Happy New Year to everyone.
I think it’s important to review your opinions. I don’t think spending considerable time confirming your priors, under the pretence of ‘context’ or ‘balance’ is the right way to go about things. That’s why, despite being opposed to a ground-zero rebuild, I’ve written so much about it as a possibility — including delving into the top-end of the 2022 draft and the quarterback class.
My opinion on Seattle’s future has changed over the last few days. So here’s my latest reading of the situation…
In a recent interview, Pete Carroll stated he didn’t think a major rebuild was necessary. My interpretation of this is it says a lot about how his future could play out.
I maintain I don’t think he has any interest in overseeing a major, substantial rebuild. Not enough people have discussed how unrealistic that is. The idea of a 70-year-old coach entering a period where he spends an indefinite amount of time looking for a new franchise quarterback is beyond fanciful. That’s the reality of a rebuild.
It could be years until a solution is found. Is Carroll seriously going to go through the prospect of another 5-7 win season for potentially the next couple of years at least? Or, if nothing else, embrace the kind of 7-9 seasons he had in 2010 and 2011? All the while hoping to strike gold at quarterback, with the current situation in college football?
It simply doesn’t make any sense.
My opinion has changed on Carroll though. I sensed a few weeks ago that he would walk away at the end of this season regardless. I no longer think that.
I get the sense, listening to his words, that he doesn’t want to quit. He wants to see if he can turn this around. But he’ll want to do that with Russell Wilson. He won’t want to replace the quarterback.
Think about it. He would probably acknowledge, unlike many fans, that the prospect of Wilson returning to form isn’t all that preposterous. We’re 14 months removed from him looking like the best player in the league.
I think Carroll would be fully prepared to continue in the job, working to put things right, albeit with his franchise quarterback on board.
As he acknowledged recently, unprovoked, he wouldn’t have been in Seattle as long as he has without Wilson. I think Carroll sees his tenure tied to Wilson. And that’s probably why he has remained as steadfastly loyal to him as he has.
I also believe John Schneider would’ve been willing to trade Wilson a year ago and Carroll blocked it. Again, in part because he has little or no interest in a major rebuild. He’s in ‘win now’ mode as a coach. He’s at the extreme end of that, given his age.
When he said he didn’t think a rebuild was necessary — I think he was expressing his own personal lack of interest in the prospect.
The problem is — I suspect that while Wilson and Carroll retain a strong bond and have mutual respect, Wilson is also mindful of his own age and career prospects. He is an obscenely ambitious individual with lofty personal and team goals. I think in his middle-ages he will struggle to reconcile not reaching certain goals in his career, should he fail.
As has been spelled out to us all — he doesn’t believe Carroll’s philosophy is the right approach. He wants to play a different brand of football. He wants more of a say in personnel.
You personally may not agree with those things but that’s how Wilson feels. And frankly, who’s to deny him his right to feel that way?
A lot of fans are content to point out a run of winning seasons. To Wilson, he likely just focuses on one playoff win in five years. And so often in the playoffs, the Seahawks come out flat and unprepared. They’d suddenly be two or three scores down. And then Wilson would be left to mount an improbable comeback.
He’s also seen the wasted resource over the years and bad drafts. Again, whether you agree or not — I can see why Wilson has lost faith. Even while we can all admit he has not played anywhere near well enough post-injury this season or at the end of last season. I think his concerns are still valid and you have to work really hard to try and suggest they aren’t.
The problem for the Seahawks is how this all plays out at the end of the season.
Jody Allen taking decisive action is for the absolute best — regardless of her final decision. At least then everyone knows where they stand.
If she doesn’t do that and if she speaks to the ‘power three’ individually, things could get tricky.
I think Carroll would likely ‘compete’ to give it another go. He would either suggest he can get Wilson back on side or that the team should simply ignore any trade requests or deny any trade offers.
That sounds plausible but it’s not realistic.
It’s plainly obvious that while Wilson is open to staying in Seattle, he wants to see significant changes at the top. To me that means a new GM and Head Coach. If that doesn’t happen, I wouldn’t expect him to wait until the Super Bowl to make his dissatisfaction known this year. I think it’ll happen very quickly, possibly resulting in an official trade request.
It might’ve worked in Green Bay following Aaron Rodgers’ threat to retire last year — but I don’t see any reasonable scenario where the Seahawks go from 5-10 today and become a thriving, successful football team in 2022 if the quarterback requests a trade and you simply say ‘no’ and retain the status quo.
A decision would need to be made.
