Look at tight end Tony Moeaki on this list of snap counts from the Seahawks' win at San Francisco.
Less than a month ago the former rookie starter with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010 was home, unsigned as a free agent living off an injury settlement Buffalo had given him after the Bills put him on injured reserve at the end of the summer. Now he is getting 63 percent of the snaps on the offense of the surging Super Bowl champions in a huge game at a division rival in the middle of a playoff drive.
He's suddenly Seattle's new primary and productive tight end, with Zach Miller out for the season and Cooper Helfet being slowed for two weeks by a sprained ankle. Moeaki, who had 47 catches for the Chiefs in 2010 and 33 for them in 2012, has passed Luke Willson in priority in Russell Wilson's passing game. The quarterback has instantly trusted Moeaki since he signed a prorated, $645,000 contract for the remainder of this season on Nov. 4, looking for him in goal-line and short-yardage situations. And he could become a huge asset in these final four regular-season games including Sunday's at Philadelphia, with the Seahawks' wide-receiver production and red-zone touchdown percentage way down.
It's not a stretch to think general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll will be offering the 27-year-old Moeaki another contract for 2015 -- and perhaps beyond -- in a few months.
"Everybody on the staff had a feeling about Tony. We had seen him play before. We had a pretty good thought that he could be a help and he’s taken some time and he’s done better," Carroll said. "I guess we would say we are really pleasantly surprised in the sense that he could help maybe so early, but this is the kind of the player that he was. He was contributing in a big way. He made big plays and all the catches and stuff, he has always been good at. He’s getting better as a blocker for us, learning our principles and all that.
"It’s becoming a really good pick up for us that he can contribute in the way he is. So it’s working out great."
--The Seahawks are back on the field today for practice, after having Friday through Monday off as a mini-bye. It's the back-side benefit of having to play Thursday.
--Here is the rest of what Carroll said yesterday. He wouldn't offer any insight as to what position group might get the next signing that is imminent to fill the roster spot still open after Kevin Pierre-Louis went on injured reserve and his supposed replacement Loucheiz Purifoy failed his waiver physical -- though the coach did say the team was "going to get some stuff done (today)" in that regard.
The transcript from the team's PR staff left out Carroll's "Our owner would never do that comment" that I used as my lead to the story on Carroll's relationship with Paul Allen in today's News Tribune.
Head Coach Pete Carroll
December 1, 2014
(Opening) Well, we had a really nice Thanksgiving around here. I hope everybody else enjoyed it. It was good for the 12s I think, and the players and all that. We had a nice ball game and then had a nice break here too getting ready for this week so we’re in good shape and looking forward to a terrific matchup coming up. It’s an exciting time of year, starting the fourth quarter – here we go.
(On Kevin Pierre-Louis) It looks like he needs some work on his shoulder, labrum issue.
(On DB Loucheiz Purifoy) He didn’t pass the physical.
(On how this week is different than normal) Yeah, we’re just adjusting a bit. We took a couple days off. Now it feels like a bye break. We’re trying to take full advantage of that, rest-wise. We go into it fairly healthy so we will come out of this little break time in pretty good shape for the week. We’re flipping Monday and Tuesday for the players. They have today off and we will get some stuff done tomorrow.
(On the difference a healthy Bobby Wagner makes) Well, in general it sure seems like it has helped. It’s been great having him back. We’re playing the kind of football that makes us proud. The kind of stuff that we were hoping to play like on defense and it’s taken us awhile to get going. Coincidentally, Bobby comes back at the same time we kind of turn it so let’s give him some credit for being a part of that and helping everybody else feel more comfortable and all of that.
(On how Kevin Williams has been playing since stepping in for Brandon Mebane) Yeah, he’s feeling better about playing the position. He’s obviously more comfortable which is natural. I’m hoping we will continue to find rotations where all the guys can contribute. Like I said, we’re a little bit healthier than we have been so we will be able to control the numbers of plays hopefully. But Kevin’s doing a good job now.
(On Jeremy Lane being inactive Thursday vs. San Francisco) Just didn’t quite get back. He was close towards the end of the week. The short week just didn’t help him. Marcus Burley made it back to health so that was a nice easy switch for us to make and give Jeremy a chance to make sure he’s well for this week, which he will be.
(On Cooper Helfet) It’s a day-to-day deal. He’s still recovering. He’s not ready to practice tomorrow with us. We’re going to take a couple of more days here. He’s close to making it. We will see. We really won’t know until the end of the week.
(On how Max Unger is progressing) Kind of in similar fashion – that he is getting better. I don’t know if we will be able to get him on the field this week. The feeling is that he should be able to make it back next week. Unless, maybe we’re able to get a surprise here in the next couple of days – still a little gimpy but getting better.
(On how Lemuel Jeanpierre played) Solid, helped everybody communication-wise. We felt like we were on our communications. He will continue to get better. He’s only two weeks old with us right now after a big layoff so we hope to see him continue to improve.
(On if there is a common thread with Tharold Simon’s penalties) I need to solve that common thread whatever it is because he had a bundle of them here. He’s a young guy, just trying to figure out the league – what’s okay and what isn’t. I just need to do a better job of helping him. He’s playing hard and playing tough and all but he is definitely finding himself in front of the officials a lot.
