SEATTLE – Whenever an NFL team is staring down the barrel of a Thursday night game, you hear the same thing repeated over and again: The short week effects everyone the same.
Fortunately for the Seattle Seahawks, that’s not even close to true.
Since Pete Carroll took over as coach in 2010, the Seahawks have gone 6-1 in Thursday Night Football games.
“I think Coach Carroll and the training staff and everybody do a really good job of monitoring the schedule,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said this week. “Not going as hard – I think that’s kind of what it is. It’s really hard to turn around (after playing) Sunday, especially when you have to travel to a different city to play.
“It’s an extremely hard schedule, but I feel like our coaches do a really good job of making (sure we) get as healthy as possible.”
The Seahawks could sure use some kismet when they face the Arizona Cardinals at 5:25 p.m. tonight at University of Phoenix Stadium. Entering Sunday’s game, they were leading the NFC West. A loss Sunday to the Washington Redskins dropped them to second place, and a loss tonight to their division rivals would drop them to third.
“This week is a challenge for players on both teams to get back and get right,” Carroll said. “There’s some issues of getting through it, and we did it and had a good week of work.”
Carroll said one of the most daunting challenges is getting to work with players who aren’t playing well at the moment – a particularly pressing problem coming off a game in which the Seahawks were plagued by penalties, missed kicks and other silly mistakes.
“You have to adapt to the players and what they can do during the week, and make sure that you can push the guys who need to be pushed and take care of the guys that need to be taken care of,” Carroll said. “So, we just work real hard.
“Every individual guy’s got an individual case and we try to make sure that we manage that well.”
Wagner said that, for players, it’s very difficult to shrink down their preparation and recovery schedule.
“I think you need a day off to just get away from the game, kind of clear your head,” he said. “I think a lot of guys use that day to kind of recover their bodies, so when you don’t have that day, it’s kind of hard. You have to push everything up, and try to crunch all the stuff that you would do in a week in a matter of two days.
“We leave tomorrow, so you’re trying to get everything that you do during a whole week in two days.”
Is there any bright side to this? Well, the Seahawks do have a long stretch off after the game’s over, with their next game being a Monday night game at home against the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 20.
And it does help somewhat the Cardinals are division rivals.
“You don’t have to relearn a new offense (or defense) – you’ve seen this team a handful of times, we’ve got a lot of film on them,” Wagner said. “That’s what helps us. They know us, we know them. It’s just who can remember what they did fastest.”