RENTON, Wash. – They’re 2-0 coming off an impressive performance the entire nation got to see and Pete Carroll is still not satisfied.
The Seattle Seahawks’ offensive execution has left plenty to be desired even if they’re universally considered the best team in the NFC early in the season.
“I’m not real happy with anything just as far as the overall offense right now,” Carroll said. “We’re just not as clean.”
Penalties and a sluggish run game hampered the Seahawks in the opener against Carolina. In Week 2 against the 49ers, it was again problems with penalties, but this time it was the Seahawks pass game that was deemed lacking.
It’s created a choppy offense to start the year that has yet to look anything like the unit that set dizzying scoring records late last season. Starting slow on offense is usually the norm early in the season. But this team expects to be further along by now.
“We have put ourselves behind the sticks so much that we have not been able to get the kind of rhythm that hopefully we’ll get,” Carroll said. “I think somewhere near the middle of the season last year we stayed on schedule so much more so and we’re not there right now so it’s hard to tell.”
Making those fixes could become more difficult if starting left tackle Russell Okung is out for a significant period. Okung was getting a second opinion on his injured toe Wednesday and Carroll has ruled him out for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville.
Paul McQuistan will slide from left guard to left tackle against the Jaguars with James Carpenter starting at guard. McQuistan took over after Okung was hurt on the final play of the first quarter against the 49ers, but Sunday will be his first start at the position since late in the 2011 season when he started four games there after Okung tore a pectoral muscle.
“If you get reps you’re more comfortable at what you do,” McQuistan said.
While offensive numbers have been lopsided one way or the other in each of the first two weeks, the one common thread is Seattle’s issue with offensive penalties coming at inopportune times. The Seahawks were flagged 10 times against the 49ers on Sunday and nine of the 10 came on the offensive side of the ball. There were holding calls, false starts, illegal formations and even an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Sidney Rice for spinning the football following a reception just before halftime.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell believes the overall execution – the actual running of the plays – has been acceptable, but the penalties need to stop.
“We’ve had things that hurt us from getting into a flow. … I think we’re doing a good job on some things, but the penalties are something we really have to continue to work on, focus on,” Bevell said.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who was flagged for a false start against the 49ers, said all of Seattle’s issues are problems that can be easily corrected.
“We’ve got to focus in more,” he said. “A lot of guys right now are thinking too much and that doesn’t allow them to play free, so at the snap of the ball they’re jumping offside or holding guys. Just stupid mess-ups we need to take out of our offense.”
Another potential concern is the early struggles by quarterback Russell Wilson. He started 1 of 5 against Carolina before connecting on nearly every pass the rest of the way, completing 24 of his final 27 throws on his way to the first 300-yard passing game in the regular season of his career.
It was a far greater struggle against the 49ers when Wilson was just 2 of 10 at halftime for 48 yards. The counterbalance was Seattle’s ability to run on the 49ers defense, finishing with 172 total yards rushing, including 98 from Marshawn Lynch.
“We’re just trying to get things right,” Carroll said. “I’m going to hold until we see a couple of more games and see where we are going before we make a big evaluation.”
Carroll would not say where Okung was receiving his second opinion. He did note it was in the U.S., a nod to WR Sidney Rice going to Switzerland for a procedure on his knee during training camp. … Starting LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) and G J.R. Sweezy (back) sat out practice Wednesday. CB Brandon Browner (hamstring) and RT Breno Giacomini (knee) were both limited. DE Chris Clemons (knee) was a full participant.
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