RENTON, Wash. — Of all the records the Seattle Seahawks have accomplished during Pete Carroll's tenure, he may not be more proud than what they can accomplish this week.
The Seahawks enter Week 17 having committed just 10 turnovers all season, with five of those coming in the first two weeks in losses to Denver and Chicago. If Seattle can make it through the regular-season finale against Arizona without committing a turnover, it would join the 2010 New England Patriots and 2011 San Francisco 49ers as having the fewest turnovers in a 16-game season.
It might seem like a somewhat obscure accomplishment. But for someone who preaches importance of securing the football the way Carroll does, it's a huge deal for the Seahawks. Seattle's low in turnovers for a full season under Carroll was 14 in 2014.
"It's the No. 1 thing that we emphasize and we've been doing it for a long time," Carroll said on Wednesday. "What our challenge is, is how well can we emphasize it? And how well can we transfer than emphasis so they adopt that as part of their play? The mentality of it; there is a constancy that just goes away if you don't. You have to be on it because there are unnatural aspects of it when you play the things that you have to do. You have to train and drill with the highest of expectations to get it done."
Seattle being in this position only highlighted the remarkable turnaround since the start of the season and coincided with an emphasis on being a run-first team that started with Week 3 against Dallas.
The Seahawks turned around their 0-2 start and five turnovers in those two games and have gone 9-4 over the past 13 games while committing just five turnovers during that time.
Seattle didn't commit a turnover in three straight games beginning in Week 3 and for the past five games the only turnover committed was a poor decision by Russell Wilson late in the first half against Minnesota when he tried to make a desperation pass attempt rather than throwing the ball away.
That doesn't mean there haven't been close calls, such as last Sunday when Tyler Lockett fumbled a punt only to have it recovered by teammate Tre Flowers. Seattle has fumbled 18 times on the season and lost only four. But the major turnover issues have been completely avoided thus far.
"That's the No. 1 thing (Carroll) talks about every day," running back Chris Carson said. "When we break meetings, that's the last thing he says. Before practice that's the first thing he says. It's definitely the most important thing."
Carson is responsible for a couple of those turnovers in the midst of running for more than 1,000 yards this season. Carson lost fumbles in Week 1 against Denver when Seattle was still trying to figure out its identity, and Week 11 against Green Bay.
The situation against Green Bay was a learning lesson and sign of trust for Carson. He fumbled on the first offensive play of the game and watched Green Bay convert the turnover into a touchdown.
But on Seattle's next possession, Carson got the first carry. It only went for 2 yards but was still important.
"It just means that they trust in me and gives me the confidence I need," Carson said. "I know that when that happened I need to be more cautious the next time I'm out there."
NOTES: Carroll said guard J.R. Sweezy was having additional tests on Wednesday about the extent of his sprained foot suffered against Kansas City. Sweezy was hurt midway through the second quarter. He was replaced by D.J. Fluker, who was only expected to play minimal snaps while recovering from a hamstring injury and ended up in for 61 per cent of the offensive snaps. Fluker will be limited in practice this week. ... Carroll said S Tedric Thompson (chest) and RT Germain Ifedi (groin) would practice on Wednesday after both missed last Sunday's win over Kansas City. ... Carroll said he had not had much contact with Jody Allen, sister of former Seahawks owner Paul Allen, prior to the contract extension he signed with the team on Monday. "We have not hung out at all over the time, and we had one really significant meeting and a couple of phone talks and she's been really excited and really fired up about doing this," Carroll said. "Anybody who is a '12' that cares about the Seahawks should be really fired up about how she's looking at this and how she wants to go about it. She has a great love and spirit about the area and the club," he said.
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