With jet lag now a thing of the past for the Seahawks coaches and players it’s now time to separate emotion and from reality. The Seahawks 21–16 loss to the Buccaneers was a major disappointment but not catastrophic in the bigger picture. That is as long as the team can move on quickly by making some minor adjustments during the bye week.
STILL IN FIRST PLACE
The Seahawks still lead the NFC West with a 6-4 record. The 2-1 Division record is more impressive than the 4-4 conference record. The bottom line is that the Hawks cannot afford to slip up with three of their remains games against NFC West Division foes. Nipping at the Seahawks heels is the new and improved San Francisco 49ers at 5-4 with a perfect 3-0 Division Record. The Niners are on a two game win streak. The NFC West Division will go through the 49ers and Seahawks . The 49ers beat the Seahawks 27-7 in Week Two and that was before the acquisition of Cristian McCaffrey. Seattle wil host the 49ers Week 14 December 15th . There is no doubt the Seahawks are keeping their sights on the 49ers.
“I did make the comment, I think in the locker room and even as we were getting off the plane that, ‘Okay, we positioned ourselves here and we all know that we are here, but we are not nearly as good as we can be. Let’s re-commit as we come back to really go for it because we have enough firepower, we have enough health, and we’re growing as a team coming together that can really take advantage of our first half positioning.
We will see where we end up with the 49ers after this week, but everything is ahead of us, and we are in control of everything.’ That’s all that we could ever ask for. Whether you are 8-0, 9-0, 10-0, or you are on top the division, winning the division is a huge goal for us and it is the only goal that we deal with, to try to win the West. We’ll go about that by coming back with a really firm commitment and everybody feeling good and being excited about it. This is a good mentality that we have right now, even though we had to give up a game right there. We come out of it okay.”Pete Carroll on the team moving on from loss to Tampa Bay
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STAY COMMITTED TO RUN GAME
The Seahawks run game against the Buccaneers was for the most part non existence . The Buc’s D-line had it’s way against the Seahawks O-line in both the pass and run game. The Seahawks 14 rush attempt for 39 yards was a glaring missing. The inability to run the ball forced the Geno Smith and the offense to rely on the passing game. Given the Buc’s dominance this was no doubt a recipe for disaster. Sunday’s lackluster running performance is a lesson learned for the offense and especially Offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and O line Andy Dickerson. The question for the duo will be how to creatively get the ball into Kenneth Walker’s hands .
“Yeah, I think he will just keep getting better. I thought he did a nice job of contributing to the passing game. He made some extra yards and caused some problems. If he could’ve stayed on his feet, he probably would’ve had another 20, 30 yards out there. Certainly, he’s just going to continue to grow with the tempo of the line of scrimmage. It’s not like he has ran the football enough in his lifetime. He knows how to run the football. He’s got great instincts, but he’s got to grow with our guys, and our scheme, and make sure that he can take advantage of it all the time. He’s a great frontside runner.
He bounced the football, and gets out, and you see us put him on the perimeter, but he’s also a great cutback runner. He’s devastating when he comes back against the grain and now, he has it spaced it all out. We are just going to keep giving it to him, and try to keep him well, and healthy, and growing, and complement him with (Travis) Homer and DeeJay (Dallas), and really make this running game come to life.”Pete Carroll on Kenneth Walker growth aiding the run game
One lesson the Seahawks need to heed is to stick with the run game no matter what. The temptation for most teams is to abandon the run and go at it with the passing game. Which plays into the defenses plan to make the offense one dimensional.
DEFENDING WITH A FOUR MAN FRONT
One adjustment the Seahawks will need to make down the stretch is how to effectively defend the run and pass with four up front. When the Seahawks have five up front they have generated an effective pass rush and the same time been able to clog up the A and B gaps making it difficult for opponents to run against them. Against the Bucs the Seahawks went to four upfront due to Brady’s ability to get the ball out of his hands in mere seconds. It also meant the four defenders had to adjust how they were attacking in the run and pass .
Yeah, it’s just different from when we play our five-man front. It just calls for a bit of a different approach and the different coverages and the additional force players come from different angles, different spots. Sometimes they come out of a two-deep look as opposed of being up in the three-deep look. We are more oriented to rushing the passer.
We have to do a good job to fit them up. We are having really good success in the five-man fronts in general, but when teams throw the ball a lot, we would rather be in the pass rush mode when we can. So, that’s why it’s pretty understandable of how that works and if fits our personnel to do so.”Pete Carroll on the defensive having difficulty stopping run and pass with a four man front.
BEING CONSISTENT ON DEFENSE KEY IS GOOD COMMUNICATION
One reason for the Seahawks success during the four game winning streak was quick play recognition and communication between the players. On Sunday against the Bucs this was a missing that led to big plays due to players being isolated on the chunk plays. Players were isolated due to lack of communication.
“Yeah, yes, it is. It’s the consistency because guys have to see things in the same fashion, so they be together to recognize, ‘Here comes the crossing route, okay, I’m going to give it to you, you got it, and I’ll take yours.’ That kind of stuff is really intricate, and it hurt us early in the year. It’s just taken us time. As a matter of fact, I went back and watched Minnesota, just admiring Ed Donatell’s work and what they are doing there. They are playing way cleaner than they were earlier too. They are in the same timeframe that we are on too. They played a great game this week, and still had a tough game against Buffalo, but they are off to a great start and are winning a lot of games with really good, solid defense.”Pete Carroll on defense needing to continue to improve
Another bad tendency that resurfaced was missed tackles. Lack of quick play recognition, aggressive play , lack of communication leads to miss tackles because the player is out of position. The last time the Seahawks were guilty of bad tackling was during the New Orleans game. The sky is not falling but there are ominous clouds and the Seahawks must shake off one bad day at the office and stay disciplined and aggressive at the last quarter pole of the season.