Unlike the officials who have thrown more flags against the Seattle offense than any other in the NFL, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wanted to show some restraint Wednesday when asked to assess Seattle’s play on that side of the ball through two games.
Those very same penalties called against the offense — 16 in two weeks, with 14 enforced costing the Seahawks 145 yards.
Carroll acknowledged that “I’m not real happy about anything as far as the overall on offense right now.”
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But he said the constant marching backward makes it hard to really evaluate the offense’s efforts at moving forward, even if some of the stats are less than daunting for a team that is 2-0 and being considered a Super Bowl contender. Seattle is 13th of 16 teams in the NFC and 23rd in the NFL in yards per game at 330.
“I really see it as just the penalty issues as much as anything,’’ Carroll said. “We’ve just got to stay out of our own way and clean everything up. … I’m just going to hold off until we see a couple more games and see where we are going before we make a big evaluation.”
Receiver Doug Baldwin, though, was more blunt.
“Honestly, we are not where we want to be,” Baldwin said. “We are very far from the type of offense that we know we are capable of being.”
Baldwin, though, also noted the penalties, including one he got last week for a false start.
“Penalties, stupid mistakes,” Baldwin said. “I don’t think I’ve had a false start the last two years. It’s frustrating because we are having so many of those things. It’s easily corrected. We’ve just got to focus in.”
Most vexing have been holding calls — Seattle has been flagged for nine already (with two declined). Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel noted that holding is an emphasis in the NFL this year, and that the Seahawks have to adjust to the fact that officials are looking for it more.
“It really comes down to running our feet and making sure we stay in position athletically,” Bevell said.
The toll penalties take, Bevell said, was most apparent on Seattle’s last drive of the first half in Sunday’s 29-3 win over the 49ers. First, a 13-yard first-down pass to Sidney Ricewas essentially negated when Rice was flagged for a unsportsmanlike conduct for spinning the ball. Two plays later, a 24-yard Robert Turbin run was nullified due to a hold.
“When you are calling plays for first and 20 and (second) and 27, those hurt you a little bit,’’ Bevell said.
Still, setting aside the penalties, the offense has to date operated far from the level of the end of last season, when the Seahawks averaged 32 points over the final 10 games.
In the opener against Carolina, the Seahawks were held to 70 yards rushing, their lowest total since 2011. Against the 49ers, Seattle had just 142 yards passing, the lowest total since Week 7 of last season.
It’s hardly a crisis as the Seahawks made enough plays to win each game. But Baldwin said the team’s high expectations mean the offense has to be held to a similarly high standard.
“We should be easily getting 350-400 yards offensive production every week, and we haven’t done that the way that we want to do it,” he said.
Asked what’s held the offense back, Baldwin said: “I think a lot of guys right now are thinking too much, and that doesn’t allow them to play free. So at the snap of the ball they are either jumping offsides or trying to hold their guy, whatever it may be. Just stupid missed assignments or mess-ups that we need to take out of our offense.”
Sunday, that all helped result in a second straight slow start for quarterback Russell Wilson, who was 2 for 10 at halftime for 48 yards. He rallied to hit on 6 of 9 for 94 yards in the second half as the Seahawks also relied more heavily on their running game.
Wilson said later that “I missed on a couple of throws I don’t normally miss on, for whatever reason.’’
Bevell, though, said the blame was equally shared for some of Wilson’s early struggles, saying “it doesn’t all go back to him. There are 11 guys out there that can help with the execution, as well.”
A game Sunday against a struggling Jacksonville team in which the Seahawks are favored by 20 points could help get the offense back on track.
“It’s going to come,” said receiver Golden Tate, held to one catch for 19 yards against the 49ers. “We just need to keep working it, keep working it and keep getting a feel for each other, and it’s going to come.”
The Seahawks have been called for 16 offensive penalties in two games with 14 accepted for 145 yards lost, each most in the NFL. Here’s the player breakdown:
|Player||No. of penalties (type)|
|OT Breno Giacomini||2 (both holding)|
|C Max Unger||2 (both holding|
|WR Sidney Rice||2 (holding, unsportsmanlike conduct)|
|OT Mike Person||2 (false start, holding)|
|OT Russell Okung||1 (holding)|
|OG/T Paul McQuistan||1 (holding, declined)|
|WR Doug Baldwin||1 (false start)|
|QB Russell Wilson||1 (intentional grounding)|
|OG J.R. Sweezy||1 (holding, declined)|
|TE Kellen Davis||1 (false start)|
|Not cited to specific players||2 (illegal formation, illegal shift)|
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @bcondotta