Carroll talked about the decision to challenge a Doug Baldwin catch in the fourth quarter and not to try for extra yards before Blair Walsh missed game-tying field goal.
RENTON — While the philosophy of always moving forward and focusing on the next game permeates throughout the NFL, regret of the recent past can’t easily be escaped.
Even for someone like Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, a fervent preacher of focusing on the task at hand, the what could’ve/should’ve from the most recent game hadn’t completely been erased from his mind. That could also be due to the fact he was still being asked about some of the decision-making in key moments of the game.
In his weekly mid-week press conference at the VMAC, Carroll lamented on some of the failures of his team’s 34-31 loss to the Falcons on Monday night.
Asked what bothered him most, he replied:
“That I didn’t help us more. I had a couple of chances there, you know. I wish I would’ve helped us even more effectively than I did. The timeout, the (fake) field goal, I loved the chance. But we didn’t execute so that weighs in on me. I hold myself highly accountable and I take it very seriously that I help us and I wish I would’ve helped us more.”
He discussed the thinking that led to a failed challenge on a Doug Baldwin non-catch with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. It cost the Seahawks a timeout, which would have been highly beneficial in the game’s final minutes. Will that misstep lead to a change in protocol going into the decision to challenge?
“That’s a good question,” he said. “The only thing we could’ve have done is just not gone with it. We couldn’t tell. And what we saw — we didn’t see the look that the TV showed and showed it from the other angle. And Doug thought for sure he caught the ball.”
When it comes to Baldwin catches being challenged, Carroll has some precedent.
“Now, this is history,” he said. “We’ve been through this. I’ve probably have had four plays, maybe five plays with Doug over time that he’s told me caught and there are at least three of them that I did not challenge in the past where I was wrong and he was right. And so, I declared a while back that if he’s really committed and he knows he’s got it — I’m going to look to because I would never go against our guys in the box — I’m going to trust him again. I’m not going to not trust him. It’s just depends on the situation. I have to feel it. Time on the clock and all those things. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, that happens sometimes.”
Carroll watched the tape of the ESPN broadcast and said that the definitive angle that was shown to viewers where the ball clearly hit the ground wasn’t available to his staff in the press box at CenturyLink Field in the moments after the play.
“They didn’t see the look that I saw when I watched the TV copy,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty grooved system. We’ve been doing it for a long time and I don’t have any problem with the process of it. We just didn’t see that look in time when the thing got thrown. It’s unfortunate and that timeout would’ve made a difference at the end for sure. We could’ve used it. And really, it’s a head coach mistake. And there’s nothing I can tell you about it other than I went with the kind of criteria that I go with and with the information that I had that’s what I did. I wouldn’t have gone against somebody saying that the ball is on the ground.”
As for the buildup to their final play, a missed 52-yard field goal from Blair Walsh with seven second left, Carroll admitted that in past situations they might have tried to grab another few yards. Why didn’t he let the offense run one more play instead of having Walsh try it then?
“What really influenced me at that time — we could’ve taken one more shot to get a couple more yards, which we needed now that we look at it — but it was within his range,” Carroll said. “We were on the 35-, 34-yard line, which was within his range and he had a really good process during the timeout. I watched him warmup. I saw him go out on the field and get all that kind of prep work. I thought it would be the cleanest way to give him the best shot to have everything in order and that’s why we did it. Normally and often, we go for another shot there, but I would thought it was the best thing do to have him be settled and ready to make the best kick.”
Does he have any concerns about Walsh?
“No, he’s our guy,” Carroll said.
The decision to release veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney seems to have come down roster space and salary cap issues and a host of players able to play that spot.
“We had to make roster stuff happen,” Carroll said. “We have some injuries and other stuff we have to deal with and this is a spot where we have some guys that can play that spot. We are a little deeper there. We hated to do it, but we had to do something and that’s what happened. He’s such a tremendous guy, but we had to something and this is what it came to. There was cap concerns and all kinds of stuff.”
Freeney was claimed off waivers by the Lions.
*** Asked for updates on safety Kam Chancellor (neck), Carroll said he had none. That doesn’t mean anything definitive to whether Chancellor could return or be done for the season.
*** Cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion) is still going through required protocols and is unlikely to play on Sunday.
*** Offensive lineman Luke Joeckel (knee surgery) is a candidate to fill the right guard spot with Oday Aboushi out with a dislocated shoulder. He will practiced for the first time fully on Wednesday since the surgery.
“It’s really his first real time back on the practice field,” Carroll said.
*** Defensive tackle Jarran Reed (hamstring) has a chance to play this week.
“He was close last week, but didn’t make it,” Carroll said. “We are in the same kind of mode this week. But there’s a really good chance he’s going to play.
*** Left tackle Duane Brown (ankle) came out of the game better than expected. Carroll expects him to practice this week and play on Sunday.
“He’s better,” Carroll said. “He’s ahead of where he was last week so we are really counting on him to play. I thought that was a remarkable job by him. He wasn’t able to practice during the week and he only got the final walk through and then he went out and played football. He’s a terrific player. He did a great job in that game under those circumstances.”
Asked if there was anything new on top pick Malik McDowell, Carroll only shook his head. But given the nature of his situation, it might be instructive for Carroll and the team to say as little as possible.