Gridiron Gab Week Ten Preview: Seattle at Arizona

Despite sitting atop the NFC West in a two-way tie with St. Louis through eight games, the Seattle Seahawks have found themselves on the losing side of two straight games and the team’s head coach is calling for a new beginning starting with Sunday’s game at Arizona.

“Where we are is we’re starting off again,” said Pete Carroll at his Wednesday press conference from the team’s Renton, Wash. training facilities. “We have to play very, very close to the vest in terms of our mistakes and issues.”

The biggest issue?

“We need to find a consistency that’s way, way apart from where we just were the past couple of weeks,” said the head coach.

Sunday’s road game against the Cardinals (3-5) could be the foundation for a second-half surge for the Seahawks (4-4). Arizona’s 390.8 yards of total offense allowed to opposing teams this season ranks 30th in the National Football League.

Should Seattle capitalize, Carroll said it will have to come as a result of an offense that uses the ground game to better balance the team’s aerial one.

“There’s a big emphasis,” said Carroll. “The last two weeks we just have not run the football worth a hoot.”

The Cardinals, too, haven’t found much success running the football. The team’s power back, Chris “Beanie” Wells has dealt with injuries for much of the season. After rushing for 793 yards on 4.5 yards per attempt in his first year in the NFL, the 6-foot-2, 229-pound Wells has accumulated just 231 yards on 3.3 yards per attempt so far in his second season.

Without a commanding presence from the team’s running game, the Cardinals’ passing has struggled. Trying to jumpstart the offense, Arizona’s flip-flopped their quarterback depth chart multiple times. Derek Anderson was the Cardinals’ initial starter, but was replaced for three weeks by undrafted rookie Max Hall. During those three weeks, Hall didn’t surpass a quarterback rating of 65.0 and the Cardinals lost two games, so now Anderson is back under center.

In Seattle’s first game against Arizona this season, Hall got the start, but the switch to Anderson for the two teams’ second meeting hasn’t left Pete Carroll scrambling for information on the veteran quarterback’s play.

“A guy I’ve known for a lot of years,” said Seattle’s first-year head coach who at his most recent head coaching position, the University of Southern California, took on Anderson’s Oregon State team annually in the Pac-10 Conference.

“He’s capable of being that Pro Bowl player that he’s been in the past. He’s got a huge arm. The whole field is available to him.”

That ability to use the field was on display last week in Minnesota when Anderson returned to the Cardinals’ starting lineup and connected with the team’s biggest offensive threat, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, seven times for 107 yards. The 100-plus-yard performance was Fitzgerald’s first this season and made the 27-year-old the league’s second-youngest player to record 7,500 career receiving yards.

Sunday’s kickoff from University of Phoenix Stadium is set for 4:15 p.m. Eastern.

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