RENTON, Wash. – Cheer up Pete. Things aren’t all bad.
That’s my message to Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll after seeing him a little outside himself on Monday.
One thing was noticeably different about Carroll in his weekly meeting with the media the day after a game. Carroll was down. Even worse, the man seemed a little sad and depressed.
A few times, he was a bit curt, answering questions with short responses indicating he didn’t want to answer them at all.
For many coaches, this is a typical press conference the day after a loss, but not Carroll. You couldn’t find anyone on the planet who sees the world in a more positive light than Pete.
The man could be trudging half way up Mount Rainier through a roaring blizzard wearing only swimming trunks and he would look back at his fellow climbers and say: “We’ve got this boys. No problem. Just a few more steps to the top. This is fun.”
That’s Pete Carroll. His picture should be in the dictionary under Optimist. He’s the Pollyanna of Puget Sound.
Not Monday. Carroll couldn’t hide his feelings. He knew his team lost a game it had no business losing in the 17-14 defeat to the Washington Redskins, a team playing on the road without five starters on offense.
Carroll knew 16 penalties for 138 yards meant the Seahawks beat themselves and Carroll felt responsible for it. And three missed field goals by Blair Walsh leaves questions about the kicking game moving forward.
So Carroll had no intention of showing a cheery disposition. His players blew it and he didn’t see the many positives.
“Really disappointing game in a number of ways,’’ Carroll said. “We didn’t perform like we are capable. We gave it away. We’ve got some real serious stuff we have to get better at.”
The Seahawks (5-3) need to get better quickly because they play Thursday night at Arizona against the 4-4 Cardinals. It’s a chance at a quick fix. A victory at University of Phoenix Stadium and Carroll’s normally upbeat nature likely will return.
Despite the ugly loss Sunday, there is a bright side. Here are a few reasons why:
Dwight Freeney and Duane Brown -- Two veteran acquisitions in the last two weeks have been off-the-charts good. These old pros still can get it done. Who needs training camp and practice?
Freeney looks 27 instead of 37. He has three sacks in his first two games for the Seahawks and has been a disruptive force up front.
Brown’s play at left tackle Sunday was a dramatic improvement over anyone the Seahawks have played in that spot the last two years.
It was his first game for the Seahawks and only his second game of the season after sitting out on a contract holdout with the Texans. The 32-year-old former Pro Bowler was solid in pass blocking, had a forward push for the running game and appeared to help make rookie left guard Ethan Pocic better.
“He played really well, very consistent,’’ Carroll said of Brown. “Really solid in the running and the passing game. He did just what we had hoped he would do. He did a very good job. He and Ethan played well together too. They did a nice job there.”
Total yards: The offense has produced more than 400 yards in each of the last three games. The season average of 378.6 ranks fifth in the NFL. Even so, the Seahawks still have issues on offense. Slow starts (no first-quarter touchdowns in seven of eight games) puts the team in bind.
The running game still needs improvement (Eddie Lacy could miss Thursday’s game with a hamstring injury), and red-zone production remains an issue. But logic tells you a team churning out over 400 yards a game over the last three weeks is bound to fix some of these problems.
Walsh will bounce back: This is the most controversial bright-side point, but hear me out. His three misses Sunday (all three hooked to the left) has made Walsh the scourge of Seahawks fans for the moment. Everyone remembers his miss for the Vikings on a 27-yard kick that enabled the Seahawks to escape with a 10-9 playoff victory two seasons ago.
Fears are justified, but Walsh was 12 of 13 this season before Sunday’s game. He has made 84 percent of his NFL field-goal attempts through six seasons, including 87 percent inside of 50 yards.
So look at the bright side Pete. Show everyone your usual peppy Pollyanna self. The Seahawks are a couple of made field goals and a few less penalties from being the team you want them to be.