SEATTLE — As the Seahawks prepare to take on the Carolina Panthers Sunday at Lumen Field, they're working through injuries to some key players. The hardest hit group has been the running backs.
On this week's edition of KING 5's weekly show, Seahawks Central, head coach Pete Carroll said the impact of injuries rarely changes the team's game plan for the next opponent.
"It has to be pretty drastic. At this time of the year, we've committed so much to what we're doing that it would be hard to change a lot," said Carroll. "For the most part, we stick to our stuff and then we adapt. It's a big challenge in the game and it's really hard to ignore it when it's happening in big numbers."
Carroll's mantra is, "Always compete." He knows all you can do when a team gets hit by injuries, is adjust.
"Sometimes we talk about it being country coaching. You do what you have to do, but that happens. We made some big adjustments in the game last week and our guys took to it really well. We do expect our guys to be open minded under the stress of the attack of the game. They can't question it and wonder about this and that. They have to go with what their directions are. Our guys are great about that so we can make the adjustments that are necessary," he said.
Quarterback Geno Smith, who's been working through shoulder soreness this week, hopes to continue his phenomenal season. He has a completion percentage of over 60 percent and a passer rating of over 80 percent through the first 12 games of the season. That accomplishment ties Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers for the all-time NFL record to start a season. Smith can break that record by matching those same numbers Sunday against the Panthers.
His willingness to stay in the pocket under pressure has contributed to his success.
"He has great poise and he's got good protection, too. He's working with his guys really well," said Carroll. "Also, what we've seen from Geno, we've seen him take off at the right times. He's made first downs, he's made touchdowns. He's been really efficient as far as when he does have to move. He trusts the system and the concepts and that's why he stays with it until that last second. He's got such an array of throws and he does surprise us. Our expectations are so high for him and he's been coming through in great fashion."
Smith has two star receivers to work with in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, who combined for 255 yards receiving in last week's win over the Rams.
For the second straight year, Lockett is the Seahawks' nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man Of The Year award. Carroll says he takes a certain level of pride when he sees his players have a strong impact on the community.
"Everybody loves the guy and he's such a good kid. He's always been open to help people and he's a very creative person," said Carroll. "He's helping people everywhere. Here in the area and back home. He has started a career in the real estate business and we're all excited to watch him grow. He's just a wonderful spirit and everybody loves the heck out of him."