As part of Seahawks’ fines totaling $52,519 handed down by the NFL Friday, coach Pete Carroll is out $10,000 for walking to the middle of the field in the final minute of Sunday’s game in Jacksonville. The stroll and the punishment were unique in his long coaching career.
“That’s my first,” he said, offering a small smile. He’s gone out for player injuries, but not to tell his team to calm the hell down.
“That was part of the knowing on the way out there,” Carroll said after practice Friday of the inevitability of the fine. “Just something that needed to be done at the time. Really, when you think about it, in the big picture, the money goes to a good cause (NFL charities).
“This time of year, giving is everything.”
Regarding penalties, no NFL team has been more generous this season than the Seahawks, who have healthy leads in flags (120) and yards lost (1,040). The NFL single-season record is 138, set in 2011. With three games left, the Seahawks still have a shot at the record, but they’ve come off their frenzied pace of criminality.
“In general, we have quieted down the penalty thing,” he said. “If you guys take a look at it, the last few weeks, we are up there now. We are in the top 10 (fewest). We are doing good. I’m fired up about that.”
Besides Carroll, RT Germain Ifedi was hit up for $24,309 for verbal abuse of an official after Ifedi was called for holding in the first quarter. DLs Quinton Jefferson and Sheldon Richardson were each fined $9,115 for unnecessary roughness in the final-minute fracas between the teams that moved Carroll to take the field and help shut it down. Both players were ejected, and Jefferson escaped any fine for his unsuccessful attempt to climb into the grandstand to pursue fans.
Fine amounts are determined by terms in the collective bargaining agreement with the players union.
Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was fined $14,154 for shoving Seahawks DE Michael Bennett, who surprisingly escaped any punishment. He was seen as a primary culprit for appearing to go for the legs of Jacksonville’s center during victory formation. Apparently, the NFL bought the Seahawks’ explanation that Bennett was swiping at the snap to cause a fumble.
“He did what I said he’d done,” Carroll said. “That’s what happened there, and they got tangled up a little bit.”
Earlier in the week, Jaguars’ security officials and local police identified four fans who threw objects at Seahawks players in the final minutes and banned them indefinitely.
The game also featured three other penalties on Ifedi, who has 17 and a healthy six-flag lead as the NFL’s most foul-prone player. He’s the only player to crack the century mark in yards (105).
Wednesday, assistant coach Tom Cable was fairly blunt about the source of the problem, particularly after Ifedi cussed out an official.
“I think it’s about maturity, I really do,” he said. “We’ve talked about it. We addressed it again today. Really, this is about protecting your team. That’s in all phases; you have to have a conscience about doing the right thing. That’s really where it ends.”
Cable acknowledged that foul-prone players draw attention of officials as well as opponents.
“I think it’s about staying in your lane and doing your job, and don’t get whacked-out,” he said. “If you have a reputation for being a guy who has an easy button to push, this is the NFL and these are grown men. They’ll see it and push those buttons.
“For him, it’s about growing through that and just dusting it off and going onto the next play.”
LBs Wagner, Wright still haven’t practiced
The two biggest current health problems, Bobby Wagner’s hamstring and K.J. Wright’s concussion, didn’t resolve during the week and will go until game time (1:05 p.m., FOX) against the Rams before a decision is made.
Wright remains in the concussion protocol where “it’s up to the docs and we don’t have any say in it at all,” Carroll said. Wagner “did some good stuff today,” he said, but was listed as questionable on the injury report.
If one or both can’t go, Michael Wilhoite, who has started eight games as the strongside linebacker, will shift into Wagner’s spot in the middle. Terence Garvin would replace Wright on the weak side.
Carroll wouldn’t concede much drop-off.
“Those guys have been right at the edge of it the whole time,” he said. “This is not a big step for them to take. Bobby hasn’t practiced in almost a month. They’ve been getting work throughout.
We’re counting on those guys. They know what’s going on.”
Wilhoite is 30 and a six-year veteran, picked up from San Francisco in free agency to handle just such a situation, as was Garvin, 26 and a five-year vet added in free agency from Washington.
“It’s a great bonus to have guys with flexibility and leadership too,” Carroll said. “(Wilhoite) is a leader. He can take command in the huddle if he has to. It’s not a stretch at all for him to be playing a lot of football there.”
On the always mysterious position of running back, Mike Davis appeared over his sore ribs.
“He’s done well all week,” Carroll said. “He’s made it through the week, and he’s in good shape. He’s ready to go.”