Here are the snap counts from Seattle's 38-17 win over the New York Giants.
Note on offense how tackle Garry Gilliam was used 21 times as an extra tight end on running plays. Most of those came after fill-in starting tight end Luke Willson sprained his ankle early in the game and then No. 3 tight end Cooper Helfet's sore knee flared up again.
Will Tukuafu got 17 snaps as Seattle's new, 285-pound fullback. Coach Pete Carroll said today how impressed he was seeing the effects of Tukuafu thudding into defenders in the running lanes ahead of Marshawn Lynch. Expect the former 49er to play far more beginning Sunday at Kansas City.
Carroll even mentioned Tukuafu, a part-time defensive end with San Francisco until his release last month, as an option to back-fill the defensive line now that Brandon Mebane is going to be out a while with his pulled hamstring. To that end, look for Demarcus Dobbs to get more snaps. Another former 49er recently signed, Dobbs got 15 plays on the defensive line and 17 more on special teams against New York.
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Carroll said Byron Maxwell will continue to get more than the 27 snaps the cornerback got in his first game in four walks after a calf strain. The coach said Maxwell will be the starter, not Tharold Simon, once he is fully healthy and back in game shape -- though Carroll didn't make it sound like that will be this weekend.
Here is the transcript of Carroll's comments this afternoon:
Head Coach Pete Carroll
November 10, 2014
(Opening) I really liked this game. This game really shows some really strong traits about competitiveness and toughness and finish, stuff that we really take a lot of pride in. To shut them down in the second half, to finish with twenty-one points in the fourth quarter and doing it in the fashion that we did it by running the ball was really a good step for us. I think we take three weeks here in a row that we really are pleased with the progress we’re making. We have a lot of areas that we need to keep working at to improve and we will hopefully keep improving all the way through the season here but the intensity is really there and we played with the crowd. The crowd was great. It was a great Seattle day and we had a terrific performance out of the fellas. Marshawn [Lynch] was phenomenal in the game. He ran like crazy and made the most of his carries. The O-line really fit together great. I think the threat of the quarterback run really had to do with overall success and Marshawn’s numbers and Russell’s [Wilson] numbers really fit together very well. It was a really good day. The defense came through and made the plays we needed to make. We had some turnovers that we needed in the second half. We had a really, really solid effort out of this game.
(On Brandon Mebane’s injury) He has a really legit hamstring pull. I was kidding about saying how big it was but it’s legit. He’s out for a while. We will find out more later today.
(On how the running quarterback threat affects the defense) The running quarterbacks always have a big effect in the passing game but when you’re able to incorporate it and have the opportunities to include it in the run game it then it adds a total different dimension to your defense and you saw Russell execute the game plan really well of attacking the perimeter. They allowed it to happen so we just kept taking it. Some of that was off the hard downhill running game and some of it was off the read game and it all just fit really well. He was really on his reads and with Marshawn running like his hair was on fire it made for a great match.
(On if Russell Wilson has further refined his running abilities) It really depends on the opportunities of the game. He’s really good at it. I think you look back to the Washington game, was a similar type of game for Russell. That’s really taking what the defense gives you and we took full advantage of it.
(On if that's something he sees early on in the game) It has to do with the game plan going in and also, how they have adjusted. With the threats that we pose, people adjust their schemes sometimes and they change so we have to wait and see what’s going on. Sometimes it’s different and sometimes it isn’t. So again, the whole plan was fit together. This was the way it could have gone as we were preparing for the week. When it happened we were really able to go for it. I think it’s a great job by Tom [Cable] and Darrell [Bevell] to come up with a scheme and make sure it was fitted to the opponent.
(On how Alvin Bailey played) He did a good job. He played really solid. The guys upfront played really well. It was by far the best effort that we’ve seen. It was really a great day for those guys. I think Max [Unger] had a lot to do with that. His communication background really allowed our guys to play fast and hard and came flying off the football and Alvin fit really well with that. Russell [Okung] played like he was totally healthy and really did a nice job too but I should single out one guy in a particular. There’s nobody playing better than J.R. Sweezy. He is just factor consistently from the first play to the last play. He’s given extraordinary effort and he’s tough and making hits and all but he’s executing so well too. He’s just been an enormous factor for us and he was really on it yesterday. He had a fantastic game.
(On if Alvin Bailey is more of a tackle or a guard) He really fits okay in both spots. He does alright. That big body, it really suits playing guard, how his makeup is. He’s able to play tackle on both sides. He has shown us really good flexibility so we’re comfortable with him playing either spot. I think he probably looks like he would fit better, in a long term commitment, staying inside.
