The Seahawks enter their bye week in the best position — 5-0, with the best record in the NFC and one of just five unbeaten teams left in the NFL.
Physically, they also enter the bye in decent shape overall, with coach Pete Carroll saying Monday when he spoke to the media members via Zoom that the team suffered only one injury in the 27-26 thriller Sunday over Minnesota, backup defensive tackle Anthony Rush leaving with a sore knee.
Carroll said the knee swelled up and Rush had to have fluid taken out of it, but that he otherwise didn’t know what that meant for Rush’s future.
Cornerback Quinton Dunbar left for a time dealing with cramps, but otherwise the team appeared to emerge unscathed.
Even better, Carroll said, is that the Seahawks should start getting some reinforcements in terms of guys coming off injuries.
That includes safety Jamal Adams, who missed the past two games with a groin injury. Carroll said last week Adams should be able to return for Seattle’s next game on Oct. 25 at Arizona.
And Carroll said he thinks being able to get Dunbar and Adams on the field together and each able to play fully should help fix some of the obvious woes of the defense.
“I thought Quinton Dunbar played terrific last night,’’ Carroll said. “It was great to see him back out there. You know, he’s a pro. He’s going to help us and I think when Jamal gets back out there, we know how impacting he’s been, we’ve got a lot of improvement that’s going to happen.’’
Carroll had no specific updates on players who are on physically unable to perform or non-football injury lists, such as defensive end Darrell Taylor, running back Rashaad Penny, tight end Colby Parkinson or safety D.J. Reed. All could return to practice when the Seahawks hit the field again next week.
Receiver Phillip Dorsett II and defensive end Rasheem Green can also come off injured reserve next week.
“Every one of our guys is on his own schedule in the return. It’s not like, ‘OK, these six guys are ready to go,'” Carroll said. “Not like that. I checked before I came down today to make sure if there’s any updates. We really don’t have any updates on those guys. It’s two weeks away for some guys. We’ll just have to use all the time.’’
When will Snacks be able to help the defensive line?
If Green can return, he would add an obvious boost to a defensive line that got pushed around some by the Vikings on Sunday night, allowing 201 rushing yards, by far the most this season (the previous high was 103 against Miami).
Another addition that could help is veteran tackle Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison, whom the Seahawks signed to their practice squad last week.
Harrison, listed at 6 feet 3 and 350 pounds, has been regarded as one of the best run-stuffing tackles in the NFL during his nine-year career.
Harrison, though, was not elevated off the practice squad for Sunday. Carroll said Harrison needs a little more time to get in condition because he hasn’t played since last season with Detroit.
“We really didn’t get a lot done because of the setup for the week, the practice,’’ Carroll said when asked what the team saw out of Harrison last week. “We were in walk-through mode on Wednesday. We didn’t put our pads on at all last week, just in helmets. We really didn’t get a great look at him. He’s got some work to do. He’s a big man. He’s got to get in shape before we can see him at his best.’’
If Rush’s injury is significant, that could obviously open a door for Harrison.
The Seahawks, though, got a solid contribution Sunday night from end Jonathan Bullard, who was signed off Arizona’s practice squad last week.
Bullard played 23 snaps and had a tackle and a quarterback hit.
“It’s remarkable that he was able to play that much,’’ Carroll said. “He came in on Wednesday. … His communication with (defensive line coach) Clint (Hurtt, who was with the Bears when the team drafted Bullard in 2016) because of their history showed up. … I don’t know how you can expect much more of a guy coming off somebody else’s practice squad. Really happy for him. Bodes well for him getting into rotations for the future.’’
One key to the comeback? Letting Russ cook in second half
A Seahawks offense that averaged 17 points in the first half of its first four games was held to zero Sunday night. Seattle gained just 66 yards and only five first downs in the first half.
Carroll said one reason for the sluggishness early was falling into a bunch of third-and-long situations due to sacks, with a penalty also contributing. Seattle had third downs in the first half of 22, 16 and 24 yards on its three first-half drives as Russell Wilson was sacked at least once on each drive.
Seattle appeared determined to establish the run on its first drive of the second half, handing the ball to Chris Carson three consecutive times.
But that didn’t work, and Seattle was forced to punt.
After that series, Carroll said he gave a little advice to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
“We talked about (how) we just need to go,’’ Carroll said. “That meant, make sure that Russ is in the middle of everything. Not being able to make a first down the first drive, Russ never got a chance to get started.’’
There was a noticeable shift the rest of the game.
Following the first series of the second half, the Seahawks had 10 official running plays (which includes three scrambles by Wilson) and just seven passes.
Wilson came out firing on the next series, completing three passes for 52 yards to spark a quick four-play scoring drive that got Seattle back in the game.
Seattle’s running backs had just four carries the rest of the night (though one was a 29-yard touchdown by Carson) while Wilson completed 13 of 25 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns in the second half, all after the first series of the third quarter.
Carroll called the first-half offensive issues “some of his own doing,’’ referring to Wilson: “He got sacked a couple times. He never got going until the second drive of the third quarter, as you noted. From then on, it was kind of lights out.’’
Carroll says he’s not yet thinking about rehiring Dan Quinn
The Atlanta Falcons on Sunday fired head coach Dan Quinn, who became Atlanta’s head coach in 2015 after serving as Seattle’s defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014 (he also was the assistant head coach and defensive line coach in 2009 and 2010).
With Seattle’s defense having struggled this season, that leads to the obvious question of whether Carroll might consider bringing back Quinn in some capacity.
Asked Monday about Quinn, Carroll said it was a question he’s not yet ready to answer.
“Can we give Dan a chance to just try to reel with it?’’ Carroll said. “I haven’t talked with Danny yet. We don’t know. We love Dan, all that. I’ll have to see what’s happening in his world. I’m not even thinking about anything like that right now. This is about him getting reset and balanced. It’s an enormous undertaking to get let go in a program like that, the profile of all of that. I’m going to try to support him, help him any way I can.’’
Ken Norton Jr. has served as Seattle’s defensive coordinator the past three seasons and is particularly close with veteran linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright — Norton was Seattle’s linebackers coach from 2010-14.