The Seattle Seahawks defense has stepped up in a major way, and Pete Carroll revealed that the success is tied to a player-led “accountability meeting.” Carroll admitted he saw a significant change in the defensive play after the meeting took place on the eve of their win over the Cardinals in Week 11. The Seahawks coach detailed the accountability meeting and what the players said which led to the best defensive performance of the season.
“I’m going to tell you, it was Wednesday night, Kenny [Ken Norton Jr.] had a meeting with the guys, and he had the players all go through their own position and what they had to do in some of our base calls,” Carroll detailed on ESPN 710 Seattle. “It was one of the most remarkable defensive meetings that I’ve ever been in, that every single guy just rift on what he’s supposed to do, who he’s supposed to communicate with, how it’s supposed to work out, what you can count on coming from me and then the next guy and then the next guy. One after another after another, it was like one of the great meetings of accountability. It just took us to the next step.”
The proof with these sort of meetings is always in the play, and the Seahawks held an explosive Cardinals offense to 21 points. The Cardinals only accrued 257 passing yards and 57 rushing yards. Star receiver DeAndre Hopkins was also held in check with five receptions for 51 yards. It was a sack by Carlos Dunlap on fourth down that sealed the victory for the Seahawks, a big testament for a unit that struggled to get to the quarterback during the first half of the season.
Carroll on Defensive Accountability Meeting: ‘This Just Was the Best I’ve Ever Seen’
Carroll discussed the meeting again in his final Week 11 press conference. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. organized the gathering, but it appears the players did most of the talking. The Seahawks coach noted that all the defensive players were involved, not just the starters. Players went around individually to explain what they needed to do for the defense to play at a high level.
“There’s a lot of interaction, this isn’t the first time the guys talked or anything, but this just was the best I’ve ever seen,” Carroll explained, per Seahawks.com. “I’ve never seen a better meeting for guys holding themselves accountable, and really illustrating the command of what we’re doing.”
Carroll Believes the Defense Has Turned the Corner
Carroll believes the defense has finally turned the corner after being one of the worst units in the NFL this season. The Seahawks are allowing the most yards in the NFL at more than 434 per game and giving up 28.7 points in each contest which is the fifth-most in the NFL. Carroll cited the meeting as potentially the tipping point for sustained defensive success to close out the season.
“It was just clear,” Carroll added. “I was glad that I was there to hear it to capture it, to make sure that they realized what had just happened. Because it was a big statement about everybody [knowing] exactly what they need to do, and also that they’re willing to go do it and how they’re going to do it. All of that is such important stuff.”
It is not just the meeting that helped, but the Seahawks defense is getting healthy at the right time. The secondary has improved with the return of Jamal Adams and D.J. Reed. The unit will get another boost as top cornerback Shaquill Griffin is expected to return against the Eagles in Week 12. The pass rush has improved greatly with the addition of Dunlap, and Carroll is hoping the defense is just getting started.