It could potentially lead to a massive stalemate if such a situation isn’t resolved. And that won’t do anyone any good.
My fear, based on how Carroll and John Schneider reacted a year ago, is if they’re permitted to just ‘carry on’ — they’ll ignore Wilson’s dissatisfaction and simply do nothing. I get the sense they thought that was a really clever move a year ago. It wasn’t. The cardboard cutouts at the press conference might’ve felt funny at the time. Denying the Wilson saga was a story could’ve been a bunker approach to a challenging situation. The story, which was legit, cast a cloud over the franchise and needed resolving one way or another.
It wasn’t, it predictably lingered and this can’t keep going year after year.
I’m not convinced Allen will be so passive. Yet I also accept none of us have any idea what she’ll do next. I don’t think her actions relating to the Portland Trailblazers are much indication and neither are the long contract extensions given to Carroll and Schneider a year ago. A lot has changed since then and the situation with Wilson completely changes the dynamic.
The positive side of this is I don’t think Wilson will allow the situation to drag on. We’ve seen he’s willing to operate through the media. The Adam Schefter tweet was gobsmacking a year ago and a sign of how aggressive Mark Rodgers is willing to be.
Within days of the final game — I think all parties will have had their say and Allen, if she hasn’t taken affirmative action, will be left with a clear picture as to what her options are. From that position, it should be possible to pick a path — although personally I hope she already has clarity and is simply waiting for the season to end before she enacts her plan.
I don’t know what she’ll decide but I do think a decision will be made and acted upon.
I still have no idea or good guess as to what happens with John Schneider but I don’t think there’s a future with Schneider and Wilson together minus Carroll. I think that relationship was seriously impacted last off-season. I think Schneider took it badly when Wilson spoke publicly in the way that he did and then with the infamous Schefter tweet. I think the relationship between Schneider and Mark Rodgers is poor to say the least. As I’ve said, I think Schneider would’ve dealt Wilson a year ago and that’s why he went to North Dakota to have a meeting with Chicago GM Ryan Pace.
If Carroll retired but the other two members of the ‘power three’ remained, both Schneider and Wilson would probably share mutual interest in a trade.
This to me is a fairly reasonable projection of the lay of the land. I also think it’s fair to say it isn’t influenced by an agenda, which has driven so much of the discourse — especially on Seahawks Twitter — in recent weeks.
You all know my preference and I don’t try and portray myself as not having a horse in the race. You know where I stand — but I also hope you feel like we’ve covered a lot of bases and tried to review what’s going on with a critical eye — without emotion or attempting to confirm priors.
I will stress again that I think the wheels were falling off this franchise in 2019 and despite the winning records that year and in 2020, what has happened in 2021 hasn’t felt the least bit surprising. It has felt entirely predictable.
I don’t think this team has been close to being a serious contender for a long time. The quality of the quarterback has enabled them to consistently qualify for the playoffs but go no further. I want to be in the mix for Super Bowls and I think this team, for too long, has only been good enough to win a Wild Card game at best. With Wilson playing well below his best, the issues have been exposed both during individual games and in the team record.
I think money and picks have been wasted to an unforgivable extent.
I don’t want to watch an offense led and/or influenced by Pete Carroll, Darrell Bevell, Brian Schottenheimer or Shane Waldron any more. I don’t want to watch a defense led by Carroll and Ken Norton Jr. I don’t want Carl ‘Tater’ Smith or the Head Coach’s son to be go-to-guys for home truths. I don’t want the architects of the 2018-21 reset, or the Jamal Adams trade, to be in charge of the resources over the next few years — especially if the prime asset is traded to produce extra stock.
Nothing lasts forever. I want the Seahawks to be bold and ambitious to find the next great Seahawks leader and move forwards. I want to remember the Carroll era fondly, not look back on it as something that went on longer than it should and became really crap — like ‘Friends’.
You know what I think the next move should be because I put it in writing. I’ve argued, in numerous pieces, why I think change is necessary.
I simply don’t think a quote from Matt Hasselbeck, who played one season for Carroll 11 years ago, is of equal merit. Especially when the quote isn’t fleshed out. Or that interpreting a Kam Chancellor tweet (when he liked another Tweet complaining about the extent of Carroll’s power in Seattle) or speculating on why Tyler Lockett doesn’t attend Wilson’s summer camp is in any way ‘context’ or a valid argument for ownership sitting tight.
