Carroll also said the Seahawks emerged from the win over the Packers pretty healthy and talked about what the team will do at tailback in the future.
Yep, Pete Carroll really did head to Seattle’s Great Wheel after Thursday night’s 27-24 win over Green Bay.
Usually, Carroll dives straight into watching film after a game, with another game generally on the way in seven days or so.
But playing Thursday night means Seattle is now on its “mini-bye,’’ with players off until Monday and no game until Nov. 25 at Carolina.
And so with a few minutes to spare, Carroll took in one of Seattle’s more well-known landmarks — and maybe it was fitting he went on a ferris wheel after enduring a roller coaster of a game in which the Seahawks trailed 14-3 early and then again 21-17 heading into the fourth quarter before rallying to win.
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“Just enjoying Seattle,’’ Carroll said during his day-after-game news conference Friday, presumably having gone on the ride with his wife, Glena. “We were the last ones on, so it worked out great.’’
“… Just had an opportunity. It was a beautiful night, fun evening, so we just had some fun.’’
Indeed it was a beautiful night for the Seahawks, who improved to 5-5 with a win that also kept their playoff hopes within realistic reach.
“It’s a wonderful ride,’’ Carroll said. “Everyone should do it.’’
That was the only recommendation made when he met the media Friday But he talked about a lot of other things. Here are some highlights”
SEAHAWKS EMERGE HEALTHY
Carroll said the Seahawks did not suffer any new injuries in the game that will impact players going forward.
Running back Rashaad Penny sprained his ankle in the first quarter but had it taped and returned to the game. Offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy dealt briefly with cramps but also returned and played all but six snaps. And cornerback Justin Coleman had an equipment issue that caused him to leave for a few snaps.
Otherwise, Seattle emerged unscathed, and with the extra break now should be pretty healthy entering a stretch of seven games in seven weeks to end the season.
K.J. WRIGHT’S STATUS UNCERTAIN
The one big injury/personnel question going forward is the status of linebacker K.J. Wright, who did not play against the Packers, put on the inactive list before the game with a sore knee that has bothered him all season. Wright had arthroscopic knee surgery in August and missed the first six games before returning. He played in three games but couldn’t finish the Rams game last Sunday due to the knee and then was held out against the Packers.
“Trying to get his knee back where he really feels confident that he can get back and stay back,’’ Carroll said of holding out Wright against the Packers. ”And so we are going to take our time, whatever time it takes to check that out and make a decision on it and give him an opportunity. The whole time we were pressing for a really quick return and he was going for it and we were going for it and the docs were going for it and all that and just maybe was too much, too soon. But we found out he did everything he could. He’s been awesome and he did everything he could to get back and now we are going to just figure it out and make sure we give him a shot to come back full go.’’
CALITRO TO STEP INTO WLB SPOT FOR NOW
Carroll’s comments suggest Wright could miss the Nov. 25 game at Carolina and maybe more games going forward.
So what will the Seahawks do at weakside linebacker?
For the next two weeks, expect them to do what they ended up doing against the Packers — going with Austin Calitro.
Seattle began the game using Barkevious Mingo at WLB alongside Bobby Wagner. But the Seahawks scrapped that pretty quickly and then went with Calitro. Mingo’s primary position is strongside linebacker, a position Seattle didn’t use much Thursday going primarily in nickel and on three snaps, in dime, or six defensive backs.
Carroll confirmed the-suspended Mychal Kendricks was able to return to the team Friday, take part in meetings and practice, and can play Dec. 10 against Minnesota.
That leaves two games to potentially get through without Wright and Kendricks, and Seattle figures to go with Calitro, who had a half-sack and five tackles, tied for third on the team, if necessary.
Carroll made his most public acknowledgement Friday that for now, Calitro is ahead of Shaquem Griffin on the team’s depth chart at WLB.
“He’s played enough football now, he’s the next guy to come in at that spot,’’ Carroll said of Calitro. “He’s the most experienced guy and that’s what really gives him the advantage right now. He’s a good ballplayer and doing nice stuff, so we feel like we can get the most consistent work out of him. So Shaquem is bringing it, trying to get in there, too. But that’s the way we decided to go.’’
SEAHAWKS TO KEEP GOING TAILBACK BY COMMITTEE
The Seahawks had what turned out to be a pretty clear plan at tailback Thursday — Chris Carson was going to play two series, then Rashaad Penny was going to get a series or two, and Mike Davis was going to be the two-minute/third-down back, the latter a clear role the team has had throughout Carroll’s reign (think Robert Turbin).
