A work in progress

  • By John Boyle Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

RENTON — This could take a while.

The Seattle Seahawks offense, which has been almost entirely overhauled since head coach Pete Carroll took over in January of 2009, was clearly going to be a work in progress this season. But what has become apparent over the past two weekends is that progress is happening even slower than expected.

“Yes, I thought we would be able to move a lot faster,” Carroll conceded. “… We know that they’re going in the right direction. We know that they’re going to be good. They’re going to be really good. It’s just a matter of time.”

The question, of course, is how much time? Are we looking at next week? Mid season? 2013? Carroll and general manager John Schneider inherited a bad and aging team, so it is no surprise they decided to blow the thing up and rebuild in the way they see fit. But the reality of that decision, particularly on offense where the line features two rookies, a second-year left tackle and a third-year center, is that there will be ugly times before the roster makeover bears fruit.

“It just takes time,” Carroll said of the line. “Experience is experience because it takes a lot to get and it’s hard to get there, but we’re moving as fast as we can.”

And after watching a shutout loss in Pittsburgh, in which the Seahawks managed just 164 yards, it looks like this team, and this offense in particular, are worse than anyone, Carroll included, thought they would be. But of course that doesn’t mean Carroll is about to throw up his hands and give up on this season. That’s not in his “always compete” DNA. So they’ll do what they have to do — keep grinding, keep trying to turn this young line into a functional unit.

Just don’t expect greatness anytime soon. Is this offense bad? The numbers certainly say so. After two games, Seattle ranks last in the NFL in total yards, last in rushing offense, 28th in passing offense and 31st in scoring. But it’s also too soon to make big declarative statements. Well, there is one thing we can safely say. It will take a while.

“We have to keep growing,” Carroll said. “We have to keep learning from everything that we’re going through so that we can get better and bank on the experiences that we’ve had. There’s a challenge to everybody on this team right now, myself included, that we have to find ways to improve our performance and we all have to work at it really hard. We all have to fight to find ways to make us better. … We’ve got a ways to go.”

All that being said, however, it won’t always look as bad as it has so far. San Francisco, despite all of its flaws, has a pretty good defense, and the Steelers, well they’re the Steelers. So while no one involved in the Seahawks offense is happy with what has transpired in the first eight quarters of the season — six of which yielded no points — it is worth pointing out that both of Seattle’s games this year have been on the road against solid defenses.

This weekend, when the Seahawks return home, they’ll be facing a Cardinals defense that has allowed 932 yards in two games. Will that be the cure-all for Seattle’s offense? No. Will the line suddenly start dominating its opposition? Not likely. But it certainly won’t hurt to return home and face a less-than-stellar defense. And even though the offense is coming along slower than Carroll hoped, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a sense of urgency around Seahawks headquarters this week. After all, if Seattle can’t beat Arizona in its home opener, things could get really ugly in a hurry with Atlanta next on the schedule followed by two more road games.

“This is going to be a week where we need to make progress, we need to get a win, we need to get this thing going and get it in the right direction,” Carroll said.

How long it will take to go in the right direction is anyone’s guess. Just don’t expect this struggling offense to turn the corner overnight.

“It’s encouraging that they’re improving,” Carroll said. “But we’ve got a ways to go still.”

And yes, Carroll did say, “We’ve got a long ways to go” twice in one press conference. It’s going to be that kind of season for this young Seahawks offense.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog

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