(On if Brandon Mebane is out for a while, if he will have to adjust from what we saw in the second half on Sunday) Well, we will have to see how things go. Kevin [Williams] will play a lot more in that spot. Tony [McDaniel] plays there and Jordan Hill will also play there so we will see how that goes and what kind of play we’re getting from the fellas and how it fits. All those guys are good football players. They’re all doing good stuff. Their makeup is a little different and their style. I mean there is nobody like Mebane. He’s a very unique player. He’s had, I think, the best season he’s had since he’s we’ve been here to this point – most consistent, best factor so that’s a big hit to take. But our guys that go in play good football too so we will expect them to play up and maintain the level.
(On if he looks for some outside help with that spot or if you still have guys to play there) We were really pleased with Demarcus Dobbs. He did a very nice job in the snaps that he had, played really good in special teams too. That was a tremendous pick up and Will [Tukuafu] can play in there also so we don’t have any problem. We’re always looking though. We’re always competing to find somebody.
(On Jimmy Staten and what he’s done on the practice squad) He’s been working hard at the spot. He’s there for us if we need them. That’s an easy place for us to turn. He’s been with us for a long time and he’s healthy and doing well. We feel okay right now. We don’t need to go scour but we will anyway and I’m kind of excited to see how these guys take to it. Kevin [Williams] has shown us plenty of good things and Tony [McDaniel] has been playing really good, hard football, tough football for us. Jordan [Hill] is a different kind of athlete in there. He’s got really great quickness and a little different style player. But we like the way he gives it too so we will see how it goes.
(On how severe Luke Willson’s ankle is) It’s the same ankle he sprained before, a while back, that he recovered really quickly on so we’re going to keep our fingers crossed on that. It’s a legitimate ankle sprain but he’s shown really good ability to get back, we will see what happens. I don’t know if it will happen this week or not. Tony’s [Moeaki] a big deal that he’s here with us and will step right in for us and play at the spot.
(On how accurate are sacks when measuring the success of an individual pass rusher or the unit as a whole) It tells you a story. I think hurries and the effect of the pass rush is what’s most important but sacks – that’s kind of the big marker. I wish we had more. I like the numbers when they’re up there and you just have more chances to get the ball out when you’re knocking guys to the ground getting them. We were really close; we could have had three or four easy. I think Cliff [Avril] had five QB hits in the game with really active rushing but just didn’t get him on the ground. It’s a significant number and I wish ours were higher than they are.
(On Zach Miller and Bobby Wagner being able to practice this week) Zach won’t. Bobby’s taking a big step forward. We will find out what that means. We expect to get a really good attempt at getting back Malcolm Smith. He has a chance. He’ll be practicing on Wednesday. Kam Chancellor should be in good shape for Wednesday as well. We will see how those guys go. Bobby will have a really active workout all throughout this week. We will see what that means. Zach is a little bit behind him.
(On what would Bobby Wagner getting back mean for this week against Kansas City) It depends what level he re-enters, if he can go full go and all that. It would be great to get him back. We’re dying to get him back out there. He’s a legit championship, starting player but we will see how it goes. Getting Malcolm [Smith] back is a boost to us, gives us some flexibility and some things that we can do but we would love to get Bobby back out there. He’s dying to get out and he’s getting close.
(On what J.R. Sweezy has done in these past three years) Yeah, I think it’s an amazing story – transferring from defense to offense and starting his first game and then he got killed in his first game. He had a terrible initial start to making the transition but then from then on he’s continually gotten better. We never doubted that he could be a really good player because he’s such a good athlete and he has such a good mentality and he’s such a strong, fit, fast guy for playing guard. But it’s just taken him time to really allow all of his natural aggressiveness to roll out where he can utilize it. He’s a vicious football player. He just runs and hits and knocks people all over the place. He’s got a real style to him that was part of the defensive mentality that John [Schneider] loved about him way back when and Tom [Cable] was really attracted to when we first started working him out and making this decision and it’s just been a great story. I don’t know if this is a prototype way – that it takes three years for a guy or whatever to get it done but it’s a great story for us. I think it goes all the way back John’s vision to find the guy and give him a chance.
