Seahawks trying to avoid troubling 0-3 start hosting Cowboys
SEATTLE (AP) — Whether it was his first two stops in the NFL, his time in college at Southern California or his first eight seasons in charge in Seattle, Pete Carroll has never started a season with three consecutive losses.
That's 12 seasons in the pros and nine in college during which Carroll has been able to avoid a disastrous start to a new campaign. And it's what the Seahawks will be trying to avoid Sunday when they host the Dallas Cowboys.
"There's only a couple of undefeated teams in the NFC right now and let's hang with that. Let's hang with them," Carroll said. "I don't want to get behind that number right now, so we've got to get a win."
What's been called a roster reset multiple times by Carroll and other Seahawks has struggled to get started. Seattle's offense has looked inept at times, its quarterback confused and its defense vulnerable. The Seahawks understand the rarity of dropping to 0-3 and still being able to turn around the trajectory of the season.
"I'm not going to give you a cliche. You don't want to be 0-3," Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
Dallas is still trying to solve all of its issues, but at least has a victory after knocking off the New York Giants at home last week. The Cowboys' defense was exceptional against the Giants, holding rookie Saquon Barkley and New York's run game to 35 yards on the ground, and sacked quarterback Eli Manning six times. The Cowboys are second in the NFL with nine sacks through two weeks, and now face the offense that's surrendered a league-high 12 sacks so far, six in each game.
"We've continued to try to build the talent level on our front seven and try to create competitive situations where guys are fighting for roster spots and fighting for playing time and hopefully when they get out there that competition brings out the best in them," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "Obviously, those can be very impactful plays."
The Cowboys are 5-2 in September road games since 2014, one of those losses coming in the opener against Carolina. Seattle hasn't lost a home game in September under Carroll, going 13-0 since 2010.
RUN AROUND: For two weeks, the Seahawks have failed to follow through on one of their major offseason priorities of returning to being a run-first offense. The Seahawks had just 16 carries for 64 yards in the opener. After committing to running more in Week 2, they ended up managing only 74 yards on 22 carries against the Bears. There was also Carroll's confusion about the conditioning of starter Chris Carson, who didn't have a carry in the second half against the Bears.
SILENT ON SEATTLE: New Dallas secondary coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard turned down interview requests before his reunion with the Seahawks. Richard spent the first eight years of his pro coaching career in Seattle, the past two as defensive coordinator. He was fired in a retooling of Carroll's defensive staff.
The Cowboys have blitzed more the first two weeks than in the past under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. From the start, Richard has said the Cowboys embraced the idea of him bringing new concepts.
"I do think the DNA of both guys in terms of what they believe in coaching is real similar," Garrett said. "I think that reflects on how they teach technique and the schemes that we use."
WIN SOME, LOSE SOME: Seattle is expected to get Wagner (groin), rookie starting cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) and guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) back after missing time with injuries. Wagner and Flowers missed the loss to Chicago, while Fluker has been out since the third week of the preseason with the hamstring problem.
While those players appear set to return, the Seahawks could be without starting center Justin Britt (shoulder), while linebacker K.J. Wright (knee surgery) and wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee) are still at least a week away from getting back on the field.
WEAKNESS IN NUMBERS? The Cowboys are using 11 roster spots — roughly 20 percent of the 53 total — on receivers and tight ends. They added a receiver without releasing one this week by bringing back Brice Butler. He spent the past three seasons with Dallas before signing with Arizona in free agency. The Cardinals cut him at the end of the preseason.
The Cowboys are 30th in the NFL in passing in their first season without tight end Jason Witten and 2014 All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant. Dak Prescott has thrown for at least 200 yards just twice in the past 10 games going back to last season.
LOCKER ROOM VISIT: Garrett said it was a little strange when Seattle safety Earl Thomas approached him in the Dallas locker room following the Seahawks' victory last December . During his offseason holdout, Thomas made it clear he wouldn't mind the opportunity to play elsewhere, with Dallas possibly at the top of his wish list.
"I've never had that happen before, an opposing player comes into your locker room. But we have great respect for him," Garrett said.
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