Seahawks Insider

Even though it was just preseason, Seahawks respond like champions to Pete Carroll’s call

Post by Gregg Bell / The News Tribune on Aug. 16, 2014 at 12:36 am with 49 Comments »
August 16, 2014 9:25 am

No matter that this was August. This was what Super Bowl champions do.

They answer their coach’s call to be more physical at the line of scrimmage. They clean up penalties. They get an opponent down early, then bury it.

“What jumped out was just in general, I thought we played real hard and ran fast. And it looked like we had full energy across the board,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said tonight of his team answered last week’s relative dud in Denver with a 41-14 mauling of San Diego at CenturyLink Field in the second exhibition game.

The link above tells what Carroll thought about the first-team offense rolling to a 24-0 lead after four drives, and about improved play by an offensive line that was still missing starting left tackle Russell Okung and starting center Max Unger — but got left guard James Carpenter back in the lineup after a calf injury caused him to miss last week.

Tonight was an example of the evolution of Carroll’s program in Seattle. When he first arrived from USC in 2010 to coach the Seahawks for his third NFL go-around, he was trying to instill competitiveness at every position, every day, in every situation — including an exhibition game. That took a couple of years of constant roster churn orchestrated by synchronized general manager John Schneider.

Now, entering season number five and coming off the franchise’s first Super Bowl title, these Seahawks have internalized that Carroll competitiveness and drive to perfect even the smallest of details in the seemingly most meaningless of settings, such as a practice game on Aug. 15. Those that haven’t or didn’t are no longer here.

The result is what we saw tonight. Carroll doesn’t like the line play, the aggressiveness or the sloppy penalties from last week. Presto! 24-0 lead after four drives, with a 255-42 edge in total yardage on San Diego before the Seahawks’ starters left the game for good.

Russell Wilson didn’t throw passes away or rush throws while pressured as much as he did while playing two drives in Denver last week. He simply out-ran the Chargers who got into the backfield, and there were still too many for the coaches’ — or quarterback’s — liking. I counted at least five plays that for three-fourths of the league’s quarterbacks would have been sacks that Wilson salvaged, including the 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that made it 24-0.

Even second-year cornerback Tharold Simon, who didn’t play at all last season because of foot injuries, showed he is internalizing Carroll’s message. Last week, Simon got thrown out of the game for slapping a Bronco in the facemask immediately after a Denver touchdown. He needed to respond individually, pronto. Tonight he made a leaping interception in the end zone, took off down the Seahawks’ sideline with a convoy of teammates and sprinted 103 yards for what would have been a touchdown in the third quarter — if not for a horrid illegal-contact call by an official who took too far the league’s new point of emphasis on that call. The contact came within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, which remains legal in the NFL.

“I thought it was a perfectly executed two-handed jam,” said Carroll.

He didn’t say “perfectly executed” about anything Simon did last week.

The offensive line wasn’t perfect, and to me there is still a ways to go there in establishing continuity and consistency. But there are still three weeks until the games get real.

Wilson got sacked when left guard James Carpenter got beaten on the first drive, and the QB got pressured two other times in the first half-dozen plays. The reason Wilson ran so effectively was because he had to. The only one of his four official rushes was called, the 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that made it 17-0 early in the second quarter.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell showed more spice on that call than the offense had last week, spreading the Chargers out with three wide receivers to the left including Jermaine Kearse in the slot. Wilson then faked a handoff to Robert Turbin inside and jogged into the end zone around an empty right end.

Alvin Bailey and Carpenter had nice blocks on Turbin’s 1-yard touchdown that ended the first drive. And Bailey, starting for Okung at left tackle again, got some push before Turbin cut-back from left to right on a 47-yard run in the first quarter. That got Seattle out from its own 3-yard line on a 78-yard drive that led to the first of Steven Hauschka’s two field goals in two tries.

Yes, the Seahawks saw value and importance to rebounding tonight. So what that it was another exhibition game.

“There’s value every time you step on the field — whether it’s practice, game, preseason game, championship game, playoff game,” Wilson said. “Even watching film. There’s value to everything everything that we do. I think that the championship mindset that we talk about is there’s a purpose to everything that we try to do. And the communication that we have, the visualization, all that plays into a major factor or role in to the success of our football team day in and day out.

“If we can continue to have that mindset of truly believing that and really seeing that, we have a chance. We have the right guys to do it, we got the right coaching staff, we got the best fans in the National Football League. So it makes it exciting everyday.”


