By John Boyle
The Seahawks returned to practice Tuesday from a, shall we say, eventful bye week. And of course for Pete Carroll that meant addressing the suspension of Walter Thurmond, who will miss the next four games. Carroll could not address Brandon Browner specifically because that suspension has not yet been announced, but Carroll made it clear he is disappointed with the suspensions, though he did not sound like a coach worried about an out-of-control team.
“Over there break there were some issues that came up that we’ve dealt with,” Carroll said. “We feel very disappointed that some guys won’t be able to play with us, but this is kind of how it goes at times. I know that over the years I’ve always found myself wanting to find guys that need maybe some considerations, some special opportunities to do what they can do, and sometimes it doesn’t always work out, and guys get in trouble or something pops up. We will always look to give guys a second chance around here, and the fact that the league has adjusted the rules and allows our guy that is suspended under these circumstances to be with us, we’re going to take care of him and look after him and try to bring him along until we get him back. But we are disappointed.
“But what’s really cool on the other side of it is that this is an opportunity for some young guy to step up who have come here to play football us; they didn’t come here to watch, they want to play. Byron Maxwell is going to step up and do a lot of playing for us, Jeremy Lane will jump in, (practice squad cornerback) DeShawn Shead will step up on the roster. We’re really excited for these guys; these guys can all play. They’ve played for us before, they’ve done great side when they have, and we have nothing to think about but the positive and the upside. These guys are going to contribute in a big way, just like our guys have across the board. So that won’t deter us at all from having an extraordinary week of getting ready and getting jacked up about a great opportunity here with a fantastic football team coming in for Monday night.”
A move has not yet been made to add Shead to the 53-man roster, but that doesn’t have to happen until Sunday since as a member of the practice squad, he can already participate in this week’s preparation. Shead will presumably fill Browner’s spot on the roster, either with Browner being suspended if that becomes official this week, or with Browner going on injured reserve.
On newly signed cornerback Perrish Cox, Carroll said, “He’s a really good all-around football player. He’s a good special teams guy, he’s played nickel, he’s played corner, he’s played a little bit of safety at times, he’s a real aggressive football player. We’ve watched for years, at San Francisco most recently, so we’ve had a good look at him and we think he can fit in.”
Asked about the timing of these suspension, which come as the Seahawks are in the closing stretch of what could be a memorable season, Carroll said, “Things pop up. It’s not really about what pops up, it’s how you deal with it. We’re going to take care of our guys, then the guys that will step in, we’re going to expect them to do really well. Disappointment is the best way to say it. We want our guys to get everything they can possibly receive, we want them to have all of it. So we try to coach them and guide them and mentor them in every way that we can, that’s our job. When a guy does have an issue, we’re going to take care of them and look after them and make sure they can fit back in as soon as they can, and we take responsibility for helping them be able to get what they can receive.
Asked if he hoped players taking ownership of the issues last spring (after Bruce Irvin’s suspension) would have stopped further issues, Carroll said, “You’d like to think so, but there are a lot of guys in this program, and I don’t know that we can expect to be perfect. We’d like to be, but that isn’t the case. It’s a big challenge for these guys to do right, and we want them all to do it and carry through and be there when we need them and are counting on them; it doesn’t always work out that way. So what it does is present opportunities for other guys and we’ve always championed that and our guys have always come through, and they’ll do that in this instance.”
On Byron Maxwell, who is expected to take over a starting role: “We have nothing but confidence in him. He’ll jump right in, and I don’t hesitate in saying that he’ll play really well in this game.”
Asked if they need to change the way they get the message accross to player, Carroll said, “We’re always constantly reinforcing the behavior and the mindset and the mentality that we want. It’s hard to do what we do, it’s hard to expect everybody to be exactly on point. You’re going to be disappointed if you think that’s what’s going to happen, so it’s more about being able to adjust and move with it and make the most of the situation and overcome it. I would love to say we haven’t had any issues and we cleaned it all up and there’d be nothing there, but that may not be the case even as we move ahead, but we’re going to keep working for it and we’re going to keep expecting to be as perfect as we can get to be.”
Carroll added that, “We already dealt with it today. We talked about it in the meetings directly and made sure that we owned up to that the guy had a problem, so we’ve got to deal with that properly and move ahead. The issues come in different packages and it’s not about the issue itself, it’s about moving forward and taking care of the people that are involved, and also in turning your focus on what is important. I’m not concerned about that at all, we’ve already done that and we’ll take care of business.”
And finally, asked if he fears this could derail his team’s momentum, Carroll said, “Not a bit. It’s a very difficult situation for the individual, but for us, we’ll march on and be OK with it. But we’ll miss him.”