RENTON — Ziggy Ansah is expected to not only play Sunday against New Orleans but play “considerably,’’ the Bradley McDougald/Lano Hill safety tandem is likely to start at least one more game, and the officials just somehow missed a hit to the head of Russell Wilson in the late going of the Steelers game.
That, and more, were among the key things we learned from Seattle coach Pete Carroll’s news conference Monday.
Here are highlights:
Carroll ‘excited’ to see Ansah make debut
Ansah, the team’s marquee offseason free agent signee with the hope he can replace much of the pass rush lost with the trade of Frank Clark, is expected to make his debut against the Saints after sitting out the past two weeks while continuing to work his way into game shape after having shoulder surgery last year.
“He’s had three good weeks of work now and he’s in really good shape,’’ Carroll said. “He has worked really hard. He is in terrific condition. So he is going to be able to play if he gets through the week and everything goes well and he’ll play a considerable amount. He has practiced hard enough to do that so that’s going to be really fun to see him out there. I’m really excited about that.’’
Safety duo could remain for at least one more week
Carroll said it would “be a challenge’’ for free safety Tedric Thompson to make it back for the game Sunday after sitting out against the Steelers with a hamstring injury.
So that means it’s likely Seattle will again go with a safety duo of McDougald and Hill against the Saints.
Hill got his third career start Sunday at strong safety with McDougald moving to free. Each had interceptions in the second half to key Seattle’s comeback. Hill also got beat on a flea-flicker that turned into a 45-yard gain. But overall, Carroll said “other than that he did a pretty good job.’’
Seahawks will ask NFL to review hit on Wilson
Carroll said a helmet-to-helmet hit by Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree on Wilson in the fourth quarter will be among the plays the Seahawks will ask the NFL to review this week.
Dupree was not penalized on the play, though he still could get a fine from the NFL. Carroll, who won a challenge on the play granting a pass interference call in the Seahawks’ favor, said he was told that none of the officials saw the hit.
“I brought it up during the challenge and nobody saw it,’’ Carroll said. “Their eyes went downfield I guess. They missed it.’’
That was one of two harrowing plays for Wilson in the fourth quarter, the other on a slide, when his foot hit awkwardly in the turf.
“That was a pretty funky slide,’’ Carroll said. “He just dug in with his knee too much and kind of a little bit too much gravity hitting instead of getting low and flat. He cleaned it up the next time.’’
Chris Carson must hang onto the ball
Sunday’s game might have been a comfortable win if not for two lost fumbles that led to 14 Pittsburgh points.
Both involved Chris Carson. Carroll blamed Carson for only one, when he got the ball knocked out of his hands in the first half. The other occurred on a play when a missed assignment allowed a free rusher to disrupt a handoff from Wilson to Carson.
But the early lost fumble was Carson’s second in two weeks. And unlike last week, Carroll offered a pretty stern assessment, saying the fumbles simply can’t continue.
“For as much as we emphasize it and how important it is to us and how much pride we take in it (not turning the ball over), we have to be better than this,” Carroll said.
Carroll says pass protection will get better
The Seahawks gained 425 yards and mounted three touchdown drives of exactly 75 yards despite some shaky moments for the offensive line, especially early. Seattle allowed four sacks by the midway point of the second quarter and also had six holding penalties called against offensive linemen.
Seattle mitigated the Steelers’ pass rush greatly in the second half by going to a quick passing game, Wilson often just taking a step and getting rid of the ball.
Carroll said that was the plan all along against a Steelers team known for its aggressiveness. But Carroll said it just took a little while for the plan to get squared away — he lamented that the Seahawks missed a couple of hot reads on blitzes early on that could have been big gains.
Holding calls are up markedly around the league due to an emphasis on eliminating backside holds, but Carroll said that hasn’t been Seattle’s issue.
“Just being sloppy with our hands,’’ he said. “We’ve got to be better.’’
Carroll says they’ll have to figure out Brees-less Saints
Carroll said the Seahawks have yet to really dig into the plan for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.
But it’s a plan that will be a lot different from expected, with future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees sidelined with a thumb injury.
Brees will be replaced by former Minnesota starter Teddy Bridgewater, who struggled to move the Saints much in a 27-9 loss to the Rams on Sunday.
“I’m not far enough along,’’ Carroll said. “I can’t tell you what Bridgewater looked like.’’
But as Carroll noted, the Seahawks have played against Bridgewater before — twice in the span of five weeks in the 2015 season, first in a regular-season game and then a wild-card playoff game.
The Seahawks held Bridgewater down in each game — he threw for just 118 yards in a 38-7 Seahawks victory in the regular season and 165 in the playoff game Seattle clinched when Blair Walsh missed a late 27-yard field goal. But that was in a different system and with a different secondary.
- Carroll said defensive tackle Poona Ford, who sat out Sunday with a calf injury, will practice this week and hopes to play Sunday.
- Carroll said the team will need a few days to know if a sprained ankle suffered by D.J. Fluker could cause him to miss the game Sunday, but he said Fluker is saying he plans to play.
- Left guard Mike Iupati missed two plays late in the game because he cramped up.
- Cornerback Neiko Thorpe (hamstring) is likely out again this week.