Turbin, the Seahawks’ fourth-round pick in 2012 out of Utah State, may have won the No. 2 running-back job tonight. He had 80 yards rushing by midway through the second quarter. Christine Michael, Seattle’s second-round draft choice last year out of Texas A&M, was Carroll’s first choice to run the ball after Marshawn Lynch started and left for good two plays in. But Michael fumbled for the second time in eight carries this month on the game’s first drive. Just like in Denver, he lost the ball on a low hit at his torso. Though the Seahawks recovered, Turbin replaced Michael immediately — and immediate ran wild.

Asked if he was concerned with Michael’s fumbling, Carroll said, “Yeah.

“He needs to protect it more. … I’m hoping that he’ll learn from it because it’s really the exact same situation, I believe. He allowed the defender to get under him where the ball is vulnerable and they knocked it out. He needs to fix that.”

Turbin had a highlight play in the first quarter, getting Seattle out from its own 3 with a 47-yard run on a cutback from left to right. He threw in a wicked stiff arm at the end of the run across midfield, something Carroll said he’s been trying to get Turbin to do more of.

Turbin wasn’t about to make any proclamations that he arrived tonight.

“Every opportunity … I just want to get better,” Turbin said. “Whether I am getting four carries in one game and a different number in the next game, I just want to do my best to take advantage of all of that, and use all of that as a tool to get better.

–DE Michael Bennett didn’t play because Carroll said his hamstring tightened before the game. Doesn’t sound serious at all.

–The only injury Carroll noted was to reserve linebacker Horace Miller, who “twisted his knee pretty good,” Carroll said. The undrafted rookie free agent from Texas-El Paso will have an MRI.

–Wide receiver Doug Baldwin is fine. He got whacked in the back by San Diego’s Darrell Stuckey at the end of what was originally ruled a 13-yard touchdown catch from Wilson in the second quarter. A replay review showed the hit was so hard it knocked Baldwin 4 yards from the end zone to beyond the end line before his left foot could hit the turf to complete the reception. As Baldwin collected his wits on one knee after the hit, team doctor Ed Khalfayan jogged onto the field with a trainer to attend to Baldwin. But Baldwin waved them off and walked off the field under his own power. Carroll said Baldwin is OK.

Leave a comment Comments → 49
  1. FleaFlicker says:

    Great re-cap.

    Had a chance to take up BluesHQ on his offer to meet anybody from the blog in section 338, row U (a lot of stairs). Kind of fun to meet somebody face-to-face after knowing them simply as a blog handle. Cool guy.

    Don’t know if I’d say that RW “walked into the end zone” on his 1 yd TD run. In my impression, looked like the linebacker lost contain and RW simply cranked up his straight-line 4.55 speed.

    I think Britt made some progress tonight. Game is still fast for him, but he is a rookie.

    Lovin’ me some Cassius Marsh!

    Disappointed in Keven Pierre-Lewis. Poor tackling in the red zone and followed up the very next play by abandoning coverage before the receiver grabbed a quick TD surrounded by flat footed safeties. Maybe I’m being too hard on the kid and Ken Norton Jr. will continue to work his magic…

    In the competition between Turbo and C. Michael, I think Robert simply wants the job more.

    Seven months is too long between home games!

  2. KUDO’s Gregg!!

    This is perhaps the BEST writeup of a game we have seen for a long time! And that’s from all mainstream media sources. WOW thanks Gregg.

    Tharold Simon is going to be a star, he looks like he has “it”!
    Christine Michael is Uber talented, but could be fumbling his way out of town. Protect the Ball!!!!

    Brian Walters should be locking down the returner spot..dude looked fearless and really fast. Seemed to know how to absorb hits too.

    O-line looked a ton better with Carp in there, hopefully there will be the same level of improvement for Okung and Unger, I expect there will be. If so, Russell should have more time before having to scramble.

    Did Trey Wolfe play?

    Pretty easy to see who the first wave of cuts will be, the tough ones will be 53 though 60. Lots of quality players who will be picked up by other teams.

    Again, Thanks Gregg for a terrific write up and blog posts…please continue spoiling us!!


  3. Hammajamma says:

    There are few things more satisfying than a dominant ground game. Seemed the backs did a better job of making the read and getting up field rather than being enticed by the sideline. No coincidence they had better play on the left side of the line this week. Chicago should be a more interesting test, but this was encouraging, QB yards notwithstanding.