(On Russell Wilson’s passer rating under 80 in four of the five last games and what he feels is going on with the struggling passing game) We haven’t been quite as sharp as we’ve been. We have not relied on it as much. We have been running the football with more intent and so that which with we’ve been getting done is good enough to get wins. We have areas that we can improve, throwing and catching we can always get better. I really think the good thing is that we have won three games and we can do better. We can improve. It sounds like there are a lot of people that are real concerned about our passing game, I’m concerned that we run the football and keep adding that factor to our style of play. We’ve been in a mode where it’s been really focused in on the running game, trying to make sure that we get that done and it’s worked out. I think it’s helped us. I think we’re more like we’ve been and we like it so we’re going to keep going. We’re always going to try to improve. I thought the third-down numbers were fantastic for us and some of that was throwing and that’s huge. That’s a huge factor. It always has been the story when we talk about the days when we’re not happy with the offensive performance and it’s a big deal so we will see if we can keep that going.
(On Russell Wilson’s two interceptions) Well the timing was a little bit off on the route and the throw. He was a little bit inside with it and depth was a question, but [Zack] Bowman made a great play. He really did—we thought we had that. We practiced all week—that we would get that route and get the rhythm of it and the timing of it and we’d hit it and he made a great play to get in front on that one. The other one—they fooled us with a really good disguise and we thought we had a full blitz but we didn’t. So we got fooled into throwing the ball in a place where it didn’t need to go and so we made a mistake on that one.
(On player input on plays during the week) I’m listening for every little bit we can get. To me, that’s just competing so if the guys have something, some thought, that they’ve seen or that they would like to do—I always listen.
(On how Richard Sherman is playing) I think Richard is playing really good football. I think he’s doing a lot of great stuff—I think he had one play that he’d like to have back. He kind of looked a little bit early on the double move ball. He played it well and he was going to be involved in it but I think he’s played terrific. I don’t know what your expectations are otherwise—I think he’s doing a great job, we’re counting on him, and he’s been on so many routes. I just talked about it last week—how many routes he’s been sticking when the ball doesn’t come to him. I thought Odell Beckam [Jr.] was really good and I think that he was everything that we talked about last week. He came through and made really good catches—every ball that he had a chance to; he made a play on it that we didn’t knock away and give him some credit, he’s a good player. All in all, I think he’s playing really good football.
(On Byron Maxwell) He did fine—he came out fine and he’ll be a big part of this week. It was great to get him back; he had plenty of plays to show that he’s back, got challenged a little bit and he’s ready to go.
(On Kevin Pierre-Louis) He’s a really good football player that we’re really excited about. When you look at the plays that a linebacker has the chance to make, there’s always these opportunities to scrape or to run up into the line of scrimmage and hit the play, or to chase the ball down—he excels in all of those areas because he’s so fast. He really plays fast, he’s very aggressive, he’s a smart kid, he’s still learning the game that we’re teaching, and he’ll get so much better than he is right now. We’ve been thrilled about what he’s done and special teams just backs that up. So he’s elevated the competition at that spot and we don’t have any problem playing him in nickel or in base. I think it’ll be best if we continue to have him in and out—don’t put a steady diet of plays on him yet so he can keep his focus and stay really tuned in, but he shows a lot of savvy and marvelous chase speed. We saw it a couple weeks ago, back to Carolina; we were blitzing, ripping, and forcing the quarterback to throw the ball away. He did it again this week and he’s chase the ball on the perimeter, and tackled well—he’s made some good hits. I got to go back to special teams—he’s become a core player for us which his great.
(On blitzing Kevin Pierre-Louis) Yes--we have used him. We see him as an effective guy because he hits the line of scrimmage so hard. His timing is just ok right now—he’ll get better. He’s a very discipline kid and he wants to do things exactly right so he’s not taking many chances yet; he’s kind of by the book, but that will all develop as he’s with us longer and his confidence grows and he’s seen enough stuff.
(On Marcus Burley injury) He went in with a sore hamstring and came out with a sore hamstring so we’ll see what that means this week. Fortunately, with the guys coming back, Jeremy [Lane] did a nice job and he’s ready to go, Maxi [Byron Maxwell] coming back so maybe we can withstand that one, but he was pretty sore and we didn’t finish him in the game. We kept him out of the fourth quarter in that game.
(On Byron Maxwell starting) We’ll see how the week goes. It’s a competitive spot—when he’s ready and full speed, he will go back to starting. I don’t know if it will be this week yet—we’ll see what happens.
