Pete Carroll took over a directionless franchise in 2010 and propelled them to previously unseen heights. With nine consecutive winning seasons, two Super Bowl appearances and a championship in 2014, his name will certainly be in the team’s ring of honor. With that being said, it’s time for him to go.
Carroll’s stubborn insistence on running the football despite a weak offensive line has made the Seahawks offense incredibly predictable. With an elite quarterback in Russell Wilson under center, the Seahawks should be more willing to air it out, but that has not been the case.
Additionally, there continue to be concerns that Carroll’s message is not resonating in the locker room like it has in years past, a concern that Carroll himself has acknowledged. It was frustration with the coach that helped facilitate the collapse of the vaunted Legion of Boom, so this might not be an isolated issue.
Names like Byron Leftwich of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Eric Bieniemy of the Kansas City Chiefs should be considered as offensive-minded replacements for Pete Carroll. Both have had recent success leading dynamic offenses to championship glory.
The Seahawks clearly have the talent to win. Perhaps a new approach on both sides of the ball will allow them to maximize it.
Let Russ Cook
We all saw what Russell Wilson is capable of when he’s allowed to drop back and let it fly on a consistent basis. Wilson set career highs in pass attempts (558), completion percentage (68.8), and touchdowns (40). It’s time to get Russ back into the kitchen.
One of the key reasons for Wilson’s immense success in 2020 was the elite wide receiver duo of Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Both were able to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark and scored ten touchdowns apiece. And both are still on the roster.
So what gives?
Well, the biggest factor may be the offensive coordinator. Last year the offense was led by Brian Schottenheimer, who assumed the position in 2018. Seattle sported a top-10 scoring offense in each of Schottenheimer’s three seasons as the Hawks OC.
Despite this success, Schottenheimer and the Seahawks parted ways due to “philosophical differences,” per ESPN’s Brady Henderson. This could loosely be translated as Schottenheimer refusing to establish the run like Carroll wanted him to.
Seattle turned to former Los Angeles Rams passing game coordinator Shane Waldron to take over as offensive coordinator this year. Waldron comes from a team that employs a run-first approach, doubling down on Carroll’s commitment to a nonexistent running game rather than trying to get the most out of a generational quarterback.
It is well documented that the Seahawks have had one of the leakiest offensive lines in the league over the past half decade or so, making any attempt to establish the run an exercise in futility. If they aren’t willing to prioritize that, then a philosophical change is the only thing that can jumpstart this offense.
The bottom line is this: football games are won by getting your best players the ball. The Seahawks should embrace the passing game and make Wilson, Metcalf and Lockett the focal points of their offense.
Draft Your Defense
Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner all share a lot in common. All of them were key members of a generational defense. They were also all drafted by the Seahawks.
In recent years, Seattle has developed a concerning habit of trading draft picks for big-name defensive players. Sheldon Richardson, Jadeveon Clowney and (most recently) Jamal Adams come to mind.
All of these players seemed to underperform despite their immense talent. They were also very costly in terms of draft capital. In total, Seattle surrendered two first-round draft selections as well as one in the second round and two in the third to acquire the trio.
These picks could have been used to maintain or upgrade the defense with cheap talent on rookie-scale contracts. They also would have the luxury of developing those young players and molding them to fit their defensive scheme.
Instead the Seahawks were stuck paying top-dollar for players that didn’t fit their system and severely hindered their ability to fill other holes on their roster, such as the offensive line. Adams, the most recent big-name acquisition, just became the highest-paid safety in NFL history despite being hunted in coverage by opposing teams.
With stars like Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner commanding such a large share of the salary cap, the Seahawks need to save money wherever they can in order to field a complete team. Their recent decision-making has left the offensive line in shambles and could be the reason that Wilson decides to take his talents elsewhere.
It may feel like the beginning of the end of the Russell Wilson era in Seattle, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With a new approach to play-calling and roster construction, the Seahawks can return to relevance in the NFC.