The Seattle Seahawks return home this week to face New England, and some of the focus has been on the matchup between Pete Carroll and the team he used to coach.
Carroll was the head coach of the Patriots from 1997 to '99, and Sunday's game will be the first time he's coached against the Patriots since being fired. During his conference call with New England media on Wednesday, Carroll was asked if the game meant more than usual because of his previous relationship with New England.
"It's a regular game for me that I look forward to because of Coach [Bill] Belichick and [Tom] Brady and [my] relationship with Robert [Kraft]," Carroll said. "I've always liked playing against people that I like and that I know."
On the field, Sunday's game matches strength vs. strength as the Patriots hurry up offense will go against a fast and stout Seahawks defense. Carroll said the Seahawks are yet to face an offense with similar tempo, as no one in the NFL is currently doing what the Patriots are. Carroll compared the tempo to the Oregon Ducks and said the Seattle defense will be challenged to line up correctly before New England is able to snap the ball.
As for his own offense, Carroll once again praised the makeup of Russell Wilson and the way he's been able to handle the challenges and scrutiny he's faced this season. While he said Wilson is learning each week, there is still improvement to be made.
"We have to get a lot better in a lot of areas to make it all work out, but we're getting there," Carroll said.