Any argument in favour of retaining Carroll should be able to explain, in detail, the following things:
1. Why he is the right man to oversee a rebuild potentially more challenging than the 2010 one he inherited.
2. Why he will be able to install the right coaching staff to properly elevate this team to the next level.
3. Why he is schematically the right person to drive this team forward.
This is all that really matters. And in each instance there’s a key point that needs to be acknowledged and debated. He’s already overseen the 2018 reset and how has that gone? His coaching staff appointments have been getting progressively worse. And schematically, where do we begin? The defense can’t get off the field and the offense can’t stay on the field.
They don’t do anything ‘well’ on offense, can’t feature their best players, can’t run the ball consistently and they’ve never been able to build a really good O-line.
On defense they’ve had pass rush issues for three straight seasons, at times it feels like the NFL installed a rule to say Seattle cornerbacks can’t intercept the ball any more and the areas where they’ve succeeded — such as the ‘bend but don’t break’ red zone defense — feel somewhat unsustainable, as we saw when it mattered against the Bears.
I don’t think these are ‘gotcha’ questions for a Carroll backer, either. I think some people are capable of offering a compelling argument in favour of keeping Carroll. I’m yet to see it though.
Too often these issues are unexplained — just as alternative plans to Carroll are brushed off, as are concerns about the 2022 draft class or the quarterback situation in college football.
In place of these arguments are the Hasselbeck quote, vague talk of the importance of ‘culture’ and this trendy argument that ‘it’s harder to replace a Head Coach than a franchise quarterback’.
People will listen to any argument that confirms their priors, if we’re being honest. My appeal to fans, though, would be to try and park that at least for one evening and just have a serious think about what’s best for the team. There’s not one right answer to this and I think increasingly the argument around this situation is turning into a typical Twitter row.
Pick a side, argue endlessly to confirm your priors, rinse and repeat.
We’ve been here with ‘pro or anti running game’, ‘Let Russ Cook’ and now the future of Carroll and Wilson. Seahawks Twitter is peerless in the amount of crap arguments it has, that never seem to end, often led by the same people.
And I speak as someone who is often incapable of avoiding wading in. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem… I guess.
— College Football is on its knees. The most recent season was boring. The SEC has become too powerful and that won’t change with new teams being added, transfer portals and the introduction of money into the game. The playoffs are only interesting when the Clemson and Ohio State types are capable of competing with the SEC’s best. There are too many Bowl games. It’s sad to see what’s happening.
— Desmond Ridder had a big chance to make a statement against Alabama but he didn’t really show anything. Granted, I never expected Ridder to take on Alabama or win the game. Equally, Cincinnati’s game plan felt very conservative. I didn’t feel like I was watching a difference maker though. This was a legit chance to show what he can do against NFL-level talent. I could easily imagine what we saw last night in a NFL game — just a lack of anything to get excited about. I wouldn’t write him off but even if he’d just shown a few flashes, there would’ve been that. He showed virtually nothing and it validates my thought that he is more mid-round flier than anything more substantial.
— I know I talk about it a lot but it’s remarkable how poor this quarterback class is. It feels like a two-way battle now between a 24-year-old rookie with 8 1/4 inch hands (Kenny Pickett) and a player with a serious knee issue who already lacks any kind of mobility (Carson Strong). On the periphery, you have a 6-0 200lbs signal caller who excels in the nice and easy Lane Kiffin scheme, when he isn’t pressured. You have a Liberty quarterback whose throwing technique is all over the place (but he’s a great athlete). And you have Ridder. Do you know how many times I’ve heard any of these names mentioned when people discuss moving on from Wilson? Zero.
— Unless you get a green light on Strong’s knee and you’re prepared to build a scheme for a talented albeit statuesque passer — I’d be inclined to take a flier on UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson. He has as much upside as anyone and he’ll be available later. I like him. Stanford’s Tanner McKee is another intriguing name. I’d rate them both higher than some of the ‘big name’ quarterbacks in this class. Keep an eye on Kentucky’s Will Levis too. He’s a player we talked about last year as one for the future. He’s a Penn State transfer and could declare as a junior. We’ll see. He’s only had one year as a starter. But while he hasn’t got a lot of publicity in the media, he has more upside than most and has the tools to be a very interesting pro-prospect. If he declared, I’d probably consider him as a candidate to be the best QB eligible. Tony Pauline says he’s very likely to return to Kentucky so one for 2023.
— Two years ago it felt vital to tap into any aspect of LSU’s Championship team when the draft came around. They were that good. This year, I think every team should be targeting players in Georgia’s front seven on defense. It is full of impact talent. If you draft a defensive lineman or linebacker from Georgia this year, you’ve probably made a good pick.
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