In his Monday news conference, Pete Carroll was overwhelmingly positive in reflecting on Sunday's loss to the Rams. He also provides injury updates on Chris Carson, D.J. Fluker and more.
A day later, the score (Rams 36-31) hadn’t changed. Nor had the Seahawks’ growing dimmer-by-the-week postseason prospects.
But also not changing was the optimism Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expressed after the defeat when he said that despite coming up short yet again, he couldn’t have been more excited about the manner in which the team played, particularly in once again mounting a late rally in the face of almost certain defeat
Asked if he thinks the team can still achieve all of its goals, Carroll said “I don’t think it, I know it.’’
The key, he said, is the obvious one — find a way to make the one or two plays that have been missing in all of those close defeats. Carroll said he thinks the Seahawks still have that in them.
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“I don’t feel anything but the positive part of where we can go and what we can do,” he said during his Monday meeting with the media. “It’s just unfortunate that we haven’t triggered the right play at the right time at the end and they’ve been one or two plays to finish the game off where we can come back and put the points up or stop them one more time. It is frustrating, but it is also very encouraging that we’re so clearly on track with the style that we’re trying to play with so we just have to turn those into wins.”
Here are four more key takeaways from what Carroll said Monday:
CHRIS CARSON, D.J. FLUKER SHOULD BE BACK; K.J. WRIGHT’S RETURN UNCERTAIN
Carroll seemed to indicate that the only real health question mark this week is whether veteran K.J. Wright will be able to play (Wright and cornerback Neiko Thorpe, battling a groin issue that has held him out the past three weeks, were the only players listed as not being able to practice on the team’s official injury report Monday, which was an approximation of who would have been able to practice since the team held only a walk-through). Carroll said he couldn’t say if Wright will play against Green Bay — he has played the past three games after missing the first six following knee surgery.
“K.J. wasn’t able to finish the game and we’ll let you know in the next couple of days,’’ Carroll said.
Carroll declined to say what Seattle will do to fill the weakside linebacker spot if Wright can’t play (options include Austin Calitro and Shaquem Griffin, or using Barkevious Mingo there, as he has at times in the past few weeks).
But the good news is that tailback Chis Carson and right guard D.J. Fluker, who sat out against the Rams, should be back, Carroll said.
“Chris is going to be healthy this week and he’ll be excited to get back out there, too,’’ Carroll said.
As for Fluker? “The projection is that D.J. will play in this game’’ Carroll said. “We didn’t know if he would be able to get through that last game with the hopes of making a full showing this week so we’re counting on him. He should be out there on the field working with us today and all that.”
And Carroll also reiterated that safety Bradley McDougald, who has been bothered by a sore knee the past few weeks, will be good to go.
“He had a really good showing in the game and physically, he came out of it much better than he was the last couple of weeks so we’re very encouraged that he’s going to be OK for this week,’’ Carroll said. “He might have turned a corner a little bit in his rehab.”
J.D. MCKISSIC WILL WAIT ANOTHER WEEK BEFORE RETURNING
J.D. McKissic, out since breaking his foot in practice in the preseason, has been eligible to come off the Injured Reserve list since last week.
But Carroll said McKissic won’t return this week and will wait until at least the Carolina game on Nov. 25.
“He’s getting close,’’ Carroll said. “We think we’ll use this long week here to get us to the next time out. We’ll be ready to go with him.”
At that time, the Seahawks will have a decision to make of whether to keep five tailbacks on the 53-man roster. If not, then it could mean Seattle will have to make a decision on what to do with C.J. Prosise, a third-round choice in 2016 who has just one carry this season, losing 3 yards against the Rams on Sunday.
TAILBACK BY COMMITTEE GROWING BIGGER
Speaking of the tailback position, the performance of rookie Rashaad Penny — 108 yards on 12 carries — has undoubtedly earned him more playing time.
But Carson now is due back and Mike Davis has done nothing to show he doesn’t deserve to continue to get carries.
So how will it all come together? Carroll said, basically, wait and see.
“When everybody’s healthy, not everybody’s going to get the ball a lot,’’ Carroll said. “That’s just the way it goes, so we’ll figure that out. You’ll see how it comes together. It’s a good group, it’s a good problem. Not a great problem for the running backs, but it’s good for us and we’ll try to make the most of it.”
PENNY TURNING CORNER
As for Penny, Carroll said his performance finally showed what the team thought he could do all along. Penny rushed for just 146 yards on 42 carries in the first eight games with a long of 15 before ripping off runs of 38 and 18 the first two times he got the ball Sunday on his way to the first 100-yard game of his career.
“He was explosive, read the line of scrimmage really well on four or five different runs, saw things really clearly, showed good speed on the edge (and) a good burst, scored easily and we haven’t seen many of those,’’ Carroll said. “That was really nice. It was just great to see him play football and contribute. This is the guy we’ve been watching and we saw in camp and all of that, and just haven’t had enough good looks up to this point but he was ready for it. He’s been working hard and we’ve been pushing him and it was great to see him come through.”
Carroll said it was the culmination of Penny getting healthy following a preseason finger injury, feeling comfortable in the offense, and responding to what he said has been some hard coaching in the process.
“Just to continue to push in all areas, to tax himself in all aspects of it,’’ Carroll said of what his message had been to Penny in recent weeks. “Ball (football) has come real easy to him in his career as he showed (during) such a fantastic senior year and all of that. He just needed to keep working and that meant the way he practiced and taking advantage of every rep and watching how he eats and how he takes care of himself and how he works in the offseason and the off-field program. Just, everything. Just helping him grow. He’s got a great attitude about it, he’s been wonderful to work with and all that, but we’re just showing him the way and he benefited from it.”