My new plan & direction for the Seahawks for 2022

My preference? Go with Russell Wilson’s approach

Seahawks fans are starting to think long term, with the team at 2-3 and facing the prospect of watching Geno Smith at quarterback for the next month.

Not only that, the defense is struggling (again). The running game appears shot (again). Seattle’s O-line is grading at 68.5, 55.2, 53.7, 65.5 and 70.8 as a quintet (according to PFF, again).

There’s not a lot to be optimistic about.

You might say forming a plan for 2022 at this stage is premature. I don’t see any reason to wait.

Plenty of people said it was premature, too, to raise serious concerns about the team ahead of the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Or to talk about the likelihood of a big Russell Wilson trade saga last December. Or to critically analyse the Jamal Adams trade and discuss whether they should’ve moved on this year.

There’s no reason to delay this conversation. We can all see big changes are inevitable. It’s the make-up of those changes that will shape Seattle’s next chapter.

I think Pete Carroll will retire at the end of the season. Or maybe he’ll return to USC. The timing of this article in the LA Times is… curious. I’m not sure why Carroll would start talking about USC now, amid the biggest crisis of his reign in Seattle. It feels like he’s maybe putting out the feelers, seeing if there’s interest. It might suit him to return to California for one final hurrah, rather than retire or go into another saga with the franchise quarterback.

I’m not sure what the future holds for John Schneider. He may or may not remain in his position. It may or may not be his choice. After seriously botching this reset with the incredible misuse of resources, a clean sweep might be necessary.

I appreciate the ownership structure as it is would probably prefer not to initiate major changes. They might have no choice, depending on what Carroll and Schneider decide. And we have no evidence either way to assume how they’ll act about anything.

A lot of people think they’ll be dormant. I’ve voiced that assumption myself. This viewpoint is based on a Carroll contract extension dished out a year ago, amid reports of a five-year plan to potentially sell the team.

A lot has changed since Carroll’s deal was announced. They were 6-1 and heading to Buffalo. Since then there’s been a horrible playoff exit, a quarterback trade saga and a very difficult start to the 2021 season. There’s the real prospect of a first losing season in a decade.

If Russell Wilson demands to leave in the off-season, for example, short of a major restructure of the organisation — they’ll have no choice but to act one way or another. Either to back Carroll or go in a different Wilson-inspired direction.

It’s uncomfortable not knowing how ownership would handle this — or more specifically, who would handle this. Yet even the most inactive owners — Mike Brown for example — are forced into action eventually.

I’ll also say what I said a year ago. I do think there’s a scenario where keeping Carroll works too. But it involves him taking on a figurehead role where he hands the keys to the offense to an offensive coordinator and the keys to the defense to a defensive coordinator. Their schemes, their ideas, their execution.

I don’t think Carroll is capable of doing what Nick Saban has done in Alabama. Saban is still very much in charge but he trusts all-star coordinators. I think Carroll will always be a meddler. He’ll always think his way is the only way. The fact Seattle gave him the opportunity to indulge with complete control is why he’s even here in the first place.

Carroll once said, “It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.” It’s a quote that stuck with me. I wish he would take his own advice and adjust to being a Head Coach who creates culture and leadership, while letting other people handle the fine details of running an offense, defense and special teams.

It’s frustrating why he hasn’t opted to do that because I do think he still has a lot to offer the Seahawks. Not, however, while he persists with people like Ken Norton Jr running the defense. They look ramshackle and disorganised. They repeat mistakes.

Norton Jr is under-qualified for the role. He has no track record as a coordinator other than consistent failure. He’s there because he’s Carroll’s man. The entire coaching staff is filled with them — including family members and the recent return of Carl ‘Tater’ Smith.

Carroll doubled down on control when things went wrong in 2017. The only way to move forward now, I think, is to do the opposite.

I don’t think Carroll can change. That’s why I think the Seahawks have to.

I also think this is a weary looking franchise. The main players — Carroll, Schneider, Wilson and others — just seem spent. You could say the Carroll project has gone stale, or that perhaps it’s just coming to a natural conclusion with everyone involved needing a fresh start.

Change, one way or another, feels inevitable. This is how I would go about trying to rejuvenate the Seahawks for 2022.

1. A clean sweep of the organisation, rallying behind Russell Wilson

On Sunday I sat and watched Matt Ryan face-off against Zach Wilson. It dawned on me how difficult it’ll be for the Seahawks to ever replace Russell Wilson.

It felt like I was watching two different scenarios. The ageing, past-his-best veteran who may, one day, be available via trade or on the open-market as a short-term solution. Or the young rookie, drafted after one dynamic season at BYU.

Neither felt appealing. Wilson was erratic and doesn’t look ready. Ryan’s arm strength looked shot and while his numbers were good, it should be noted who he was playing against.

Seahawks fans could do worse than watch a live game like this. Yes, Russell Wilson has his flaws. He is not the perfect quarterback and there are aspects to his game that may always be frustrating (the sacks, the lack of taking what’s on offer).

Yet at the same time, there’s a reason why he’s a sure-fire future Hall-of-Famer. His quality is in serious danger of being overlooked.

I appreciate how challenging it is to assess Wilson currently. I don’t think he played particularly well prior to the injury. The fact the offense had about -8 yards until late in the first half against San Francisco is incredible really.

I sense the thing people are most looking forward to against Pittsburgh is to see if Geno Smith can throw a competent screen pass, feature the tight ends and check things down. Simple things many perceive to be an issue for Wilson.

Yet at the same time, there are a whole bunch of stats that also need to be acknowledged.

Wilson has a 10/1 TD/INT ratio. He’s leading the league in passer rating. His PFF grade (90.3) is second only to Tom Brady. He’s done all this without any help in the running game, he’s playing behind a poorly performing O-line and the defense is giving up record breaking yardage.

Fans and media alike will come to their own conclusions and there might not be a definitive right answer. I fear this is set to be a divisive debate for the next few months, splitting everyone into ‘teams’ as we so often see on Seahawks Twitter.

My own personal conclusion is this. The fact that Wilson can statistically be so impressive yet we all feel like he can be better is indicative of who and what he is as a player. Even when he’s not at his best, he produces at a level so many other fanbases crave.

If you are able to supply the supporting cast required to be competitive — I believe he can lead this team to glory.

I’m a big believer that all quarterbacks need to be complemented. Brady, last season, had everything. Tampa Bay completed the circle Carroll so often talks about.

Green Bay, who they beat in the NFC Championship game, haven’t got back to the Super Bowl due to confusing coaching decisions, botched special teams play and a weak defense. They haven’t completed the circle and that’s prevented Aaron Rodgers, genius that he is, from returning to the Super Bowl.

Patrick Mahomes suddenly looks human when he’s asked to play behind a shocking O-line in the Super Bowl or try and prop up the worst defense in the league.

Moving on from Wilson — particularly with a rancid looking 2022 quarterback class — is not the answer. I think setting up the foundations to win with him as the focal point is preferable.

I worry that moving on from him puts you back in a situation where you’re looking for an Andy Dalton type to play quarterback. Or you’re taking a chance on a rookie who’s out of his depth. And once you get into the rat race of searching at that position — it can be very hard to get out of it.

I’ve watched all of the big name quarterbacks in college football and it’s concerning how dry the well is currently. Even with a player like Desmond Ridder — who has elevated his Cincinnati team and caught the eye — there’s a degree of suspicion as to whether he’s truly a next level prospect or just a college dynamo.

Therefore, I think priority #1 this off-season should be to give Wilson’s vision for the Seahawks a shot. We heard from Greg Olsen (see below) that he feels confined by Carroll’s philosophy and simply doesn’t believe in it anymore:

This is the crux of the matter here. I don’t think Wilson wants to leave Seattle at all. Legacy is important to Wilson and there’s something special about playing for one team. This is simply a case of Wilson feeling like Carroll’s way is holding him back. And he’s reached a point in his career where he thinks a different approach is necessary to get to where he wants to go — which is back to the Super Bowl.

Before throwing the baby out with the bathwater, let’s at least give Wilson’s approach a try. That means doubling down with a new Head Coach who shares his vision. I’d go as far as to suggest he should be included in the interview process.

You run the risk of empowering him too much. That, to me, still seems like a risk worth taking. The Packers moved on from Mike McCarthy and immediately had back-to-back 13-3 seasons and made the NFC Championship game twice. That was all despite Aaron Rodgers clashing with management and having a somewhat frosty relationship with Matt LaFleur.

For me, an ideal scenario would be to learn from the Packers. Take a similar approach but do it better — ensuring Wilson is on board and invested, rather than creating avoidable drama.

This may also mean a new GM. Why? I’ve speculated that Schneider might’ve been the one person willing to deal Wilson last off-season. After all, he reportedly travelled to North Dakota State and had a meeting with Chicago’s GM Ryan Pace to discuss a deal. He then presented an offer to Carroll, who reportedly turned it down.

