RENTON, Wash. -- Don’t try to tell Seattle coach Pete Carroll that the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a bad football team.
"The record has nothing to do with it,” Carroll said. "They present enough problems, and we present enough problems for ourselves.”
Carroll was referring to the game Monday at St. Louis, a 14-9 Seattle victory on a night when the Seahawks couldn’t run the ball (only 44 yards rushing) and couldn’t stop the Rams from running it, giving up 200 yards on the ground.
A similar performance won’t work again, even against the 0-7 Bucs. Maybe Tampa Bay isn’t as bad as it seems. The Bucs lost three games by three points or less – one point to the Jets, two points to the Saints and three points to the Cardinals.
"We’re looking at the film [of Tampa Bay games] and we see they cause problems,” Carroll said. "And [defensive tackle] Gerald McCoy is as good a football player at his position as there is in the league. There is a lot of stuff that happens around him, with his activity, that causes an offense problems in the run and pass.
“They’re a good run defense. They led the league in rushing defense a year ago, and they’re up there in top six or something [seventh, actually] again. And we want to run the football. So it’s us going against something that they do really well, and we need to improve off last week.”
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch was frustrated Monday night at getting only eight carries, but the Seahawks had only 40 offensive plays.
"We have to get cranked up and get it going,” Carroll said.
Lynch will get his carries Sunday, but the Seahawks need to make other adjustments to counter their struggling offensive line that gave up seven sacks at St. Louis.
And they’ll have to do it without wide receiver Sidney Rice, who’s out for the season with a torn ACL. Rice wasn’t having a great season, but he was Seattle’s only tall (6-4) target at the receiver spot.
Jermaine Kearse (6-1) will replace him. Ricardo Lockette (6-2) was activated this week off the practice squad, but probably won’t play much. This is Kearse’s chance to shine, and he’s looked good in limited play.
Knowing Seattle has problems up front with two backup tackles, defenses have loaded the box and blitzed consistently. The Seahawks should try to do things to counter the blitz, like screen passes to the running backs. Seattle attempted only two screens against St. Louis.
Other plays that could help are bubble screens to the receivers or quick slants to the tight ends. The Seahawks also need to get slot receiver Doug Baldwin more involved in the offense. Baldwin had only one catch in each of the past two games.