Year 1 of the Pete Carroll era brought a whole lot of roster moves, a surprising playoff appearance and a new attitude to Seattle. Their record didn’t greatly improve, but the Seahawks were slightly less frustrating to watch than the previous year under Jim Mora. You could see what Carroll was doing to fulfill his vision for the team.
Both Mora and Carroll talked about putting an emphasis on the running game. Mora did this by running an unproductive back over and over with no success. Carroll went about drafting Seattle’s left tackle of the future and trading for a more productive every down back.
While the offensive line still struggled and the running numbers were far from impressive, it is transparent what the Seahawks and Carroll plan to do in the future. For a lot of Seahawks fans, the season can be best remembered by Marshawn Lynch’s improbable run against New Orleans.
The end of 2010 was fun, but we should keep in mind that Seattle is still early in the rebuilding process, and not making the playoffs in 2011 does not necessarily indicate a step backwards.
Carroll has forged ahead with his vision, drafting two offensive linemen with Seattle’s first two picks in the draft and signing Robert Gallery to join his former head coach Tom Cable in Seattle. The Cable hiring may be the biggest key to the offensive lines improvement in the coming years.
By adding Gallery, the Seahawks have a still young veteran leader for a group of very young offensive linemen. With his experience with Cable, how he can help convey the coach’s messages to the other linemen will be huge.
Carroll’s dedication to rebuilding the line indicates he will go about building the roster with available pieces, rather than reaching for a need, which in this draft could easily be argued was a quarterback. There is some argument that Seattle reached on its first two picks, but Carroll felt strongly enough to forgo a quarterback even though at that point he was already planning on moving on to life after Matt Hasselbeck.
Still, Charlie Whitehurst hasn’t stood out as the heir apparent, so Seattle went after Tarvaris Jackson to compete with Whitehurst. Jackson is also familiar with the system of new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, which in this lockout-caused short offseason, will be critical to the start of the season.
With no feasible quarterback options for what Seattle was willing to give up, the Seahawks instead went after weapons to surround whoever wins the starting job and whoever is brought in to be the quarterback of the future. Signing Sidney Rice and Zach Miller gives the Seahawks two more offensive threats. With John Carlson already on the roster, the two tight end set possibilities are endless and can only help with the focus on the run game. Bringing in Rice gives the Seahawks a deep threat and lets Mike Williams move into more of a possession receiver role.
Carroll has brought in an influx of new players to fit his vision of a running team with a strong defense. He made the decision to not give up more than he was comfortable with just to grab that franchise quarterback, but rather build the overall talent level of the team up and get younger, so when the quarterback they do really like becomes available, the rest of the team will be ready to go.
It will require patience and some frustrating growing pains, but adding a young talented quarterback to a strong team should produce better than one being brought in as the first part of the rebuilding plan.