A recap of the day’s activities:
“Tell the Truth Monday.” That’s every Monday under coach Pete Carroll. But today was even more significant because it was Carroll who had something to admit – not just to reporters during his weekly day-after Q&A session, but to the players at their noon meeting.
“Yeah, today’s about telling the truth for us,” Carroll said when asked if he had been as forthcoming with the players as he was being with the reporters. “We’ve got to get to the essence of what happened. So you’ve just got to own up and face up to what’s going on, so we can get better.
“The thing that’s important for us on this day to come together and agree.”
For Carroll that included what happened at the end of the first half in Sunday’s game against the Chargers. After quarterback Matt Hasselbeck ran for 1 yard on third down to the San Diego 1-yard line to pick up a first down, the Seahawks ran out of time before Olindo Mare could attempt a field goal.
“We had a nice play thought down there, but under the circumstances we needed one more play,” Carroll said. “We were too bold in that regard.
“I’ll take note of that, and I can sense where it comes from.”
That would be nine seasons of being able to be as bold as bold can be while coaching an overpowering team at the University of Southern California.
“A little different setting here,” Carroll said. “We have to handle it a little differently.”
The practicing-what-you-preach moment definitely was not lost on the players.
“One thing that’s really important is for the coaches and the players to really feel like they’re on the same team, and feel like they’re in it together,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s not like an us-versus-them mentality.
“And I think this staff has done a nice job in a short amount of time building relationships and being vulnerable and being honest. I guess just making us feel like, ‘Hey, we’re in this together.’ … It’s a good working relationship that way.”
Not surprisingly, Leon Washington is the NFL’s leading kickoff returner with a 46.3-yard average – or 11.5 yards more per return than runner-up Antonio Brown of the Steelers (34.8). That will happen when you have returns of 101 and 99 yards in the same game, as Washington did on Sunday.
But rookie Golden Tate also leads the league with a 25.2-yard average. And that will happen when the first time you touch the ball in a regular-season game you break a 63-yarder, as Tate did last week against the Broncos. Sunday, he also had a 31-yarder.
But as Washington stressed after Sunday’s game, a returner is only as good as his blockers. For Washington, that includes Roy Lewis, Matt McCoy, Kam Chancellor, Will Herring, Michael Robinson, Jordan Babineaux, Dexter Davis, Mike Gibson, Kentwan Balmer and Cameron Morrah.
Hasselbeck continues to have the highest completion percentage in the league on third-down passes (.783, 18 of 23). His passer rating on the pivotal down (106.3) ranks fifth in the league.
Defensive end Red Bryant is tied for the league lead after recovering two fumbles on Sunday, and rookie free safety Earl Thomas is tied for second in the league after intercepting two passes against the Chargers.
Of the four players who emerged from Sunday’s game with injuries, Carroll isn’t counting any of them out for this week’s game against the Rams in St. Louis: cornerback Marcus Trufant (ankle), defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (calf), linebacker Aaron Curry (hamstring) and wide receiver Mike Williams (shoulder).
“We’ve got some guys we have to mend during the week,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how they do. We really don’t know how they’re going to turn out, really, until the end of the week.”
The good news is that left tackle Russell Okung is scheduled to start practicing when the players return on Wednesday and also that offensive lineman Chester Pitts is “full speed,” as Carroll put it. Okung has missed the past five weeks with a high ankle sprain, while Pitts has not played since having microfracture knee surgery last season.
“It’s exciting for us. We have a chance to continue to improve, and we need to improve. We’ve got a long ways to go,” Carroll said. “But those guys are guys that we had slated as guys that would be factors for us and would help us.
“It’s a boost for us.”
Okung and Pitts could eventually end up being the starters on the left side, but Carroll said the coaches will not rush either back into the lineup.
Tate will sign autographs at the Qwest Field Pro Shop from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The players will return from their “off” day on Tuesday to begin preparing for the Rams on Wednesday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I guess you can play to win or play not to lose. I think a good way to characterize how we played offensively in the second half was playing not to lose. And it’s probably not the best way to go.” – Hasselbeck, on the second-half effort against the Chargers