by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - The Seattle Seahawks will face a new challenge this week in preparing for the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are taking a page out of the college playbook and have utilized a no-huddle offense that, much like the Oregon Ducks, tries to keep defenses from substituting and running plays at a lightning tempo.
The Patriots ran 89 offensive plays against the Denver Broncos last week. Through five weeks, the Patriots are averaging over 77 plays a game. Seattle’s defense was on the field for just 55 plays against the Carolina Panthers last week. Slowing down the Patriots will be priority number one for the Seahawks.
"It’s incredible," defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. "They average 31 first downs each game, I think last week we had 18 just to put a little perspective to it. They’re number one in total yards, number one in points, number one in percent intercepted, a lot of categories like that. So this is a great challenge for us. We’ve been talking about it all year that we’re ready for this challenge, every game presents a different challenge, and we need to have that happen to us to go through those growing pains."
Against the Broncos, New England went to a hurry up reminiscent of the Oregon Ducks. While it wasn’t the same read-zone option offensive system that Chip Kelly and the Ducks use, the tempo is the biggest similarity. The Patriots no-huddle offense was snapping plays in quick succession and made it difficult for Denver to substitute. It will also test Seattle by not allowing Seattle to matchup as frequently as they’d like.
"We know what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it when they speed it up, and we’ll see if we can match it, and if we can then we’ll have a chance to play pretty good. The point is that we can’t let their tempo dictate our play," Carroll said.
It may mean Red Bryant is on the field in pass situations or Bruce Irvin being forced to play the run. It’s something that the Seahawks will have to adjust to.
LB Leroy Hill doesn't see it playing that much of a factor with the game on the road in front of a loud, hostile Seattle crowd.
"I think it will be harder for them because of the crowd noise," Hill said. "I think them calling their plays and doing all that... If they substitute, we can subsitute. That's just what it is. If they keep their offense on the field and get that hot tempo, then we can't subsitute. That's the biggest thing."
C Max Unger (hip) missed practice for a second straight day. Carroll said that he belives he'll be able to play Sunday but is looking like he'll likely be a game-time decision. If he can't play, C Lemuel Jeanpierre will start in his place.
DT Clinton McDonald (groin) and DT Jaye Howard (foot) also sat out practice Thursday. Their status is still unknown. G John Moffitt will not play. He's still dealing with a knee injury.
For the Patriots, QB Tom Brady is off the injury report after being limited in practice Wednesday with a right shoulder problem. WR Julian Edelman returned to limited participation in practice after sitting out Wednesday with a hand injury. The rest of the Patriots expansive injury report remained unchanged.
New England Patriots
Did Not Participate
TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion)
S Steve Gregory (hip)
LB Tracy White (foot)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
DE Brandon Deaderick (ankle)
DT Justin Francis (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hip)
TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)
LB Donta Hightower (hamstring)
G Logan Mankins (calf/hip)
C Nick McDonald (shoulder)
CB Sterling Moore (knee)
RB Shane Vereen (foot)
T Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee)
WR Wes Welker (ankle)
WR Julian Edelman (hand)
DT Kyle Love (knee)
G John Moffitt (knee)
Did Not Participate
DT Jaye Howard (foot)
DT Clinton McDonald (groin)
C Max Unger (hip)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)