RENTON – Pete Carroll’s tendency for his teams finishing among the league leaders in penalties started back in his college days at USC.
The Seattle Seahawks are No. 2 in the NFL in total penalties with 105 for 814 yards, four penalties behind league-leader Oakland (109).
Seattle’s 105 penalties already surpassed the team’s total number from last year when Seattle finished with 101 penalties for 890 yards, 11th in the NFL.
The Seahawks are on pace to total 153 penalties this season, which would easily eclipse the franchise record of 128.
According to statistics compiled by the Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen, during his time at USC (2004-09), Carroll-led teams were the fourth-most penalized team in the Pacific-10 Conference, averaging seven penalties per game for 61.44 yards.
The Trojans led the Pac-10 in penalties in 2007 and 2008, with an average of eight a game.
USC finished a combined 23-3 those two seasons largely because the Trojans had more talent than the rest of the Pac-10. Seattle has no such advantage, giving the Seahawks much less margin for error to overcome penalties.
Carroll held himself accountable for solving the penalty issue after Seattle’s 23-17 loss to Washington on Sunday, saying he might have to bench repeat offenders.
“If the same guy keeps making mistakes, you have to put other guys in,” Carroll said.
Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, who was called for three penalties against Washington, leads the league with 16 penalties, while offensive tackle Russell Okung is second on the team with 10.
Carroll is unlikely to bench Browner or Okung, but he could create some system of accountability to limit the critical mistakes.
However, Carroll softened his stance Monday after watching game video, pointing out during a radio appearance that he did not agree with a couple of the penalties on his players, and he wants them to continue playing aggressive.
“This is a very aggressive, young bunch of guys,” Carroll said. “They are buying in to playing hard, tough football. And unfortunately, it worked against us in this game, and we get out of there without a win that we could have had. I like the way that they are playing. And I’m going to encourage them to keep playing tough and physical.”
Maybe Carroll can take a cue from receiver Ben Obomanu, one of 17 Seattle regulars with just one penalty this season.
“We need to have more discipline, and it starts in practice,” Obomanu said. “We always try to discipline ourselves, and we’ve been trying different things to try and make sure we all are accountable , but it’s just one of those things where everybody has to be accountable to their teammates.
“Sometimes, some of the penalties you just can’t help. But some of the ones that are coming at crucial times, that’s when you have to focus and concentrate even harder, not just on the plays, but to make sure we’re doing the right things during the plays.”
The Seahawks placed linebacker David Vobora on the season-ending injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Seattle claimed linebacker Adrian Moten off waivers.
Moten signed with Indianapolis as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Maryland, and was waived by the Colts after 10 games, totaling four tackles and a fumble recovery on special teams.
Vobora signed with Seattle on Aug. 22 and made Seattle’s initial 53-man roster, but was released on Sept. 4. He re-signed with Seattle on Oct. 4 and played in six games.
The Seahawks conducted a walk-through practice Monday. Receiver Sidney Rice did not participate because of a concussion. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral muscle), defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle), linebacker David Hawthorne (knee), cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (illness) were all limited participants.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437