RENTON — This week, “Tell the Truth Monday” morphs quickly into getting on with the rest of the week, with the Seahawks hosting the Rams on Thursday.
“It’s the day before the game before you know it,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said during his Monday news conference, which this week spent more time than usual looking ahead with the Rams game barely more than 72 hours away at the time he spoke.
Not that Carroll wouldn’t have minded lingering on Sunday’s 27-10 win at Arizona, which Carroll said was as complete a victory as the Seahawks have had this season.
In what added to the positivity leaving the desert, the Seahawks suffered no significant new injuries.
In fact, Seattle’s injury report for Monday — and Carroll’s comments — seemed to indicate only one player is in real danger of missing the game, offensive lineman Ethan Pocic, who has been out the past two weeks with a back/neck issue. Carroll reiterated that running back Rashaad Penny should play Thursday after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury.
Getting physically ready to play another game so quickly is the biggest challenge of the Thursday night games, which appear here to stay despite some players’ protests — TV ratings for the slate this year have been as strong as ever.
The Seahawks will have light workouts this week with players mostly trying to get back into game-day physical mode quickly.
“We definitely have a routine and a real clear process to go through to help the players be ready and recover from the Sunday game to get ready to play football,’’ Carroll said.
That process has proven pretty well-tested — Seattle is 8-1 on Thursday night under Carroll.
Exactly what that process is, though, Carroll said he’ll keep a secret.
But whether it’s simply that Seattle is coming off a solid win while the Rams had a shocking home loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, or the Seahawks’ Thursday night history, bettors in Las Vegas jumped quickly on the Seahawks on Monday.
After the Rams were installed initially as 1½-point favorites, most lines had moved in Seattle’s favor by Monday afternoon with Seattle as much as a two-point favorite at a couple of sportsbooks.
Here’s more of what we learned from Carroll on Monday:
Russell Wilson ‘off to his best start ever’
The numbers state pretty clearly that quarterback Russell Wilson has never been better as he gets into the heart of his eighth season in the NFL.
Through four games, Wilson leads the league in completion percentage at 72.9, is second in passer rating at 118.7 (behind Patrick Mahomes) and has eight touchdowns and no interceptions, having thrown just four picks in his past 18 regular-season games.
But Carroll added his own sizable voice to how well Wilson is playing, saying: “I think he’s off to his best start ever. … I don’t think he’s ever been more accurate than he’s been and more consistent and in command of everything. So I think he’s off to a great start.’’
Luke Willson on Carroll’s ‘all-time team’
In the first game of his second stint with the Seahawks, Luke Willson played 16 snaps on offense and 13 on special teams.
As the weeks grow, he could play more. But Carroll marveled that Willson was able to do as much as he did after having just rejoined the Seahawks on Tuesday night.
Willson made his snaps count, with two receptions for 26 yards, while his special-teams roles included working on the end of the line of the punt team, helping solidify a unit that had had one notable breakdown that helped turn the game the week before.
“He didn’t skip a beat in terms of the installation of the game plan,’’ Carroll said, adding the Seahawks were “very fortunate’’ they were able to get Willson to replace the traded Nick Vannett.
In answer to a follow-up question about Willson, Carroll then volunteered: “He’s on my all-time team. He would definitely be there. He’s just so valuable as a spirit on your team because he is so upbeat but so tough, so unbelievably durable.’’
Willson signed a one-year contract for a prorated share of the NFL minimum of $805,000, a deal that could turn out to be a pretty big bargain.
Carroll: Pass rush isn’t ‘anywhere near where we are going to get to’
Sunday marked the first extensive look at Seattle’s defensive line with both Jadeveon Clowney (who played 42 snaps) and Ziggy Ansah (39 snaps) playing regularly.
Each had big moments — Clowney an interception returned for a touchdown that made it 10-0 in the first quarter and Ansah a sack on the final play.
But Carroll admitted the team is still hoping for more from its pass rush — Seattle had five quarterback hits Sunday, four of which were sacks, two by linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
Carroll said he thinks soon Ansah and Clowney will be consistent pressure-producers off the edge.
“I don’t feel like we are anywhere near where we are going to get to,’’ Carroll said. “I think we can be a formidable rush but I think we are still working to bring it together.”
Carroll said the rush was “better this week than last week’’ and said he thinks that trend will continue as Ansah and Clowney play more together.
“For them, it’s the third game of the preseason (because neither played in the preseason),’’ Carroll said. “So they are doing the best they can. … Glimpses, we are seeing glimpses here that can take us through a place we will really be excited about.’’
Safety competition still open
The game Sunday appeared to make a statement about the team’s safety position, with Tedric Thompson playing 57 of 63 snaps and Lano Hill just six (with Bradley McDougald playing every snap at the other spot).
But Carroll said it’s not quite that simple.
Hill played just one series, in the second quarter, with Carroll saying the plan had been for Hill to play more than he did after having started the previous two games.
“He deserves to play,’’ Carroll said of Hill. “I wish he would have played more. He played well the last couple of weeks (starting when Thompson was out with a hamstring injury). Just because a guy comes back doesn’t mean he doesn’t play at all. We are competing and we want to keep it competitive.’’
That seems to hint that Hill could rotate in more frequently in future games, and/or that the Seahawks could also look to base playing time on matchups.
For now, the odd man out is rookie second-round draft choice Marquise Blair, who was a healthy inactive after suiting up the first three weeks and taking four defensive snaps and 39 on special teams.
Carroll said it’s a numbers game that had Blair on the sideline Sunday (the Seahawks kept fellow rookie Ugo Amadi active to work as a backup safety and on special teams along with veterans Hill, Thompson and McDougald).
“He’s got a chance to be as good as anybody we’ve had here,’’ Carroll said of Blair. “He’s just got to keep working.’’