A few notes from Pete Carroll's Tuesday press conference in preparation for Saturday's playoff game between the Seahawks and the Lions.

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RENTON — As expected, head coach Pete Carroll was quite enthusiastic in his first midweek press conference as the Seahawks head into Saturday’s NFC playoff game vs. the Detroit Lions.

“This is such a good time of year for players, coaches and fans and all of that,” Carroll said in his opening statement. “It’s really exciting to be involved in the playoffs. You can feel it already and see it in the room. It’s just a great time of the year.”

In the weeks leading up to “this time of year,” the Seahawks’ play hasn’t been exactly stellar or inspiring. The defense minus Earl Thomas has looked vulnerable to the big play, while the offense has been wildly inconsistent thanks to an inexperienced offensive line that has made it impossible for them to run with great production or protect quarterback Russell Wilson.

Seattle went 3-3 in its last six games, including a 2-2 record in the final four games with an abysmal performance at Green Bay, a mildly impressive win over an awful Rams team, a home loss to the Cardinals and last week’s less than convincing win over a horrendous 49ers squad.

The Seahawks went 2-2 in their final four games of the 2013 season before winning the Super Bowl. It was something that general manager John Schneider mentioned on the radio before Sunday’s season finale. Carroll had also referenced it last week, but expounded on it more on Tuesday.

“As you are finishing the year, it’s all out there for you and sometimes you can get distracted and not perform like you are capable of and you drop a game here and drop a game there,” he said. “Everything that’s already happened, it doesn’t matter at all. It really doesn’t matter at all. Everyone wants to kind of project how it’s going to go based on the finish. Really you can’t tell. It’s how you deal with it now, how you go about your business. And then when it comes to game time, how you are executing and how you handle the wins when you get a win in the playoffs and all of that. There’s a lot going on right now and it’s not all really clear what the factors are.”


Other notes from Carroll’s press conference: 

*** There will be a new longsnapper on Saturday with Nolan Frese out with a sprained ankle. The team signed free agent Tyler Ott, who was practicing on Tuesday. Ott played in three games for the Bengals this season.

Asked how much concern he had with a new longsnapper before a playoff game, Carroll tried to play it off. He certainly didn’t reference Trey Junkin of the Giants.

“Like from 1 to 10 or a percentage?” he said chuckling. “Tyler has played in games this year and he’s done well. His numbers are right as far as his tempo getting the ball back. He’s a good sized kid. He looks good. We are going for it like we aren’t even going to think twice about it.”

*** Running back C.J. Prosise underwent a MRI earlier in the week and Carroll called it “very, very positive.” There is a hope that Prosise might be available if the Seahawks were to win this week.

“We are going to see what happens,” Carroll said. “If we have the good fortune of winning this week, then we’ll take a look at next week. He’s going to run really hard this week with the thought that he’s going to practice next week. If we can give him that opportunity, it will be great.”

*** Running back Thomas Rawls had just eight carries for 14 yards in the win over the 49ers. He wasn’t limited because of the shoulder injury he suffered against the Cardinals.

“It was just how the game went,” Carroll said. “I had intended for him to get the ball quite a bit with the feeling that we would be contending all the way through the game (for the No. 2 seed). But as the game changed and the other game (Falcons vs. Saints) changed a little bit, we started to make some decisions and see if other guys could take the playing time away from guys. We really wanted him to get the ball 20 times, but it didn’t happen.”

Rawls is averaging 1.5 yards per carry over his last three games (small sample size) and Carroll didn’t seem overly concerned with his performance.

“I don’t think it’s going to be like that going forward,” Carroll said. “I think there were some off numbers in there. He didn’t carry the ball very much. Every running back needs to get out there and stay on the field and keep playing. He hasn’t had a lot of carries because he gets nicked like what happened last week. I don’t think it’s really a factor to be concerned on our end of it. We are just going to keep feeding it to him.”

*** Fellow running back Alex Collins has lost 10 pounds since the beginning of the season. Carroll explained the process behind it.

“I can’t remember how far back it was, but when we started talking about it and dug into it, we went back and looked at his Arkansas film, we thought that there was more there,” he said. “And so, we just addressed it. He did a fantastic job of being open to the thought. He worked harder in his conditioning. He stayed later. He did all kinds of stuff and just kind of reshaped his body over the course of a couple months. It takes that long to do it right and now we are seeing the benefits of it. He looks very good. He looks explosive again. His confidence is up considerably and we will not hesitate to put him in the game.”

*** Defensive end Frank Clark pushed his sack total to 10 this season, picking up one and four tackles in the game in San Francisco. Carroll raved about his performance this season.

The difference from a year ago?

“One is playing time,” Carroll said. “I told you at the beginning of the year that we didn’t play him enough. We should have played him more last year. He was very productive. He’s more disciplined now. He’s playing the scheme better. He’s just playing more. He’s a fantastic player. He’s so explosive and his effort is so uniquely consistent. He really gives it on every play. He makes things happen. He’s just a terrific athlete, but better than all that is just how hard he plays.”

