If getting a bye and home field weren’t enough, coach Pete Carroll said Monday some other injured players are likely to be ready to return by Jan. 10.
Given the strife and tumult besetting NFL franchises in and out of the playoffs — Lions All-Pro DT Ndamukong Suh, making a late run for Dumbest Sports Guy of 2014, was suspended for Sunday’s playoff game against Dallas for stepping on Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers — the Seahawks figuratively are grinning by the fireside, surrounded by loved ones, on a bonus football holiday week wrapped around the civilian holiday week.
“We’re playing fast, our energy is there, we looking like we’re in midseason form,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday at his weekly press conference. “We’ll be fresher for this time of year. (The bye) is a huge advantage.”
He forecasted the return of WR Jermaine Kearse (hamstring) and was hopeful on DT Jordan Hill (knee) and CB Jeron Johnson (elbow), both hurt Sunday in the division-clinching, 20-6 win over St. Louis.
“We won’t practice those guys (this) week,” he said. “They will benefit from the week off. We’ll wait until we loop around to next week for those guys. They were hurt significantly . . . they’re not out at this point.”
C Max Unger (ankle), CB Tharold Simon and TE Cooper Helfet (ribs) are likely returnees, which could leave the Seahawks as healthy as they have been during the season.
“It’s going to make some difficult decisions on the roster,” he said. “It’s a good problem to have.
The best part about it is (being) home.”
Jets, 49ers to interview DC Quinn
After the season the Seahawks defense put in, it’s no surprise that coordinator Dan Quinn is a popular guy for head coaching vacancies. The 49ers and Jets, two of the five teams whose jobs came open Monday (also the Bears, Falcons and Raiders), have asked for permission to interview him this week.
The Jets will fly out their executives to Seattle Friday, the New York Daily News reported. The Jets fired coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik, a former Seahawks executive, after finishing 4-12 and missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
The Jets have also requested to interview Seattle’s director of pro personnel, Trent Kirchner, presumably to replace Idzik, according to NFL.com.
As expected, the 49ers, who finished 8-8, ousted Jim Harbaugh, who has agreed to return to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, with a press conference booked for Ann Arbor, MI., Tuesday. Reportedly he will receive a six-year deal for $48 million. He was making $5 million with the 49ers with another year to go
Quinn began his NFL coaching career with San Francisco in 2001 as the defensive quality control coach and later the defensive line coach. He served as the Jets defensive line coach from 2007-08 and has also been the defensive line coach for the Dolphins. He succeeded Gus Bradley as Seattle DC in last season.
ESPN.com reported the request to interview. The 49ers will also interview Arizona’s DC. Todd Bowles.
Carroll wouldn’t confirm specific interest, but his phone is ringing.
“What we’d like to do is let the teams who are doing their work speak for who they’re talking to,” he said. “But there have been the calls coming in.”
Carroll bids Harbaugh good
After winning five of the past six meetings between the clubs, Carroll apparently has chased his 49ers and USC rival, Harbaugh, from the pro game. Although Bay Area fans will say the dubious duo of owner Jed York and GM Trent Baalke were the principal perps in the offing.
“It’s good he’s out of here in that regard – was tough,” Carroll said. “We wish him the very best. He had a fantastic run in this division. He meant a lot to us building up a little reputation of being a hard-nosed, tough division.
“I’m sure they’ll make a great replacement. He was tough to go against. We enjoyed it.”
Off the record (maybe?): Nee-ner, nee-ner, nee-ner.
2015 opponents set
The Seahawks’ opponents for 2015 have been set, although dates are months away.
At home the Seahawks will face the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers.
On the road, the Seahawks will face the Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings.
Neither list is in any order.
The schedule has six games against division rivals (Cardinals, 49ers, Rams), eight games against teams from two other rotating divisions (the AFC North and NFC North), and two games against teams that finished in the same place as the Seahawks in their respective divisions (the NFC South champion Panthers and NFC East champion Cowboys).