Carroll talks about return to MetLife Stadium, Wilson’s toughness and turnovers coming in ‘bunches’

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Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks looks on from the sidelines after coming out of the game in the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. Head coach Pete Carroll is at right. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

SEATTLE — Quarterback Russell Wilson practiced fully this week after suffering a knee sprain and is expected to start Sunday. He’ll have a week off to heal after facing the Jets this Sunday as the Hawks have an early bye week.

Sports Director Aaron Levine met one-on-one with head coach Pete Carroll to talk about Wilson’s injury, Christine Michael’s important contributions in Thomas Rawls absence, Doug Baldwin’s amazing one-arm catch and how turnovers come in “bunches.”

The Seahawks return to MetLife Stadium (remember SB 48?!) to play the New York Jets Sunday at 10 a.m. on Q13 FOX.

Here’s what Carroll had to say:

You spent five years with the Jets organization, what was the best thing that came out of there?

It was a great experience just living in New York and representing the fans bag there. That’s a big deal when you’re involved in the world of sports. I was really proud to do that, but it went by pretty fast. 

Where was the biggest area of improvement with the Seahawks last week with the 49ers?

I think the obvious improvement came on offense and it came really specifically on third down — we hit 64-percent of our plays and converted on 3rd down. So that’s a big deal. It changes the game. We have to run the ball a bit better. We’ve played off that with some play action stuff. It just really kept the game going and felt really good, the momentum on offense.

You have an emphasis on trying to get your players to improve throughout the season. How much can you expect them to improve during a year?

Well, just look at where we were last year in the first half and where we wound up in the second half. You can expect a lot of improvement. Last year we went from somewhere down at the bottom in the red zone on offense and third down offense, and we wound up surging at the end of the year and totally flip-flopped. Look at what Russell did the second half of last season with Doug (Baldwin). 25 touchdowns and one pick. Sacks fell in half from where we were in the first half of the season. You can expect a lot of improvement, there’s a lot of areas where it can happen.

Christine Michael tops 100 yards last week, how great of a story is that?

It’s a good story and it’s because of who he is and how he’s handling it. This is a true second shot, second chance. He’s done marvelously and been really consistent. It’s great to see him help his team like he did last week.

There is an image of Doug Baldwin practically horizontal with one arm out in the air making a catch. How does he stuff like that?

I don’t know. He just keeps doing things and making plays. That was a phenomenal catch. I’ve never seen him make that catch on the practice field. He’s made a lot of one-handed catches which he can do really well, but to lay it out and pull the ball in and control it and make a big conversion… that was a fantastic play.

Bobby Wagner gets your first turnover last week. You say they come in bunches, so what can you expect from the defense tomorrow?

That wasn’t bunches. At least we got one. Bobby kind of called it Saturday night. He said he was going to get the first turnover. I hope he calls for a few this week. Hopefully we can get that ball going. We need to turn it. If that will turn, look at how effective we’ll be. We can do a lot of good things with this club. If we get the ball going and the field position in our favor, we’re going to be pretty good.

Russell Wilson was an incredible story after spraining his knee and being full practice this week. Talk about your philosophy on how you treat players like your own kids.

That is the way we look at it. We are trying to help these guys be the best they can be, so we need to do everything possible to support them and to look after them and direct them and challenge them and motivate them. When it comes to making the tough decisions, I just look at them like they’re my own guys.

Russell has really shown his toughness this season. Who are some of the toughest guys you’ve worked with?

There’s a couple of guys that come to mind. I always think of Ronnie Lott whenever I think of toughness. There was nobody that was ever more physical and more determined to prove it every chance he got. Troy Polamalu was like that as well — this unbelievable drive. But we’ve got guys in this club right here too. You couldn’t exhibit any more toughness than what Russell has done in the last couple weeks. Guys like Luke Willson overcoming injuries, guys like what Thomas Rawls has done. What Jimmy has done to get himself back. It’s almost an unheard kind of drive to push themselves to get back and to get healthy and play with their team. Those kinds of examples are extraordinary and it’s very deep and very moving how they’ll apply themselves for the team.