But that plan got momentarily scrapped when Penny suffered a sprained ankle on his first carry of the game, a 30-yard jaunt on the first play of Seattle’s third series of the game.
Penny got the ankle taped and returned but missed a few snaps in the process.
“He twisted his ankle on the run,’’ Carroll said. “Kind of came down on it funny and kind of lost some chances to get back in there for a while cause we weren’t sure how serious it was. But they taped it up and he felt pretty good about it so he got back in there and did fine. But he missed a couple of opportunities in there that he would have gotten if that hadn’t happened. He looked good again, looked explosive.”
Penny finished with 46 yards on eight carries, meaning he had 16 on seven after he sprained his ankle.
Carson had 83 on 17 in his return after missing the Rams game with a hip injury.
Carson also lost a fumble on his first carry, which was recovered by the Packers and led to a quick 7-0 Green Bay lead.
But the plan had been that he would get more than a series and so Carson went right back in the next time Seattle got the ball.
“We weren’t going in the tank because he fumbled on the first play,’’ Carroll said. “We hate that he fumbled on the first play — he didn’t get low enough and keep the guy from attacking the fumble…. He’s got to do better than that. There is no fumble that is OK. But on the other side of it is we believe in the guy, so we are not — there is no reason not to (go back to him).’’
A few eyebrows were raised when the Seahawks went to Davis on the final series. One reason might have been the fumble — Seattle obviously didn’t want that to happen again there. Another might be Davis’ versatility and dependability in the pass game and as a blocker — the other “last thing’’ Seattle would have wanted there is for a missed block and a blindside hit of Wilson and a fumble (and with 4:11 left when Seattle got the ball, the Seahawks also didn’t want to limit their options on running or passing and the team considers Davis it’s best receiving tailback at the moment).
Carroll said only that the team just made a decision to go to Davis there without really elaborating.
“Just guys felt like he’d be the right guy at the time,’’ Carroll said. “Most of those decisions are gut decisions, how we are going. They felt good about it. I was supportive. Just the way it went.’’
So what happens now?
Carroll said, basically, “wait and see,’’ though what seems likely is a repeat of Thursday — Carson and Penny in the base-down roles trading off series and Davis the primary third-down/two-minute back. Carson had 29 snaps, Davis 22 and Penny 17, with Davis playing also at the end of the game but also on the final series of the first half, when Seattle under Carroll has typically used its back designated as the third-down back.
“It might frustrate some people, like we can’t make up our mind,’’ Carroll said. “But I feel really comfortable with how we are doing this. Some games they will go in a different direction, as we have seen. But it’s great to have that kind of flexibility. … I thought Mike did a great job finishing the game.’’
MCKISSIC COMING BACK, CREATING ‘COMPLICATED’ DECISION
Carroll also said that running back J.D. McKissic, who has been on injured reserve all season after breaking a bone in his foot during the preseason, will come off IR next week to return to practice. McKissic can practice for 21 days before Seattle has to either activate him to the 53-man roster or put him on season-ending IR. That would apparently mean that Seattle would have to activate him by the Dec. 10 game against Minnesota (unless the official date of return is later — Carroll didn’t specify that and it wasn’t listed on the official NFL transactions Friday — in which case maybe the decision would have to come before the Dec. 16 game at San Francisco).
Regardless, a move is coming at some point and Seattle will have to decide whether to activate McKissic, and then, whether to keep five tailbacks or possibly get rid of one, with the only logical option there being C.J. Prosise, who has just one carry this year but who also was a third-round pick in 2016 and who the team insists it remains high on despite production that has been exceedingly limited due to a steady stream of injuries.
Carroll said all options remain on the table (and for those who ask why the team would keep Prosise, one reason is that he remains on his rookie contract and makes just $660,000 this season and $745,000 next year in the final season of his deal and would almost certainly be claimed off waivers if made available. Conversely, Seattle could just keep McKissic on IR and then he would be a restricted free agent in 2019, meaning Seattle could pretty easily retain his rights next year).
“We just can’t get everybody up,” Carroll said of Prosise having been inactive Thursday for the fifth time this season. “I don’t know what is going to happen. J.D. complicates it more by being a really good player — he is one of the best special-teams guys, as well, of that group. So we will just wait and figure it out and have to make some tough decisions. It really bothers me that C.J. is not a part of this because C.J. is worthy of being a part of it.”