Fresh off the bye week, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll addressed the media on Monday, providing updates on Ricardo Lockette and Jeremy Lane and what he sees from former USC Trojans pupil Carson Palmer.
Here are the Three Quick Takeaways from Carroll's Monday press conference at the VMAC.
3. The bye week came at the perfect time.
The Seahawks have been fortunate to remain quite healthy throughout the 2015 season and several of those who have endured injuries were able to heal up over the week off.
Cornerback Lane practiced on Monday and will have his workload increased on Wednesday. It isn't inconceivable, Carroll said, that Lane could play on Sunday, only nine months after tearing his ACL and breaking his arm following an interception of Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks also anticipate wideout Paul Richardson making his 2015 debut against the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the speedster back would help Seattle as it attempts to replace Lockette, who arrived back in Seattle Monday night, following successful surgery on his neck last week in Dallas.
2. Getting Lane back would be huge
While Lane isn't as well-known as Seattle's All-Pro Richard Sherman or even fellow starter Cary Williams, he possesses the combination of agility and toughness that Seattle has been missing inside at nickel over the first half of the year. Getting a healthy Lane back in time to face the Cardinals would be a huge addition.
"He's a really active football player, he's really quick, he's aggressive," Carroll said when asked to describe what Lane provides to the team. "He's an attack guy, a good blitzer, playmaker too. He can match up with anybody. He's long enough that he can match up with the bigger guys, he's quick enough to match up with the smaller guys and he's a really good nickel fit for us. Catching him on highlights in preparation for this game, you can see the things that he can do. He's running around making some plays and stuff. It'll be exciting to get him back in the competition of it."
The Cardinals have often slid Larry Fitzgerald inside to the slot receiver position this season and it has led to a rejuvenation for the eight-time Pro Bowler. Arizona also boasts one of the more dangerous deep threats in the league in John Brown, a 5-11, 179 pounder who was clocked at an eye-popping 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2014 Combine.
Seattle's current "starting" nickel cornerback - DeShawn Shead - has fared well against bigger receivers, prompting some confidence in how he'd fare against the 6-3, 218 pound Fitzgerald. The swifter Lane (or Marcus Burley) might be a better matchup (from Seattle's perspective) against Brown.
1. Carroll praises Carson Palmer (and deservedly so)
The Seahawks steamrolled Arizona a year ago, winning both games over their divisional foe by a combined score of 54-9. It is important to remember, however, that those victories came without Palmer, who is playing a Pro Bowl-caliber level, himself.
Carroll, of course, coached Palmer back at USC and because of their history together, he may have some insight into how best to corral the veteran, who is in the midst of a career-best season in his 13th year in the NFL. Palmer has completed 64.6% of his passes for 2,386 yards and 20 touchdowns against just six interceptions.
"Well, Carson is playing phenomenal football," Carroll said. "He looks as good as he's ever looked. He's in great command of the offense, he can throw every throw. They have a really nice setup for him with the receivers that they have. The running backs can catch the football. They come downhill with the running game to make you have to defend it. And then they fire the thing all over the field. They're as aggressive downfield as anybody we play, with players that can make things happen. Carson has just been great I think. The best I've ever seen him in all of the years he's been out there playing. And I think he fits with Bruce [Arians] and the offense and all that, and they're making the most out of their personnel."