Pete Carroll talks Jimmy Graham, coaching strategy, and the rest of the season

SEATTLE - The Seattle Seahawks' bye week sure seemed early when the NFL first released it's schedule, but all the sudden, it's looking like a gift from above.

During his weekly exclusive interview with Q13 FOX's Aaron Levine, coach Pete Carroll talked about the fortuitous bye week, his strategy for dealing with players who are in a funk, and Jimmy Graham's invitation to fly in a plane piloted by Graham.

The Seahawks will be back in action Oct. 16 against the Atlanta Falcons. Even with the bye week this Sunday, we'll be airing Seahawks Gameday at 4 p.m. after the Broncos-Falcons game on the home of the 12s, Q13 FOX.

Coach, you don’t win or lose a game in the first quarter, just like you don’t win or lose a season in the first quarter. How would you evaluate the season so far?

I think we’re off to a pretty good start. We missed the opportunity to be off to a perfect start – we missed the opportunity we had down in L.A., so I regret that one.  I think a lot of things have happened for us in a positive direction. We’ve withstood some real challenges to Russell’s health and we’ve seen some things emerge that we’re excited about. So a lot of good things have happened. I’m really excited with the way the defense is playing with such great consistency. We’re going to get some guys back, too, after this first quarter that will give us a little boost and make us a little more competitive, I hope.

What’s the biggest area of improvement, going forward?

It will be consistency in taking care of the football and getting the football. We’ve got to get that going. We saw the benefits last week, and we need to make that a more consistent part of our game. Taking care of it is always at the forefront of everything we’re doing. I’d like to see us bring the running game to life a little bit more, a little more consistently. I think we can do better there. And then continuing to grow with the new guys we add in.

Give me a couple players who have really stood out to you in the first quarter of the season.

I think Jimmy is the one that really jumps out. He’s had a great start. We’ve used him pretty well, and we’ve seen him emerge as a fantastic weapon. And he’s fun to watch, he’s gonna make something special happen, he’s done that very well. And I think just getting our toes in the water with Germain Ifedi. We really are excited about this guy, he showed well in his first game.

You mentioned Jimmy – if he was flying a plane, would you hop in the plane?

Heck yeah, he can fly me anywhere! I trust him.

Have you been invited yet?

Matter of fact, we kind of talked about that, yeah. I’m hoping that will happen soon.

Looking back at last week, how much fun was it watching that battle between Brandon Marshall and Richard Sherman?

Well that’s really close to my heart – that’s a bump-and-run battle. I love that whole matchup, and I love the challenge that occurred for both players. But what I love most about it is that when it started out the game, when it looked like Marshall had a little bit of an edge, Sherm hung right in there technique-wise and kept jamming him and staying after him, and stayed right on that line of scrimmage and battled him. And by the time the game was over, he won that battle and he won it in a big way. It was just grit, and determination, and great play. There were so many intricacies on each play that happened that were fun to talk about. I was really proud of Sherm. He did a great job.

Will you be seeing the same thing against Julio Jones next week?

It could be – you never know. (DeShawn) Shead looked pretty good on the other side, too.

Did you enjoy your week off? Were you able to get away from the facility at all?

Yeah, it’s a great week, and it comes at a time when we’re really thinking to the future. Everybody’s excited about it. We enjoyed it, and we know guys got healthier. So we come back to work and we’re really excited that we get to play Atlanta, a really cool team – Dan Quinn’s bringing his boys in here. And it’s at home, at C-Link. So just a lot of really positive things and I’m glad we had a great week.

Some would say the bye week comes early, but it really did come at a good time as far as getting some of the guys healthy.

Yeah, no question. This is great for the quarterback, if nobody else. He needs this week, and I think we’ll see Russell at full-tilt here by the end of this next week. So, we’re going to make it at a good time for us.

You have a bonus Monday practice in a couple days. Do you do anything specifically to get the guys back into football shape, or is that just unnecessary?

Well that’s a good question. They had to maintain their workouts during the week when they were off, and they did a really good job with that, and everybody should be ready to go for the week. The only thing they didn’t have to do was play the game. The benefit is they don’t have the rigors of the game. But they worked hard, and so we just go back to work. We have to get back to some of the little things: cadence and getting off the line of scrimmage and things like that. You could stand to lose a little bit there, and we don’t want to do that.

Our Twitter question this week: Coach, if someone is having an off-week or a slump, what do you tell them to help them get out of it?

It depends on what’s going on. But for the most part, people get down on themselves. They get down when things aren’t going the way they want, and sometimes they start to question and doubt. And so if there’s one thing, it’s reminding people who they are and what they’re all about, and get them back on course and get them in connection with the person they know themselves to be. When you do that, things seem to work their way out. Quite often we’re off because we’re just not in connection with our own self.