Still in search of their first victory of the NFL season, the Atlanta Falcons hope this week serves as a bonding experience and a breakthrough.
After last weekend’s 31-27 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, the Falcons (0-2) travel to the Pacific Northwest for Sunday’s matchup against the Seattle Seahawks (1-1).
“There are a lot of things, especially early in the season,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said of the benefits of staying on the West Coast. “It’s kind of where we are at. The timing could not have been better if we use it the right way.”
Most of the Falcons players watched the movie “Devotion” on Monday and some visited the Joint Lewis-McChord Air Force base Tuesday.
Wednesday, the Falcons worked out at the University of Washington.
“We’ll certainly give them options,” Smith said. “We’re very aware that we are taking the players away from their families at home. You try to accommodate and have events, but you’re not going to sit here and try to (dictate events).”
The Falcons, like the Seahawks, are still looking to get acclimated after moving on from a veteran quarterback in the offseason.
Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson are now in Indianapolis and Denver, respectively, while Marcus Mariota and Geno Smith have taken over.
Mariota nearly helped the Falcons rally from a 28-3 deficit against the Rams before his pass for a potential go-ahead touchdown was intercepted in the end zone.
In the opener, the Falcons blew a 16-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 27-26 loss to New Orleans.
“If we can just … put four quarters together, I think we will be a good team,” Mariota said.
Mariota, who grew up in Hawaii and played at the University of Oregon, welcomed the chance to spend a week out West.
“I think it’s good for us to stay out here, be on the West Coast, being all together,” Mariota said. “It’s what it’s about. We’ll find ways to all improve. We’ll all continue to get better. But to be out here together, I think is great for us.”
The Seahawks opened the season with an emotional 17-16 victory in Wilson’s return to Seattle on a Monday night before falling flat in a 27-7 loss last Sunday against host San Francisco.
The Seahawks committed 10 penalties, three turnovers and failed to score an offensive touchdown.
Seattle has attempted just 33 rushes through two games and its average of 56 yards rushing is last in the league.
“There’s some real solid things, but we’ve got to get the running game a more active part of the game, and (against the 49ers) we needed to take what they were giving us more so,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said.
With the Seahawks starting a pair of rookie offensive tackles in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, the 49ers almost dared them to throw.
“We didn’t want to open it up and expose the tackles any more than we had to. So that all kind of fit together,” Carroll said. “But they’re holding up. They did a nice job in general. Geno’s in command of what’s going on, he’s real accurate with his decision-making. I think it’s just more freely taking advantage of what’s going on rather than being concerned about our ability to hold up.”
The Seahawks didn’t come out of Sunday’s loss unscathed, as offensive guard Damien Lewis (thigh) as well as cornerback Justin Coleman (calf), safety Quandre Diggs (knee), defensive end Shelby Harris (glute) and linebacker Cody Barton (shoulder/hip) have all missed practice time this week.
For the Falcons, cornerback Darren Hall was limited in practice on Wednesday.