BY Art Thiel 05:05PM 09/20/2016

Thiel: Bad week for Carroll needs a big rush

Besides the loss in Los Angeles, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks were punished again by the NFL for practice-rules violations. But getting a running game Sunday would make it all better.

Jeff Fisher’s team has beaten Pete Carroll’s team four of the past five meetings, in three cities. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Bad 48 hours for Pete Carroll.

The Seahawks coach returned Saturday to Los Angeles, where once he was king with his bad-ass USC teams. But after being out-coached again by new nemesis Jeff Fisher, he left Sunday embarrassed partly because he discovered his latest bad-ass team is not bad-ass without Marshawn Lynch.

Coming home to Seattle Monday morning, Carroll was embarrassed again by learning he was fined $200,000 and, more important, a fifth-round draft choice, for being a serial NFL rules-breaker when it comes to off-season practices.

Almost as dubious, he’s pinning a lot of his franchise’s immediate recovery on the return of a player, Germain Ifedi, who has yet to prove himself in a single down of regular-season football. He might be the best first-round pick Carroll has made, but short-term, he’s at least as likely to be the Human Holding Penalty.

After the game Sunday, Carroll said, “Really disappointed.”

After news of the NFL fines Monday, he said, “Really disappointed.”

Given all this disappointment, if one were deeply cynical, one might pose the question he once posed to Jim Harbaugh: “What’s your deal?”

But at 1-1, as is Sunday’s opponent, the ever-tumultuous 49ers — as well as the rest of the NFC West — Carroll and the Seahawks don’t deserve to be pushed over Disappointment Falls just yet. Much remains to be seen.

There is, however one observation that is clear after two games regarding the production of 15 points, second-lowest in the league.

Defenses facing a healthy Lynch and a healthy QB Russell Wilson, plus a threat at tight end, had a miserable time loading up against Seattle’s offense.

A few times, defenses would get away with deployments against a Seattle strength. But as the game wore on and defenses wore down, Wilson’s brain and legs and Lynch’s power did not. Their virtues were nearly unmatchable in the fourth quarter, which were the biggest reasons the Seahawks offense was so capable so late.

But with Lynch retired, Wilson hurting and — all due respect to his remarkable rehab — TE Jimmy Graham just a guy for now, well, one touchdown in 22 possessions isn’t all the fault of the offensive line.

It’s true that in the second half of 2015 the Seahawks devised a workaround by compensating for Lynch’s injury absence and poor line play with a short-pass emphasis that worked well.

At least, until teams scouted it.

A brief review is illuminating.

The new look produced a five-game run averaging 34 points a game. Then they smacked into the Rams Dec. 27, who won in Seattle 23-17 in part by holding the Seahawks to 59 yards rushing (the Seahawks had 67 yards Sunday).

The Seahawks won the final regular-season game 36-6 against an Arizona team that already clinched the division title and had no incentive except to avoid injury.

Then came the playoffs and the coldest football game in Minnesota history. The Seahawks won 10-9 despite 226 yards of offense and conversion of five of 14 third-down attempts. That result was followed by the debacle in Carolina. The 31-0 deficit was the biggest of the Carroll era. The Seahawks were 1-for-4 on third-down conversions in the first half.

The Seahawks won the second half 24-0, but only because Carolina eased. If that half is thrown out for the same reason the whole game against Arizona is tossed — both opponents ceased caring — the Seahawks have not had a good offensive game since a 30-13 drubbing of feckless Cleveland Dec. 20.

Carroll Monday emphasized third-down failures, saying the Seahawks Sunday had nine situations of third-and-seven or longer.

“That’s too many,” he said. “It goes back to the running game. Remember last year how much we talked about third down? That’s still the key.”

Of course that’s true. But Carroll is identifying a symptom, not a cause. The cause is the inability of the Seahawks’ front to make lanes consistently for the running game, which no longer has a savvy power runner whose most under-valued virtue was getting a two-yard gain out of what would have been a two-yard loss for any other back.

Good defenses — as in the past six they’ve faced — have scouted the Seahawks’ short-pass game sufficiently to disrupt it in the first five yards. In the past six quarters, it’s been even easier to disrupt with Wilson hobbled.

In the first quarter Sunday, on the Seahawks’ lone scoring drive, Wilson was in shotgun and RG J’Marcus Webb and RT Garry Gilliam were set to double-team Aaron Donald, the Rams’ Terminator of a defensive tackle. Upon the snap, Donald shoved an arm on each Seahawk and simply threw them away, catching Wilson running on a failed pass play for a two-yard loss.

I know Donald is the best there is, but a double-team that gets windshield-bugged?

All Carroll could commit to regarding change was praying for Ifedi’s return from a sprained ankle to replace Webb at guard. There’s no Alvin Bailey or Paul McQuistan on this roster; all three backups are rookies.

With Ifedi, “we felt like were intact with the running game and things were strong in the first four” preseason games, Carroll said.  “Then we had — there was some adjusting we had to do right there” with Ifedi’s ankle injury the Wednesday before the opener. “It’s a big shift. You take a step back to get forward, and we had to do that. Two weeks into it, now we need to go. We should be in pretty good shape.

“Germain, he’s real close to getting back. He looks to be a tremendous factor for us. When he comes back out here, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a little difference, because he was that impacting.”