I doubt Schneider would do that if he was against making a move. I sense a weariness in dealing with Mark Rodgers, as has been speculated by many over the years. I think this has generally created a weariness among Carroll and Wilson too. Everyone just seems a bit tired of being together.

And let’s not forget how often Schneider visited the top-QB pro-days in 2018 — and reportedly had a tentative conversation with the Browns about trading Wilson for the #1 pick that year (reportedly with Josh Allen as the target replacement).

I do wonder what the Schneider/Wilson relationship is these days. If the Seahawks empower Wilson this off-season I’m not convinced Schneider will be the key decision maker implementing the new plan.

Given the bleak outlook for quarterbacks in college, I’m not sure the Seahawks have much choice but to go all-in on making it attractive for Wilson to want to stay in Seattle. I’ve read a lot about moving on, regaining stock and going through what would be akin to an expansion level rebuild due to the lack of true long-term blue chip players on the roster.

To me that might sound exciting and intriguing but it also feels like a plan that is harder to execute and is more likely to bury this team over many years.

After all, look at the first round picks Miami have had recently. Are they any better for it? What about the Rams when they traded away the rights to Robert Griffin III?

Unless the Seahawks wish to play musical chairs with another team, essentially taking what they can get for Wilson and going all-in on a Deshaun Watson type. That’s a plan I suppose. It would also be controversial and lined with risk.

I think if there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the last 18 months it’s this — it’s more difficult to replace a quarterback than a coach. Ask the Patriots about that. It’s time for the Seahawks to heed that warning.

2. Bring in a dynamic, offensive-minded Head Coach

If the second coming of Brandon Staley is available, then that would be great. I sense, however, that Staley is a rare find. I remember watching his initial press conference with the Chargers and was blown away by his performance. The decision makers in LA have played a blinder identifying Staley and Justin Herbert as their future.

Maybe the Seahawks should tap into their braintrust by appointing someone from within their front office?

Assuming they can’t find a Staley, I think it’s time to go and get a coach who can work with Wilson to deliver the kind of partnership we’re seeing across the league. A brilliant offensive, creative mind and a franchise quarterback.

The two names that we’ve talked about the most are Joe Brady and Brian Darboll.

Brady has achieved a lot in a short space of time. He instigated a National Championship for LSU. Granted, he coached an incredibly talented offense. They had Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Clyde Edwards-Helaire — plus a very capable offensive line.

LSU had NFL talent throughout their roster.

Even so, let’s not ignore Burrow’s development working with Brady. He transferred from a backup gig at Ohio State. His first season at LSU was very average — he threw for 16 touchdowns only and had five picks in 13 games. After the 2018 season he was viewed as a day three pick.

Brady arrived in 2019 and suddenly Burrow was throwing for 60 touchdowns, winning the Heisman and leading an unbeaten National Champion. He became the sure-fire #1 overall pick.

That success brought Brady back to the NFL with the Panthers. He’d previously worked for Sean Payton as an offensive assistant. He’s created an impression despite not having a great quarterback or O-line in Carolina.

He’s only 32 so he’s young. Not everyone is Sean McVay and naturally suited to being a young Head Coach. The only way to found out, really, is to have intimate knowledge of how he operates and to interview him for a job.

Yet Brady feels like the kind of creative, dynamic coach Wilson craves. We all know he has a lot of admiration for Payton’s system in New Orleans. Brady’s background with the Saints could be a winner if the aim is to build a strong relationship here.

Darboll is a different type of candidate. He’s 46 — so 14 years older than Brady. He’s been around a long time.

Here’s his résumé:

New England — 2000-01
(defensive assistant)

New England — 2002-06
(receivers coach)

New York Jets — 2007-08
(quarterbacks coach)

Cleveland — 2009-10
(offensive coordinator)

Miami — 2011
(offensive coordinator)

Kansas City — 2012
(offensive coordinator)

New England — 2013-16
(tight ends coach)

Alabama — 2017
(offensive coordinator & QB coach)

Buffalo — 2018-2021
(offensive coordinator)

Some of these stints have been unsuccessful. For example, with the Browns he helped run the 32nd ranked offense in 2009 and the 29th ranked offense in 2010.

He’s very much part of the Belichick tree, working for the Patriots and also Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel and Nick Saban.

Going to work with the Bills is his first venture outside of that Belichick-inpsired world.

Many of Belichick’s protégés have flopped as Head Coaches. That would have to be the slight concern with Darboll. Yet his work with Josh Allen is a tremendous counter point to that.

Allen has been transformed from a figure of fun among NFL fans to one of the best players in the league. Darboll has earned a reputation for tailoring gameplan’s for specific opponents. He’s not wedded to a brand of offense per se. He’s known to have games where they abandon the run if that’s what is necessary. Everything feels deliberate and calculated.

He’s not only worked wonders with Allen. The likes of Stefon Diggs have excelled in this offense. He’s got a lot out of the O-line and running backs — despite a lack of elite players in either unit.

PFF wrote a decent breakdown on how Darboll has worked with Allen to achieve success in Buffalo.

Transplanting his offensive vision, which appears to be open-minded and has adapted and developed during his various stints in the league and college, would be a major boon for the Seahawks.

There are other names to mention too. It seems quite strange to mention Kellen Moore’s name, given he was playing college football at the same time as Wilson. Yet his work with the Cowboys’ offense has been tremendous. Eric Bienemy’s name is always mentioned as a candidate yet there have been various reports about poor interviews and concerning moments in his past that have seemingly prevented him from getting an opportunity. Green Bay’s Nathaniel Hackett will likely be a candidate for teams in 2022 also.

There are options to take this franchise in a new direction and create the kind of working relationship and philosophy Wilson craves.

Pairing the offensive minded Head Coach with an experienced defensive coordinator would be the key. They would need someone who can deliver a complementary defense that is schemed well, can provide regular pressure and find a way to finally plug in some cornerbacks who are capable of making a few plays.

It’s not an overly ambitious or unrealistic plan. Whoever took over would also need to be supported by a strong off-season where key roster changes were made.

I do think it’s worth giving this kind of plan a try, though, before we embrace the alternative of a total re-working of the franchise.

#3 Re-focus resources to different positions

We’ve long stated that the Seahawks are spending far too much resource at linebacker and safety and that needs to change.

Bobby Wagner is 32 next June and has a $20m cap hit next year. It might be time to move on in the off-season.

I would consider eating a significant cap-hit to trade Jamal Adams and just enable both parties to move on. Dealing him after June 1st next year allows you to spread out the damage. It’d cost you $4m in 2022 and $12m in 2023. It’s not ideal but it’s quickly starting to feel like this might be an unsalvageable situation unless you appoint a defensive coordinator who can breathe new life into his career.

Alternatively, considering the team is currently set to carry over $11m into next years salary cap, they might just want to eat the $16m that it’d cost to trade him at the start of the off-season. It might actually be easier to trade him post-contract extension, with buyers knowing the exact cost and having no guaranteed money invested in Adams.

According to Over the Cap, trading or cutting Wagner alone would give the Seahawks about $59m to spend in 2022. They’d have a lot to do — with the likes of Duane Brown and Quandre Diggs out of contract.

They’re also not in a desperate state either — with at least some money to spend to try and kick-start a new regime.

What should the priorities be?

For the first time in a long time, the complete mission statement should be to become a team that dominates in the trenches. That’s where the big money should be spent. That’s where the top draft picks should be invested.

The aim should be to create a team that can kick your arse up front on both sides of the ball — home or away.

Other positions, such as safety, can be left up to the likes of Ryan Neal to fly around and make plays. It’s time to focus on speed and value at the non-premium positions and use the bulk of your resources on the positions of greater importance.

On top of that, it’s time for the Seahawks to go and get a truly excellent, reliable running back.

For a team that supposedly values the running game so much — they’ve passed on most of the leagues top runners in the draft (Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara etc) because they don’t fit ideals.

It’s time to go and acquire a runner that opponents fear playing.

Give Russell Wilson a good O-line and running game to go along with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett — plus a complementary pass-rushing defense — and there’s absolutely no reason why this team can’t return to success quickly.

The following are all scheduled to be free agents in 2022:

Von Miller
Brandon Scherff
Chandler Jones
Cam Robinson
Terron Armstead
Akiem Hicks
Jason Pierre-Paul
Ryan Jensen
Andrew Norwell
Calais Campbell
Bradley Bozeman
Brian Allen
Wyatt Teller
James Daniels
Will Hernandez
Austin Corbett
Mark Glowinski
Larry Ogunjobi
Jarran Reed
Harold Landry
Haason Reddick
Jadeveon Clowney
Dante Fowler Jr.
Emmanuel Ogbah
Derek Barnett
Whitney Mercilus
Jacob Martin

There are going to be some options to add quality to the trenches in the veteran market.