  4. montanamike2 says:

    After sitting in my watering hole for over an hour with one of my Seahawks ‘mates, they didn’t show the first quarter so we could watch the fourth quarter scrubs of Pats vs Philly instead, then the game came on for about two minutes before they blacked it out on NFL network! How come all teams Seattle are always being blacked out, it’s been that way for years, but we are the reigning SB champs! I’ll watch the replay today at 10:00 here, frustrating.

  5. montanamike2 says:

    10:00 AM

  6. sluggo42 says:

    The NFL channel,says 9:00 am, but I’m starting to wonder

  7. montanamike2 says:

    Mountain time here Sluggo.

  8. oldtallguy says:

    BJ had trouble with timing on hand offs, but wow what a rollout and fabulous pass completion. Pryor had a fabulous 40 + yard TD, Jackson is trade bait.

  9. HawkfaninMT says:

    Sounders game not on out here either..,

    It’s a football blog, so to put in perspective this is the equivilant of Hawks-saints on mnf last year

  10. vichawkfan says:

    Walters likely secured himself a spot as the new PR guy. Made a couple Golden-esque moves. Well liked in the WR room too.

  11. TallyHawk says:

    I only watched the first half. I loved the way Turbin ran. He looks a lot leaner than he did last season to me. I’m sure being healthy has a lot to do with that. I like the speed with which Michael hits the hole and his forward lean but as has been mentioned he’s got to hold onto the ball if he wants touches. I realize it’s only preseason but if they can stay healthy, especially up front, this offense is going to cause a lot of problems for opposing defenses. They’ve got playmakers all over.

  12. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I love the energy this team creates.

    1. No way (imo) they cut Pryor. Trade perhaps but no way they cut this guy.

    2. Turbo-CM, CM-Turbo. It doesn’t matter to me who gets the technical title of the #2 RB so long as they both get a few touches behind the beast.

    I like them all.

    3. D is filthy deep & hungry too.

    4. O-line? It’s all about the health Boss!

    5. Who was that Russell Wilson copy cat playing qb at the end of the fourth quarter?

    I hope he makes the team, even if it means (hit the road Jackson) again.

    6. Walters looks desperate to make the team. He’s taking some big health risks out there to do it.
    He always looks like he is about to get that one hit that will send him to IR.
    Not sure I want a spot saved for someone you could probably cut & pick back up later at anytime during the season if needed.

    7. I’m not concerned much at all with up & down plays of rookies this early in the season.

    8. Harvin is special.

    9. Wilson is special.

    10. Baldwin is special.

    This team is just scratching the surface with regards to reaching their full potential.

    The 12th man is getting what they long have been waiting for & perhaps more.

    Go Hawks!!!

  13. “Wilson got sacked when left guard James Carpenter got beaten on the first drive…” Imagine that. But, hey, he’s a “starter.” Doesn’t mean he’s starting quality though. If he starts it’s because he’s supposedly the best of the worst. It’s not like CB where if Maxwell starts – he’s starting over good players. If Carp starts – it’s because everyone else is simply that terrible. Still scared of the injury history of Okung, the gord of Unger (and other nicks, not Hakeem), and a rookie at RT (will feel good about that rookie next year though if he’s got 16 regular season starts under his belt though). Here’s to hoping for the best… but really, who cares about James Carpenter? When your wife gets back from the doctor and you’ve got two little kids and they fear breast cancer, it makes something stupid like left guard meaningless. Here’s to hoping for good news in just over a week! As STTBM said the other day, sometimes this blog is a “family” where you can simply vent in an anonymous forum while you pretend to put on a happy face in real life (especially if you’re a teacher).

  14. chuck_easton says:

    I think Walters moved himself ahead of the pack of WR’s fighting for that final spot.

    He should be named the PR right now, and he’s a very solid KR as well should the need arise.

    Bates didn’t have a great night. I didn’t see Lockette at all, but I admit I fell asleep during the 4th qtr.

  15. Gregg Bell says:

    BobbyK: All the best to you and your family. Hope you get great news.

  16. SandpointHawk says:

    Sorry Bobby, I think we are all in your corner on this one. Prayers, good thoughts and positive JuJu on the way…

  17. montanamike2 says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Bobby, i hope for the best for your wife.

