RENTON, Wash. — In the future, Seattle coach Pete Carroll would prefer if Richard Sherman handled his frustrations in a way that did not result in an emotional eruption on the sideline in the middle of a game.
Carroll spent most of his Monday availability talking about emotions, philosophy and what exactly transpired on Seattle’s sideline that became as much of a story as the Seahawks improving to 4-1.
“What I told the guys today was there’s going to always be things that happen and we’re going to learn if we can from the experiences that we have and those that we draw from and get smarter and more aware, we’re going to get better,” Carroll said. “It wound up being an extraordinary positive for our team that we could hang through the rigors and the challenges against a terrific team and find a way to win a football game.”
Sherman’s tirade happened after a blown coverage in Seattle’s secondary that allowed Julio Jones to run uncovered down the sideline for a 36-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Sherman was livid, screaming at anyone within earshot on the sideline and getting in the face of anyone who tried to calm him down. Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor and Bobby Wagner all took turns trying to calm Sherman with little success.
Carroll mostly stood back and watched how his players handled the situation.
“I thought it was a marvelous job of our guys showing who they are and their resolve to make sure they do what is right for our team,” Carroll said. “It was impressive.”
Carroll said it was miscommunication between Sherman and backup safety Kelcie McCary — playing because Chancellor was injured — that led to Jones being wide open. There were times last year when the Seahawks had communication issues in their secondary that led to uncovered receivers, but they never resulted in a public eruption like Sherman’s.
“What was clear, to me, was that Kam is a big factor,” Carroll said. “We don’t see that stuff. I can’t even remember a game where Kam was playing. He has such a connection and the skill in communicating and all that. (Kelcie) couldn’t have that. He hasn’t played enough with our guys. He’s been there, but it’s not the same.”
Sherman was in the spotlight before the game started because of his expected matchup against Jones. Along with his tirade, Sherman was at the center of a controversial no-call on Atlanta’s final offensive play when Jones tried to pull in a deep pass from Matt Ryan. Sherman had a grip on Jones’ right arm as he attempted to catch the pass and Atlanta’s sideline screamed for a pass interference call.
Carroll added that he does not see a drawback in players being so close to the edge emotionally.
“It gives us a chance to find out how good you can be as a group,” he said. “Without it, you can still do good, but you don’t get familiar with that space and what that mentality is like. So it’s hard to not only get there but it’s hard to stay there. You have to get familiar with it and what it feels like to be totally immersed and committed and focused and maximizing. And then you have to do it again and again, so you have to understand it. We’re trying to learn how to do that.”
Seattle received mixed news on two injuries.
Bennett has a chance to play next week at Arizona after injuring his right knee on a cut block by Atlanta’s Jake Matthews. Bennett was incensed by the block, calling it unnecessary and using a few expletives to drive home his point.
After reviewing the game film, Carroll didn’t see any problems with the block.
“It was clean. Nobody wants to get hit in the legs, but it wasn’t a dirty play or anything like that. It wasn’t illegal,” Carroll said.
The news on Luke Willson wasn’t as good. Carroll said Willson has cartilage damage and strained ligaments in his right knee that could require surgery. Willson was injured on Christine Michael’s touchdown run in the fourth quarter that pulled Seattle within 24-23.