Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday the team will continue to look at ways to shake up an offense that has been stagnant in the first two games of the 2017 season.
If Seahawks coach Pete Carroll thought the offensive line started to come together just in time to pull out a win Sunday against the 49ers that doesn’t mean it’s yet earned the right to stay together indefinitely.
In the wake of a second straight largely sluggish offensive outing in a 12-9 win over the 49ers — and having scored just one touchdown in 21 full possessions this season — Carroll said Monday to expect some changes when Seattle plays next Sunday at Tennessee.
“There will be some things that will be a little bit different this week,’’ Carroll said.
Predictably, he declined to say exactly what. When asked if he meant changes in scheme or personnel he smiled and said “yes.’’
But later, when asked a question about the offensive line he said “the competition is on’’ at that spot.
“We are looking to make sure we keep it at the right edge to get better,’’ he said. “We’ve got to keep improving.’’
Seattle has used just five players for every snap for the five regular offensive line positions — center Justin Britt, right guard Mark Glowinski, left guard Luke Joeckel, right tackle Germain Ifedi and left tackle Rees Odhiambo.
When Carroll was asked which backup linemen would be closest to working their way to into playing time the first one he mentioned was Oday Aboushi, who spent much of the preseason in a dead heat for the right guard spot before the Seahawks decided to go with Glowinski, who was judged by Pro Football Focus to have the team’s worst pass blocking grade Sunday.
Aboushi was not among the team’s seven active offensive linemen for Sunday’s game — Ethan Pocic, who serves as the backup center, and Matt Tobin were the backups to the starting five. But Carroll said not to read into that.
“Oday has done a really good job,’’ Carroll said. “Pocic has done a really good job. Matt Tobin has sown us he can play, too. So there are some guys that are available. Hard to get very many guys on gameday up with the numbers and all that.’’
There has also been speculation the Seahawks could at some point bring back veteran fullback Marcel Reece, who was with the team throughout training camp before being released, now that his contract would no longer have to be guaranteed. Reece was regarded as an especially effective lead blocking fullback when with the team for the final two months of last season.
While the Seahawks survived Sunday, scoring their first, and so far only, touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter, Carroll knows that relying on the defense to that extent is not a sustainable formula for success.
“We still didn’t score enough points, like we’d like to,’’ Carroll said.
The running game was pretty much non-existent until the fourth quarter, when quarterback Russell Wilson keyed the winning drive with 27 yards on four carries and rookie Chris Carson then was able to help salt the game away with 41 yards on five carries on the final drive.
“We got better,’’ Carroll said. “We came off the ball much better than we did in week one, more confidently and we need to keep growing.’’
What the Seahawks also need to do is stop making as many mistakes.
The Seahawks ran 45 plays for 166 yards in the first half but had just six points due in part to drops by C.J. Prosise and Tanner McEvoy of potential touchdown passes. Those were two of what were conservatively listed as five drops for the team, two each by Prosise and McEvoy. That it rained might have played a role, though Carroll said he struggled for any real explanation.
“I was disappointed,’’ Carroll said. “That was a factor in the game. I can rarely think of times where that has ever come up and it is just unfortunate that it was part of this game, and the guys that had drops can catch the ball really well, but sometimes balls get away and you don’t make the play that you are used to making and that kind of happened.”
It added up to a day when the Seahawks averaged just 3.9 yards per play, the lowest total since the 2013 season.
A little bit of that was by design. Carroll said the team wanted to attack the 49ers on the edges with short passes to the likes of Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, who each had six receptions on nine targets, a quick passing attack that also helps mitigate issues with pass protection.
According to Pro Football Focus, just one of the 39 passes Wilson threw traveled more than 20 yards downfield in the air. Wilson completed 23 passes but none for longer than 22 yards.
“A lot of our play action stuff and our movement stuff came out and we didn’t get a lot of yards on it.,’’ Carroll said. “We completed a bunch of them, but we didn’t get a lot of yards on of them. That was part of moving the quarterback and all that. It worked out OK, but it just wasn’t productive like normally. They did a nice job of tackling. They did a nice job of covering the guys in the flat and stuff and a lot of that is really quick hit and throws, designed to see if you can catch them off a little bit. They did a good job against it.”
Maybe throwing more downfield becomes something that changes too, this week.
Whatever the case, while Carroll said the Seahawks may need to shake a few things up he resisted the idea there are any large, unchangeable themes at work.
Asked if he saw any similarities in the fact that Seattle has for two straight years scored just one touchdown in its first two games, Carroll said “yeah, we scored one touchdown in the first two games, two years in a row.”
In week three last year, Seattle scored 37. That came at home against the 49ers, though, not on the road at Tennessee. But Carroll will obviously be fine if that part of the trend continues.