  18. Thoughts your way BobbyK

  19. sluggo42 says:

    Sorry Georgia, BJ is practice squad at best.

    Not sure why some are down on CMike. Except for the fumbles (duh), that guy is really something. It was a tough hit right on the ball. But, I know. Same token, turbo looked way better to me this game. Honestly, I know Beast is the Beast, but I don’t think we would skip much of a beat without him.

    Willson looked fast.
    ET looks spazmatic as a punt returner, Walters will be good for that.. If ET was smoother then I would think about it, but there is no way.
    Coyle played himself into #2 behind wags.
    DLine is loaded
    Britt will be the starter, I see a sneaky mean streak in him here and there, and he seems pretty strong. He still gets beat a little by the quicker guys, but I think he will figure that out.
    When we run, the line is moving people, I’m very encouraged with this game.

    I don’t remember PRich or Bates this game, or Locket either for that matter…

    Is it possible that SD played super vanilla to not show what they will be bringing for game #2??????

  20. sluggo42 says:

    OMG Bobby,

    Terabyte prayers from my house to your family…

  21. Thanks guys – football blog so lets stick to that though – and, yes, sluggo, we know that SD wasn’t about to show us anything since we’ll see them in a month or so (same as we weren’t as much either). This was simply a case of a vanilla team more talented beating up on a vanilla team less talented. It’s a good time to be a Seahawks fan.

  22. Carlsonkid says:

    Fingers crossed your wife gets good news in a week BobbyK , God bless ..

  23. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Wishing you & your wife the best BobbyK.

  24. oldtallguy says:

    Great comments Georgia, the peaches (uh hawks) just keep getting riper

  25. sluggo42 says:

    RW is so good, that even his no look, flip pass to the ref after he runs it in, hits the ref square in the hands.
    He is, the worlds most interesting QB….

  26. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Sluggo, I just re-watched the game & on the last TD play before the first half (that Wilson ran in) CM made two blocks that helped Wilson score.

    The first one was on #58 & the second one was on #53. That was pretty impressive & heads up.

    The other thing I noticed about CM is that (aside from his fumble) he continues to be the better runner of the two, (Turbo/CM) in traffic.

    Turbo needs a bigger hole to run through.

    Like I said before though I like them all.

  27. sluggo42 says:

    Ya I saw that too George’s, I really like that kid

  28. Christine Michael– 2 fumbles in 8 touches. Pete preaches ball control with a capital “B.”

    There is no way he is the number 2 back. Turbin has it locked down. Michael’s tenure as a Seahawk is on the clock…..


  29. sluggo42 says:

    Have to respectfully disagree with ya Rodman…
    I predict big things for him…

  30. Dukeshire says:

    My gut tells me rodman is right. But then Carroll will give those with unusual athleticism time to develop (i.e., Lockette, Tate…). Michael is talented and physical, no question, but RB is a position that shouldn’t take long to grow into. It’s not like receiver or corner where an extended learning curve is the norm. I expect to see Michael get extended carries again Friday night, but if he puts it on the ground yet again, don’t be surprised to see rodman’s post become reality.

  31. There are plenty of players who have oozed talent (remeber Kent, Jordan) and simply flopped. Granted, Kent was a project, so a 2nd round and fast Doug Thomas might be a better comparison if he flops. Michael could be great, he could be out of the league in a few years. The jury is still out…

  32. GeorgiaHawk says:

    If I remember right didn’t Lynch go through a period here with multiple fumbles (that he lost) however he since has learned how to clean it up?

    I’m sure if Lynch can learn it as a starter CM can learn it as as a backup.

    CM has proven he can learn to block this season.

    Nice to have CM as insurance though in case Turbo goes Topsy Turby again.

  33. montanamike2 says:

    Turbin seems to have added some much needed lower body strength this year so he’s not so top heavy. CM must stop fumbling the ball, no if ands or buts.

  34. Ray_Maines says:

    PC said something about CM’s fumble I find encouraging:

    Carroll said, “He allowed the defender to get under him where the ball is vulnerable and they knocked it out. He needs to fix that.”

    Meaning to me it’s fixable. CM doesn’t just have to hold on tighter or anything vague like that. Sounds like there is a specific technique that can be practiced and the problem will disappear. God bless good coaching.

  35. Ray_Maines says:

    Both the O & D lines improved, the Seahawks ran well and the Chargers didn’t. That’s pretty much everything I really wanted to see last night.

