After two double-digit wins the last two weeks, an upbeat Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday he thinks the 2016 team has "a chance'' to be the best he has coached in Seattle.
Two weeks ago, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll opened his day-after-game news conference lamenting a lost afternoon in Los Angeles that left the Seahawks not only beaten on the scoreboard but beaten up physically, ultimately concluding, “We have some work to do.’’
On Monday, in the wake of two double-digit wins since then, Carroll was upbeat enough to declare that the current edition could be, by the end of the season, the best Seattle team he has coached, including the 2013 squad that won the Super Bowl.
“There’s a chance,” Carroll said. “There’s a chance. I think we have a chance to, because of the experience and great leadership that we have, the development and coming of age of the quarterback, we have our kicking game in order. There’s a lot of really good phases of our team that we can count on. We’re growing on offense up front with the guys up front on offense, they’re doing a good job and pass protection is a big deal to us right now and we’ll grow in the running game. I’ve loved this team all along, I’ve seen it coming. Just the way they’ve gone about the work. We have a chance to be really good.”
In Carroll’s eyes, that glowing assessment was further confirmed Sunday with a 27-17 win against the Jets that wasn’t as close as the score.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Mariners have interest in Japanese standouts Koudai Senga, Masataka Yoshida
- Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III has 'jammed' ankle, Pete Carroll says
- From a gas station watch party to the Alamodome, Michael Penix Jr.'s family supports UW's standout QB
- Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger reportedly agrees to deal with Giants
- Have Mariners kept pace with AL West foes this offseason?
Going up against one of the better run defenses in the NFL, the Seahawks showed they could pass to a win just as easily as run to one. Russell Wilson threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns.
“Offensively we are throwing the ball like we had hoped to, like we had seen last year, and we wanted to come out of that and have the same expertise and confidence in what we are doing, and we feel like that,’’ Carroll said. “And in a game when you play a loaded-up front of guys and you need to throw the ball a little bit more, we did, and that allows the balance to take shape when we need it.’’
Carroll was particularly enthused about tight end Jimmy Graham’s re-emergence. He has caught 12 passes for 213 yards the past two games, becoming the first Seahawk since Mike Williams in 2010 to have back-to-back 100-yard games.
“I think still to this point that he’s come back-to-back and had a couple 100 yard games in such spectacular fashion — it’s a great statement about his ability to accomplish all that he did in rehab to get his mind right and his body right to do what he’s doing, and just to make some really cool plays,” Carroll said. “It’s a big statement about him.”
The defense, meanwhile, held the Jets to 76 yards on 29 plays in the second half and would have recorded a shutout in the half if not for a much-debated 42-yard fumble return for a touchdown with just over two minutes left.
“We are seeing the consistency in our defense we really can count on,’’ he said.
The Seahawks rank second in the NFL in total defense at 264.0 yards per game and third in points allowed at 13.5.
And on Sunday they finally started to get some turnovers. They had a season-high three, all interceptions in the fourth quarter.
“I’m pretty fired up about our team now,’’ Carroll said.
Part of the optimism stems from a chance for players get healthy during the bye week — the Seahawks’ next game is against visiting Atlanta on Oct. 16.
Wilson has two weeks to continue to rehab the sprained left knee suffered last week, and he can put a sprained right ankle suffered Sept. 11 in the rearview mirror.
“He came out (of the Jets game) great,’’ Carroll said. “He’s thrilled about the way he got out of that thing. He got hit a couple of times, but nothing on the knees or ankles that bothered him. So he is already deep into the process of this week and we are anticipating that he is going to be in pretty darn good shape two weeks from now.’’
In fact, Carroll said 51 of the 53 players on the team’s active roster should be ready to practice next week. The only two who figure to be sidelined are running back Thomas Rawls, who will be out another 2-4 weeks because of a hairline fracture in his fibula, and defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson. He will miss 2-3 weeks after having a broken bone in his hand “fixed’’ Monday, Carroll said.
Not only does Carroll expect Wilson to come back close to full health but also players such as receivers Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, who have played through knee sprains.
“There’s a lot of guys coming back to full health and should be strong and add to the competitive thing, and we are really excited about that,’’ Carroll said. “Lockett and Doug and Jimmy will benefit from this, the quarterback will benefit from this for sure. (C.J.) Prosise, (Nick) Vannett. That’s a lot of guys right there, and they are all going to be way better.’’
And when the Seahawks return to practice Monday, they will begin a 12-week run that will reveal how accurate Carroll is regarding his feeling about this team’s potential place in history .
“We still have a game out there that we wish we would have gotten,’’ Carroll said. “But we are coming around and we are moving forward and we are moving in a good direction.’’