As Seahawks coach Pete Carroll met the media after practice today, he didn’t take long to make it clear that the team’s penalty issues of the first three exhibition games remain heavy on his mind.
Seattle has been assessed 34 penalties in the exhibition season, including 14 for 182 yards Friday night at Green Bay.
Asked a general question today about his thoughts on the Green Bay win, Carroll said:
“I thought that we played really hard. I’m really happy with the intensity, and our physical play. We got after it really well against a really good team again that we really respected, but it was all kind of covered up by the penalties that we had. So it’s still a problem. We’re trying too hard and we’re getting in too late trying to throw guys into the ground when we finish blocks. We’re over trying. I love the attitude about it in a sense, but we have to get smarter and we can’t do anything but continue to emphasize the heck out of it. After a while if guys keep making mistakes then you have to put other guys in the game.”
That last sentence is especially interesting with Carroll obviously making the threat of benching players who can’t solve their penalty issues.
Later in the interview, Carroll was asked if he’d start making cutting down penalties more of an emphasis. He responded with a little of a wry smile and said:
“We’ve made a tremendous emphasis for the last four months. So I’m not real pleased with the results of that. I know a good deal of it is my fault because of the way of that I am calling on them on how hard to play. I want them to emphasize finishing and being physical, and attitude and all of that. And, I need to make some good decisions myself in directing this. So no, I’m not pleased right now. We’ve gone too long in not getting the message and we are hoping that this week, we see a turn. You know last year, if you remember, we got off to a terrible start and we would like to think it was the officiating in the first three games. But, it was us I think. We turned it around somewhat. Even last year, it was not enough. We got better but not enough. I think it’s really a sign of our youth on the football team and everyone trying so darn hard to make the right play and the right impression. As a head coach, chasing them around, go crazy, frothing at the mouth as we chase the football and block down field and everything else. The whole group, including myself, needs to get our act together.”
And while some have argued that the stats show that getting a lot of penalties doesn’t necessarily hinder winning, Carroll said he doesn’t care, saying there is no fine line between emphasizing cutting down penalties versus potentially hindering the style in which the team plays.
“Yeah the fine line is we don’t want to give our opponents anything. That’s really the line. It’s hard enough to win when you make good plays on offense and defense. But we had 182 yards of going the wrong. It’s hard to overcome that and we did. We did. We out-gamed them even though that’s just not the way that we want to play. We are trying to control the variables of the game as much as possible and that’s a big one and that’s totally on us. That’s nothing outside, it’s nobody else’s issue, it’s us. So we need to get right, we need to grow up, and we need to fix this problem.”
So yes, Carroll would like to stop the flying of flags as much as every other 12th man.