By John Boyle
At 6-4, the Seahawks are in good shape to make a push for a playoff berth, if not an NFC West title, over their final six games. But first, they rest. Following Sunday’s 28-7 victory over the Jets, the team had meetings Monday, then players were sent off for a week off.
That’s different than what Carroll has done in his first two seasons here when he had the team practice for a couple of days before getting some time off. One big reason for a full week off simply has to do with the timing of the bye. In 2010, the Seahawks had their bye after just the fourth game, and in 2011 it was after five games, so at that point players were less beat up, and conceivably the team also needed more fine tuning.
After 10 games, however, bodies are beat up, injuries can start to pile up (though Seattle has been relatively healthy this season, by NFL standards anyway), so a full week of rest can be more valuable than a couple extra practices. And when Seattle returns to practice in a week, Carroll thinks he may have everyone on the roster available.
“We’re going to really try to rest and rehab and get well,” Carroll said. “When we get back from work a week from today, we’ll have almost everybody, so that’s a really good note this late in the season. We’ll have a bunch of guys that should feel rested, but then also to get the guys back from the head knocks they’ve had and the bumps and the bruises and all of that. We’re going to be pretty solid as we go into the Miami game.
“I think we’ve got a chance to get everybody back.”
But health isn’t the only reason Carroll is giving his team a full week off. He also is impressed with the progress his team has made this season, not just in having a winning record, but in becoming a team that is, as he put it, “really hard to beat.” Yes, Carroll would prefer his team be 8-2 rather than 6-4, but he is also encouraged by the fact that, even in losses, the Seahawks are in the game down to the wire, something that wasn’t always the case in his first two seasons here.
“I do feel good about where we’re going,” he said. “We have worked really hard and the guys have performed very consistently, they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do in terms of the prep and the focus and bringing it week in and week out. I trust that they understand that. Now we do have to see how we respond to the break, but the motivation to me is that I believe these guys get it and they understand what we’re trying to get done. Now we’ll have to prove that by how we perform next week.”
“I’m disappointed in our play on the road that we didn’t find a way to get a couple more of those wins. We’ve been in every one of them, and we understand all of that. I think we’ve been very consistent, I think we understand what we’re trying to do. We’re clear on the kind of mix that we want run and pass wise, we’re clear on how we want to game-plan defensively, special teams has been really solid. We’re getting harder to beat. We’re getting to the point where you’ve got to do some good stuff to get the ball away from us; we’re not giving you much. If we can continue to take care of the football—which wasn’t as good as we’d have liked yesterday—and keep the penalties down and the big mistakes on defense, we make it really hard to beat us. I’d like to continue to grow in that manner and just play really good solid football. We’re not going to ask more of our guys that what they’ve been doing. To continue to play consistent is accomplishing something. Not having those games where you fall off and you don’t look like you’re ready and you don’t perform well. That’s what happens a lot and we’re trying to just stay on a steady incline and see if we can’t push our way through to the end of the season and see how far that takes us.”