Pete Carroll was already in obvious bye-week mode when he arrived for his Monday afternoon press conference.
The Seattle Seahawks coach was in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, but his frame of mind was already better suited to board shorts and flip-flops.
“I have no reason to focus really well ... I can really be loose,” he said at one point when his attention span seemed to waver in the face of traditional bye-week questioning.
Why not? He’d just watched an enjoyable movie (the Seahawks’ 28-7 win over the New York Jets) and he’d dismissed his 6-4 Seahawks for a week of rest and recuperation.
He’s been comforted by the speculation that his injured players will be healed by the time they return to work.
And the schedule down the stretch requires all three divisional foes to come to CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks have won all five games thus far.
Beyond that, it’s been since 2007 that Seattle had a winning record 10 games into a season.
So, he riffed with a conversational tone on occasion, commenting on one writer’s poor posture, and then having fun with a radio guy who asked whether he’d ever been involved in a tie game (a la the Rams and 49ers on Sunday).
“Tie game? No, I didn’t play soccer growing up,” he said, before offering the suggestion that the NFL should devise a “shoot-out ... with guys firing the ball at the goal post” to settle a tied game.
He added that the staff would be spending the two weeks leading up to the Nov. 25 game at Miami installing the triple-option offense. (Hey, you never know if a Dolphins defensive coach might see the transcripts of the press conference and not realize that Carroll was in a joking mood).
Actually, Carroll decided to give the team this whole week off to “really give them the mental break.”
“Teams have done pretty well who have done that and we’re going to, hopefully, cash in on that,” he said. “What we will gain is the rest and rehab part of that, and then we’ll get back to work and really hit it hard Monday.”
It’s also a reward for having improved and grown into playoff contention.
“I feel good about where we’re going,” Carroll said. “We have worked really hard and the guys have performed very consistently and done everything we’ve asked them to do in terms of the prep and focus and bringing it week-in and week-out.”
The offense struggled early against the Jets, but pulling out to an easy win in which the defense gave up no touchdowns also was worthy of reward.
“The film looked really good; we had a really good day on defense,” Carroll said. “We really played disciplined, tough football. It got us a really good day at the line of scrimmage and pressuring the quarterbacks. So it was a very good solid day.”
Nov. 18 is the latest bye week they’ve had since 2000. For a team with a rookie quarterback and middle linebacker, the week off is particularly timely as they’ve already played four exhibition and 10 regular-season games, more than college players are accustomed.
So Carroll’s message to the players before they dispersed was simple: Get some rest. They were given instructions for conditioning drills, but advised not to go overboard.
The linemen, though, were reminded about the importance of proper nutrition. Some of them, Carroll noted, can get busy scarfing Big Macs when nobody is watching them, and quickly put on pounds. At that point, in mock-alarm, he questioned whether McDonald’s was one of the Seahawks’ sponsors, and if he should amend that comment.
Seriously, he added: “We’ve set a lot into motion right now; we want to make sure when we come back, we’re better than when we left.”
If they’re approaching it anything like their coach, they’ll be relaxed and in good spirits.Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 firstname.lastname@example.org @DaveBoling