(On if Tony Moeaki has exceeded expectations) Everybody on the staff had a feeling about Tony. We had seen him play before. We had a pretty good thought that he could be a help and he’s taken some time and he’s done better. I guess we would say we are really pleasantly surprised in the sense that he could help maybe so early but this is the kind of the player that he was. He was contributing in a big way. He made big plays and all the catches and stuff, he has always been good at. He’s getting better as a blocker for us, learning our principles and all that. It’s becoming a really good pick up for us that he can contribute in the way he is so it’s working out great.
(On if he is rewarding the players with rest after two tough games) I don’t look at the Thursday thing like it’s a tough deal. You just have to deal with it. You get that opportunity and you have to make the most of it and always, we want to get the back end of that and get the rest so we can be strong next time out. Our guys did handle the process really well, the adjustments that we had to make to the schedule and all that, we flew right through it. Like we told you last week, it felt like it was really going well. It’s a bonus for us – to get two wins in that time and also to get a break. It really helps us setting up for the last four games. It worked out well so it’s a good deal.
(On how much of his job has been to manage up as well as manage down) I have such good support from all that John [Schneider] does and Peter [McLoughlin] that it seems like it’s been effortlessly, really. We’ve gotten along so smoothly and seen eye-to-eye on everything that we’ve dealt with – been able to find that spot where you see eye-to-eye. Paul [Allen] has been so supportive of the multitude of things that John’s in charge of which really impacts him in a great way with the money and the decisions and all that kind of stuff. We work together and the communication has always been open and we’ve had good dialogue at every turn for all the years so I think we have such a strong base now that we all feel like we can get through whatever we have to deal with. I don’t know about managing up, I feel like we’re just working things out. Everybody is very respectful of the positions and the authority and all of that – the opinions that everybody brings, the expertise. It really couldn’t be better. Our format and setup couldn’t be better. There’s nothing to tweak. It’s right on so we keep working at it and hopefully continue to make decisions that we can support and benefit from.
(On if there is a methodology for conflict resolution) We work things out through communicating and dialoguing and through trust. We trust that everybody has a good opinion and we rest one another and we make our choices. There’s an order to things that isn’t necessary to call on, really. I think it’s a mutual respect that allows us to communicate from A to Z on what we’re talking about and really feel like we’re doing it together and making the most of our options. I feel like our decisions are usually really strong. We don’t feel like we’re barely getting through these things. We’re making strong choices and decisions and there’s a bit of a momentum to that at times as we work it through and we feel really good about the stuff that we’ve been doing so really, it’s a very, very good setup.
(On if this is what he envisioned when he signed on) It really has turned out even better than I could have imagined. I really had hoped that the freedom would be here and the freedom is here for me – to do what I want to do and to get things done in the fashion that I think I can do it best. That has been totally supported. I didn’t know John at all so I’ve come to love the guy for all that he brings – his work ethic, his expertise, his vision and creativity and all of that. That’s worked out great. We’ve been through two CEOs in essence and both have worked well with us and we have worked well with them. I’m sure he would comment that way. We had to develop a relationship with Paul and John has done a great deal of that in communicating with Paul on a regular basis. I see him one a week during the season but that’s about all. It’s really worked out beautiful and it could not have been better. I think it transcends. This is a good place to be and it’s a good place to work and everybody can feel that. We’ve maintained an atmosphere of upbeat, positive, a lot of energy, willing to take on tough challenges and make tough decisions and go for it. That’s really what this is all about right now.
(On when Paul Allen visits before games) Yeah, he wants to ask the normal questions that curiosity would generate. He wants to know what’s going on – how the week’s gone, how the players are doing, trick plays – stuff like that.
(On only allowing one touchdown in the last 10 quarters they have played) Yeah, the players have rallied to find their best. I think the ascending health, we’ve been getting stronger and they feel better. The corners have come back to play. Kam [Chancellor] has come back to play. Bobby [Wagner] has come back. It seems like that has all added to it but I think they have really rallied. Dan [Quinn] has done a great job and the coaches have done a great job on the defensive side to keep guys growing and not get to the point where you get frustrated and it starts to work against you. There’s been frustration because we knew that we could better and the fact that we’re just starting to hit stride now, I think our best football is still ahead of us. We have a chance to continue to improve and to grow and that’s a beautiful thing at this time of year. But I’m really proud of the leadership and Kam and Earl [Thomas] and Richard [Sherman] and Michael [Bennett], all those guys, K.J. [Wright] and Bobby [Wagner]. All those guys that have hung together with us to keep the message moving forward until we really figured it out and felt right about it. That’s what is most apparent for me.
