Highlights from Pete Carroll’s Monday radio show

Pete Carroll did his usual morning spot on 710 ESPN Seattle, which included some interesting comments on where his team is through six games, why trading Percy Harvin was tough for him and if his team just might reach out to a certain former fullback who is currently available. You can listen to the entire interview blow, but here are a few highlights:

Carroll noted that his team again lost a close game, which is hardly ideal for team that preaches the importance of finishing: “We have to turn these finishes and get them going our way and keep battling to fight our way back to the wins we need to get. There are a lot of really good lessons in here, but we’re frustrated by it. And you can hear some of the talk, the guys are frustrated, and I understand that. Not everybody bites their tongue you’d like them to. We’ll deal with it, we’re going to fight our way through this and see if we can get right.”

Asked about how his team took the news of the Percy Harvin trade, which happened right before the team left for St. Louis, Carroll said, “I went around the plane and talked to everybody, kind of made sure everybody was OK. Everybody was OK and understood. Of course any time something like that happens it’s going to cause some kind of effect. I thought our guys responded well, the receiving group responded and played very well and were focused and dedicated to making sure they did their part, and they did that. But I don’t think that’s a reason, I don’t think that’s an excuse for any change or anything, I think it’s just something we had to deal with and get through. There was some sense of, OK, they understood, so they moved on.”

And asked if it was a decision made based on on-field issues or off-field issues, Carroll said, “It was about the team moving forward, it was about us. It was about the group and how we do our work and how we carry ourselves. We needed to be as true to that as we possibly could and we needed to make a decision to keep us team oriented and moving ahead. It wasn’t a hard choice to make in that regard; it’s a difficult decision because there’s a lot of magnitude to it and all that, but we could see what we needed to do, we just had to get it done.”

On how Harvin took the news, Carroll said, “He accepted it and I think was looking forward to the next challenge already.”

For Carroll, trading Harvin meant, in a sense, admitting failure in that he couldn’t make things work with Harvin on his team. The Seahawks knew Harvin could be a headache—offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell coached him in Minnesota as well—but they made the trade last year anyway because of Harvin’s talent, hoping a new environment and the right atmosphere, an atmosphere created by Carroll, would bring the best out of Harvin. It didn’t.

“I compete at that too trying to help our guys their best,” Carroll said. “I put a lot into this, and really worked hard to try to make it work for everybody. We’ve had a lot of guys over the years, there have been a lot of cases, a lot of situations that call for understanding and compassion and strength and vision, and sometimes it doesn’t work. For me, most of the time I feel like it does, so I take it hard. I competed at this thing and couldn’t make it work for our team and for the players, and I was disappointed, because I told John (Schneider) I’d get this done, I thought I could, when we made the decision. We knew what we were doing, but it didn’t work out the way we’d hoped, so we had to make our move. I really appreciate the support of the owner (Paul Allen) and the support of the general manager to see it in the same fashion, and we went about this really shoulder-to-shoulder.”

On how the offense played in its first game without Harvin, Carorll said, “We just played normal. We played normal football. Bev called the game the way we wanted to call it, we got the ball to Marshawn and banged away—we weren’t getting a lot of positive stuff early—but about play 20, 22, we started going and things started hitting. You can see the future in it. I was really pumped about that, our players could sense that too. As this game wore on, we had three 80-plus drives in the second half, that’s good execution… I hope we’re going to make a big turn here.”

On the pass rush, or lack thereof, Carroll hinted that change is coming, perhaps in the form of less four-man rush and more blitzing, though he wouldn’t specify exactly what he had in mind: “We’re going to have to use our guys a little more. We’re playing the same format that we played all last year and we’re doing things exactly the same way, in the same fashion, and we’re not getting the results… It’s caused by coverage, it’s caused by rush, it’s back and forth and not any one thing, but we need to adjust a couple things here and we’ll take care of that. I’m not going to talk a lot about that, but there are things we need to do.”

One thing that could be a factor is that Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, the team’s best pass rushers last season, are both playing more this year, especially Bennett, who played 90 percent of Seattle’s snaps on Sunday.

“They are playing more,” Carroll said. “They’re both playing more. Cliff was not playing nearly as much on base down as he is now, and really the same for Mike. That’s a product of the availability of our guys, but that is a little bit different.

And as many things as have gone wrong on the way to a 3-3 start, Carroll still sees good things ahead: “It’s a long, long season and there are a lot of games, and how we hang through this and work our way through it will tell the story of how this season’s going to go. The story’s not written right now, this is just the starting point. We know we can do a lot of cool things as we continue to improve. Some guys are going to have to step up and capture the opportunity, but we have a lot of guys we know can do that, plus we’re going to get a handful of guys coming back, which will be exciting. We’ve got to stay together.”

As for when those handful of guy might come back, Carroll was asked about Max Unger, Zach Miller and Byron Maxwell and said, “We’ll find out, right now I don’t know that. Our updates are not that they’re coming back yet. We have to find out day-to-day and see what happens.”

Fullback Derrick Coleman broke his foot in pregame warmups, and Carroll said it looks similar to the injury that just landed Cassius Marsh on injured reserve, so the Seahawks are likely in the market for a fullback. One possible option went away Monday morning with Cleveland signing rookie Kiero Small off of their practice squad. Small, a seventh-round pick by the Seahawks this year, was released on cut day, then signed to Cleveland’s practice squad.

Another possibility could be Michael Robinson, who was Seattle’s starting fullback for the past four seasons. Robinson has not played this season, and has hinted in the past that he’s leaning towards retirement, but the current NFL Network analyst also said this summer that he hasn’t closed the door completely. Then on Sunday as the Seahawks were playing without a fullback, Robinson wrote on Twitter, “for the first time since retirement,…. I wanna strap up and play today!”

Asked about “a certain former fullback,” Carroll said, “We’re looking at all options right now.”

Of course if the Seahawks do want to bring Robinson back, he’d have to be willing to subject himself to the grind of the NFL again, which is far from a given, regardless of what he Tweeted yesterday. As Robinson outlined a few months ago, the health scare that put him in the hospital last season means he now can’t take anti-inflammatories, which is kind of a big deal for somebody trying to survive the grind of an NFL season. As he said in June, “I still love Sundays. Monday through Saturday gets difficult… The turnover with my body was just taking a toll.”

Even so, until Robinson definitely states he isn’t interested in playing again, or until the Seahawks add another fullback, this will be a situation worth watching.

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