RENTON — The Seahawks were back to work Monday afternoon after their “mini-bye,’’ the phrase for what were three days off for players following Thursday night’s 30-29 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
The back-to-work practice was light — about 50 minutes or so on the field — though that didn’t stop tight ends Luke Willson and Will Dissly from spending another 45 minutes or so afterward working with a jugs machine.
Then, all headed back out, undoubtedly paying attention to the Monday night game between the Browns and 49ers, which represented three of the remaining 11 opponents on the schedule, starting with a trip to Cleveland up next Sunday.
Coach Pete Carroll called the chance to watch the upcoming opponent live the week they are playing them “a rare opportunity” (while also calling it a “homework assignment” for his players).
Here’s more of what Carroll said following back-to-work Monday:
Mum on Fluker, but Pocic progressing
Because the Seahawks didn’t have to release an injury report for Monday Carroll decided to play it vague on the one notable injury that arose from Thursday’s game — a hamstring injury that sidelined starting right guard D.J. Fluker following the second series of the game.
But Fluker might have a tough time making it back this week — Carroll called the injury both a pull and a strain and either one would likely mean the team playing it pretty cautious in his return. And that could mean that Jamarco Jones could get his first career start against the Browns.
Carroll said Monday he wouldn’t commit to that, saying only, “we’ll figure that out.’’
The Seahawks could have an additional option there as Ethan Pocic, who has not played in the last three games while battling hip and back injuries, “is going to practice this week,’’ Carroll said.
Pocic has 16 starts in his career and has started at both left guard and right guard.
Carroll most impressed by Russell Wilson’s consistency
Quarterback Russell Wilson has been so good this season that it’s almost hard to find something new to stay about him.
But asked Monday what has most impressed him so far about Wilson, Carroll pointed to something that might be easy to overlook — Wilson’s consistency.
Wilson has had a passer rating of 102.6 or better in all five games this season. Only one other time in his career has Wilson had a stretch of five straight games of passer ratings of 100 or better — in 2015, during his memorable season-ending stretch when he threw 24 touchdowns and just one interception in the last seven games.
That means Sunday he has a chance to set a personal mark with a 100-plus passer rating for a sixth straight game.
“He is making the same plays from one week to the next to the next to the next,’’ Carroll said. “Just rolling one to the other. So it’s his level of play that has really shown up, regardless of who we are playing.
‘His consistency is there, his confidence, his command has been the same each week to week to week. It’s something I’m not surprised (by), it was just, ‘When was he really going to take over and really own it?’ And I think you are seeing it from last year to this year he is getting into that mode.’’
Pass rush will ‘come alive’ soon
Sack and quarterback hits stats aren’t everything.
But pick any stat or metric that you want and the Seahawks don’t rank too highly.
Before the Monday night game, Seattle was tied for 30th in the NFL in quarterback hits with 18 (among the teams they were tied with was the 49ers, who had played two fewer games) and 21st in sacks with 10.
But Carroll repeated Monday something he said in the aftermath of the Rams game — that he thinks the pass rush will improve quite a bit over the next few weeks as Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah get more comfortable in the defense.
Ansah has played just three games, and was limited in the first.
“There was really good activity (against the Rams) from Jadeveon for certain, as well as Quinton (Jefferson),’’ Carroll said. “Those guys were around the ball a lot and we were so close to three or four sacks. So you can just feel that it’s coming alive and just the combination of Ziggy outside and what is going on inside, I think we are going to be able to work together better and be able to spot them a little bit better.’’’
What will also help is getting Jarran Reed — who had 10.5 sacks — back for the home game on Oct. 20 against the Baltimore Ravens after he finishes serving his six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Phil Haynes, Demarcus Christmas could return to practice next week
Two injury situations Carroll was happy to talk about were those of rookie guard Phil Haynes and defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas, who each remain on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
Haynes, a fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest, has been out after having sports hernia surgery. Christmas, a sixth-rounder out of Florida State, has had a back issue.
Both can return to practice next week, and any week through week 11, which would then kick off a three-week period in which they can practice. After three weeks the team has to decide to add them to the 53-man roster or place them on injured reserve.
Carroll said each has a chance to return next week.
“Both guys seem to be (on track),’’ Carroll said. “They are killing the trainers, the guys they are working out with they are wearing those guys out … they are raring to go.’’
Of the two, Haynes seems the most likely to get activated and potentially help out this season as he spent some time during the off-season program working with the starting offense at left guard when Mike Iupati was out.
Left tackle Duane Brown at one point called Haynes “a pleasant surprise.’’
Putting anyone on the 53-man roster, though, would mean taking someone else off and the Seahawks would have a decision to make — they have nine offensive linemen on the 53-man and wouldn’t seem likely to go to 10.
But that’s a problem for another day.