by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - The constant message coming out of Seattle Seahawks headquarters this week is "if we could just be better on third downs, we'd be okay."
The Seahawks are the last-ranked passing offense in the NFL at just 130.8 yards per game through four weeks. Their struggles on third down is the most glaring issue with the offense so far this year. The Seahawks have converted on just 14 of 50 third down chances through the first four weeks of the year - a paltry 28-percent of the time.
"We just need to convert," WR Sidney Rice said. "There's no excuse. We're a professional football team, professional players, we've all got a job to do. We've just got to be held accountable and go out there and make things happen."
"We're one of the top in the league on first and second down so that should make third down that much more easier especially when we're running the ball as well as we are right now."
Seattle is just 4 for their last 20 on third downs and were 0 for 5 with two sacks and an interception on called pass plays on third down against the St. Louis Rams last week. It's something the Seahawks know they have to get fixed to take the next step offensively.
"I feel we have all the right pieces to complete the puzzle," Rice said. "We've just got to get our execution right and be held accountable for the things we do as players out there on the field. It's still early. We just finished the first quarter, so we've got plenty of time to get right but it's going to have to be here pretty soon."
With the way their running game and defense is performing, the quarterbacks and receivers know they are under the most scrutiny. WR Doug Baldwin said they feel they are holding the team back.
"Definitely, and everybody on the offense feels that way," Baldwin said. "We have a championship caliber defense who has been dominating the past four games. As an offense, we need to step up and make that part of our team that much better so that we can be able to win games that we're supposed to win. And when it comes down to close games, we can win those games in the final minutes."
CB Marcus Trufant sat out practice Wednesday with a sore back that Carroll said was related to the issues he's experienced in the past. Back issues have been an ongoing struggle for Trufant since 2009. Carroll said the CB Danny Gorrer and CB Byron Maxwell would be the possible options in nickel situations if Trufant can't play Sunday.
G John Moffitt (knee) and DT Jaye Howard (foot) also did not practice on Wednesday. Moffitt is out for Sunday's game in Carolina.
The team made a switch to their practice squad releasing RB Lonyae Miller and re-signing TE Sean McGrath. QB Josh Portis will play the role of QB Cam Newton during practice this week with his size, speed and familiarity with the read-zone option being a benefit.
Did Not Participate
DE Frank Alexander (back)
LB Jon Beason (knee)
CB Chris Gamble (shoulder)
G Geoff Hangartner (knee)
S Colin Jones (shoulder)
G Mike Pollak (shoulder)
DE Antwan Applewhite (knee)
G John Moffitt (knee)
Did Not Participate
CB Marcus Trufant (back)
DT Jaye Howard (foot)
RB Marshawn Lynch (rest)