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Seahawks regroup after latest defeat

With six games to go, Seattle’s focus turns to the defense, which gave up nearly 500 yards to the Saints on Sunday.

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By Rich Myhre
Herald Writer
  • Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (left) speaks with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck during the second half of Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

    Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

    Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (left) speaks with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck during the second half of Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

RENTON — Battered in body and spirit following Sunday’s lopsided loss in New Orleans, the Seattle Seahawks spent Monday trying to regroup for the final six games of their regular-season schedule.
The good news, four of those last six games will be at Seattle’s Qwest Field, beginning with a visit by the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday.
And despite losing five games this season by a whopping total of 113 points, which includes Sunday’s 34-19 defeat against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, the 5-5 Seahawks continue to sit atop the NFC’s West Division. Seattle has lost three of its last four games by blowout margins and yet still leads St. Louis by one game in the division chase.
“We’re fortunate to be where we are right now,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll acknowledged on Monday.
Yes, Seattle is lucky to be in the softest of the NFL’s eight divisions. But the fates of division rivals St. Louis, San Francisco and Arizona are “out of our control,” Carroll pointed out. “But we have great control over (our) opportunity, and we have to go ahead and capture that.
“We all know what’s going on (in the division),” he added, “but we sure don’t spend any time on it because it wouldn’t do us any good at all.”
So the team’s goal this week is to fix problems, beginning with a defense that gave up 494 yards against New Orleans. Much of that was due to the brilliance of Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who completed 29 of 43 passes for 382 yards (“He was amazing in this game,” Carroll admitted), but the Seahawks also did a poor job of tackling and establishing control of the line of scrimmage.
“I’m really concerned about what’s going on up front on defense,” Carroll said. Without defensive line starters Colin Cole and Red Bryant, both out with injuries, “we’re a little bit different now. And we have to fight to … get ourselves back on course. To me, that’s the biggest issue.”
Also, Carroll wants to see the Seahawks do a better job of getting takeaways while protecting the football themselves.
“In the games we finish up (the season) with, I would image the ball is going to be the issue,” he said. “We’re going to have to really do a good job with the football down the stretch by taking care of it when we have it.”
Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has no interceptions in his past two games, so he is doing “a fantastic job of taking care of it,” Carroll said. “But then we also have to get it on defense.”
Injuries will complicate the team’s preparations for Kansas City. Cornerback Marcus Trufant suffered a concussion while trying to tackle Saints running back Chris Ivory (“It was a legit shot, a knee to the head, and he really got pounded on it,” Carroll said) and is questionable for Sunday’s game. His status will not be known until later in the week.
Likewise, wide receiver Mike Williams, who suffered a foot injury in the second half on Sunday. He went out in the first quarter because of cramping, Carroll said, but the foot injury happened in the second half and was completely unrelated.
“He was running down the field and felt something pop” on the bottom of his foot, Carroll said. “It’s very unusual. (Team doctors) know exactly what it is, but they’ve never seen it before. … It might not be as serious as we thought, but we’re going to have to wait and see how he responds.”
Offensive guard Chester Pitts sprained an ankle against New Orleans and is also questionable. But guard Mike Gibson, who missed the last two games with an ankle injury, might be ready to return against the Chiefs.
And speaking of the offensive line, one of Seattle’s highlights in New Orleans was the play of offensive tackle Russell Okung, the team’s top draft pick this year. Sunday’s game was just his fourth of the season, and it came after he missed three weeks with a knee injury.
“Russell played very well for his first time out (after the injury),” Carroll said. “He really was effective. It was fun to watch him play. … It was very obvious that he’s a factor for us.”
Story tags » Seahawks

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