RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks returned from their bye week recharged and with several key players closing in on being back to full strength.
"It seems like everything worked out great," coach Pete Carroll said. "Guys came back charged up, like you think they would, ready to go. We really are hoping to take advantage of the break with some guys getting better. A lot of guys practiced (Monday), and there was a lot of spirit and guys are cranked up and ready to get going again."
Quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Tyler Lockett are two of the biggest beneficiaries of the extra week of rest. Wilson was playing through a high ankle sprain and a sprained medial collateral ligament. Lockett was also playing through a sprained knee.
"He looked fine today. He looked normal," Carroll said of Wilson.
While Wilson didn't miss any practice time and played nearly every meaningful snap despite his injuries, Seattle limited Lockett over the past two games. He was taken off kickoff-return duty and had his offensive snaps reduced in an effort to protect him from further injury.
"He feels a lot better (thanks to) the break that he had, but he's still got to get the work done and get out there and see if he can put together a great week," Carroll said. "I know he's really anxious to do that."
Now with the break in the rearview mirror, Seattle is about to enter an important stretch of the schedule.
The Seahawks will host the Atlanta Falcons and former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn on Sunday. The Falcons are staying in Seattle all week and are practicing across town at the University of Washington. They will bring the league's top-ranked offense into the Sunday matchup.
"Their offense is just out of this world right now," Carroll said. "Their quarterback is on fire. They're doing a great job. I know Dan is fired up about it, and we're excited to see him play well, and it'll feel like a championship matchup, just like we like."
After the Falcons is Seattle's first meeting this season with the Arizona Cardinals -- a team that was expected to contend with Seattle for the division title.
Seattle will get the benefit of having its Thursday night game in mid-December. While players aren't fond of playing two games in five days, the team will get the added benefit of few extra days off on the back end that could provide a needed reprieve after 10 more games.
In the meantime, the Seahawks will have a stiff challenge the next two weeks.
"We're excited about turning the corner and go to the second quarter (of the season)," Carroll said. "We're ready to do this."
--The Seahawks promoted linebacker Jordan Tripp to their 53-man roster to take the place of linebacker Mike Morgan, who was placed on injured reserve last week.
"He's got versatility," coach Pete Carroll said. "He really can play all three spots. He's been around with the experiences he's had in similar systems with us. He's just picked things up really well and gives us the feeling he can be a utility guy right away. So that gives him a chance to add more to what he can do."
Morgan will miss at least eight weeks while on injured reserve. He had surgery last week to address a sports hernia issue that affected him in Seattle's last game against the New York Jets.
Tripp appeared in 25 games over the past two seasons, recording 17 tackles. He will contribute on special teams and is a possibility to replace Morgan in Seattle's base defense.
--The Atlanta Falcons traveled on from Denver to Seattle and will spend the week preparing for the Sunday game across town at the University of Washington.
It is not a unique occurrence. Others teams have made similar decisions to spend two weeks on the road for back-to-back road games that require extensive travel. However, it is not something the Seahawks have elected to do despite having significant travel demands in their schedule.
Carroll said the Seahawks believe they have adopted a routine that minimizes the challenges of traveling cross country for games and believes that staying in the normal routine is the best course of action.
"We've learned to travel and we're OK about it," Carroll said. "I think the familiarity of home and just staying here for us has worked out best just over the years. We take the long trips and we're real accustomed to that. We've done enough of it over a really long period of time now, you're talking 15 years or 20 years it feels like that we've been doing it, so we know the expectations of it and I think the mentality of it. I know some teams choose to do that and works out for them, and sometimes it doesn't. We know what we're doing."
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is certainly familiar with Seattle. He spent four years in Seattle (2009-10, 2013-14) while working on Carroll's and Jim Mora's staffs with the Seahawks.
REPORT CARD AFTER FOUR GAMES
PASSING OFFENSE: B -- The Seahawks struggled with inconsistency along the offensive line the first two weeks. Penalties and uneven play left the offense stunted. However, the line improved, QB Russell Wilson excelled, and TE Jimmy Graham has exploded with 12 catches for 213 yards over the past two games.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- While RB Christine Michael was 10th in the league in rushing through four weeks, the Seahawks missed the rushing ability of Wilson and the presence of RB Thomas Rawls. Seattle expects the rushing attack to improve with the return of RG Germain Ifedi to the starting lineup.
PASS DEFENSE: A-minus -- The Seahawks rank second in the league against the pass, allowing just 183.8 yards per game. Seattle intercepted four passes over the past two games and have allowed just one passing touchdown all season. Opposing quarterbacks have just a 65.6 passer rating.
RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Seattle is allowing just 80.2 rushing yards per game. However, the Seahawks gave up 82 rushing yards and two touchdowns to the 49ers on the ground in the fourth quarter of a Seattle blowout win. The run defense has been sublime through four weeks and is a strength of the roster.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus -- Steven Hauschka is one of just six kickers who has made every field goal he attempted this season. Hauschka is 8-for-8 on field-goal tries. His only missed kick was a blocked extra point. The coverage units have played very well.
COACHING: B-plus -- Seattle dealt with injuries to several key offensive pieces and still reached the bye week with a 3-1 record. Head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell managed Wilson's injuries and subsequent limitations well. Defensive coordinator Kris Richard has his unit at its usually high standard. Offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable also is getting his unit to gel early in the season.