Here are three quick takeaways from Seahawks Pete Carroll's Wednesday Press Conference:
1. Bryce Brown is an insurance policy for Thomas Rawls' calf
The Seahawks signed Brown, formerly with the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills, Tuesday amid concerns that Rawls wouldn't be available Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys due to a calf injury.
When asked about the decision to sign Brown, Carroll explained, "Just securing the position not knowing about Thomas Rawls, how he's going to come out. He may be okay by the end of the week. It's kind of a nasty calf thing he's got going on. The trainers are trying to determine whether it's a strain or it's just a bruise, and they're trying to figure that out. He did run a little bit yesterday. He's going to run a little bit today. He may have a chance to even return this week, we don't know that yet. But it was really that uncertainty."
Carroll recalled recruiting Brown - a former five-star recruit - to USC Trojans and that he and John Schneider both liked that they saw of him on tape.
"[We] watched him play and as we looked at him on film, John [Schneider] and I both thought we saw a real spark there running the football," Carroll said. "He's a strong, tough kid too, kind of fits our style. So we'll see how that fits."
2. The Cowboys' offensive line is really, really good - and the Seahawks' is improving.
The days before a game coaches are often complimentary of opponents but Carroll was effusive and specific with his praise of Dallas' offensive line - as we he should be - the Cowboys' front may very well be the best in the NFL.
"...They've got three number ones playing there, those guys are all terrific football players," Carroll said. "Tyron [Smith] was a guy that we loved [at USC] coming up. He's a fantastic athlete at the spot. And Zack's [Martin] terrific, it's just a really good group. I think that they made a commitment to it and they're benefiting from it. I don't know if they're the best one. I don't know, we won't see everybody particularly. But they're as good as we're going to see all year long."
While praising Dallas' offensive line, Carroll also expressed his confidence in his own young blockers - a group that is often criticized by fans for its struggles in pass protection but rarely given credit for a running game ranked second overall in the NFL.
"Yeah, I'm excited about the way we're running the ball, Carroll said. "The consistency is showing up. And we're coming off the football with the attitude that we like and the speed that we like, and that's showing some consistency."
3. Aggressive DB play outside pushes ball inside to TEs
Even in Seattle's get-well game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, the Seahawks remained vulnerable to opposing tight ends, with Vernon Davis leading Seattle's NFC West rival in receiving yards (61). The Seahawks have surrendered five touchdowns to tight ends in the four games in which opponents scored an offensive touchdown.
This isn't the result of poor play inside by Seattle's linebackers or safeties, Carroll maintains, but the design of his defense to push the ball inside.
"I think you look at it the other way," Carroll answered when asked why Seattle seemed vulnerable to tight ends. "I think it's because we do play aggressive outside, and the ball does get pushed inside a lot. Pushed inside and underneath. And we've played very good players and all that. We would like to do better against those guys, but I think that's the first thing I think of. We're lining up on those wide guys as much as we can, and getting right up in their face and trying to make it hard on them outside. And the ball gets pushed inside a little bit more because of that."
By design or not, Seattle has allowed too much production to tight ends this season with 10-time Pro Bowler Jason Witten looming Sunday.