There are draft options too, such as:

Trevor Penning (T, Northern Iowa)
Aidan Hutchinson (DE, Michigan)
Jordan Davis (DT, Georgia)
Alex Forsyth (C, Oregon)
Tyler Linderbaum (C, Iowa)
Rasheed Walker (T, Penn State)
Haskell Garrett (DT, Ohio State)
Zachary Carter (DE, Florida)
Jermaine Johnson (DE, Florida)
Drake Jackson (DE, USC)
Logan Hall (DT, Houston)
Devonte Wyatt (DT, Georgia)
Darian Kinnard (T, Kentucky)

There’s a cluster of talented running backs including Michigan State’s brilliant Kenneth Walker, UCLA’s Michigan transfer Zach Charbonnet and Alabama’s Brian Robinson.

It’s a shame that in a year where the Seahawks might end up with a top-12 pick that they might take themselves out of contention for a prodigious cornerback talent in Derek Stingley — purely for the folly of the desperate Jamal Adams trade.

We’ve seen teams return to contention quickly with inspired off-season moves and a shift in philosophy. That is what I would like to try.

As the Dallas Cowboys are currently proving, you can get things moving in the right direction. This doesn’t have to be long or painful. It just needs to be different in the right areas.

A quick note for this week — I will be doing a live stream with Jeff Simmons on Wednesday at 2pm PST. If you missed yesterday’s with Brian from Hawkblogger, check it out below:

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  1. JJ


    Great overview of where you think the hawks need to go. Was wondering if you thought any college coaches were worth a shot. Lincoln Riley? David Shaw?

    • Ben

      If you really want to run Wilson out of town, replace Carroll with David Shaw. His offense is cutting edge… 1983.

    • Rob Staton

      Hard to imagine Riley leaving Oklahoma

      I think Shaw is a bit overrated. Would depend on the coaches he recruits to join him

  2. no frickin clue

    I agree with this plan, but ultimately it hinges on Pete’s willingness to leave on his own. If Pete shows signs of planning to stay beyond 2021, then Russ will renew his efforts to get traded. And I really no see no state of the world in which Jody Allen steps up and fires Pete.

    Pete leaves on his own and then the following occurs:
    – Ken Norton Jr. no longer has protection – we get a competent DC
    – Russ feels empowered to help choose an offensive-minded HC

  3. LooseSasquatch

    I agree with all of this Rob, but unfortunately, I don’t think any of it happens. Pete will stay until someone fires him, and that’s not going to happen I think until we get a new owner. It’s long been his established MO that “always compete” and “win forever” don’t apply to the coaching staff or front office, so I expect that they’ll carry on doing the same things they’ve always done, especially given the ready-made excuse a Russell Wilson injury now gives them on having a losing season.

    All the drama w/ Wilson may ramp up, but until he forces the issue, I think they stand pat and keep doing what Pete Carroll has been doing for years. It worked once, and I don’t think he’s willing to re-examine if it can work again given all the changes to the league, roster, and everything else.

  4. TJ

    Fantastic post!

  5. Mick

    Anybody living in Seattle can print this and post it on the walls? Maybe it gets through to Jody Allen.

    I’m very fond of Bobby Wagner. He’s been the mind of our D for so long. But he is too expensive and if he doesn’t understand it and isn’t willing to take a major pay cut, we should let him go. I also like JS quite a lot. But I’d always pick Russ before him.

    And if I were to set a priority for the new GM/HC, number one should be investing in guys who can stop Aaron Donald and Nick Bosa. If they don’t get to Russ, we can dominate NFC West with Wilson, DK, Lockett and a solid RB.

  6. cha

    This is the way.

    Great article Rob. This is a fantastic blueprint for moving forward.

  7. Donovan


  8. Ashish

    Great article Rob!!

    I believe having Russ and building team around him is the only way. Pete had his chances and by hiring Norton he wanted remote control/puppet for his defense. Hiring Tater/smith was another blunder. Russ injury might be blessing in disguise, it will be evident to people who wants to trade him. Russ is like a robot like many NFL pandits say about him, but in way that is good thing. He always take cares of himself, is available for the game and well prepared.
    Pete should retire/fire now so rebuilding process start sooner than later. Hire defensive coach who is willing to take advantage of experience QB. We should invest more in O-Line, D-Line, improve the defense and get rid of players like Adams, may be Bobby if we are getting draft picks. Next 2-3 years will rebuilding process before we can dream about another trophy.

  9. Matthew

    I’m imagining a scenario where Geno Smith looks really good for 4 weeks (like Matt Flynn, Derek Anderson, and Matt Cassell before him) and that emboldens PC to stay, and ship Wilson off. It’s not that Smith is the answer, I just sense if Geno looks good, PC will feel like kowtowing to Wilson was the problem all along.

    Thanks for such a succinct article detailing what is probably the most sensible solution. You can hire and fire HC at will, you have to find the QB through the draft. I’m happy we get to see the PC Seahawks with somebody else at QB for a stretch. Would be nice to see Wilson in a different system…just not on another team.

  10. STTBM

    Rob, excellent article! I’m on board 100%. I too think Carrol had a chance to keep on winning, but he blew it by allowing guys like Kris Richard and Robert Saleh go, not doing whatever it took to get either Bradley or Quinn back and allowing them to have free reign, and by replacing them with incompetent yes-men cronies.

    From where I sit, there’s no good way forward with Carrol. That ship has sailed.

    Who knows what ownership will do? There’s no track record to think positively. At least Paul was a legit business genius, who found a management system he insisted on that worked for a decade.jody has no such experience to draw from. Can you see her becoming enamored of a new business structure that revolutionizes the Front Office/Coaching relationship? To be fair, that would be alot to expect of most people who aren’t extremely successful at running large business empires.

  11. cha

    I’d really like to see what this team can do with Russell Wilson and actual defense.

    There hasn’t been a real “RW is the center” team that featured an even adequate defense.

    We can talk all we want about the things Russ can’t do at a super high level. But the defense has failed to consistently support him by regularly making stops or giving him a short field, or God forbid, scoring some points.

    2018-the reset. Avril, Bennett, Sherman, Kam gone. Earl being Earl. Rookie safety Tre Flowers at corner. Sheldon Richardson flew the coop and McDowell are in the rear view mirror. Reed and Clark having career years saved this defense from being a disaster.

    2019-Clark traded away and Reed suspended. The worst pass rush in the NFL ‘saved’ by a miracle Clowney trade but still ultimately not good enough. Still a hair’s breadth away from a bye week-level team.

    2020-the biggest cap windfall in ages is spend on backups and depth. Another pathetic offering for pass rushers and culminated in a franchise-threatening level trade for Jamal Adams. A historic stretch of awfulness broken by another miracle acquisition and a slate of games against poor teams. Yet when team loses at Buffalo and LA, when questioned PC points to Russ and not defenses that were incompetently prepared. Both teams were staked to solid leads early in the game and the defense couldn’t make stops or get the ball back when the offense got in gear.

    A defense that can neither stop the run, or a backup QB and a busted-thumb Goff who immediately got dumped by McVay in the offseason.

    2021-Here we go again.

    This is a team that could have traded for both Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell instead of Jamal Adams and still kept their entire 2022 draft class intact.

    Give Russell a real defensive line. A corner or two. A coach who can scheme around lack of talent in other areas. And then let’s see how he does.

    • Big Mike

      “Yet when team loses at Buffalo and LA, when questioned PC points to Russ and not defenses that were incompetently prepared”
      He’d have to admit his crony KNJ had fault. Since Pete hand picked him, that wasn’t gonna happen.

      • cha

        He did. He said ‘we didn’t prepare for them to not run’ against Buffalo.

        But Danny O’Niell was too busy telling him congratulations on the contract extension and how he’s a real inspiration to all of us to follow up.

    • Scot04

      The part that we could have traded for both Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell instead of Jamal Adams hurts so bad. Just thinking about it feels like repeatedly getting kicked in the balls.

      • cha

        feels like repeatedly getting kicked in the balls

        Yeah, that’s a typical reaction to most of my posts.

    • olyhawksfan

      THAT is a depressing breakdown. But necessary, thanks Cha.

      And despite all that they were still winning. Imagine if a Matt Ryan, Sam Darnold, or Carson Wentz were under center.

      The argument is that the Ryan’s and Wentz’s of the world would have done better, which is hard to say. But at this point I would rather watch a new movie with Russ, than the same movie with a new lead.

  12. Paul Cook

    Everything’s just so up in the air and full of unknowables it’s hard for me embrace any possible future scenario. I think RW is gone after this season, that he’s going to force his way out, IMO. I think he’s done with PC, and I think the odds are against him trusting a new regime to rebuild the team and to do so fast enough for his tastes.

    I agree with you that the most conservatively sensible thing to do would be to get a new HC/GM team in place and rebuild around RW. This would require PC stepping down or getting fired, the former being the far more likely scenario at present, it seems to me. Neither I nor anyone else has a clue as to who would make such fateful hires of a new HC/GM? Such a huge uncertainty, and an uncertainty that RW has a lot of extra time now to contemplate.

    Maybe we should try to trade RW and Chris Carson to Cleveland for Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb. Maybe Cleveland will want a future HOF QB to compete against Mahomes, Allen, and Herbert now, or risk never being quite strong enough. Then maybe we get a QB better than almost all of the rest of the options now, and some flexibility as to what we eventually decide for the QB position in the future

    Just my wild hare thought. LOL

  13. Call Me AL

    I have to say the live stream with Brian from Hawkblogger was over the top good. Two very knowledgeable individuals with different perspectives on the Seahawks. Made for a very interesting and entertaining experience!

    A new plan and direction for the Seahawks in 2022 has been on a lot people’s minds lately. A tough topic to tackle given all the unknowns, so kudos for taking it on.

    Lets say for the purposes of discussion, there is a clean sweep of the organization while rallying behind Russell Wilson. After listening to Hawkblogger’s opinion on the matter,

    What if you get the best possible head coach match offensive philosophy wise with Russell Wilson but the defense is still not good enough to contend? So then you have a 35 year old Wilson with still not a good enough team to contend. It’s hard for me to imagine how that’s going to result in a team that’s ready to truly contend within 2or 3 years, and if not then your getting up to a 36 or 37 year Russell Wilson and that’s only with the best case scenario.

    I agree with his assessment. That and most experts believe there are only two, maybe three up and coming young talents on this team. DK Metcalf, Darrell Taylor and possibly Damien Lewis. You go on to suggest trading Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams, replacing Chris Carson, giving Russell a good O-line, a complementary pass-rushing defense, adding a dynamic, offensive-minded Head Coach and pairing him with an experienced defensive coordinator!

    So to sum this all up, while your not your not suggesting all of the the following, it certainly stands to reason these things most likely would have to take place. Replace all three starting linebackers (because Brooks and Barton currently aren’t an answer), the strong safety and possibly the free safety because its not a given Diggs is the answer either, finding two starting cornerbacks, four out of five offensive line starters, the starting running back while finding and drafting two to three pass rushers. While at the same time hiring a dynamic, offensive-minded Head Coach and pairing him with an experienced defensive coordinator! Suggesting that this might be the quickest and safest route back to title contention.

    I’m not sure of your time frame for all of this to happen, but you would have to be looking at least two to three years with all the pieces falling almost perfectly into place. What I view as a very ambitious plan, a perfect storm so to speak. By then you would have a quarterback whos past his mid thirties and could very well start experiencing declining skills.

    If Wilson were younger I think this would make more sense and be less risky. I think we also have to agree that Wilsons best trade value may be now and not three or four years down the road. His trade could bring several young talented players into the fold. I know your pointing out there are no talented quarterbacks on the horizon in college right now. But I suggest that we won’t need our quarterback of the future for at least two years. Build a talented team, go get your Brady or draft your Wilson. While of course being easier said than done, I think you would have to agree that a talented free agent quarterback would view a Tampa Bay situation in a very favorable way. The draft is of course is always a crapshoot.

    Its hard to say what’s going to happen after this season. I want to thank you for a very well thought out article, inspiring me to really consider the possibilities while at the same time providing some hope for the future in what has been a really terrible year for Seahawks football.

    • Chris

      The problem is that if you trade away Wilson, you have to either hope to develop a stud defense, a new O-Line, and find a QB that can compete with the best. As Rob has outlined, (and I’m sure you know), acquiring a new QB is the hardest task in the NFL.

      I think that if we write off 2021, and start fresh with a new GM and coach, we’re four years away from competing for an NFC Championship, even with Wilson. Unless we can somehow recoup some draft picks, we just won’t have enough draft capital to improve faster, and we’d have to rely on free agents. I don’t think our cap space looks that great either.

      So we’re in that middle ground where we have an aging team, no draft picks and little money. The one thing we do have is a great QB. Keeping him is the only chance of competing in the coming four years before he starts to drop off significantly.

  14. Big Mike

    Really appreciate the effort Rob. Outstanding.

    Those of you that think Pete Carroll won’t retire/resign, remember how and when he left USC. He most definitely could do similar here too.

  15. kza

    I will never root against the Seahawks, but I think a nightmare scenario is that they win a few games without RW (couple of the next few games are quite winnable – Steeler, Jags). That will give fuel to PC, JS and ownership that they can win without RW. That leaves RW as the scapegoat and he likely gets traded, Geno is the starter for the next 1-2 years and PC has renewed hold on the organization. Two or three years later without any real progress, PC will move on and we will be back to square one.

    The only comment I have on Rob’s piece is that (Hawkblogger said something along these lines) RW is the only asset with any real value. It will be hard to make a contender in the short term without good draft picks, and the only way to get that is through a RW trade. Obviously, there will be no QB anywhere near RW level in that scenario. If we do keep RW, however, we do have a stellar QB but it will be hard to make a good enough team through FA only. This really is a rock-and-a-hard-place situation.

    • AlaskaHawk

      There is no way that the Seahawks would go with Geno Smith as a starter next year. He’s simply an example of what a more classic quarterback can do with this offense. If he is successful and they want to make the switch, the Seahawks would probably look at other veteran quarterbacks that are available after the season. They may draft for a quarterback too, but it sounds like a real crap shoot this year.

  16. Billy

    Hey Rob!

    Excellent article! I agree with u 100% my only question is who are some legit D guys that we could look at for coordinator?

    • Rob Staton

      It’s a tough one to answer currently. Preferably someone with HC experience

  17. Kevin

    Football Outsiders currently has the Seahawks ranked at 9th in DVOA based entirely on this season. To me, that is reflection of how well Russell Wilson is playing (and I would give some credit to Tyler Lockett and a little to DK Metcalf). He was propping up the entire teamand has been for years. Any thought of trading him, whether he is disgruntled or not, is acquiescing to failure.

    The next several weeks without him are going to lay bare the inadequacies of the team and its staff. If they win one of the next three games before week 10 (when RW hopes to return), I will earnestly be surprised. That would mean at week 10, the record would be 3-5, and they would have to win the next 7 to realistically stay in playoff contention. Not… going… to… happen…

  18. Blitzy the Clown

    I think if there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the last 18 months it’s this — it’s more difficult to replace a quarterback than a coach

    I watched the live stream with Hawkblogger. It was the first time I’ve heard him speak. He sounds a lot more reasoned and rational than his suggests. Just my opinion. Yours may vary.

    I give him credit for (ostensibly) not being married to one option or the other regarding Wilson vs Carroll. I also give him credit for thinking through the risks associated with choosing Wilson over Carroll. He raises valid concerns.

    What I don’t think he’s done well is think through the risks associated with letting Wilson walk. He falls into the same trap that everyone else who wants to move on from Wilson does: who replaces him?

    It has to be a name, a specific person, not some vague type of QB (eg, ‘game manager’). And I don’t see anyone (with the possible exception of Deshaun Watson) who I think reduces those risks to an acceptable level. Not to mention I think Carroll is spent as a coach, at least as an NFL coach, so I don’t think keeping him but changing the QB is any solution at all.

    Yes, there are risks either way. Such is the NFL; indeed, such is life. But to me, the risk of remaining a middling team is greater with the current front office and coaching staff.

    • Blitzy the Clown

      than his *blogging suggests

    • AlaskaHawk

      When you consider that it will probably take 2 or 3 years to rebuild the team, they don’t have to have a great quarterback next year. In fact it might be better to have a crappy quarterback next year and finally get high draft picks.

  19. Gross MaToast

    Well written, well considered post. It’s hard to disagree with any of it. All of this should happen for the betterment of the Hawks.

    I come back to the same fundamental issue with each scenario, though: Does current ownership care about winning? It’s easy to get lost in the weeds trying to suss out where ownership stands on anything Seahawks related. The last public action from ownership was giving Pete full control for five more years. I initially thought that contract was simply a bridge until the franchise was sold, but there’s no indication that the team is even being shopped. As it stands now, is ownership capable of initiating the changes necessary to rebuild from the ground up? Who would be the trusted advisor leading the way? There are just too many unknowns.

    I think Pete returns and Russ goes to the Saints.

    The best case scenario and hope for a rebuild is the open SC gig and Pete going back for one more run, and I think he could absolutely kill it there for a few years. He must realize the mess he’s created in Seattle and a fresh start must look awfully appealing.

    BUT…he currently has full, unquestioned control of an NFL franchise. There is no owner, coach, or GM with more power than Pete currently enjoys. Pete is who Jerry Jones wants to be when he grows up.

    Right now, everything Seahawks revolves around the uncertainty of ownership and its attitude about anything. I’d love to see Joe Brady come in and scheme up some filth for RW, DK, Lockett and unknown running back, but that seems like too radical a departure for the franchise as it now stands.

    I’d love to be proven wrong.

  20. Trevor

    Rob what are your thoughts on Brian Shaw or Lincoln Riley as a HC option. I realize both would be tough to pry away but seem to be the type of guys who might fit the bill.

    • Rob Staton

      I can’t see Riley leaving Oklahoma with the new QB looking so good

  21. Matt

    This is probably your best work, Rob.

    Nothing to disagree with and I think this is the most logical step to take. A total blow up is not necessary, IMO – especially when you consider the hole that will be left at QB with minimal options to address it.

    If we do your plan and it’s still not working in 2-3 years; then blow it up. But at least give it a try. Too many people discount Pete’s influence on the offense. They interpret that as “calling plays.” It’s philosophical. In a baseball analogy, Pete basically tells his hitters that he wants homeruns but they better not strike out.

    I’ve said for a long time, I think the spurts of dysfunction on offense really come down to that philosophy – scared to make a mistake which leads to RW not trusting what he sees, passive play calling, playing not to lose. It’s Occam’s Razor, IMO. Otherwise, you’d have to believe that all 11 players on offense forget how to function/play football for quarters and halves, consistently; while operating at extraordinarily high levels at the other times.

    I’m not absolving players of their responsibility, but again, I think Pete wants two things that are not in direct contradiction to each other, but it’s a really thin gap to thread. When things are not going well, the philosophy kills itself (deep shots BUT don’t turn it over).

    I’m a little all over the place here, but what I want to see from the next coach is to emphasize and increase margin of error. Pete continues to operate on razor thin margins, and I think he actually plans it this way. Why? I don’t know…maybe the old school mentality of “it makes you tougher.” I think he takes all the wrong lessons from what are good old school elements of the game.

    Brandon Staley had a perfect answer as to why the run game is important – it doesn’t make Play Action better, the number of runs doesn’t equate to winning, but what it does is that it provides an element of physicality where you force the defense to tackle, take on blocks, etc.

    This is where I think Pete gets lost. I think PC agrees with Staley on the latter part, but I think he actually believes that PA is better and that a certain number of runs makes you win games. It plays directly into what comes across as no opponent-specific game planning. “If we hit X and Y, we win.” Not really, Pete – there’s another team involved in this equation that has equal say in the outcome of the game. And you don’t have the personnel to just line up mano y mano and win, all the time.

    Ultimately, that’s what I think winning in 2021 comes down to – Pete belief in his way is so high that he blames the players for not understanding the scheme or executing properly. One off failures by the players – that’s on the players. Persistent systemic problems with the same mistakes being made over and over is on the system. That’s on Pete.

    All I’d really like to see is the team build around the talent they have (not what you wish you had) and create multiple avenues to winning. In the salary cap era, that means you have to pick and choose. We know this team has a difference making QB and a suspect Defense. It’d behoove Pete to start coaching like it.

    That means…you push your offense to score on every possession until the math says to go for ball control. Up by two scores in the 3rd quarter with a bad defense doesn’t mean you should go ball control, but often times, that is exactly what we see this team do. That means being more aggressive on 4th downs. It means letting your best player make the play rather than trying to outsmart your opponent with your worst.

    Pete is stubbornly committed to the things that don’t work now while being scattershot on new ideas that do work. I have no idea why the offensive philosophy has looked dramatically different from week 1. It’s like Pete is uncomfortable when something that’s not his idea fails once and he is so quick to shut it down. Ultimately, hubris has been his downfall. To your point, he can’t help but meddle.

    • TomLPDX

      Excellent commentary Matt.

      • Big Mike

        Ditto from me Matt

    • Chris

      I think the offensive woes are pretty easily understood when we remember Pete’s offensive philosophy; run the ball well, and make deep shots down the field. Explosive plays. Yet we don’t have the staff for that anymore. We don’t have an RB who can carry more than twice without taking himself out of the game. We don’t have a line that can block consistently. All we have is a deep ball QB and two good receivers, and we live and die by how well they do.

      • Matt

        Much more succinct and well-put than my novella. He doesn’t have all the personnel for what he wants to do. Har

    • dand393

      Very good comment Matt I agree with everything you said

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks Matt

  22. Ashish

    Something about this action green uniform – Sherman , Avril, Kam (if i remember correctly) played their last game in that uniform.

  23. GoHawksDani

    Awesome article!

    If anyone would get the decision who’d be your top HC, OC, DC, GM and top3 priority FAs?

  24. UkAlex6674

    Rapsheet reporting Tre Flowers has been released.

  25. Hawks4life

    Hawks released Tre Flowers

    • Ashish

      What he had best off season in 4 years

    • cha

      So long and thanks for all the fish.

      • Roy Batty

        I hope he took his towel with him.

      • Palatypus

        Cha said, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.

        I own that movie soundtrack.

    • Pran

      Finally, change is coming.. lol

    • TomLPDX

      Apparently it was at his request.

  26. cha

    Field Yates
    · 9m
    Following Russell Wilson’s injury, the Seahawks are working out QB Blake Bortles.

    Bert Blyleven wasn’t available I guess.

    • TomLPDX

      Wonderful. Another failure destined to fail in Seattle. I’d rather they trade for Minshew. Tre was available…just sayin’

    • Robert M

      That got an audible chuckle. Not sure how DK would handle the curve, anyway.

    • Palatypus

      Gaylord Perry is on speed dial.

  27. Pran

    If you are the GM or Coach and have to retain the best player on the roster, that will be Russ. so there should not be any question whose side you are when its Coach vs Player. I suspect Russ will still go unless Pete and JS (both) goes and a creative offensive mind takes over the program. But the roster is shot, what do we know how many seasons it will take to fix it and if Russ has patience.

  28. Leo

    These are always my favorite kind of Rob posts! They get me excited for the future, then I slowly lose faith as the front office deals away draft picks and picks up journeyman linemen. Rinse and repeat since the 2019 offseason.

  29. L80

    Pete:…Flowers is having the best offseason and camp EVER.

    Were rolling eyes. Season begins and not only eyes rolling but so are opposing offenses.

    Pete, can you please just get the fuck outta here?

    • Big Mike

      …..yesterday even

  30. GoHawks5151

    Terrific post. I see on other platforms people are starting to give you your due so kudos to you for hanging in there. Hopefully you aren’t having to monitor as many comments too. I agree with all the Russ and Head Coach stuff but I just don’t think anyone new would just walk away from Jamal. There is too much talent to give him away. A young guy like Joe Brady would be attractive to any DC. He could go the Mcvay route add experience with Wade Phillips. He could tap the Todd Bowles tree or maybe there is a McDermott holdover still in Carolina he can take. Or he try and find his Staley from college like Wisconsin’s Jim Leonhard. All these are 3-4 Defense guys to which a player like Jamal would be golden. Sure he has personality quirks but he is a good player that we have yet to see at his best.

    • Rob Staton

      Terrific post. I see on other platforms people are starting to give you your due so kudos to you for hanging in there

      Really?? Where?

      • GoHawks5151

        Article was linked on Reddit. Comments section

        • Rob Staton

          I just looked. Most people still think I’m a t**t. Reassuring.

          It’s interesting that people perceive legitimate criticisms that are proven to be justified as being ‘overly negative’ rather than just pertinent.

          • GoHawks5151

            Huh. I read some earlier. At the very least people admitted you were right though it was hard to read or accept. No hiding now. Keep up the good work

          • Palatypus

            Rob Said, “I just looked. Most people still think I’m a t**t. Reassuring.

            It’s interesting that people perceive legitimate criticisms that are proven to be justified as being ‘overly negative’ rather than just pertinent.”

            I have a degree in “The Morbid Science” of Economics. That said, I am delighted when I am wrong. I have a gloomy outlook on things and I am not wrong much. When I am though I admit it.

            I suspect in this way we are brothers. I want to be wrong about the Seahawks this week. But I am taking Pittsburgh in my Survivor pool.

            • Rob Staton

              The internet is full of people prepared to tell you why you’re wrong in two words when you’ve gone to the trouble of explaining your position in 4000

          • Nolyon

            Rob, have you found that that is an American Fan problem? Or something with the culture around American sports?

            I feel like as I started being invested in European Football, the pundits for the Premier League are far more willing to criticize or critique honestly about what’s happening.

            • Rob Staton

              I think I’d categorise it this way. When teams have success, and times are very good, and then things start to go awry — regardless of the sport or country — there are going to be fans who have a hard time coming to terms with that.

              A lot of Seahawks fans on the internet saw me, and others like me, as having an agenda when really I was just saying what I thought was obvious. And because a lot of the arguments were, in fairness, fleshed out — it was easier just to abuse, undermine and complain about those people. It’s easier to call me a t**t, say the blog has lost its way, question whether I have mental health problems or trouble at home than it is to dissect the points I’m raising about the franchise, Carroll, the Adams trade, the likelihood of a Wilson trade saga etc.

              And now a lot of those people who said those things are busy making the same points now, without a hint of irony.

              It is what it is.

  31. Sea Mode

    I flipped over to Team Russ last season once it became clear that Pete knows how untouchable he is by anyone else and doesn’t seem to care half as much as Russ.

    Great article and plan. I say let’s do it. 👏

  32. Nathan M

    Listening to this and the stream really makes me think about the complexity and risk with any choices made.

    Assuming Pete leaves, retires or otherwise, I still wonder how big of reset this ownership group is willing to take on. Maybe they opt for continuity and let Schneider take a bigger role. Rob has pointed out how much the inconsistency and lack of clear vision has built this mess so maybe we see if JS can execute a multi-stage plan with purpose. Whether it’s because of Pete’s age or not this FO has been scrambling with bandaid and short term builds for years now. I’m open to the idea of finding out.

    On Russ, I like robs idea as stage 1: Let’s see if an offensive minded coach wants to and can manage Russ’s strengths and weaknesses into a truly potent offense. Churn the roster, consider trading contracts that aren’t being met such as Bobby and Jamal. If it works you could be at the superbowl in a couple years led by Russ supported by a young hungry defense.

    See how it goes and keep looking for “one in the chamber”. Maybe this years QB class is crap but be willing to draft one soon, especially is Wilson’s big play, go for the glory mentality carries over into the same issues with a whole new O. I like the idea of trying it with Russ first and if that flops you can still burn it all down at that point.

  33. Starhawk29

    Rob, some of your best work yet. This is why I still have hope for the hawks, it’s frankly the only thing keeping me interested. This is a bad football team. So was Green Bay. They used a similarly strong FA class to shore up their trenches, and what do you know, their defense improved. Dallas is another great point, though I remain unconvinced by McCarthy. I do think the way they’ve structured their roster is better than ours though. They have two RB1s, 2 WR1s, a HOF candidate at LT and excellent guards and centers. Defensively, their highest paid player is a DE (granted, one who may not deserve it), and absolutely nailed it with the Trevon Diggs pick.

    I think the thing that has struck me the most over the last three years has been how thoroughly we’re outcoached. Even the mediocre guys seem to be able to adjust and figure out ways to make something happened (looking at you Ron Rivera). This roster is bad, yes, but I also feel the coaching staff hasn’t given the players much of a chance. This is the biggest reason I have hope for the future: we might hire someone who can outthink someone. PC will be a Seahawks legend, but I don’t think anyone looks at his resume and sees a brilliant schemer. He’s always been at his best when motivating excellent players in simpler defensive alignments. Offensively he counts on the stars to make better plays than the defense. None of that works if you aren’t talented enough. Yet hire a tactically minded HC, OC, and DC, and you can begin to make a mediocre to bad roster look better than they are.

    Lastly Rob, I’ve figured out my comparison for Desmond Ridder. Physically, he’s built like Lamar Jackson or Deshaun Watson (tall and lankly), so anyone worried he’s “too thin” is off base. He’s not though, athletically, equal to either player. Instead, I think he might be Dak Prescott. A guy without special traits that plays with a competitive edge and leads his team. He can make all the throws, but he doesn’t have a special arm. Both needed to refine their throwing a bit as they entered the league. And neither are especially fast, but have good mobility and move well in the pocket. What are your thoughts? I’m very much looking forward to seeing him face real competition (assuming they make the playoff).

    • Starhawk29

      I should clarify that I think Dak is Ridder’s best case scenario, not necessarily that Ridder is bound for Prescott’s level of success.

    • Rob Staton


      I need to study Ridder more. Dak wasn’t my initial thought but he’s a hard one to place.

  34. pepoandart

    Excellent piece Rob. While I love what Pete has done for the team the last 10+ years, it really does feel like it is time for a change and that is OK. Its been a great ride, anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves, but change has to happen sooner or later.

    My question for you (and anyone else) would your prefer they just shift things to JS or should they just start fresh. If the relationship with Wilson is in, a good spot (BIG if), I would be inclined to give JS a shot. I prefer the approach to draft management that JS has used through the years(prior to the last year or so). That is trading down to gain more picks, especially in the first. As Rob has mentioned there are usually only a handful of players with 1st round grades and if I can walk away with 5 Players in the Top 100 picks vs. 2 or 3, I’ll take the chance that.

    • Rob Staton

      I think as fresh a start as possible is needed

  35. KennyBadger

    Would Waldron get an interview? I’m wondering if Russ would push for him…

  36. JJ

    I would love to hear Pete explain the process of this off season in respect to the CB room. Started camp with 10 CBs on roster and I think 3 are left. WTF.

  37. Brik

    I know most people’s opinion on Russ’ skills. Almost everyone agrees that he is a great QB with some notable holes in his game. I don’t want to talk about his talent right now. I want to know what the other 10 guys on offense think about RW. PC keeps problems in house so we probably wouldn’t hear it. I have to wonder if the Russel Wilson show has worn on everyone. In my view I saw the whole offense come alive when Geno came in. It was less to do with Geno, and more about everyone else stepping up. Even the announcer said something to the effect of they stepped up their game. It isn’t anything new for QBs, but RW gets all the credit for good games while blaming everyone else for any problems. I’m pretty sure in our 2 wins he had lesser performances and did more game management compared to the losses where he threw for over 300 yards. I just hope whatever happens, the Seahawks become a SB contender again.

    • Chris

      When have you ever heard RW blame his teammates after a bad game? This off-season is the most criticism he’s ever given to them, and can you blame him? Think of all the stiffs the Hawks have had on their O-line since the Super Bowl win? Think of the absolutely stupid blocking schemes that were used. All the “projects” that never panned out. All the retreads. These types of gems:

      Garry Gilliam
      Patrick Lewis
      Justin Britt
      Germain Ifedi
      Luke Joeckel
      Oday Aboushi
      Paul McQuistan
      John Moffitt
      George Fant (though now he’s doing well as an LT)
      DJ Fluker
      Mike Iupati (Way past his due date)
      Brandon Shell
      Ethan Pocic
      Kyle Fuller

      Not exactly what’s needed to “close the circle” in Pete’s parlance.

      • Big Mike

        You forgot maybe the worst of all, Bradley Sowell. You know, the LT that played matador to Suh and got Russ hurt to the point that he almost missed games then. 2016, week1 vs. Dolphins. I was at the game. Watching him “block” was embarrassing.

        • Chris

          Oh god, I did. Sooo many bad players. Cable saying shit about how strong a player was because he pushed against his hands. All that malarkey…

      • Brik

        What we might hear in public is different than what goes on in practice. We have no idea what that locker room is really like. It seems like most people either think Russ is the greatest thing ever and can do no wrong, or they believe his strengths do not make up for his weaknesses. I’m bringing up an idea that is not related to his talent as a QB. I’m talking about what he brings as a leader. A leader should bring the team up, not bring them down. He should take blame for any problems, even if it’s wrong. I believe I heard some stuff about him complaining his WR didn’t get open, then Baldwin said he’s always open. We have 2 top 10 WRs right now. A bunch of other solid role players. We’re talking about now, not all the worst OL they’ve had over the past 10 years. We have 1 player on the OL who is below average out of 5. That could be worse. I’m sick of excuses for our star QB. I want him to put up or shut up.

        I’m glad we get to see Geno Smith in charge. I think he’s going to shock everyone. This offense is built better than most, and I expect them to produce no matter who’s at QB.

        • Mick

          Better than most: -8 yards. Our offense has a lot of potential but doesn’t have an established running game, doesn’t have a working plan for getting 3rd downs and choked every game so far. With one of the best QBs in the game. You can’t seriously expect a backup to be better than Wilson.

        • Chris

          If you think our offense is built “better than most” I have to firmly disagree. We have a great QB, two very good WRs, then journeymen. Our OL is shit for the most part, the best player on it is entering the twilight of his career and appears to be slumping a bit. Our running backs are very average, and can’t stay healthy. Our tight ends are also average. Our offensive coaching (whether it’s Pete’s influence or Waldron or positional coaches) is terrible on average. Solid “role players” don’t do jack in the league. Is DeeJay Dallas solid? Travis Homer? Colby Parkinson? These are replacement level players at best. Our WR3 and on down are the same.

          • Big Mike

            Well said

      • UkAlex6674

        Britt made the Pro Bowl didn’t he?

        • Chris

          Britt was an alternate after he had been moved to his 3rd Line position (RT, LG, then center). He was absolutely terrible at the first two positions, and marginally better at C. For a 2nd round draft pick, he was a bust.

  38. jopa726

    If Pete Carroll resigns or is fired, I feel there will be 2 people most responsible for it and it’s not Jamal Adams and Malik McDowell. It is Sean McVay and Aaron Donald.

    The Sean McVay effect is all over the NFL. Every owner it seems wants their own young wunderkin. McVay’s Rams have owned Pete Carroll’s Seahawks. He simply has out coach Carroll. His Rams offensive seems innovative and fresh. The Seahawks offensive seems predictable and (worst of all) old.

    Aaron Donald’s dominance over the Seahawks OL points out the Seahawks awful drafting and poor talent evaluation. He crushes Seahawks fans hopes twice a year. Game after game, year after year, it is the same script. I am pretty sure McVay, Aaron Donald and the entire Rams are never late for dinner on the week of a Seahawk game. Why stay late studying tape of the Hawks? “We know what these dudes do” is probably what they think.

    P.S. Ownership will play the most important role in the future success of this franchise. The old saying is true, you can fire a coach, you can fire a player, but you can’t fire a owner. It will take Jody Allen being dissatisfied
    before big changes happen and no one knows how she feels. Heck, (correct me if I’m wrong) you don’t even see her at games.

  39. Chris

    Thanks Rob, this article was a shining light in a pretty gloomy season. Well-written and well-argued.

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks Chris

  40. Mike

    Rob—this is great. Agree on pretty much every point. Thanks for keeping at it this year as I know it has been difficult at times. A bit of a return of your spark for covering the Hawks is palpable here though.

    The one thing I would like to add to the discussion is a question: Would Wilson be excited about a rebuild in Seattle? If you were Russ would you rather start fresh in Seattle or give it a go in New Orleans, Vegas, or Miami?

    • Rob Staton

      I think if he believed in the philosophy and direction he would be very excited

  41. Dingbatman

    Wilson has a 10/1 TD/INT ratio. He’s leading the league in passer rating. His PFF grade (90.3) is second only to Tom Brady. He’s done all this without any help in the running game, he’s playing behind a poorly performing O-line and the defense is giving up record breaking yardage.

    When Russell Wilson is playing well he is arguably a top 5 quarterback. When Russel Wilson is playing not so well, he is arguably a top 10 quarterback.

    • Rob Staton

      Nicely put

    • Zane

      Umm, no. Did you watch the second half of last year? The Rams playoff game? Wilson was most certainly playing badly by almost any measure.

      • Dingbatman

        Since we are cherry picking. Did you watch the first half of last year? Those were mvp level performances. You have a replacement in mind with the same potential?

        • Peter Jakubisin

          You know you are spoiled as a franchise when Wilson’s 2nd half stats last year nearly mirror his first three seasons with the team…but now he sucks: 67.2% completion rate, 1671 yds, 12 tds/5 ints….

        • Zane

          When did I say I did? I was only disagreeing with the notion that Wilson essentially never plays badly. Anybody with eyes could he see he has struggled in various stretches throughout his career.

          • Rob Staton

            Who has said Wilson ‘never’ plays badly?

            • Zane

              “When Russel Wilson is playing not so well, he is arguably a top 10 quarterback”

              • Peter

                I dont get your talking points anymore. Wilson has been ranked at least by the NFL (.com) as a top 10 qb every year he has played so far. He IS inarguably a top 10 qb…

                If you think Wilson sucks that’s fine. Of course he has had games thst have sucked. Everyone does. Look at Mahomes/ Rodgers. I’m sorry but you’re kind of losing the plot if you think Wilson has ever been a sub top ten QB. Not last season, not the beginning of this season. Your only reference is an 8 game stretch that completely mirrors he
                Is first 3 seasons when he played with a non factor running game and a completely nuts on mediocre defense… it’s russ’ fault that when he plays as a game manager instead of field tilter….pc and js have created a mediocre roster that can’t win?

                • Peter Jakubisin

                  * edit* “mirrors his first three seasons”

              • Rob Staton


                That point was in conjunction with statistical notes on what he actually achieved during his tough run. His numbers were still good.

    • J.P.

      4.5 yards per rush attempt. I mean they’re not the Cleveland Browns but this offense shouldn’t feel this awful. They haven’t been good since like the first game of the season. But Wilson’s numbers are good, at least.

      I guess somebody at PFF wondered the same thing and he touched upon Wilson’s stats after the Ram’s game.

      It was basically all the stereotypes people have about RW. He’s great at doing the big stuff, he sucks at the little stuff. Making big throws + no turnovers. Great for the passer rating, PFF, YPA, etc. But he’s basically relying on difficult plays and so once again, here we are back at square one. How do we move the ball more consistently and stop being boom or bust? When is Russ gonna take some easy throws instead of getting ants in his pants in the pocket? When are things gonna feel like those drives with Geno Smith?

      At this point, it’s like Rob says, they just need to go all in on the trenches and find their own Derrick Henry, Chubb or whatever.
      Hand the ball off to them 30 times a game if you must and Wilson kills you over the top. It’s like Pete Carroll knew all along, except he didn’t have the personnel anymore after 2015.

  42. BobbyK

    Carroll would be fine coaching this team moving forward if they had about 5 picks in the first two days of the draft and those players turned into KJ Wright, Max Unger, Brandon Mebane, Walter Thurmond II, and S. Griffen (asking for Sherman is unrealistic).

    Since Carroll is the reason they don’t have a first round pick, nothing extra on day two, have paid to have Jamal dressed properly for post-game interviews, etc. and he’s not willing to bend for a franchise QB the way he should – he just needs to be done.

    With John Schneider – I don’t know what to think.

    Why Schneider should be given a chance to have full power: No competent GM would deal what he dealt for Jamal Adams. That’s pure stupidity. He had to have been ordered to do that. I can’t imagine he was in favor of getting Percy Harvin either. We don’t know what the decisions have been like behind the scenes. Maybe if the reason they drafted ATV over Watt was because of Carroll? If so, get Carroll the hell out of there and let him have JS have the keys.

    Why Schneider needs to go: Does he hate Russ and dealing with his agent that badly? Does he publicly and privately side with Carroll over Russ in everything? Was it him that said Penny is better than Chubb?

    I can only trust the Seahawks brass will know what best to do with Schneider. I can see myself wanting him back. I can seem myself wanting him gone. My reasons are the unknown though. I don’t know the behind the scenes things that have happened.

    If they’re going to keep Jamal, they need a 3-4 defense next year. Maybe Collier can play LDE in a 3-4. Probably not. Can they pay Wagner to be a good ILB in a 3-4? How can they switch to a 3-4 if they have no draft picks? Or limited picks, especially a 1st rounder.

    Lots of unknowns right now. It’s frustrating because even with a healthy RW – they’re almost always the finesse team playing against bullies.

  43. Al Ussher

    Having seen the wizardry Schneider and Carroll pulled off in 2010-13 by assembling a seemingly unlikely cast of characters into one of the greatest teams in NFL history I couldn’t wait to see what would come next.

    The knock on Pete coming in was that people doubted whether he could successfully coach seasoned professionals. Watching the success he had with young, hungry players I hoped and assumed that the FO might follow the Belichik model and trade veterans to keep the roster fresh, young and hungry. Instead they signed almost every single one of them to large extensions and, I don’t think, traded anyone.

    Out of that superbowl era team the most return they got for any of their stars was probably a compensatory 3rd or 4th for Earl Thomas, Okung and Byron Maxwell. Instead of trading high on Thomas, Okung, Clemons, Red, Sherman, Kam, Marshawn, Max Unger, Bobby, KJ, Baldwin, Bennett they ended up keeping pretty much all of them on big contracts, even once the locker room started to fracture (and it turns out that maybe the knock on Pete coming in was correct – his philosophy and style could work wonders for a while but many players got sick of it and ultimately undermined it). I’m not saying they should have traded all of them but to keep most of them, especially those with the most trade value, seemed like a big risk, as well as quite a lazy (and boring) approach.

    The problem is, in hindsight, that the drafting since the early days has been so bad that the picks they would have gained in any trades seem likely to have turned out busts! However I’m fairly sure it would have worked out better in both the short and long term.

    In short – I’m ready for changes.

  44. AlaskaHawk

    I read as far as it’s easier to replace a coach then a quarterback and said whoa!!!! There aren’t that many coaches available that are as good as the early Pete Carroll. Very few indeed.

    As for the Patriots, they have a great coach and a serviceable quarterback and team. That might be enough.

    • UkAlex6674

      ‘Early’ Pete Carroll. That is correct. But mid to late Carroll, no way.

    • Blitzy the Clown

      And what have the Patriots won with the great coach and serviceable QB that make you want to emulate that plan?

      In football, nothing beats talent on the field. Well, nothing except luck.

  45. Roger Davis

    Rob, excellent (as always!) – But not gonna happen…

    The main reason is a blast from the past – Cliff Avril…

    Super Bowl. One team cruising. One star pass rusher goes down. One Hall of Fame QB uses the reduced rush to turn the game around and stop our beloved Seahawks from winning two in a row. (With a little help from a decision made that Beastmode couldn’t run for a yard…)

    Our Hawks have more leaks than the Titanic while the band kept playing. We need too much to be done for any plausible scenario that keeps a 32 year old Wanna Be Hall of Famer in Rain Central to ride out a reset.

    No… What could happen is some team, with a great coach, a great defense, a great set of complimentary offensive players – but – not a great QB will come cap in hand to offer 20 pieces of silver (in the form of shiny draft choices) to a team that knows they can’t keep Mr. Disgruntled. Mrs. Owner will have two choices, watch the guy walk away or give her new management team some shiny draft choices to make the reset a little less painful.

    the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away… but mostly… he taketh away… sigh.

  46. Jordan

    Holy shhh hockey is awesome. That was a heck of a palate cleanser.

  47. Kendo

    Excellent article Rob. I am conflicted on what I would like to see. On one hand I am a fan of the hawks. From this perspective your plan makes the most sense and I would love to see it turn into reality. On the other hand I am a Russel Wilson fan. From this perspective I don’t see this scenario as the best option for him. This team has too many holes and only a few players worth keeping around long term. We don’t have the picks to reload cheaply and the salary cap would go away faster than the holes on the team. I think it would in best case scenarios take about three years to return to a contender status. More likely though it would be around five years. So for Wilson’s legacy I think he should push for a trade in the offseason. I have less confidence of his chances to win another title in 3-5 years with the Hawks than with the Saints. I really hope I am wrong, he stays, the teams is rebuilt fast along the lines of your plan, and is legitimately back in the title hunt. I just have little confidence is it happening.

  48. Peppapig

    Great stuff as always Mr Staton!
    I wonder if the players or coaches read your blog. Lol.

    • Rob Staton

      Doubt it

      But agents get in touch from time to time, usually when I’ve written something they don’t like

      • bmseattle

        Is that typically related to draft scouting, or agents to already established NFL players?
        (if you are comfortable answering)

        • Rob Staton

          One agent wasn’t happy with an article I wrote about a legendary Seahawks player and we ended up having a phone conversation about it.

          Another bet me a coke his client would go in R1 after I’d written a critical draft report (he went undrafted)

          • DC

            Don’t know who the first player would be but I’d bet the 2nd was Vontaze Burfict

          • Troy

            Oh man I would have been so smug after that guy you criticized went undrafted after he said R1, thats amazing.

  49. Gary

    Amazing article again Rob, thank you. My only disagreement is that I don’t share your optimism for the potential timelines.

    “Give Russell Wilson a good O-line and running game to go along with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett — plus a complementary pass-rushing defense — and there’s absolutely no reason why this team can’t return to success quickly.”

    In the past you’ve written that this franchise is in a pretty deep hole in terms of its lack of cap space and draft resources. In addition to astute decision-making, it would take at least three years to acquire the pieces you’ve listed here to build this the right way. They are paying the piper now for years of mismanagement and it’s going to take time to dig out. I agree with your roadmap for roster reconstruction, I just don’t see how they can get there with one draft and free agency period.

    • Rob Staton

      In the past you’ve written that this franchise is in a pretty deep hole in terms of its lack of cap space and draft resources. In addition to astute decision-making, it would take at least three years to acquire the pieces you’ve listed here to build this the right way.

      I disagree. For starters, by moving Wagner you create nearly $20m. By moving Adams you do use up your $11m that you’re rolling on plus a bit extra but by 2023 he would be completely off the books.

      So there’s potential to make major savings here and quickly shift resource from LB & S to other positions.

      I’ve also listed a deep pool of FA’s in the trenches. Make the right moves in FA and you can succeed in that aim. Leaving you to focus on CB and potentially finding a RB in the draft.

      • Shane

        Is there a follow-up post coming with the specific details on the specific moves and who you would fill those holes with? I would find that entertaining

      • James Z

        I agree with everything you said in your reply to Gary and yet I just don’t see ownership stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences to keep R.W. here. Ownership is positioning themselves to sell, and soon I believe, and thus they will act conservatively, even if that means putting lipstick on a pig until they sign off.

  50. Mick

    I understand and applaud letting Flowers go, but it’s a year when almost everyone has problems at CB. Couldn’t we get a 7th for him?

    • Blitzy the Clown

      He’s not a CB. He never was. And if I was him, I’d be frustrated that I wasted a few years letting Carroll try to turn me into one.

    • Kendo

      Initially I thought this was laughable but then I remembered us trading Ahkello Witherspoon to Pittsburgh for a 2023 fifth rounder. So why not?

  51. Seahawks fan

    That all sounds great but the problem that wasn’t mentioned is there isn’t enough money for it. Wilson already makes too much and he is only going to want more. He will insist on being the highest paid player in the lead when this contract ends. And DK will want to be the highest paid WR. You can’t build a championship team with what’s left to spend. I agree that we need to concentrate on the lines offense and defense. Definitely think Adams is overrated.

    • Rob Staton

      You can’t build a championship team with what’s left to spend.

      Yes you can

      • Tomas

        But if Pete leaves where, o where, could we possibly find another HC clever enough to PUNT from the opponent’s 37 yard line, while trailing in the 4th quarter? Truly, Pete’s on-field tactical decisions are unparalleled … in their imbecility. My other problem with Hawkblogger’s take is that relatively soon we will have to replace Pete even if he stays … because age will catch up with him (though I agree with Hblogger it’s not a factor yet.). Letting Wilson slip away would not be quite equivalent to the the Red Sox trading Babe Ruth, but it’s in the ballpark … a move as stupid as punting on your opponent’s 37.

        • Rob Staton

          Brian has, not so long ago, warned against returning to the bad old days of the 80’s and 90’s.

          Nothing will get Seattle there quicker IMO than trading Wilson

          • Tomas

            Brian was articulate, affable, and I certainly much enjoyed the podcast. But I can only conclude that he, like many otherwise reasonable persons, have succumbed to fast-talking Pete’s “ cult of personality.”

  52. Hawks4life

    Highly doubt Russ will want top money if he ends up staying, maybe he’ll realize he needs to take a little but less at the end of his career to help build a championship team. That’s my hope at least

  53. Nathan M

    One positive, I guess, of the short term vision the last few years is that they’ve maintained a lot of flexibility to remake the roster. Many guys will be out of contract for 2022 leaving roster and cap space to bring in new guys for a new coach and new scheme.

  54. Big Mike

    Livestream with Jeff confirmed for today Rob? If so what time again? 2:00 PM Pacific?

  55. casonfriseal

    Wow. As a long time lurker I have often been critical elsewhere of your takes and your tone, but for what it’s worth, I think you have written a very well thought out and argued perspective and plan, and I agree with just about every word of it. I think patterns are forming and becoming clearer in the team dynamic that some of us have been a bit slow to recognize and accept. Either way, I have read this twice now and am going to read it again. My hope is that even 75% of what you lay out here happens. I think your thesis is sound and your plan is doable and makes a ton of sense. Bravo.

  56. mantis

    Just listened to Matt Hasselbeck on the Mike Salk show, he said that he is so impressed with Brian Daboll for the job he has done with Josh Allen, also Ken Dorsey as qb coach, sounds like a dream come true for our next head coach and

  57. Simo

    Excellent piece here Rob! I understand this type of theorizing doesn’t sit well with everyone, but they’re probably not being completely honest with themselves about the situation the Seahawks are in, or they just don’t want to accept it.

    I truly believe Pete needs to step down, there’s no place in the organization for his philosophies anymore. Even his culture building and motivational strengths seem to be outweighed now by his personnel decisions, coaching hires, and meddling.

    It would be so refreshing to see Russ playing under a young, innovative coach. Same goes for the defense.

    Now I’m left hoping Geno keeps the boat afloat well enough so the Jets aren’t getting a top 5 draft pick! At least all their other picks would be a bit higher as well I guess (silver lining).

    To close, I think John needs to go as well. There must be no shortage of astute potential GM’s out there who could breathe life into the roster.

  58. AlaskaHawk

    I finally got through the entire article, it’s a hum dinger of a plan, Rob. I do like Buffalo’s offense which I think is innovative and a lot like KC Chiefs offense. So I would totally support Darboll as a head coach. It is a good thing that he is from a proven Belichick organization, but the plays they are running in Buffalo are much more sophisticated than New England. The other coach you mentioned sounded interesting too but he isn’t as experienced in pro football.

    I would like to see a new general manager that could lead the troops. He could evaluate John Schneider and his past actions. Personally I think JS was just following orders when he shopped Wilson out. And even though everyone loves Russell Wilson, they may have really screwed up when they didn’t trade him to the Chicago Bears. We all have different ideas about his trade value, but it has never been lower than right now with a bum finger.

    I also like your ideas about moving Wagner and Adams after this year. But I thought Adams had 70 million guaranteed? Not much of a savings if that is the case.

    And I think your right about what positions they should pay for. But the middle linebacker makes the most tackles on a team and I think it is worth paying for a great middle linebacker. The problem is more of a question about an aging linebacker making a premium pay. If Wagner was only making 10 million next year there wouldn’t be a question about retaining him. Also letting KJ Wright go appears to be a mistake until one of these new linebackers steps up (I’m not sure how Wright is playing this year?). It only took Wagner half a season to really get spun up to full potential.

    Anyway – a long and thoughtful article. Thanks.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I’m also going to repeat a comment I just wrote answering the question “who will replace Russell Wilson if he leaves this year?” When you consider that it may take 2 or 3 years to rebuild the team there is no need for a good quarterback next year. In fact if they have a crappy QB or play Geno Smith next year it may lead to higher draft picks. So I would look on the quarterback search as being more long term.

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