RENTON — Another Monday, another round of questions for Pete Carroll about the Seahawks’ pass rush.
The Seahawks defense has 11 sacks in seven games this season, and their one sack in the past three games happened only because Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson slipped on the wet turf at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
Sure, Carroll said, he would like more sacks. But he said he is not as concerned about the lack of quarterback pressure as the numbers might suggest.
“I think this is something that you guys are going to worry about a lot more than I am,” the Seahawks coach said Monday during his weekly news conference. “I really would love to get more sacks, we’d love to have more hits on the quarterback whenever because that gives us the ball for the most part, but we’re just going to keep battling away.”
To be fair, the Seahawks didn’t expect to be able to put a lot of traditional pressure on Jackson, the dynamic former Heisman Trophy winner. The Seahawks’ plan was more to try to contain Jackson.
But the larger point does remain: The Seahawks have been inconsistent in pressuring the quarterback — any quarterback — most of the season.
Defensive tackle Jarran Reed, returning from a six-game suspension, made his season debut in the defeat against the Ravens, getting 50 snaps out of the 59 played by the Seattle defense Sunday. Reed had 10½ sacks in 2018, and Carroll reiterated Monday that Reed’s presence should create opportunities for Jadeveon Clowney, among others, soon enough.
“If we’re going to get better, it’s going to happen the next couple weeks,” Carroll said.
Building chemistry and continuity between Reed and Clowney so they can complement each other remains a work in progress.
“It takes time, but we’re on it, and the acceleration of this should go light speed and we should be able to roll,” Carroll said. “I couldn’t be more fired up that (Reed) came back like he did, perform like he did and come out of the game like he did too. It’s as positive as we can get.”
Carroll said he never considered going for it on fourth-and-three from the Ravens’ 35-yard line midway through the third quarter, instead giving Jason Myers a shot at a 53-yard field goal. Myers missed, and the Ravens drove down and scored their lone offensive touchdown of the game to take a 20-13 lead late in the third.
Why not go for it in that situation?
“It’s fourth-and-three, you know,” Carroll said. “There’s a little difference. I won’t give you the whole scoop here, but that’s getting there. That’s a little longer than you want to go for.”
Carroll said he did consider punting on that play instead, thinking maybe it would be better to try to pin the Ravens deep in their own territory.
“I want to go ahead (and kick). It’s within (Myers’) range,” Carroll said. “We knew where we were on the field and all that. He was comfortable with kicking from there. It was a long field goal, but a chance to go ahead. They hadn’t done a whole lot on offense and we were feeling fine about playing defense on those guys and three points would have been a big deal in this game.
“And I’m thinking he’s going to make it. He’s good — he’s a good kicker. The ball got pushed, but that’s it. I had the thought about punting it deep and putting them in a hole because of the defensive nature of the game. But with the chance to go ahead right there, and we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be in range, so we went for it.”
High marks for Blair
Carroll said he was really pleased with the play of one of his young safeties Sunday.
Rookie Marquise Blair made his first start, filling in for the injured Bradley McDougald, and had six tackles and one pass breakup.
“Marquise did a really good job,” Carroll said. “I thought he was active, physical, covered well, made a couple things happen that were real positive and avoided a couple other things that were mistakes that he made.
“It really was kind of like what we’d expect and he showed up immediately as we saw on the first kickoff too.”
McDougald is day to day with back spasms and his availability for the game Sunday at Atlanta is uncertain. Even if McDougald returns, Carroll said Blair has earned more playing time.
“He’s going to play some more,” Carroll said. “I’m fired up about him.”
The coach wasn’t so pleased with one particular play his other safety gave up — the 50-yard pass on the game’s opening drive that went over Tedric Thompson’s head.
“That’s just distasteful,” Carroll said. “I hate that we gave them that because there’s no way that should ever happen.”
• Carroll praised the Seahawks’ offensive line for its pass protection against Baltimore’s blitz-heavy defense. Of Russell Wilson’s 21 incompletions Sunday, 12 were throw-aways. “They had us covered up pretty good,” Carroll said.
• Veteran left tackle Duane Brown (biceps) is “aggressively wanting” to return to practice Wednesday, with the intention of playing Sunday in Atlanta. “If he can, he’ll be on the field on Wednesday … but we may have to protect him from himself in that regard,” Carroll said.
• Defensive end Ziggy Ansah (ankle) also is day to day after sitting out against Baltimore.