Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll walks on the field before a game against the Vikings on Oct. 11, 2020, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll walks on the field before a game against the Vikings on Oct. 11, 2020, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Carroll stresses caution to Seahawks players during bye week

While the players will still be tested daily, they will have more freedom than during a game week.

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

RENTON — For the Seattle Seahawks, the week off they now get for their annual bye might be as critical as any week in their season.

That was the gist of the message coach Pete Carroll gave his team Monday, saying players need to be as diligent as they have been to this point about adhering to COVID-19 protocols, even if they won’t be on the same weekly practice schedule they have been on since reporting for training camp in late July.

“We have to be so, so tuned in,” Carroll said when he talked to media members via Zoom. “Remember, always protect the team is No. 1. This is what this week is about. That rule is all about conscience, staying connected to team, your players, who you represent, all that. Everything is at stake.”

The Seahawks have so far done as well as any team in the NFL in handling protocols, with no player having yet had a positive test.

But now that players will have a bit more freedom for the next seven days, Carroll is understandably emphasizing that it doesn’t mean players can let up.

Enhanced league protocols enacted last week will help. Specifically, the league told players they can’t leave their city during the bye week.

Not all players reacted positively to that requirement.

“Totally sucks,” Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters after the victory last Monday over the Atlanta Falcons. “That’s all I can say about that. Obviously, it is what it is, the situation. But especially as an older player, I look forward to the bye weeks immensely. I look forward to kind of a reset, recharging the batteries.”

Green Bay and Detroit were the first two NFL teams to have their official byes last week (Pittsburgh and Tennessee ended up with one in Week 4 when their games were postponed, as did New England and Denver last week).

Seattle now is among a group of four teams with a bye this week (the others are New Orleans, the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas).

Players will still be required to come to the facility for testing each day. And Carroll said he hopes players will hang around and work out to help keep to some sort of routine.

But teams cannot practice during the bye week via an agreement with the NFL Players Association that requires players must have four consecutive days off and that those four days must include a Saturday and Sunday, unless the team is playing on the following Thursday. Most teams simply give players the entire week off, and the Seahawks are expected to return to the practice field next Monday.

But even if players hang around the facility some this week, they’ll have more down time, and less of a focus with no game this weekend.

“Their routines, they’re starting over,” Carroll said. “I’m concerned about guys making errors, the error in their ways. They run into the wrong people, go to the wrong place, they get themselves vulnerable. We change the bubble effect of what we’ve been creating here, working so hard to keep. It’s all about conscience.

“We’ll do everything we can to remind them. The players are going to work at it amongst themselves, all that, with real direction. Real crucial. Hopefully we’ll be able to pull it off.”

And as Carroll noted, there is really no way to prepare for a bye week in such a situation.

“I mean, why it’s such a big deal is that we’re out of our normal routine,” Carroll said. “We can’t practice this one. This is the first time. We just got to do it. I love practice, being prepared, having the mentality for it. This has just got to carry over from all the time we’ve had. Our guys will test every day in the morning. They’ll stay at least connected in that manner. I’m kind of hoping that our guys will work out and be around the facility, do their thing in a fashion so that it’s somewhat normal because we’re entering a new week.”

As Carroll said, the Seahawks have been spending the season to date in something of an unofficial bubble of rules put in place by the team.

Carroll said last week those include the team instructing players to not have anyone other than immediate family in their homes and to avoid going to restaurants, instead getting takeout or delivery.

Carroll said he has also “totally discouraged” players having any visitors coming into town, but if players do have visitors to let the team know and make sure to follow established protocols.

“This is not that season when you get to do that,” Carroll said. “… Keeping fingers crossed. But we’re going to work really, really hard and stay on it and do the best job just to keep the message alive and keep it going.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Aimelie Hovde-Girard, right, chats with Payton Wold as they row along the Snohomish River with the Everett Rowing Association on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 in Everett, Washington. The rowers usually compete in teams of eight, but due to COVID-19, most row single sculls.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Despite pandemic, it’s full steam ahead for Everett rowers

The rowing association finds ways to continue their sport, both virtually and on the water.

Tyson Lang #18 during the Central Welding Supply 125 for Pro Late Models at the Evergreen Speedway in Monroe on October 17, 2020. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
2020 racetrack season was one for the books

Evergreen Speedway just concluded what was undoubtedly the most unusual… Continue reading

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) dives in for a touchdown against Seattle Seahawks free safety Quandre Diggs (37) during last Sunday’s game in Glendale, Ariz. The Arizona Cardinals won in overtime. (AP Photo/Jennifer Stewart)
POLL RESULTS: Seahawks fans are feeling concerned

More than three-quarters of responders have some level of concern, despite Seattle being 5-1.

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, file photo, then-Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich walks the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Boise State, in Boise, Idaho. It took nine months for Rolovich, the new Washington State football coach, to conduct his first practice with the Cougars after the coronavirus led to the cancellation of spring practice and delays in the start of the 2020 season. Rolovich was hired from Hawaii in January after Mike Leach left for Mississippi State. (AP Photo/Steve Conner, File)
Washington State will feature new coach, quarterback

Nick Rolovich has big shoes to fill, but his outgoing personality is winning over the Palouse.

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean Luc Baker of the US compete in the Ice Dance Rhythm Dance during the ISU figure skating France’s Trophy, in Grenoble, French Alps, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Kamiak grad earns silver medal in ice dancing at Skate America

It’s the second Grand Prix of Figure Skating medal for Jean-Luc Baker.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) on the sidelines during an NFL football game between the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)
AP source: Seahawks land DE Carlos Dunlap from Bengals

The pass rusher amassed 46 sacks for Cincinnati from 2015-19.

Seattle Seahawks fans watch prior to Seattle’s game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at State Farm Stadium. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Grading the Seahawks’ loss to the Cardinals

It’s poor marks all around as Seattle lets one slip away in overtime.

This is a 2020 photo of Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners baseball team. This image reflects the Mariners active roster as of Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, when this image was taken.
M’s prospect Julio Rodriguez makes up for lost time in Arizona

His mixture of size, athleticism and talent has led many to believe he will be the team’s next star.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf tackles Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker (32) short of the goal line after Baker intercepted a pass during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Hawks let game slip away, but Metcalf’s play was one for the ages

His astonishing TD-saving pursuit was in no way diminished by Seattle’s disappointing OT loss.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) gets the throw off as Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kylie Fitts makes the hit during the second half of Seattle’s 37-34 overtime loss Sunday at State Farm Stadium. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
POLL: Is there cause for concern for the Seahawks?

Was Sunday’s overtime loss to Arizona a blip on the radar, or something to worry about?

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Arizona knocks off undefeated Seattle in overtime

Zane Gonzalez made a 48-yard field goal with 20… Continue reading