RENTON -- While the running game was a bit of a no-show in Philadelphia on Sunday, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is excited to get Marshawn Lynch more involved in the offense as the team prepares for a Divisional Round meeting with the Green Bay Packers this weekend.
Lynch now has two games under his belt since returning to Seattle following injuries to Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise in Week 16. Lynch has scored touchdowns in both of his games back with the Seahawks. And while the gross rushing numbers Lynch has produced haven't exactly summoned echos of his prime, Lynch looks every bit capable of being a real contributor for Seattle through their postseason run.
Carroll is ready to see more from his former star tailback and see just what the revitalized Lynch still has in the tank.
"Marshawn will play more," Carroll said on Monday. "He’s going to play more this week. He’s ready to and he’s had enough time with us. He feels confident about what he’s doing and the plan. We can get him in and out of there and have those two guys really go at it.”
Seattle managed just 19 yards on 17 carries with Lynch and Travis Homer against the Eagles this weekend. Trying to run behind three backup offensive linemen proved difficult and the Eagles sold out at times to ensure Seattle's run game would be stymied.
"They did really well. They loaded it up," Carroll said. "They took a lot of shots at us. They brought guys off the edge to try to stop the running game. They’ve been a real committed run team all year. They gave up 90 yards a game rushing all season long (90.1 yards per game, ranked third in the NFL), so they’re really good at it. We weren’t able to counter it like we had thought. We thought we’d put the ball in the perimeter a little bit on them and try to balance them out, but we didn’t get much out of that either. That’s just the way it went.”
However, Lynch's impact has gone beyond his rushing statistics. Lynch caught a 20-yard pass on a third-and-1 when the Eagles had sold out to stop a carry to Lynch instead.
"They knew that Marshawn is going to get the football in those situations. They’re coming after you," Carroll said. "So you have to do the things to keep them honest. That was a beautiful part of the game plan to hit the third and short. The execution was perfect, and it was a big play for us. We scored right after that, too, which was great."
He also provided a critical blitz pick-up on the game-clinching 36-yard strike from Russell Wilson to DK Metcalf in the fourth quarter of the 17-9 win over the Eagles. Lynch's two touchdown runs have also provided a significant emotional boost to a team that - for the most part - never played with Lynch during his initial stint with the Seahawks.
"We’re really pleased that he’s able to take the additional reps. He feels great. He’s doing fine," Carroll said.
"It’s been nothing but positive. It’s been such a positive experience. A great choice by John [Schneider] to get this thing worked out. Give credit to Marshawn for the way he’s attacked this thing. He’s really going for it. He’s doing everything our fans would hope he would do. He’s trying to be everything in all aspects of it. He’s deserving of seeing some more reps."
-- Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney emerged from Sunday's win against the Eagles feeling reasonably OK despite playing 57 of 69 defensive snaps against the Eagles whole dealing with an ongoing core muscle injury.
"So far he’s OK it sounds like," Carroll said. "The report I just got is that he’s playing this week. He’ll be alright to make it. We’ll have to manage him throughout the week.”
Clowney had five tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss in the win over the Eagles. Carroll credited Clowney's disruptiveness as the reason Seattle was able to get seven sacks against Philadelphia.
"Jadeveon Clowney was really a factor," Carroll said. "Everybody worked and everybody contributed. Again, his activity just adds to the factor and we’ve seen that before. He had a really good football game, run and pass. I think that’s clearly what happened. You saw everybody was active. I think if there’s one thing though, I think his impact was really noticeable."
-- Left guard Mike Iupati's stinger became more problematic last week to the point of him being unable to play against the Eagles. Carroll said they wouldn't know Iupati's status until later in the week.
"He had a few episodes the week before. Just didn’t quiet down in time," Carroll said. "It has quieted down when he’s had the episodes in the past. He’s still symptomatic today. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen this week."
Carroll praised the job Jamarco Jones did as a replacement for Iupati in Philadelphia.
"I thought Jamarco did a nice job though, particularly in pass protection," Carroll said. "He held up really well and he came through for us. That’s a couple times. He had a big game earlier in the year. A couple big games at guard on the other side. Shows really good versatility and really good smarts. He played hard a tough and did a nice job particularly in the throwing game."
-- Left tackle Duane Brown is still trying to recover from surgery two weeks ago on an ailing knee Carroll described as "pissed off." He didn't have an update on Brown's status on Monday.
Like Jones, Carroll praised the performance of George Fant in place of Brown on Sunday.
"He had a real nice game," he said. "He seems to be very comfortable now. There’re only a couple times as it happens when he got in bad position. Other than that, he really played a good solid football game again and held up his part of it."
-- Wide receiver Jaron Brown is expected back this week after missing Sunday's game due to a personal matter. Brown also had a knee injury last week but the personal issue was the reason for his absence this weekend.
"This was a family situation," Carroll said. "I understand he’s back already. He’ll be back in the meetings today, so he should be fine."
Photo Credit: PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 05: Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks carries the ball for a first down in the third quarter of the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 05, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)