Head coaches in the NFL rarely characterize any performance as "great" but that is precisely how Carroll described last week's win in Arizona. Given that the Seahawks allowed seven sacks and scored just one touchdown in their Week 12 win over the Cardinals, registering a franchise-record 596 yards and scoring 35 points on the road, of course, deserves lofty praise.
"We got a week behind us that we are real proud of, and the way the guys played and the way they rallied together was a great setup for this opportunity this week against the Rams," Carroll said.
Here are some of the other important notes from Carroll's press conference:
3. The Seahawks are getting healthier... but aren't all the way back yet.
Russell Okung returned to practice Tuesday and "has a real good chance to get back" this week against the Rams, Carroll said. Also returning to practice was tight end Tony Moeaki (who missed the Arizona game) and Cooper Helfet was also on the field Tuesday despite reportedly cracking a rib against the Cardinals. "It was an admirable week by [Helfet] to get banged like he did and make it through the game, and really to come back out here now," Carroll said.
The news isn't so good for other key Seahawks, however. Though backups Lemuel Jeanpierre and Patrick Lewis have each played well as times in his place, the Seahawks are hoping to get Pro Bowler Max Unger back soon. He continues to fight through a high ankle sprain. "It's going to be touch-and-go to get him by the game-it's just been a long, arduous process getting him back," Carroll said. "Unfortunately I would love to tell you he is cranking and ready to go, but I can't tell you that right now." Carroll characterized Jermaine Kearse's hamstring injury as a "first degree pull" and expressed some doubt that his receiver would be able to make it back in time for the Rams. "
2. The coaching staff is excited about Luke Willson's development.
Scouts and coaches have been raving about Willson's talent since he was drafted and Sunday's 139 yards and touchdown performance were the breakout performance the team had been hoping for. "It has taken some time," Carroll admitted. "When we had Zach (Miller) we moved him around a little bit more and he wasn't the primary tight end all of the time... [Willson] is a really strong kid in terms of his competiveness, study habits, attention to detail-he is as all-in as anyone we have on this team."
Later offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell joked about the unique skill-set Willson provides. "He had a break out game receiving wise," Bevell said. "I think it was fun to see him do that-I told him on the sideline, 'I finally believe you run a 4.5.' First time we were able to see, he was able to run away from guys. It was awesome, we know he has that ability, but it was cool to see it in a play on the field or in game situations."
1. Steven Hauschka's 0-3 Day "as big of a fluke as you could imagine"
Given that the playoffs are just around the corner, the timing of Hauschka's worst day in the NFL is a little alarming, but Carroll didn't seem overly concerned about his kicker's 0-3 performance against the Cardinals. "No, he is good. He's good," Carroll said. "That's as big of a fluke as you could imagine. He's kicked great for us for years, we've counted on him, and he's always come through, and he'll do it again."
I tend to agree with Carroll on this one. Hauschka entered the game as the most accurate kicker in franchise history and has shown remarkable mettle under pressure in the past. Further, the three kicks he attempted yesterday were no chip shots. The first two were from 52 and 50 yards out and the ball simply sailed a touch right. The Cardinals got good pressure on both attempts and, of course, boast one of the league's most imposing kick blockers in the 6-foot-8, 300 pound Calais Campbell. The third field goal - a 47-yard attempt - missed to the left and again not by much.
Takeaways from Carroll's Press Conference
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