(On linebacker rotation) Well our guys have some attributes that make us want to utilize them. Kevin [Pierre-Louis] is a good example of that, Malcolm [Smith] is a good example of that—Malcolm is an amazing coverage guy. So we’re moving K.J [Wright] around a lot right now and doing a lot of things with him when you go from the base to the nickel package and he’s got all kinds of things to do. So I would see that we’ll still play guys in the rotation. It depends on who’s available and all that kind of stuff—it also depends on who’s on special teams some, but they’ve made spots for themselves and I think Kevin is a great example of that.
(On what makes Richard Sherman so good) He has great ball sense—he has great timing. The plays he made two weeks ago—the one on the pick and the other play where he spins and gets his hands right in the pocket right where the ball is coming—those are marvelous and almost aesthetic plays for a DB to make. There’s so much that goes into that—the timing, the space, and the feel. He’s really adept—he was a good receiver growing up and I think those skills are important. I think, also, he utilizes his background as a receiver to understand routes, and the feel for routes. He recognizes routes and what guys are intending to do very quickly. He processes it really quickly—I think he’s special in that way. All of that adds in to making him a very effective football player so there’s a lot of intangibles there and things that he’s brought along from his past experiences.
(On what the team needs to get better at as this tough stretch is approaching) Yes—there’s a lot of things. Kansas City; this situation of playing these guys—if you look at the numbers, they’re really effective in a lot of critical areas; they’re really a good team. If they were undefeated right now, the numbers would support that—they’re really a good club. Quarterback [Alex Smith] is good, the running back [Jamaal Charles] is good, their defense is good—their numbers in all areas are really on it. So we’re just going to take care of that one first and see if we can put off a good game. The fact that we have all the division games coming up in the scheduling is really exciting. It leaves everything out there for you and we’ll see how that goes when the time comes but Kansas City is attracting our focus right now—the rest of the schedule isn’t.
(On Christine Michael big game) I think it’s been coming—we’re not surprised by seeing it, we’re happy for him that he gets a chance to contribute. He was pretty excited too, but I think it’s an extension of what’s been coming. We’ve seen him in enough games and he has a really special burst and he’s tough. Of our running backs, he’s the heaviest. You wouldn’t think that but he’s 228 or 230 lbs. He’s got some really good qualities, so we’re going to continue to utilize him and this is another example of trying to use guys where they can fit in and contribute and so we’ll try to find those spots for him again.
(On Tony Moeaki not playing because he just arrived) It was exactly that—we looked at Will [Tukuafu] a week ago, and tried to fit him in at one week’s time—there’s so much to ask these guys to fit in and play football. It’s one thing when you’re standing behind him at practice and you say, ‘Ok here’s the next play and here’s what you’re doing.’ We just use that information and thought it’d be best for Tony to wait one more week. As it turned out with Luke [Willson] getting hurt, I wish we’d had them all up of course, but Tony will be right in the middle of it this week.
(On Cooper Helfet getting banged up) Yes—he came out alright. He’s always dealing with a knee that’s a little bit sore but he’s alright.
(On James Carpenter injury) It’s going to be a long shot if he makes it—we’ll see what happens. We’ll just go Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and see what happens—if he can do anything, but it looks like it’s going to be another week.
(On Will Tukuafu) He had a very good game—he was very on point with his blocks and was a factor on a number of plays. He definitely showed what it was like when you have a 285-pound fullback—he does not get knocked around at all. He contributed and helped us on special teams as well. So really—that was like his first game for us, that other game wasn’t fair to evaluate him and he should continue to get better.
(On how different is Christine Michael skillset from Marshawn Lynch or Robert Turbin) The suddenness that he has kind of just jumps out at you. We haven’t seen him enough over a long haul to really determine I don’t think but that’s what we’re accustomed to now—that’s what we’re looking for when he gets the ball. He can bounce the ball on the edge and he can cut back really fast and he’s aggressive with the ball—he’s goes at you. He brings it right downhill at you so we’ll see when we get some more turns but his work to this point has been exciting and we’re looking forward to more.
(On difference of special teams with guys returning) It helped, but we’re still having a lot of issues with guys having to move around. We’re still very thin—our core guys have been kind of jockeyed around here a little bit and players like Jeron Johnson was starting so he wasn’t able to be a core player for us—he spotted in and out. Those factors really weigh in heavily, but it’s great to have those guys back. When we get Kam [Chancellor] back, then Jeron can be an active part. Then we get Malcolm [Smith], he’s on the punt team—he’s been on the punt team as a career player, he’s a great punt team player. So all of those will really help us and make a difference.