RENTON — The team that travels together wins together?
That’s what the Seahawks think, anyway, saying that a new move this season to have all the players go to the stadium on Sunday all on one bus has helped the team get off to a 2-0 start on the road, a perfect mark they will try to continue this Sunday at Cleveland.
The Seahawks, by any normal NFL standards, have been a solid road team the last few seasons and are 30-19-1 on the road since the 2013 season, the third-best record in the league in that time.
But as coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday, “You don’t ever assume that you get it and we have it nailed.’’
And one switch the Seahawks made this year is having all players ride the same bus to the game from the hotel on the road. The Seahawks have two options for riding the bus to the game — essentially three hours and two hours before the game — for players and staffers, and in past years players could go at either time.
This year, the team is riding together all on the same first bus to the game.
The team tried it initially this season before the first road game at Pittsburgh, a contest the Seahawks won 28-26.
“I loved it,’’ said linebacker K.J. Wright. “The first time we did it I was like, ‘This is pretty cool.’ It’s just guys coming all at once; we aren’t separated. And we just are all doing it all together. It just feels good. You can feel the energy in the locker room. Guys are getting on the same page, getting taped together, all those things. So I love it.’’
The Seahawks did it again for a win at Arizona two weeks later and plan to continue with it for the rest of the season.
Safety Bradley McDougald said the team likes it enough that they are also attempting to get everybody together before home games, for which they are responsible for getting to on their own, though they stay in a hotel the night before, “just so we can feel the unity right before everybody goes into their zone and gets ready for the game.’’
Where the Seahawks have particularly improved over the last few years is in playing games that start at 10 a.m. PT, like this week’s game against the Browns.
The Seahawks are 12-6 in their last 18 games that kicked off at 10 a.m. Seattle time, including the win at Pittsburgh earlier this season. Seattle is 4-0 in such starts dating to the middle of the 2016 season, including wins last year at Carolina and Detroit.
That wasn’t always the case. When Seattle went 11-5 in 2012 the Seahawks were just 1-3 in 10 a.m. starts.
Carroll made one switch after that season in having the team practice more often during training camp at 10 a.m.
That brought almost immediate results with a 4-1 record in 10 a.m. starts in 2013, and the Seahawks have kept to the same basic schedule since.
“Those days are over with,’’ said Wright, one of only three players left from the 2012 team, remembering the former issues with early starts. “They are over with.
“ … It was just the mentality then. I think it just stuck in guys’ heads that, ‘Oh, we’re going out there on the East Coast; it’s super early.’ We don’t even talk about that anymore. It’s just a road game. It is what it is. We all get on the same bus and we go play a ballgame. I don’t know why that was the mentality back then, but it hasn’t even been brought up.”
Among the ways the Seahawks prepare for 10 a.m. starts is leaving for road games on Friday (the team typically leaves on Friday for any road game that is in the Central or Eastern time zones) to get adjusted to the time change.
The Seahawks will keep to that plan this week, flying to Cleveland on Friday.
“I love waking up on Saturday with no pressure and already being there,’’ said McDougald. “I think that’s a big plus. I love the two-day trips. So that’s the biggest part, just getting adjusted that first Saturday.’’
The rides to the games appear to be helping, too.
“Everybody likes to travel together, stay together for the whole trip, just to try to make it all about us,’’ McDougald said. “Try to keep all the distractions away, to go the stadium together, meet together, just do everything together.’’