Maybe so. The 49ers gave up 46 points to Carolina Sunday, so they might be the opponent to help the Seahawks get well. Ifedi might be the guy who improves the Seahawks’ lagging bad-ass quotient.

Otherwise, Carroll has an offense that cannot do what Lynch explained with the eloquence of the Oakland street: “I know I’m gonna get got, but I’m going to get mine more than I get got.”

Kasen Williams added to practice squad

According to the NFL transactions list, the Seahawks re-signed WR Kasen Williams to the 10-man practice squad, probably a precaution in case knee injuries to WRs Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin keep them out of Sunday’s home game against San Francisco.

The Seahawks also released from the practice squad CB Tye Smith and DL Michael Ola.

Williams, the former University of Washington and Skyline High School star, was on the roster throughout the preseason but was released on the final cut to 53 players. He was added to the first practice squad, then released last week.

The Seahawks had only four active receivers on the game-day roster Sunday — Lockett, Baldwin, Paul Richardson and Jermaine Kearse. Rookie Tanner McEvoy was on the roster, but de-activated for the game.

Williams played in four games last season, including the two playoff games, and seemed to be in line to make this year’s roster, but a hamstring injury kept him off the field for most of the preseason.



  • Newbie1000

    One of the most idiotic article, if you took the starting QB and RB out of any offence, it would be terrible not just the Seahawks….duh

    • art thiel

      Not if the replacements were believed to be rough equivalences.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Defenses facing a healthy Lynch and a healthy QB Russell Wilson, plus a threat at tight end, had a miserable time loading up against Seattle’s offense.
    If you shrink this thought down to one road game last sunday ?The last Ram road game had those(above) intangibles and they lost. The Rams are simply a bad match up to the point I listened to an ESPN Analyst joke on TV that the Rams would win 2 games this year and both will be against Seattle. Its no joke.

    • art thiel

      Th matchup is the most heavily invested unit by the Rams against the least heavily invested unit of the Seahawks.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        Ram Bucks vs Hawk Bucks…. $$$$$$ may the Hawk mgmt. find a few dollars for the O line next year in the couch partition…..

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    The fact that there is 14 games left to employ all of the running options they thought they would have to begin the season is all we need to hear at this point. Keep in Mind they had a healthy RW and Lynch available when they started the season 2~4(2015).
    Seems they have a copyright on that Adversity Tattoo with the Hawk logo.
    A quick check shows no Marshawn and still tied for NFC West lead today.
    There is little doubt they will have a better chance of getting it done though when RW can run like a deer again.

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    • art thiel

      By no means is the world ending, Charlie B.

  • What’s a Gagortion

    What was the temperature down on the field on Sunday’s game?

    • art thiel

      Game time was 88 degrees. Field at least 10 degrees hotter.

      • MrPrimeMinister

        BOTH teams played in it.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    So nice when Mr. Thiel takes no prisoners. I see our division teams cannibalizing each other into 9-7 and 8-8 records. The cards probably come out on top.

    • art thiel

      It is NFL’s toughest division.

  • Stephen Pitell

    Marshawn is not our problem. He did nothing last year. Given what we know about the talent on this team, I have no problem saying our problems involve coaching. Pete is a loyal guy, and doesn’t throw anybody under the bus, but I’m hoping he realizes that the coaches need to do better and that starts with Pete. Someone is not performing up to expectations, given our talent. Maybe we need to innovate and hire a dedicated play caller. Let Bevel do the rest of an OC’s job, but hire someone to call the plays, and only call the plays.

    Something’s got to change.

    • art thiel

      I assume you said the same thing a year ago when they started poorly.

  • 1coolguy

    “Carroll Monday emphasized third-down failures, saying the Seahawks Sunday had nine situations of third-and-seven or longer.”
    Isn’t this situation and the red zone failures the reason we picked up soft Jimmy Graham? 3 step drop and a ten yard pass down the seam would be an answer, but I didn’t see anything like it all game.

    • Pixdawg13

      You also haven’t seen a healthy Graham this year.

    • art thiel

      He’s still recovering from surgery and he caught three passes. RW missed him when was open in the end zone on the FG drive.

      • 1coolguy

        True, yet JG was quoted this weekend saying he “feels like a beast” and is good to go. So he admits the surgery is behind him.
        After tearing up the league in their final games after JG was hurt, and now this, what explains the fall off? The O line is worse, for right now, yet the RW to Baldwin show was record breaking.
        Is Bevell putting Angry Doug on ice to use his $9m toy?

  • Tman

    I’m going to get mine more than I get got.”
    That’s sort of the American dream or the American way is it not?

    • art thiel

      Original profoundness by the Oakland sage.

  • rosetta_stoned

    All these words and not a single mention of Darrell Bevell.

    There’s a reason he never interviews for head coaching gigs, and the last two D coordinators are working elsewhere. Care to guess why?

  • wabubba67

    Off topic a bit, but still Seahawk related. Art (or anyone else), can you tell me why the Rams would opt to wear their dark uniforms when it was nearly 100 degrees on the field? I thought that it was odd that they would give up a temperature advantage to the visiting team. Was it just that the owner preferred the look to open the next era of Rams football in LA?

  • Gerald Turner

    Why does coach Fisher always get fired immediately in my Madden video football league but never in real life? Bad programming!