By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — In something of a best-case scenario, the Seattle Seahawks head into their bye this week, not just 10-1, but appearing primed to get better when they get back.
The Seahawks are getting healthier, and are coming off back-to-back dominant wins after struggling their way through the previous two games, and now they get to rest before welcoming New Orleans to town for a Monday night showdown on Dec. 2 that could determine home-field advantage in the NFC.
Then again, as good as things are going now, head coach Pete Carroll knows it won’t mean much if his team can’t keep it going after this break, which gives players a full week off before they return to work next Monday.
“Well, we’re really happy that we made it to the bye as we have,” Carroll said. “I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot to get to this point in some regards, and in other regards we haven’t done anything yet. We come out of this game and feel really good that we’ve had a couple weeks in a row of playing good complete football. We played strong in all three phases, and there’s still plenty of areas to improve.”
While players certainly will welcome a chance to refresh both mentally and physically, the Seahawks are actually going into this late-season bye as healthy as they’ve been all season. receiver Percy Harvin, and tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini all returned from long absences last week. And other than cornerback Brandon Browner, who has what Carroll called a “serious groin pull,” everyone on the roster should be available when the team returns to practice next week.
“This is about as good as I can remember,” Carroll said of his team’s injury situation. “… We couldn’t hope for a whole lot more than what we have now, so we’re happy about that.”
In addition to being healthy, continuing their success after the break will require a few other things, Carroll said. For starters, he wants to make sure his players are taking care of themselves physically when it comes to nutrition, sleep and staying in shape. Then of course there’s always the fear of every NFL coaching staff and front office; that a player will mess up during that free time and end up in trouble, so Carroll sent his players away Monday with a message.
“We’re encouraging everybody to do all of the things to take care of their bodies and to eat well and sleep right and all of that so that when we come back, we don’t have any issues,” Carroll said. “If guys go out and gain six or eight pounds, then they got to lose six or eight pounds in game week. So I’m more concerned about that than anything because I want it to be a regular week of preparation that we know how to do really well and I don’t want to have distractions from that. That also includes being conscious that they’re Seahawks and they take advantage of that great awareness that they represent wherever they go in what they’re doing. We don’t want any issues coming off of this week. So I want everybody to handle it very well so we can get right back to work.”
Carroll has said several times since last week that Browner has a serious groin injury, but even though the Seahawks are 11 weeks into the season, Carroll has not decided whether Browner has a chance to get back this season or will go on injured reserve. With the Seahawks having two weeks until their next game, there will be no hurry to make that call now.
“Hopefully by the end of this week we’ll know more,” Carroll said. “He had a pretty good exam today, I know that, but he’s got a serious groin pull. It’s legit, and it’s not just a pulled muscle, he had some tissue damage and stuff, so it’s a severe groin pull. They’re talking four to six weeks at best, so it’s a long haul here.”
The only new injury from Sunday’s game was the concussion suffered by receiver Jermaine Kearse, but Carroll said Kearse should be back after the bye.
Carroll conceded Harvin was a “a little sore” Monday, but that soreness wasn’t injury related, but rather what might be expected for a player who just had his first game action in more than a year. Carroll said the plan is for Harvin, who was limited to 19 of 52 offensive snaps in his first game back against the Vikings on Sunday, to be at full speed after the bye.
“He’ll benefit from the break as well,” Carroll said. “When we come back if everything goes like we hoped, then he’ll be right back in the mix and it’ll be a normal rotation, returning kicks and the whole thing.”
Daniels to practice squad
Quarterback B.J. Daniels, who was released Saturday to make room on the roster for Okung, cleared waivers and was re-signed to Seattle’s practice squad Monday. Daniels began the season in San Francisco, and when the 49ers released him, San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh said the 49ers had hopes to add him to their practice squad, but instead the Seahawks claimed Daniels and kept him on their 53-man roster as the No. 3 quarterback. Daniels did not appear in any games for Seattle, though he was active for the Week 10 game in Atlanta.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.