By John Boyle
The Seahawks have two pretty impressive home wins this year, beating the Cowboys in convincing fashion (though I suppose that win became a little less impressive after Monday Night’s Dallas-Chicago game, eh?) and beating the Packers in a game completely devoid of any controversy whatsoever (or not).
But on the road, the Seahawks have been a very different team, which is nothing new to fans who have long watched Seattle struggle outside of its home stadium.
“The emphasis this week is that we’ve got to get our game right on the road,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We have a good approach to it, we feel good about the way we’re playing hard and all, but we haven’t been as successful in a number of areas on the road as we have been at home, so that’s a big challenge for us. We have to get this thing stepped up.”
Asked what has been different on the road, one thing Carroll pointed out was the lack of turnovers his defense has produced outside of CenturyLink Field.
“We have not created the turnovers like we normally do, like we have at home,” Carroll said, noting the offense’s role in that problem. “Not getting ahead plays into that, so we haven’t scored as well as we need to.”
And while Seattle’s needs to improve most on offense, there will also be a lot of pressure on the defense this week as it tries to contain Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who presents a very unique challenge as a talented thrower who also happens to be an incredibly good runner as well.
“Boy, this is a loaded offense that we’re dealing with,” Carroll said. “We had a lot of respect for Cam coming out in the draft. We evaluated him heavily and saw the potential there. We of course didn’t see him last year, but to see him now and see the offense that they’re running and what they’re doing with the three running backs that they have who are terrific, with (tight end Greg) Olson and (receiver) Steve Smith outside, this is a really, really difficult offense.
“This team last year lead the NFL in explosive plays, and you can see why.
Carroll noted that the Seahawks saw a lot to like in Newton before he became the No. 1 pick last year, and that his game has a lot more to do than his running ability.
“The dynamics that he presents,” he said. “He’s a marvelous thrower, he has tremendous downfield accuracy. He was way, way, way ahead of anybody else in the draft a couple of years ago in his ability to function on throws that were way down the field. You can see it. He has just extraordinary on long balls and deeper developing type of routes, so that’s an issue. He’s a big stud that likes running the football and they’ve put that into their offense so that he does carry the ball quite a bit. He runs very aggressively for a quarterback, and he’s a big man. The option stuff that they run creates a whole other level of problems.”