Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says he's confident the offensive struggles Sunday were just a blip and that a turnaround is coming soon.
If some around the NFL viewed the manner in which the Seahawks lost to Green Bay Sunday as evidence of systemic issues that could become season-long problems coach Pete Carroll on Monday concluded it was just a bad day at the office.
“I don’t think is a statement of anything other than that we didn’t play well enough in the first game,’’ Carroll said of Sunday’s 17-9 loss at Lambeau Field.
So there will apparently be no sweeping changes to an offense that gained just 225 yards and was held to three field goals, no sudden wavering from the optimism Carroll felt after a preseason in which the Seahawks led the NFL in total yards.
“I’m thinking that we are going back to the kind of ball that we are capable of playing,’’ Carroll said. “The stuff that we saw in the preseason.’’
Predicting improvement from week one to week two may not be a real risk given that after playing a Super Bowl contender on the road Seattle now returns home to play a rebuilding San Francisco team Sunday — the Seahawks are listed as 13-point favorites, the biggest spread of any game this weekend.
But Carroll also insisted that what to many looked like an offensive disaster, especially up front, was mostly the result of a lot of little things he thinks can be fixed pretty quickly.
“We got better during the game,’’ Carroll said of the offensive line. “We protected much better as the game went on. We just right out of the chute we just missed a couple of opportunities to do things and made a couple of mistakes. And then also give (credit) to (Green Bay’s) Mike Daniels. He played a heck of a football game. He gave us some problems and we didn’t deal with him as well as we thought we would.’’
Appearing to struggle the most early was left tackle Rees Odhiambo, who was making his first career start in his second year in the league.
But Carroll noted that things weren’t necessarily as bad as they might have appeared. On the third play of the game, for instance, Odhiambo was beaten for a sack by linebacker Nick Perry.
But Carroll noted that Odhiambo “caught his heel on Luke (Joeckel) and fell down and made it look like he got run over but he really tripped and stumbled on it and couldn’t do anything about it. But other than that I thought he could hang in there physically.’’
Carroll said the team every week considers if players such as rookie Ethan Pocic or free agent signee Oday Aboushi are worthy of potentially starting or playing more — neither saw a snap with the offense on Sunday. But Carroll indicated that there is no greater urgency to make a change after Sunday than any other time.
“We talk about it every week,’’ Carroll said.
The offensive line struggles helped result in what was a surprisingly ineffective running game with Seattle gaining just 90 yards on 18 carries — 40 coming on two scrambles by quarterback Russell Wilson.
Free agent signee Eddie Lacy had just three yards on five carries and played just seven snaps while rookie Chris Carson gained 39 yards on six attempts and played 26 snaps.
But Carroll indicated not to read much into that disparity saying Carson “got a little bit more room’’ to run than did Lacy.
“It was not a game where we developed a real feel for the running game like we want to,’’ Carroll said. “Ran it really 15 times in the game. There just wasn’t enough plays. Just didn’t get it going. So neither one of those guys really got a chance.’’
The Seahawks’ running back situation will have a different look this week anyway as Carroll said Thomas Rawls will be counted on to play Sunday after sitting out against the Packers. Carroll said last week the team wanted to make sure Rawls was 100 percent before returning from a high ankle sprain and the team decided Sunday to give Rawls one more week after he worked out on the field prior to the game.
Carroll’s biggest offensive lament was that the Seahawks converted just three of 12 third downs and just one of five in the second half.
“Hit 25 percent of third downs, it’s really difficult,’’ Carroll said.
Carroll and many around the team have grown weary of the focus on the offensive line. But he also understood that after what happened Sunday, the questions were inevitable.
“I’m disappointed that we are talking about that today,’’ Carroll said. “I thought we were going in the right direction. I have seen us move in the right direction. But this game we weren’t as sharp.’’
It added up to what Carroll viewed as a lost opportunity noting that the defense “played a terrific day of football’’ and that the special teams also were solid.
The Seahawks were also left to wonder what would have happened had not an early apparent interception return for a touchdown by Nazair Jones not been called back due to two penalties, including one on cornerback Jeremy Lane for throwing a punch, for which he also got ejected.
Carroll said he talked to the league office Monday but didn’t reveal what was said other than to say that he agreed with the views of those such as Mike Pereira, a former Vice President of Officiating in the National Football League and now the Rules Analyst at FOX Sports who tweeted that both penalties may have been blown calls.
“I got to talk with them,’’ Carroll said coyly of his conversation with the league. “. … I agree with the way that the guys on television saw it.’’