(On the players talking about trusting each other and what that means on the field) That has to do with your ability to focus. If you trust what’s going on around you and you trust what you’re asked to do then you’re not concerned and distracted by what may be otherwise so that’s a real basic fundamental of being able to focus really well. When you have confidence and you believe in what you’re doing then you don’t second guess and discursive thoughts don’t come your way and you’re more apt to play like you’re capable and that’s a really basic premise of our program. So we have to get to that and that comes through hard work and the understanding of what you’re capable of doing and then preparing yourself so that when the time comes for the opportunity to show it, you can come through. How we share that is by supporting one another – that’s really what is it. It’s supporting one another. It’s demonstrating that you do trust them and you do believe in them. You don’t let your focus go anywhere else like worrying about what could be or what could happen or what call you make or what play you make or didn’t make. That’s really what is at hand right now. It’s been a really vivid illustration to the players of how powerful that is.
(On how the small stuff adds up like setting the edge and how much of that trust plays into that) Yeah, certainly it does because guys are taking care of their job and doing it to the best of their ability and they’re being acknowledged for it and recognized by their teammates. Nobody is worrying about anybody else right now. They know things are going to work out if we work really hard and that’s the big level of trust that we’re talking about and that’s a really good thing. It’s what really successful teams own. They know that they’re okay. We knew what that felt like last year and we’re working at finding it this year. There’s a chance that maybe we could have a very successful season here in the regular season. It’s all about us finishing now. We really don’t have to change anything now. We need to work really hard and hold on to really where we are right now and keep battling and we will be okay. Whatever that gets us, we will find out in a few weeks.
(On if being back in the division battle gives the guys any added encouragement) Sure. We would have approached every game right here in the fashion that we have to win each one of them in a championship fashion and that hasn’t changed. Nothing has changed. We have looked at every game this year in the same manner. It’s obvious that it’s really there. One of the things that you love in competition is when you control your own future and we have the opportunity to do that and we have to do it one day at a time.
(On the biggest challenge preparing for Philadelphia’s offense) They’re really explosive. They have a real style about them. You have to mention Chip [Kelly] – his concepts and approach – when you talk about this offense because it is what he has constructed over the years. It’s innovative and it’s well run and it’s designed beautifully. They’re able to carry it out with different players, different quarterbacks. Mark [Sanchez] is doing a great job right now. [Nick] Foles had done a terrific job, had an incredible year last year. There is tempo to it as well. I think they’ve run 130 more plays then we’ve run on offense this year already at this point so that’s 10 plays a game, close to or more. So there are a lot of good things about it and they’ve really been on it for two solid years now.
(On how to prepare for the tempo) We prepare, really you have to prepare in modern football to be in the no huddle mode so we’re always prepared so it’s not a big change for us. How much they are able to press the tempo – we’re ready for that. We have been in that mode for the last couple of years now because you have to be.
(On James Carpenter’s return) Solid, did a good job. It was great to have him back. He felt great about his contribution and being back out there with everybody. He overcame his ankle and played pretty good, solid football so it’s a really good sign, with the break he should be in great shape this week.
(On if it’s good for Richard Sherman to get some of the balls coming his way) Sure. Yeah, it’s huge. It’s huge for him to have the opportunities. He really had three big opportunities to take the ball off of them and I know he was kicking in the locker room about the one he didn’t get. But it’s a dangerous direction to go in because he can turn that ball around on you in a heartbeat and he’s demonstrated that, really better than anybody in football over the last few years and you can see why. It’s really good. It’s a good reward for him for working hard and busting his tail and not getting caught up in stats and numbers and things like that. He has not waivered; I’ve said that to you for some time now, he has not waivered technique-wise, his attention to the details of how he plays and studies and prepares and all that has been impeccable. It’s a good reward.
(On how he would explain the relationship between Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin) It’s a really unique relationship. They’re extraordinary friends and extraordinarily competitive as well. There’s some way they can mix this thing and hang together and they battle as much as anybody has seen. It’s like brothers in a sense. They have a deep feeling for one another and respect for one and another and they wouldn’t rather beat anybody in the world than that other guy. That’s the most important guy to get and it’s a really beautiful thing.
(On knowing Chip Kelly from USC-Oregon days) I did not get to know him very well. I have tremendous respect for the innovation. I don’t know the history of how this works but I think he has been as much an innovator in the game as anybody in college football. He’s brought his approach, his style, his mentality to the league and it’s worked out great for him. I think the Oregon school and their kind of burst to the spotlight and been brought about by their offense and the style that Chip was noted for. There are a lot of teams running no huddle and there are a lot of teams trying to speed it up. There are a lot of teams that are working the kind of approach and schemes and spreading the field as they have – a lot of people were doing that. I think the tempo and the belief in that is what really what Chip was really the great champion of.
(On when Chip Kelly visited here while he was still at Oregon) I’m sure he regrets that tremendously because of all the things that he shared with me.
(On if he liked the way the defense came together in the third quarter of the season) Absolutely, absolutely. After the Kansas City game, it was a mess. We jumped right back to business and really recaptured the chance of having a great finish to the season. It was a hard way to learn but it was worth it. That’s obviously the most important thing that’s shown up.
(On Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson eating turkey on the NBC set at the 49ers’ midfield postgame) If they wanted me to state my opinion, I would have thought, ‘Yeah, they should do that somewhere else’. That would have been good but that’s up to the networks and all of that. It meant nothing at all. It was nothing. It gave some people something to talk about. Our guys didn’t care at all the way I understood it.