In his post game press conference, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll assured the media that all is well in the team's locker room. He went on to say that he cautioned the team heading into this season that there would be distractions of this kind and that they were prepared to handle them going forward.
Hopefully this tough road victory will squash the majority of these stories so the team can continue to work on the actual issues they continue to struggle with on the field.
The Seahawks went into Carolina for the 3rd consecutive year to face a talented-but-struggling young team. Just like the previous two match ups-- Seattle squeaked out a victory.
The Seahawks continue to struggle with capitalizing on turnover opportunities. Tharold Simon dropped an easy interception and the first punt of the game was muffed, but recovered by the Panthers.
Kelvin Benjamin, who Seattle could've drafted had they not acquired Percy Harvin, had an
outstanding game against Seattle's defense. Richard Sherman did an excellent job covering him, but Benjamin made a few plays in spite of the great coverage. You could tell there was a mutual respect between the two given the lack of any obvious trash talking.
The key difference in this game was Seattle's pass rush coming to life. Seattle was much more aggressive in this game than they had been. Bruce Irvin came up with 2 of Seattle's 3 sacks on crucial drives while Brandon Mebane added another. Marcus Burley had a key interception as well.
Carolina has a great run defense-- which may have skewed the numbers Seattle's rushing attack was able to put up yesterday. The Seahawks offense was able to generate enough of a run game to open up the pass. Unlike almost every other game this season, Seattle took some shots down field which kept Carolina on its toes.
It was nice to see our backup tight ends step up in Zach Miller's absence and to see our two rookie receivers get involved in the pass game. Both Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet should've had touchdown receptions yesterday, but the pass to Helfet was admittedly poorly thrown by Wilson and missed its mark. Willson had a go ahead TD in the 4th quarter of the game.
Seattle stands to make up ground within the division as Arizona travels to Dallas and the 49ers face off against the Rams. The Seahawks will need to continue to build upon the improvements we saw yesterday when they face off against Oakland this Sunday in Seattle. This should be a statement game for the Seahawks where they hang 40+ points on the lowly Raiders to remind the world of their championship status.
We're also coming up on the trade deadline and their are rumors of Seattle attempting to obtain a veteran wide receiver-- specifically Andre Johnson of the Texans or Vincent Jackson of the Buccaneers. Personally, I don't think that the Wide Receiver group is where we need to be concerned. Seattle needs to be most concerned with defensive depth-- specifically linebacker and defensive backs -- along with offensive line depth and maybe another pass rusher to stir up some competition.
I suppose of the two, I'd be most satisfied with seeing Johnson join the Seahawks. He's been one of the most solid, productive receivers of the last decade. Jackson has been great-- when he's healthy, which seems rare.
I'm sincerely worried about the defensive depth down the stretch of the season. Is Brandon Browner being used in New England? I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him back given our DB woes. Perhaps we could add a versatile veteran linebacker to patch up things while Wagner rehabs? We're a KJ Wright injury away from being in deep trouble.
I'm curious as to the feeling internally about the offensive line depth going forward. Our starters haven't played well for much of this season and they're struggling to stay healthy as it is. Do we have the depth to make a big playoff run as we are or do we need help?