Latest Seahawks bye since 2013 is at what some beaten-up players say is a ‘perfect time’
DK Metcalf knew exactly what he was going to do now that the Seahawks’ and NFL’s first game is Germany was over.
“I am going to sleep,” the Seahawks’ wide receiver said on his way out of Germany Sunday night.
That’s the first priority for first-place Seattle (6-4) on this bye week. Rest is why the league grants a week off for teams immediately after they play an international game. That’s what the Seahawks are doing all this week. They have no practices upon their 12 1/2-flight back into early Monday from Munich and their 21-16 loss to Tampa Bay.
From Wednesday through Sunday, they are off, free to travel, go back to their colleges to watch their games, heal from 10 straight weeks of human car crashes that are NFL games — or sleep.
The Seahawks don’t play again until they host Las Vegas (2-7) at Lumen Field Nov. 27 to end Thanksgiving weekend.
This is Seattle’s latest bye in a season since 2013, when they didn’t play on Nov. 24. That loaded team, like this year’s Seahawks, was also in first place at the late bye. Those Seahawks finished that regular season 3-2, then swept through their three postseason games including crushing Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
Inside linebacker Jordyn Brooks left Sunday’s Munich game in the fourth quarter with dehydration and cramps in both legs then returned. He says these Seahawks appreciate this post-Germany break.
“Oh, absolutely. Guys bodies are pretty banged up right now,” Brooks said at his locker at Allianz Arena. “The bye couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Just would have felt a little bit better with a win going into the bye.”
Rookies in unchartered time
Coach Pete Carroll reminds rookies this time each season how they must be mindful of rest, recuperation and proper nutrition and hydration. Including during the bye week.
This season, those rookies have been playing more than in most years Carroll has coached Seattle. Third-round draft choice Abe Lucas from Washington State and Everett has played every one of the offense’s 625 snaps this season as the starting right tackle. First-round pick Charles Cross has played all but two snaps this season as the left tackle. Second-round choice Ken Walker is the lead running back. Fifth-round pick Tariq Woolen is the starting right cornerback. Coby Bryant, Seattle’s fourth-round selection this spring, is the primary nickel defensive back. He’s playing the majority of defensive snaps, including 65% against Tampa Bay Sunday.
“This isn’t a place that beats you down. We aren’t beating these guys down mentally,” Carroll said Tuesday. “We aren’t throwing them into the dirt, and made it really hard on them, (on) the mental side of it. They are upbeat, and positive, which I think helps you handle the challenges of the stress of that. So I think we are going to be fine.
“But I’m real concerned about the individual guys. And our coaches are watching and communicating and looking for the messages and signals that these guys could give us that they have been up against it, and they are overloaded.”
Carroll says he hasn’t seen any individual rookies who seem overloaded. But the Seahawks have played 13 games, including their three in the preseason of August. That’s the most Seattle’s rookies have played since perhaps high school, or ever. By the time they get to the end of the 17-game regular season, it will be the most games the rookies have played in any football season of their lives.
Cross is loving the break he just started.
“I feel like this is the perfect time for a bye week,” Cross said, wearing an FC Bayern Munich jersey on his way out of Germany Sunday night. “This is our 10th game, so it’s a good chance for me just to reset, mentally and physically.”
When they return to practice next week, the Seahawks could be in second place in the NFC West. If San Francisco (5-4) wins at Arizona (4-6) next Monday night the 49ers will lead the division by virtue of beating Seattle in week two.
NFC West watch (on-a-train-into-Czech-Republic version):
Seahawks (6-4) lost to TB 21-16. Next: Bye
49ers (5-4) beat LAC 22-16. Next: at AZ (4-6)
Cardinals (4-6) beat LAR 27-17. Next: vs SF (5-4)
Rams (3-6) lost to AZ 27-17. Next: at NO (3-7)@thenewstribune
— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) November 14, 2022
The Seahawks weren’t thinking about that leaving Munich.
Their goals are to rest and “over these final seven games, build on what we’ve already established,” Metcalf said.
“I know this bye is going to be a good rest for everyone that is beaten up or hurting,” Metcalf said. “This a good way to reset, come back and just, with seven games left, attack everything.”
Metcalf’s “everyone that is beaten up” includes:
Fellow wide receiver Tyler Lockett said in Munich he’s felt “under the weather” for weeks. He and Metcalf have played through multiple injuries the last month.
Veteran right guard Gabe Jackson has missed many mid-week practices and two games last month with a knee issue.
Tight end Noah Fant has been playing through a banged-up knee.
Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin returned Sunday from missing a game with a groin injury. He caught a touchdown pass from Geno Smith in the fourth quarter, when Seattle rallied from down 21-3.
Safety Ryan Neal has had a bad ankle.
Pass rusher Darrell Taylor missed two games until last weekend with a sore groin.
Veteran defensive tackle Shelby Harris has played on after an elbow issue lately.
Now they all get the week to recharge. It’s the benefit of flying 12 hours one way to Germany to play a game.
This was Seattle’s second game in Europe in four seasons. The last was a blowout win over the Raiders in London in October 2018. Carroll said following Sunday’s game he wants to come back to Germany to play, as soon as the league lets the Seahawks do it again.
Carroll likes these trips for the bonding between players during five days of long travel and team events. The coach thinks those benefits of the loss to the Bucs in Germany will pay off the final seven games of the regular season.
“Oh, yeah, there’s no question about it. Whenever we get a chance to travel together, there just is opportunities,” Carroll said. “Everybody’s hanging. That’s why I’m in favor of these kinds of things. That’s why, when we travel across the country, because we’re all the way on the west side of the country, we always go for two-day trips, and it gives us a chance to take more out of the experience.
“I think, as the season wears on, we become closer, and it’s just a natural fact that it happens.
“So this is why I’m not opposed to doing what we’re doing. You can’t travel any farther. We’re as far away as you can get, but our guys attitude-wise made the most out of it, and we’ll continue to have a good outlook on it to get everything we can out of it.”