With the Seahawks 0-2 on the road this season against NFC West Division rivals Arizona and St. Louis, coach Pete Carroll said his team needs to establish a winning formula away from home to become a playoff contender.
“The emphasis this week is that we have to get our game right on the road,” Carroll said. “I thought we had a good approach to it, and we feel good about the way we’re playing – we’re playing hard and all that. But we haven’t been successful in a number of areas on the road as we’ve been at home.
“So that’s a big challenge for us, we have to get this thing stepped up.”
Carroll’s teams are 5-14 on the road since he took over as Seattle’s coach. The Seahawks have had their share of big wins away from CenturyLink Field during Carroll’s tenure, including a win against the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants in Week 5 last year, and victories at Chicago in 2010 and 2011.
However, Seattle has not won with any consistency on the road, which is an issue for a team expecting to make the postseason.
Fullback Michael Robinson does not believe effort or preparation is an issue.
“I just think that we didn’t make enough plays in those games,” Robinson said about the losses against the Cardinals and the Rams. “I think we brought the juice. I think we were focused. We just didn’t make enough plays to win those games.”
One of the things that Carroll preached when he took over was playing the same at home and on the road, so players were not expecting to put forth some type of Herculean effort to get a road win.
The Seahawks also established similar routines when they travel on the road, which includes travelling on Fridays if they are headed east of the Mississippi River in order to get their body clocks adjusted.
“We do a great job around here of preaching, waking our bodies up every morning,” Robinson said. “Whether it’s having a 7 a.m. lifting group or guys having early meetings. Guys do a great job of stretching and waking their bodies up so they’re alert and ready to go for their day.”
Getting their routines in synch is important as Seattle faces three road games this month and three games in the next 11 days.
After this afternoon’s game at Carolina, Seattle hosts New England on Oct. 14, followed by a Thursday night contest at NFC West rival San Francisco on Oct. 18.
The Seahawks then get 10 days to prepare for a game against the Lions in Detroit on Oct. 28.
While the Seahawks would like to get off to a fast start against the Panthers, similar to the way they started against the Rams last week, it’s not a necessity, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said.
“You always want to get off to a good start, whether you’re home, away or on the moon,” Sherman said, smiling. “But it’s the same old thing, just try to go out there and do the same thing.”
SEATTLE (2-2) AT CAROLINA (1-3)
1:05 p.m., Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C..
TV: Ch. 13. Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM.
The series: Seattle and Carolina are tied at 2-2 in the all-time series. The Seahawks defeated the Panthers, 31-14, on Dec. 5, 2010 at CenturyLink Field the last time the two teams played. The Seahawks are 0-2 on the road against the Panthers, including a 13-10 loss the last time Seattle traveled to Charlotte on Dec. 16, 2007. Seattle defeated the Panthers, 21-10, in the NFC Championship game to reach Super Bowl XL, the only time these two teams met in the postseason.
What to watch: Seattle coach Pete Carroll said veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant will be a game-time decision. Trufant did not practice until Friday because of a nagging back issue. If Trufant can’t go, recent addition Danny Gorrer or second-year pro Byron Maxwell will serve as the team’s fifth defensive back in passing situations. Guard John Moffitt has been ruled out with a knee issue for the second consecutive week, which means versatile offensive lineman Paul McQuistan will get his second start at right guard. Second-year pro James Carpenter remains the starter at left guard. The Panthers likely will be without two regular starters on defense. Middle linebacker Jon Beason (knee) and cornerback Chris Gamble (shoulder) are doubtful heading into this afternoon’s game. Even though Seattle would like to open things up on offense, expect to see a lot of running back Marshawn Lynch against Carolina’s suspect run defense. Lynch is the league’s leading rusher heading into Week 5 with 423 yards, and the Panthers are No. 26 in the league in rushing defense, giving up 134.8 yards a contest.
The pick: Seahawks, 20-16
No. Name (position) Ht./Wt.Year
3 Russell Wilson (QB) 5-11/206First
Seattle’s rookie quarterback needs a breakout performance, or he could be on the bench next week against New England.
89 Doug Baldwin (WR) 5-10/189Second
Seattle’s leading receiver last season has four receptions through four games. He needs to step up on third down.
92 Brandon Mebane (DT) 6-1/311Sixth
The Cal product is playing at a high level, and Seattle will need another solid effort from Mebane to control the line of scrimmage against Carolina’s potent run game.
50 K.J. Wright (LB)6-4/246Second
One of the best tacklers on the team, Wright needs to make sure he wraps up against bruising running QB Cam Newton.
No. Name (position) Ht./Wt.Year
1 Cam Newton (QB) 6-5/245Second
The Panthers expect more leadership and maturity from the player they took with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.
69 Jordan Gross (OT) 6-4/30510th
Still one of the better pass blockers in the league, but he will have his hands full with Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin.
59 Luke Kuechly (OLB) 6-3/235First
Rookie out of Boston College needs to step up in the run game with veteran middle linebacker Jon Beason likely out.
30 Charles Godfrey (DB) 5-11/210Fifth
Panthers’ leading tackler and most talented playmaker in the back end of Carolina’s email@example.com Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org @eric_d_williams blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks