Without any prompting by the media, Russell Wilson delivered the following line in his press conference today:
“I know for me personally, I hope it’s not my last game (in Seattle). But at the same time, I know it won’t be my last game in the NFL. I’m just focused on today and getting better today. That’s my goal. I love this city and I love this moment. I love these guys and we gotta make sure we get better today. That’s all that matters.”
Wilson looked somewhat uncomfortable after this answer, I thought. But then that’s no surprise. It’s an uncomfortable situation.
I don’t think any of this is a personal issue between Pete Carroll and Wilson. I think the pair share a significant amount of mutual respect.
I think this is purely down to a difference in philosophy — with Wilson determined to max-out the second half of his career and believing a different approach to Carroll’s is the only way he will achieve that.
Thus, we’re set up for a big call to be made almost as soon as the season ends.
Will ownership make changes at the top and replace the Head Coach and General Manager? Will they seek a new approach, with a more offensive-minded coach leading the charge?
Or will they fall in behind Carroll and John Schneider, inevitably leading to Wilson requesting a trade?
There’s no running this back. Running it back in 2021 was the ‘one more go’ year. They’re 5-10 and out of the playoffs. It’s the worst season in both Carroll’s tenure and Wilson’s career.
Change is coming, it’s just a case of what that change looks like.
Despite all the statements from people about what will or won’t happen — the truth is nobody knows. We don’t know anything about Jody Allen or her opinion. She certainly isn’t the type, it seems, to ring Adam Schefter or Jay Glazer and fill them in.
So all we can do is wait, while acknowledging what the two scenarios are.
Change at the top, or change at quarterback.
I won’t waste your time with a prediction.
I can only tell you what I think would be best…
— I think the 2022 draft class is so poor at the top, it would be a titanic risk to trade Wilson during the next off-season. Your chances of using that stock to acquire blue-chip talent are incredibly slim. The quarterback situation in college football may never have been uglier. This is the worst time, in my opinion, to consider a ground-zero rebuild.
— As poorly as Wilson has played this year, after suffering a finger injury, we are about 14 months removed from a stretch of games where he looked like the best player in the NFL. I think it’s more plausible than some people would have you believe that he can return to performing at the highest level. And that, for me, should be Seattle’s priority over the next five years. Returning Wilson to his best and enjoying the benefits of that over the next few seasons.
— I think there are two ways to enable this to happen. Firstly, I think the person leading this franchise as Head Coach should be a proven offensive mastermind who is flexible and creative to tailor a system around Seattle’s best players. This is why I think Jody Allen — one of the richest people on the planet — should use her clout to bring Sean Payton to Seattle and sell him on the project. He would coach Wilson hard, be demanding — but he’s also shown he can win games with different quarterbacks — from Drew Brees to Taysom Hill and most recently, he beat the Super Bowl champs with Trevor Siemian.
— If Payton simply isn’t attainable, Doug Pederson would be a perfectly logical Plan B.
— A fresh set of eyes at GM should be sought. My proposal remains Ed Dodds — who spent 10 years in Seattle before being poached by Chris Ballard to be his right-hand-man with the Colts. He is a highly respected talent evaluator and the Seahawks need to get back to drafting well. The Seahawks under Carroll and Schneider lost their mojo there a long time ago.
— I see a lot of people saying you can’t transform a roster quickly. I don’t agree. The Seahawks have approximately $43m to spend in the off-season and can easily create another $20m by cutting Bobby Wagner and Chris Carson. Prioritising the lines and adding talent to the O-line and D-line will enable this team to move forward quickly. With the weapons Seattle has at receiver — and with a properly schemed and effective offense — you will win a lot of games if you can also win the battle in the trenches.
— The next Head Coach should be challenged to build a top-level staff — something I’d argue Carroll has failed to do in recent years.
These changes would give the franchise a jolt. I think the Seahawks would benefit from fresh ideas, a new set of eyes looking at the roster and a refresh behind the scenes.
I genuinely believe the Seahawks can return quickly to a position from which they can compete at the top end of the NFC.
Look at the Cowboys. Six wins a year ago, now 11-4. Green Bay won six games in 2018. They’re on track for three successive 13-win seasons after that. Tampa Bay went from six wins in 2019 to Super Bowl Champs in 2020.
The common factor is all had capable, experienced quarterbacks, all three have drafted well and all made the necessary changes to be competitive.
That, to me, is the potential for Seattle.
I don’t think this is a black-hole situation. I simply think the current regime has reached a natural conclusion to their tenure and a fresh start is needed. From that fresh start, an opportunity to get better quickly is plausible.
Like Wilson, I hope this isn’t his last game in Seattle. I think he can return to his best form because his very best form was witnessed by all of us just over a year ago. With the necessary changes and cap space to spend — this franchise can return, quite quickly, to contention. I truly believe that.
New leadership, new ideas, renewed commitment to the trenches. That’s the plan.
It’s going to take some painful decisions being made regarding individuals who will always deserve to be considered Seahawks greats.
I hope ownership is prepared to make those difficult decisions and that they channel the ambition and vision Paul Allen showed when he landed Mike Holmgren and Pete Carroll — as he transformed this franchise forever.
If you missed my segment on 710 ESPN yesterday with Jake & Stacy, check it out here:
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