The Seattle Seahawks are no strangers to the NFL playoffs.
When they take the field Saturday in Arlington, Texas, for a Wild Card showdown against the Dallas Cowboys it will mark the 12th postseason for the Seahawks in 16 years.
It will be the 15th playoff game Pete Carroll has coached since arriving in Seattle in 2010.
And yet, after missing the playoffs for the first time in six seasons last year, several young Seahawks will be making their playoff debuts in Big D.
“We have a number of guys that haven’t been in the playoffs before,” Carroll said this week. “So we’re working through and making sure that they understand how we approach it.”
That includes the entire starting secondary.
Led by veteran safety Bradley McDougald, the defensive unit most associated with recent Seahawks success is suddenly the least playoff-tested.
“So many people wrote us off and nobody really pictured us being here at the end of the season,” McDougald said last week. “I really appreciate my secondary guys.”
McDougald brings the most experience with him into the postseason, having entered the league in 2013. But after four years with the Buccaneers before arriving in Seattle last year, this will be a first.
Fellow safety Tedric Thompson and corner Shaquill Griffin were drafted in 2017 and corner Tre Flowers is a rookie.
Defensive captain Bobby Wagner, who will be playing in his 13th playoff game Saturday, had some advice for his teammates.
“Don’t treat it like a playoff game, just treat it like a normal game,” he said. “You don’t put no hype into this game. At the end of the day, the only thing different between this game and all the other games is there’s more media people who ask you questions.”
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin agreed with Wagner about the heightened attention.
“Well, you know it’s a playoff week, right? I mean, it’s hard to get away from,” he said. “There are more of you guys here, for one, and then obviously we know that it’s past week 17.”
He also suggested the team is ready.
“In terms of the atmosphere in the locker room, I think all of us are locked in,” Baldwin said. “We’re focused. We understand the environment we’re in (and) the situation we’re in. We’ve been prepping for this all year.”
That includes the Seahawks’ top three running backs.
Chris Carson led the team with 1,151 rushing yards in his second year out of Oklahoma State, Rashaad Penny ran for 419 yards in his rookie season and veteran Mike Davis racked up 514 yards.
All will be making their first trip to the playoffs Saturday.
“It’s going to be a good challenge,” Carson said. “The guys up front, Russ (Wilson) and the receivers, everybody – it’s going to be a great game.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson discussed the significance of making the playoffs after Seattle clinched its spot against Kansas City.
“The reality is that there’s a lot of guys in the NFL and even some Hall of Fame guys that have never even gone to the playoffs,” he said.
For the Seahawks, that list got shorter this year.
Speedy receiver David Moore will get the chance to experience the playoffs. So will defensive linemen Dion Jordan, Jacob Martin, Poona Ford, Nazair Jones and Quinton Jefferson.
Rookie punter Michael Dickson, named a All Pro on Friday, will get his first chance to kick in the playoffs.
And rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin will make his debut alongside his brother.
In all, there are 28 players on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster who have never appeared in a playoff game. Some of those will be inactive Saturday, but for those who will be on the field, Wilson had a message.
“For the young guys,” he said. “We’ve got to take this serious. It’s a great moment, we don’t take anything for granted.”
Seahawks on the 53-man roster who have not appeared in a playoff game:
- S Maurice Alexander
- LB Austin Calitro
- RB Chris Carson
- RB Mike Davis
- P Michael Dickson
- LB Emmanuel Ellerbee
- C Tre Flowers
- DT Poona Ford
- DE Rasheem Green
- LB Shaquem Griffin
- CB Shaquill Griffin
- DE Branden Jackson
- DE Quinton Jefferson
- DE Dion Jordan
- DT Nazair Jones
- CB Akeem King
- S Shalom Luani
- S Bradley McDougald
- RB Tre Madden
- LB Jacob Martin
- WR David Moore
- G/T Elijah Nkansah
- RB Rashaad Penny
- C/G Ethan Pocic
- RB Bo Scarbrough
- S Tedric Thompson
- WR Malik Turner
- TE Nick Vannett