Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is all about fraternity and brotherhood among his current and former players and coaches. But he’s more about competing. Beware, Mark Sanchez.
“I think the world of him and I’m really excited for his opportunities,” Carroll said Friday of the Eagles’ starting quarterback and his former QB at USC, who is waiting in Philadelphia for Sunday’s game. “We like to bang around a little bit if we get a chance. There’s nothing I like more than playing against people that I really care for.
“I look forward to this.”
Carroll didn’t define what banging around meant, but one guess is that he plans to leave a mark, being it physical or psychological. It is not hard for a man with an agile mind to hold contradictory thoughts simultaneously.
“I hope to see him and (Matt Barkley, the Eagles’ third string QB and a USC grad Carroll recruited); there’s a good history with us,” he said. “We’ve had a great time together and we will always share our experiences. That will always keep us connected. So it’s really fun to see those guys.”
Beyond the bonhomie, Carroll hopes to see some results Sunday from a renewed emphasis on his offense’s red-zone execution, which for the last several weeks has been meager. The Seahawks have been left with eight field goals in the last two games.
“If it was that easy, we would have fixed it,” he said. “There are always challenges down there. We have to stay out of our own way and not make the mistakes that put us behind the sticks. We have to do better there.
“Sometimes it’s just a couple inches there,” We’ve had really good spurts in the past. We want to get back on track here for this fourth quarter.”
The extra time off following the Seahawks’ 19-3 win in San Francisco Thansgiving night has been put to good use.
“We had a good break so we were able to push,” he said. “We got an extra day in on Tuesday. That helps you in preparation — getting a jump start on the week. So we were able to move through the week really swiftly. It just worked out well. The guys were well versed in what we were asking them to do. You could tell by the execution.”
The Seahawks left Friday, a day earlier than is usual for East Coast trips. “We’re taking off a day early to get there and get this right,” Carroll said. “We feel comfortable with that format. We have been through it a lot and feel like we can find success there. Everything seems good.” . . . .There were no surprises on the injury report. C Max Unger (ankle) could be back next week, but not Sunday, his third miss in a row. TE Cooper Helfet (ankle) is a game-time decision, as is CB Jeremy Lane (glute), who was listed as questionable . . . The Seahawks have yet to fill a roster opening, which, Carroll said, smiling, would remain a mystery until Saturday. Typically, that would mean advancing someone from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, but is unlikely to play.