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Carroll: With Sherman down, Lane and Griffin will get their moment in the spotlight

RENTON, Wash. – It’s time again for the Seattle Seahawks’ favorite mantra: Next man up.

With Richard Sherman out for the season, and Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas both battling injuries of their own, the Seahawks will get a chance to see what their backups are made of.

During his weekly exclusive interview with the home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX, coach Pete Carroll talked about the “exciting opportunities” the injuries are providing, as well as how the team will approach the Atlanta Falcons, and Bobby Wagner as a candidate for defensive MVP.

There’s a whirlwind of injuries right now – what do you do to reset this team?

First off, take advantage of the break, it’s really important that we do that. We did max out the break over the weekend, and then we gotta get back at it. We get a bonus day to start the week, so we can kind of get back and flow with the week. That knocks us back into mode. But the emotional part of it? There’s no way you ever can deal with that, other than you always have to keep moving forward. It’s common conversation for you when you’re in the football business that you’re going to have some guys that aren’t going to be able to stay with you. The focus really goes to the guys that are stepping up, and the opportunities that they’re presented with, and then how do we max that out. And we have to navigate that with them – and some other players too – so that’s what you’re talking about. We just kind of have our way, but always looking ahead, always looking forward.

You always talk about “next man up,” you bring in Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane gets an opportunity to start as well – what are you expecting from those guys in the secondary?

I’m expecting them to step up just like they have played in the past. In particular, we’re do fortunate that Jeremy Lane is a starter and he gets to take back in. And Shaq (Griffin) has taken over and become a starter – how lucky could we be that we have another guy that can jump in when Sherm goes out. We’ll see what happens with Byron – he’s got to get back in the flow with that, we’ll see how it goes. I’m really looking forward to having him back; he’s a great kid. I’m really looking forward to bringing him back into our formula, and how we play and we’ll see how that translates for him. He’s been playing a little bit different style. In other places. So, it’s exciting. These opportunities are really exciting. Guys have to so stuff – you’ve got the urgency to get ‘em caught up and get ‘em into it. Bradley McDougald will do a marvelous job for us. He’s done a great job so far.

This week you get the Atlanta Falcons. When you face the team with so many offensive weapons, what is a top priority in trying to make them less effective?

Well, you have to stop the big plays from happening. You have to do that, whether it’s run or pass. This has been, historically, a really explosive passing team. They’re a good running team too, but you have to keep that under wraps. If they can score easily, or move the ball in big chunks, then you’re not having a good day. Matt Ryan can do all of that. He’s got all of the ability, all of the savvy, the physical (part) … everything. And the tools to go to. So, we have to keep them slowed down first, and then we start pecking away at it. We don’t want them to run the football, and we want to get after the quarterback as much as we can.

Do you feel like Bobby Wagner should be in the conversation for defensive MVP?

I don’t know how he can’t be. With the numbers he continues to put up, the great consistency, the impact he’s had on the games – I don’t know how you can not think of him as one of the very best players in the game.

On the other side of the ball, Russell Wilson accounts for about 85 percent of this team’s offense so far. That’s a higher percentage than Alex Smith and Tom Brady and Carson Wentz. Should he be in that conversation on the opposite side of the ball?

I would think so. We’ve got to do something with our season – all of that comes down to how successful your year is. But if we can have a big year than certainly those guys are the kinds of guys you want to be talking about.