Carroll also offered some injury updates and thoughts on how the secondary can improve.
Why does Pete Carroll like running the ball so much?
And what does he think needs to be done to improve a secondary that has been somewhat problematic of late?
Carroll addressed those topics and a few others when he held his regular weekly press conference Thursday in advance of Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Here are highlights:
THE SEAHAWKS HAVE TO START TACKLING BETTER IN THE SECONDARY
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Seattle won easily Sunday against the 49ers, 43-16, despite allowing a season-high 386 yards passing.
Carroll said Thursday the biggest culprit was missed tackles, including on a 75-yard catch and run for a TD by former Husky Dante Pettis (Tre Flowers made a diving attempt at about the 40 but there were also some bad angles taken).
“Well, we’ve got to get rid of a couple mistakes that hurt us,’’ Carroll said. “We missed like three crucial tackles that were worth about 80-yards after the miss. It’s really the couple errors that we’ve got to clean up and then the tackling needs to be better and the game will be different.”
And how does tackling improve at this point of the season when teams rarely practice in pads and never have full contact?
“There’s a mentality to it to start with,’’ Carroll said. “Putting yourself in the right spot and the right leverage to make good, consistent tackles — that’s part of it. It’s also being poised. Sometimes we take a shot and we go flying at guys instead of being under control more than is necessary for the moment. Sometimes we error because we’re going after the football so much. It’s a combination of putting that all together that gets us back on track. Mostly, it’s the way mentally we’re prepared to make the play as we’re approaching it. Got to get in the right frame of mind for the situations that’s presented. When we do that, we’re pretty good. We took a couple of shots and it just bounced off guys. Their guys looked pretty good running the ball after the catch.”
RUNNING THE BALL IS THE BEST WAY NOT TO LOSE THE GAME
Carroll worked almost exclusive on defense before becoming a head coach and that background has greatly influenced his philosophy.
Specifically, his oft-stated desire for a strong running game, which the Seahawks have been able to get back to this season (leading the NFL this week at 148.8 yards per game) after it fell off the last two seasons. Seattle ranked among the top four teams in rushing every season from 2012-15.
Why does Carroll like running the ball so much?
“Because it’s the best way to not screw it up,’’ he said. “It’s the best way to play the game because the games are always lost. They’re always lost — you make errors. That’s why the turnover issue is of paramount importance to us. It’s the most important thing that we taught. It’s the first thing I ever say to our team every single year we get together. Every year I start there because that’s what determines the outcome of the games. When we don’t turn the football over, our winning percentages are ridiculously high (56-12 since 2010 when winning the turnover battle) — not even being in the plus, just when we don’t turn it over. When we’re in the plus, our numbers are phenomenal and they always have been. How can you play to make that factor a strength of yours? Right now, we’re plus 11. That’s a good spot to be, but if we wind up plus 18 or something like that, we’re going to have hell of a finish this season. We’ve got to keep going and pushing on it. That calls both sides of the ball and everybody’s consciousness to get that done. I think most all defensive coaches are pretty tuned in to that.”
SHAQUILL GRIFFIN HAS BEEN ‘REALLY CONSISTENT’
Second-year cornerback Shaquill Griffin has been beaten on a few big plays in the passing game over the last month, putting a spotlight on his play for the season.
Pro Football Focus has Griffin rated 104th of 113 cornerbacks in the NFL with a much lower overall grade than last season (51.4 compared to 65.3 last season as a rookie).
Griffin, though, has also taken on more responsibility this year playing the left cornerback spot that had been manned in the past by Richard Sherman.
Carroll said Thursday that the best time to really judge Griffin’s season is when it’s over.
“We’ll just let the whole thing play out,’’ Carroll said. “But he’s doing a good job. He’s played good, solid football. He’s been out there the whole time for two years and stuff is going to happen. It’s going to be hard at times and he’s been really consistent. He hasn’t been a problem to us, but there’s always more plays that you can make. I think he’s doing fine with it, but there’s stuff that we’re going to keep working on. He’ll be better in the next couple of years, too, kind of like the receivers.”
CARROLL STILL HOPING K.J. WRIGHT WILL PLAY THIS SEASON, BUT HELP IS ON THE WAY
Carroll said there was no determination yet when veteran weakside linebacker K.J. Wright will be able to play again. He was out of the area — apparently San Francisco — getting treatment on his knee last week, having missed the last three games.
“He had a good day yesterday, worked well and he feels good again the next day so we’re going to take it one day at a time and see how he progresses,’’ Carroll said. “He’s upbeat about it but I don’t have a timeline for you.”
Carroll said, though, the plan remains that Wright will play again this season.
“We’re hopeful,’’ Carroll said. “Right now, we’re hopeful. We’ve got another month here. Hopefully we can get him back.”
But the good news for Seattle this week is that Mychal Kendricks is off suspension and can play there, if needed, while Austin Calitro could also start there again after a 10-tackle game against the 49ers Sunday.
Carroll also said there was nothing new on the status of guard D.J. Fluker, who suffered a grade one hamstring pull against the 49ers. Neither Fluker nor Wright practiced Thursday.