The Seahawks' players have their weekly day off from practicing today. They will be back on the field in Renton tomorrow to start full preparations for Sunday's home game against the New York Giants (3-5), who got hammered at home last night by Indianapolis 40-24 in a game that was 37-10 after three quarters.
As for the Seahawks: it is halfway through what has been a rather eventful regular season for the defending Super Bowl champions, and I say 5-3 is about what this team deserves to be right now.
The Seahawks were brilliant in a zooming, opening win over Green Bay -- and haven't approached attaining such an almost-complete performance since that warm, Sept. 4 evening at CenturyLink Field.
I'm not the only one thinking that.
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"A win is a win. But we have to be able to play four quarters completely," Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril said after the 30-24 escape past Oakland when Seattle's injury-marred lineup on both sides of the ball at times looked like an exhibition game. "Sometimes we come out a little slow then the second half pick it up. This week, came out, played third quarters, and then the fourth quarter we took our foot off the pedal or what not.
"We just have to be consistent and be able to put a full game together.”
Even the win over Denver in mid-September, which looking like the most impressive victory of Seattle's season so far, was far from a complete performance. The Seahawks
[caption id="attachment_27902" align="alignright" width="480"] Pete Carroll has two, main reasons to feel upbeat about the second half of this Seahawks' regular season (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)[/caption]
romped to a 17-3 lead in the first half with the defense stifling Peyton Manning's short passing game and audibles to many third-down runs. The Broncos had just 102 yards in the first half -- then more than double that, 230, in the second half while tying the game at 20 late. Only Russell Wilson taking the game into his own hands and feet on the first drive of overtime to the winning touchdown kept the Seahawks from possibly losing that one to Manning in the extra period. Seattle won 26-20.
Wilson did the same thing in the next game, the 27-17 win at Washington, rushing for team and Monday-night records for a quarterback of 122 yards. But the majority of that running came on mad-dash scrambles away from a constant pass rush. And since that game, Wilson hasn't run with nearly the same frequency; he ran twice against Dallas, seven times at St. Louis (most late to rally Seattle within two points) and six times at Carolina.
Then came the most-recent victory over the winless Raiders that coach Pete Carroll admitted yesterday was mainly an exercise in survival with so many key players out -- four starters on defense, two on offense and then left guard James Carpenter spraining his ankle in the third quarter.
My point is, we have only seen once what this team may be fully capable of. And that was eight weeks ago against the Packers.
This fact -- plus the one that perhaps four and as many as eight injured players may be returning from injury this week -- are why Carroll seemed buoyant yesterday.
--This morning's News Tribune has my story detailing that good injury news, for a change.
--TNT columnist Dave Boling puts it well in today's paper: "No wonder this team isn’t playing like the Super Bowl champs. It’s a different group of guys."
--I found this story very interesting -- and a good reveal about media life inside an NFL locker room.
The headline sure looks familiar, eh?
Aside from the she-said, he-said of how accurate this report was or wasn't on Griffin, this scene Friday in Washington's locker room isn't all that rare in the league -- players joshing and yelling and teasing during interviews of prominent teammates. But the reported, all-out disdain and disrespect for a team's PR staff by its own players certainly is rare.
The Seahawks' PR staff avoids having a swarm of reporters around its quarterback, Russell Wilson, by having the only weekly media access to Wilson (outside of a postgame press conference on game days) be from behind a podium in the main auditorium each Thursday. It's not ideal for a print reporter trying to get more personal details and questioning, but it leaves the TV cameras, radio microphones and hoard of reporters out of the locker room, away from teammates who must appreciate a relatively quiet existence before practices. During the week, cameras are not allowed inside the locker room at team headquarters in Renton. The TV access to player interviews between games comes from Wilson, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas talking in the main auditorium in a press-conference setting. Not sure why that didn't happen here for RGIII's first week back as a starter for Washington, and perhaps that's not the point.
The other condition that is different in Seattle than described above in Washington: the Seahawks only allow media access to players before practices on Wednesday and Thursday (and, before home games only, after practices on Fridays). I can see how Redskins players would not appreciate media access in their locker room before and after their practices.
Anyway, though I'd share another glimpse of "how the sausage is made" while reporting and writing in the NFL.