RENTON — The Seahawks defense has held each of its past two opponents to less than 300 yards of offense while giving up only two touchdowns in those eight quarters.
The Seahawks have also lost both of those games while scoring a total of 15 points.
Seven games into their second season of rebuilding under Pete Carroll, it is evident that the Seahawks are much further along on defense than offense. Seattle currently ranks 13th in total defense and 11th in rushing defense, and has only been improving defensively as the season goes on.
The offense, meanwhile, ranks second-to-last in total offense and rushing offense, and 27th in scoring. Sure the offense has shown signs of improvement, particularly in the second half of the loss to Atlanta, and again a week later in the upset victory over the New York Giants. But for the most part, it has been a struggle for an offense that has a new quarterback, a new coordinator, and a very young and inexperienced line.
And when a team is unbalanced like the Seahawks, and losing as a result, one area for concern is the possibility of division in the locker room. Eventually, if the defense is doing its job, those players can’t help but feel like, with a better offense, they would be winning more. Carroll is keeping an eye out for any friction that might develop, but for now he hasn’t seen any on his team.
Carroll has rules for his team, the second of which is “no whining, no complaining, no excuses.” And putting aside the fact that it reads like three rules, not one, Rule No. 2 is very much at play when one part of the team is struggling, Carroll says.
“Frustration is something we have to deal with, it’s real,” he said. “So we talk about getting to the truth of what’s going on, is really the way to do it, then taking rule No. 2 in the program about not whining or complaining or making excuses and you move on. That’s it. We do address it, though.
“This is a pretty close group. … The coaches are real tuned in to it and it’s kind of a natural kind of rift that can happen on teams. I don’t think it’s happened in this locker room at all.”
For now anyway, Carroll’s message seems to be reaching his players. No one on the defense, publicly anyway, has stated any anger towards an offense that has produced just 15 points in the past two games. Sure they want to see things turn around, but the defensive players aren’t going to throw their teammates under the bus in the meantime.
“It’s frustrating, because at the end of the day, whether you’re the No. 1 defense or the No. 2 defense, you want the ‘W,’” linebacker Leroy Hill said. “That’s why it’s a complete team effort — offense, defense special teams — but all we can do is just go out and keep doing our thing.
“We’re not pointing fingers or anything like that. We know it’s a team sport. We know there’s talent on offense, and everybody will pull together and do better. … We all know what we’ve got to do. We’re all grown men, and it is what it is right now. All we can do is keep going and play our side of the ball.”
And it’s not like the defense is entirely without blame. There have been letdowns on both sides of the ball, and particularly on special teams, that have contributed to Seattle’s 2-5 record. But for the most part, the defense has been the best part of this season for the Seahawks. And until the offense catches up, the defense will keep striving to improve and worry about the part of the game they can control.
“Our defense has a different mentality right now that we stress so much,” linebacker David Hawthorne said. “We’re about seeing how good we can be and trying to put our offense in the best situation possible, whether it’s getting off the field, getting turnovers or making a short field for them. It’s seeing how far we can take this thing. That’s our goal every time out. … Our goal is to make our mark on the game.”
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) was a full participant in practice, and is on track to start Sunday, Carroll said. Jackson still has to get through the week without any setbacks, but the Seahawks will prepare him, not backup Charlie Whitehurst, as the starter.
“Charlie will share on some of those reps, but basically (Jackson) will get the starter reps for this preparation,” Carroll said. “… He feels the best he’s felt, but he’s still not well yet. We’ll manage him through it and hopefully have a week with continuity and his comfort with the game plan and all of that that will help us.”
Tight end Cameron Morrah (knee/toe) and LB Leroy Hill (knee) did not practice Wednesday, while receiver Mike Williams (hamstring), safety Kam Chancellor (knee) and defensive tackle Alan Branch (knee/hip) were limited.
Second-year safety Kam Chancellor was named to Sports Illustrated’s midseason All-Pro team, marking the second year in a row a Seattle safety has earned that honor. Last year, Earl Thomas got the nod as a rookie. Chancellor leads the Seahawks and is tied for eighth in the NFL with three interceptions, and he has 32 solo tackles, which is tied for a team high.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog