It’s starting to feel like the writing’s on the wall.
Change is inevitable. We’re just waiting to see the extent of the change.
Pete Carroll, John Schneider and Russell Wilson will not work together after this year.
It’s simply a case of who, if anyone, returns.
Ownership needs to make that decision now, so the next plan of action can commence as soon as the season concludes.
Whatever they decide — clarity is required from the moment the final pass is thrown of this wretched season.
Yet with this being the only serious topic in Seattle sports right now, we still have to debate, project and opine.
So here’s what I think, approaching December…
Russell Wilson will seek a trade
I don’t believe Wilson wants out of Seattle. I think he cares passionately about the city and the team. For someone so focused on legacy, he knows the importance of being a one-team man.
Yet I think he realises that in order to max out his career, he needs to be playing for a particular coach with a specific supporting cast.
The ideal home is with Sean Payton in New Orleans.
The Saints have had a year of ‘giving it a go’ with a collection of bad quarterbacks and the depth and talent of their roster is being squandered.
They are primed to make a run at a top veteran quarterback.
Forget the slightly strange contract extension for Taysom Hill announced today. If he was the answer at quarterback, they wouldn’t be starting Trevor Siemian.
Even if Carroll and Schneider depart (and I think both will need to go for there to be any chance of Wilson sticking around) — the Seahawks would still need to convince the quarterback that Seattle is the place to be with their subsequent appointments.
That’s going to be especially difficult to do. I can’t think of a Head Coach who would realistically convince Wilson. It would need to be a proven, prolific offensive mind with a track record. It’d almost have to be going out and trading for a Sean Payton.
That’s implausible, of course. It’s the kind of bold, ambitious move you could imagine Paul Allen pulling off. This ownership group, however, are a total unknown. And the Seahawks feel like a less trendy franchise for a prospective big beast of football coaching.
Thus, I think whatever happens, Wilson will seek to arrange an amicable split with the team. He will want a clean cut, a non-messy divorce, that allows him to part on good terms.
His non-trade clause also means he’ll get a big say in where he ends up. If New Orleans keep losing and their first round pick in 2022 continues to rise, they become a more realistic option. The Seahawks might be left hoping Wilson’s more open to a team like the Giants or Eagles, given they have multiple first round picks to spend.
Some people would celebrate a deal like this and suggest a huge rebuild is required, with Wilson the sacrificial lamb to gain cap space and draft picks.
We know how difficult it is to find a franchise quarterback. We can see other teams — desperate teams — struggling because they are left picking through the scraps of what is available.
You can have a really good team and struggle badly because of your quarterback. For every ‘Ryan Tannehill and the Titans’ example — there are far more teams who struggle with mediocre quarterback play undermining a strong roster.
You could include the 2011 Seahawks as a striking example.
They’ve had no such worries since 2012, which coincides with you-know-who being drafted 75th overall.
Pete Carroll will walk
I’ve felt for a while this’ll be Carroll’s final season. The out-of-the-blue LA Times article on his USC days, just as they were looking for a new coach, felt telling. Jay Glazer reported in 2017 that Carroll considered retiring before a big re-set — and they’re facing another one now. His body language has been very different this year. He’s seemed erratic, cluttered and the shambolic press conference last night was another example of a man who seems to have lost his mojo.
Carroll’s Seahawks are passive, soft, boring and have no identity.
As the Head Coach, he takes the main responsibility for that.
His explanations for the issues don’t cut the mustard. He implied on 710 ESPN today that a little bit of fine tuning and execution would have Seattle in position to succeed. The reality is, the Seahawks were just hammered in their own stadium by an Arizona team missing Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and JJ Watt.
Suggesting the Seahawks ‘only needed a couple more third down conversions’ sounds logical. When you are demolished by a team missing key starters and fielding Colt McCoy at quarterback, the issues go far deeper than Carroll is implying.
Furthermore — the problems we saw against Arizona have been there all season. It’s a coaches duty to right the wrongs and yet Carroll seems totally incapable of producing the answers to the problems.
Currently, the Seahawks would own the #5 overall pick if they hadn’t traded it to the New York Jets. And yet the Head Coach has no solutions.
His team has nothing to hang their hat on. No redeeming quality. They are hard to watch.
It’s time for a change.
Carroll will be well aware of what sticking around means for him. He’ll be the coach who saw off Wilson. He would then need to begin a major rebuild, with three years left on his contract and no realistic ability to take this on for another 8-10 years under a new QB.
It took them three drafts to find Wilson. It’s improbable to imagine Carroll wanting to spend the next three looking for a replacement, then launching a new era of Seahawks power football in his mid-70’s.
Especially with such a dire looking quarterback landscape in college football.
Whether Carroll retires or takes on one of the many college football job available, we’ll see. But I think we all acknowledge he’s coming to the end and I don’t think he’s going to persevere. I think he knows what’s going on.
He’s paying the price for his own hubris and lack of direction in terms of roster construction. He needed to be willing to take a back seat and become the overseer rather than the puppet-master.
He needed to do what Bill Belichick and Nick Saban have been willing to do. Hand the offense over to an experienced, skilled play-caller and let them dictate everything on that side of the ball. I would argue he should’ve done the same with the defensive coordinator. Be the leader. Set the culture. Motivate people. Allow others to look at the nuts and bolts of scheming.
Instead he doubled down, persisted with his family members, close friends and Carl ‘Tater’ Smith on his staff. All in the name of total control. It was a huge mistake.
Likewise the roster re-set has been a disaster. Carroll has done everything to undermine his own philosophy — building a team incapable of playing the way he wants to play.
The running game is horrendous and they can’t beat anyone up in the trenches. Squandering millions on average players, wasting picks on crazy trades and ill-fitting rookies. Carroll has taken his vision and committed Harakiri.
He has become a man with a terribly executed plan, no answers on how to fix the problems and he’s increasingly sounding desperate when speaking to the media.
It’s a sad end, one nobody would’ve wanted for this legendary coach.
I suspect he’d be doing himself a big favour by making it clear this is the final year — so we can celebrate all the great things he achieved in Seattle and say goodbye properly, rather than spending the next few weeks resenting him, while wondering if we might be subjected to another year of this.
John Schneider is the big question mark
What happens at GM is the key to everything. I don’t think Schneider and Wilson (and Mark Rodgers) can co-exist together. I think Schneider, given the opportunity, would’ve traded Wilson this year.
Does ownership want to take responsibility for replacing the Head Coach and the GM? Or do they want to hand that off to the General Manager and allow Schneider to become king-maker?
After all, they handed him a big extension just a matter of months ago. That, if nothing else, felt like a statement of intent and backing.
Even so, I wonder if Schneider even wants to carry on. Does he want to oversee a huge rebuild? Or would he rather take a break and come back re-energised with a new team in a year or two?
If he does continue, it’s plausible that ownership will ask him to shape the future of the team. And even if serious questions need to be asked about Seattle’s recent drafting and the Jamal Adams trade — it would at least be somewhat interesting to see what Schneider’s vision is after all these years of supporting Carroll and trying to deliver what he wants.
Whether he deserves the opportunity after the last few off-seasons is the key question. Bad drafts, suspect free agent decisions, squandered resources and too often a roster covered in band-aids.
I can imagine Schneider finding some traits within this quarterback class to admire. There isn’t a Wilson for him to fall for but he typically likes big-armed quarterbacks so he may appreciate some of the players, such as Carson Strong (knee permitting). I can see Schneider being a big fan of Kenny Pickett too.
He would need to make big decisions on key players. Is it time to move on from the likes of Bobby Wagner? Do they need to consider the possibility of trading D.K. Metcalf rather than paying him? Do they need to write-off the Jamal Adams contract and just move on?
Only recently Jason La Canfora connected Schneider to Aaron Rodgers. If Carroll goes, does it open the door for a Rodgers trade to replace Wilson, while adding a coach who can handle the strong-minded QB?
How do they become tougher and more physical rather than the soft, noisy front-runners they’ve become?
What will it take to become a team built in the trenches, that can once again beat-up opponents and be the bully?
Big questions and a big job. One I’m not completely convinced Schneider deserves or will have the appetite for. Yet of the three key individuals in Seattle right now, he might be the most likely to stay. If for no other reason than it gives ownership someone to lean on to deliver a replacement Head Coach.
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