organizations that serve youth throughout the Pacific Northwest. Groups selected this year will receive short video messages from the Seahawks' Carroll. "We're looking forward to it being successful," Carroll said of the program. "And being recognized by a good effort by us, and hoping that again we can reach a lot of people."

The first official day of autumn fell on "Competition Wednesday" and the backfield saw the return of number 31. 

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