*** Carroll said that “so far” the kick return and punt return will remain the same with J.D. McKissic at kickoff return and Richard Sherman on punt return. McKissic had one kick return for 22 yards and two catches for 16 yards in garbage time. Sherman had one punt return for six yards and four fair catches.

“(McKissic) did a good job,” Carroll said. “He played a good football game. That was the first time he’s played in regular season NFL game. He was very comfortable, good decision making, handled the ball well. He did fine. We like that guy. And Richard did a really good job back there taking care of the football.”

*** Speaking of special teams, kicker Steven Hauschka has missed 10 kicks this year — four field goals and six extra points.  Of those 10 misses, six have been blocked. What were the issues?

“Basically, it has just been the ball has been low at times and they’ve been very fortunate to get them,” Carroll said. “He’s a great kicker, but he’s just had a some kicks that got away from him. He’s a great kicker. He can kick in clutch situations. He can do it. He’s been through it. We are counting on him to do it again. He hit four great field goals last week and we needed all of them. It’s mostly been extra point situations for whatever reasons.”

Carroll wouldn’t lay the blame completely on Hauschka, admitting that there were some line issues as well.

*** It wouldn’t be a presser without some offensive line talk.

“I think we’ve shown a lot of good stuff over the last seven or eight weeks that we can go with,” Carroll said. “There’s been a couple of halves in there, there’s been a quarter and a half in some games where it hasn’t been as sharp. It shows that we are still young and that the consistency to be nailed is still out there for us. And that’s our challenge is to believe that we are capable of playing like we’ve played when we are at our best and continue to find that and bring it to the front.”

Carroll called it a growth opportunity. He shrugged off the mention of limited salary cap space being invested into the unit in terms of decisions going forward.

“The cap references doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said. “Really this is a young bunch of guys that we’ve got two first-time starters ever and another guy that’s started one game in his life before. So that’s about as young as you can get. So all of the growth is going to be huge between year one and year two. I can’t even imagine how much George Fant is going to see differently when he looks at his second season and comes back around. I feel and our coaches feel like we have a really good group for the future. They are young. They are hungry. They are bright. They are working at it. They are going through tremendous experiences. And they are going to be measurably better as we come back around. I think this is a line for the future. And we’ll continue to make it as competitive as we can as we go forward. But this is a good place to start.”

*** Asked about Golden Tate and the path that led him to Detroit from Seattle, Carroll expounded more on that story, clarifying some stuff he said earlier in the day with the conference call with Lions’ writers.

“When that happened, I was just disappointed,” Carroll said. “I don’t know how it came across today when I answered a question on the (conference call). I was just disappointed that we didn’t communicate with Golden really clearly from our end of it. So then it becomes a negotiation where I didn’t feel like he had all the information he needed. And we needed to do a better job of that. I felt like when I realized what had happened, we were too late to really make a shot at it. The thing happened in the first week of free agency. It’s crazy that time of year, stuff is flying around and we lost him. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have lost him no matter what because he got paid really well. He got a great contract and all of that. The rest of it, I don’t care about. I just wish we would have communicated better so everyone would have the information. And that was really on us to do that.”

Carroll couldn’t help but smile when talking about Tate.

“I love that guy,” he said. “I had a blast coaching him. He’s terrific football player. I always loved his attitude. He’s a screwball and had fun and always loved playing the game. He was as much fun as anybody we’ve had to coach. It’s been fun to watch him. He’s played really well and they’ve utilized him great. He’ll be charged up and our guys will be charged up. It’s always fun to play against guys you know.”


*** There is some speculation that teams are interested in interviewing defensive coordinator Kris Richard and offensive line coach Tom Cable for head coaching positions. Carroll is used to it by now and offers the same advice.

“Coach really well again this week, take care of this week first,” he said. “Honestly to me, it’s a very positive thing. When guys come to this program and we first talk about coming, I’ll tell them I’ll do everything I can to help them get wherever they want to go and do whatever they want to do with their careers. I mean that. When the opportunity comes up and our guys are getting some looks and stuff, I’m the first one cheerleading for them and working with them, in every way that I can. Whether it’s getting ready for interviews, getting ready for staff stuff, whatever they want. I’m not trying to tell them what to do, I’m just there available to help them because I want them to do well. Part of that is the messaging for the next guys that come in. I want the next guys that come in to know that if you come here, you’ll get supported and you’re going to have a chance to do whatever you dreamed of doing in your career. I’m going to bust my tail to help them do that.”

Carroll got very excited in talking about Richard and his climb through the ranks.

“I think Kris is a remarkable coach,” he said. “I’ve been with him since he was a player, so I’ve watched him really truly grow up as a coach. He was a GA for us at USC, then was hired on here. He’s an extraordinary coach because he relates so well, he’s so smart, he’s a brilliant guy. He handles schemes and adjustments and situations and players and things in extraordinary fashion. He has a very strong philosophy, very clear about what he wants to do and how he wants it to go. He’s tough, he’s got a real toughens about him that makes him unique. He’s not just going to tap guys on the back and hope they do well, he’s going to direct them, motivate them, relate to them. I think he’s an amazing candidate for when the time comes, and I don’t think it’s too far off.”