  36. FivePercentWrong says:

    Positive thoughts to your family, BobbyK.

    I liked seeing Scruggs get a sack. Coyle was everywhere, again. Baldwin looks tougher this year. Did you see him talking to the ref after they reversed his TD? He said, “You’re not going to give that to me? I got the sh*t knocked out of me!” Then he laughed. That was a wicked hit.

    I thought both Illegal Contact calls in the end zone were bogus. When they called the first one on SD against Baldwin, I told my wife it was an awful call. She said, “But we benefit from it.” I told her that it would come back to bite us later. Not pulling a Yank here, just very concerned that they won’t let the corners defend properly. That was a perfect play my Simon.

    Here’s hoping the refs sort it out before it counts.

    Gregg, excellent work. It is very appreciated.

  37. Ray_Maines says:

    Pretty late in the game P-Rich kind of stopped running for a deep pass he maybe could have caught in stride, but did you see him jump? Wow, it was like he had springs in his shoes. When he and RW get their timing down he is going to catch some balls a guy his size has no business catching. I’m really excited about this kid.

  38. jawpeace says:

    One thing that I found interesting from the game was the heavy use of the zone option read. My guess is that because they are facing the Chargers again real soon, that the heavy zone read was to give them something else to think about and prepare for; and they will have to prepare as they were beaten pretty bad by it. Come the second game, I don’t think that it will be used much by the Hawks. But all the prep time by the Chargers preparing for the zone read will take away from other aspects they could have focused on preparing for.

  39. Dukeshire says:

    Lynch had already established himself as a reliable ball carrier. It’s much more difficult to gain trust when you’re starting from a position of someone who puts it on the ground. Michael, unfortunately, has that working against him now. Of course it can be corrected, but that appears to be where he is.

  40. Ray_Maines says:

    I 95% agree that both PI calls were bogus. The one against SD was pretty lame, but if that’s the way it’s going to be called I could live with it.

    The one against Seattle was a seriously bad call. On TV it looked like nothing actually happened, and the perfectly legal two hand press that did happen was within five yards of the LOS so it shouldn’t have been a penalty even if it was too much contact, which it wasn’t. Really bad call.

  41. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Pryor sure has some getty up.

    I don’t think Kaep or Cam can match him there.

    A year or two working around Wilson could help land him a starting job somewhere that he may keep & perhaps excel at.

    Just one or two plays a game (from him) could be a difference maker for the offense this season.

    He is much better than I expected him to be.

  42. TallyHawk says:

    While I’m sure compared to the number of touches he gets marshawn doesn’t fumble a lot. He does however put it on the ground more than I’d like and it’s usually as they are heading in to score.

  43. Gregg Bell says:

    that’s a great thought, jawpeace. Certainly plausible.

  44. Southendzone says:

    the 2 illegal contacts on that SD scoring drive:

    1st) The receiver initiated contact as much as the DB, theoretically you could have called it an illegal downfield block

    2nd) Simon played it 100% perfect, all he did was jam at LOS then make a play on the ball. Stunned they called that one.

    On C.Mike, fumbling seems to be an issue for young players. If he doesn’t correct it he will never be a starter for a Pete Carroll team.

    BK, hope things work out for you & family.

  45. Bobbyk-late to the party but: praying for your family though I lost my religion (in every sense) years ago. Hang in there, Friend.

    Come visit us when you can in Montana. That’s a lifetime invite.

    Carp will be ok.Just hope OK Okung and Unger don’t get hurt…

  46. jawpeace says:

    Thanks Greg, sometimes it seems I try to put intelligent football thoughts down for discussions and others thoughts and the response is… cue the crickets.

  47. sluggo42 says:

    CMike has what turbo doesn’t… Speed.
    Pete likes speed.

  48. bird_spit says:

    BobbyK- my prayers for your wife. Lost my brother to cancer in June. We understand what your going thru.

  49. Tacalberry says:

    I know everyone think’s Carpenter is in for a great season (I hope he is to) but watching him againist SanD, he looked below average. Opening snap he gets beat ugly (again, like last season). A lot of other snaps he is either on the ground, standing there blocking NO one or when he is engaged with a DT, there is no real push, he just gets in the way. Carpenter is a weak LG and should be released. I hope he starts playing better, but if he doesn’t, release him Pete Carroll, there are other players on the roster well they are not above average, at least they don’t get badly beat at the line.

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