Seattle Seahawks: 5 Reasons Pete Carroll Should Be on Hot Seat
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In his second season in Seattle, Carroll has built a team that shows both great potential, and, at times, ineptitude.
Which team will stand up as the real Seahawks?
The answer to this question should start to become relevant sooner than you might think for Pete Carroll.
Absolute Power Corrupts, Absolutely
Pete Carroll (left) answers only to the big man—team owner Paul Allen (right).
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Since Pete Carroll took over last season, he has both impressed and confounded the fans with his moxie.
But while the players have seemed to buy in for Carroll (or else), it might be hard for the rest of us to fall in line so easily.
During his tenure here, he has shown a confidence and determination that is both relentless and inspiring. Carroll and his GM John Schneider have an unabashed penchant for doing it their way—with little regard to their detractors.
Yes, a coach must believe in their philosophy.
In the NFL, there is no room for doubt. Carroll believes in his system so much that he submits to his process above all else. He seems to believe that if he can execute his philosophy with unwavering certainty, the results must follow.
This was evident when he allowed Matt Hasselbeck to leave via free agency. The self-assured Carroll was almost smug in his assertion that, despite what almost everybody else thought, his team did not have a choice but to succeed—as if his philosophy was so much bigger than any one player, that the idea of a player circumventing it with years of experience would be detrimental to the organization itself.
Many fine coaches feel this way. Bill Belichick comes to mind. But ask yourself for a minute if Tom Brady is more important or less important than the team-first philosophy of the New England Patriots? I think you’ll find that the truth is perhaps somewhere in the middle.
So, what happens when the facade begins to crack? Clearly, this team could use someone like Hasselbeck.
Evidently, NFL teams need more than to just believe. Where is the accountability for the crippling of this season?
As the Executive VP of Football Operations, as well as head coach, Carroll may be drunk with power—as he answers only to the owner Paul Allen.
Perhaps, a little fear is healthy for a head coach.
2012 Is Fast Approaching
Coaches are often under the most scrutiny after their third season with a team, just ask Pete Carroll after his third season with the New England Patriots.
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While Pete Carroll might not have felt any undue pressure to win in Seattle yet, the clock is ticking on his rebuilding plan.
Typically, coaches start to get dissected in their third seasons; this is when things should get interesting.
Last year, the team was in such a state of disarray that Carroll could've gotten away with a 0-16 season, let alone a division championship and a playoff win. This year, expectations for a repeat were largely dashed when the team let Matt Hasselbeck go in the offseason.
This season has widely been viewed as a time for the young core to pay dues, sharpen their teeth, and come together as a unit.
But next year, nobody will be so understanding if the Seattle Seahawks aren't challenging for a playoff bid.
In order to do that, Carroll needs to hit on virtually all his draft picks in 2012. Specifically at quarterback, the single most important position in sports, and the most glaring hole on the roster—not to mention the hardest position to fill adequately.
Another draft that sees projects like James Carpenter picked ahead of players with pedigree, and this honeymoon could turn sour quickly.
The authority that Carroll possesses, coupled with the fact that this team had three coaches in three years from 2007-2010 buys him until probably the 2013-14 season to show incontrovertible progress.
Showing up big in 2012 will go a long way to quell that discussion.
Matt Hasselbeck's Departure
Matt Hasselbeck is having his best season since 2007.
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Winning the division last year? That was the plan all along. Suck for Luck? Forget about it. Pete Carroll is not going to mortgage even one second of his tenure as head coach just to lay in waiting. Carroll wants to win, and he wants to win now.
But why then did he chose to let the team’s best quarterback option walk via free agency?
Some fans may think this is old news; the season is well under way. It’s certainly time to move on. However, I would be remiss if I didn't point out the incongruities of Carroll’s logic.
The fact is this team had a clear opportunity to be better than they are this season, and Carroll and GM John Schneider knowingly chose to put a lesser product on the field.
Unless they truly believe the rhetoric about Tarvaris Jackson representing their best chance to win this year. But I don’t believe Carroll is that stupid.
I do, however, believe he is that headstrong.
Let’s consider the facts (for those that would rather see a comparison of Hasselbeck vs. Charlie Whitehurst, god help you):
Hasselbeck has a QBR of over 90, with 13 touchdowns against just six interceptions, is completing over 63 percent of his passes and is on pace for over 4,000 yards passing this year.
And before you go complaining about his arm strength, he already has two passes of over 80 yards this season.
Jackson, on the other hand, has yet to complete a pass longer than 55 yards, has a QBR of under 76, with just six touchdowns against nine interceptions.
It doesn't take long to realize who the best quarterback is. But most of us knew that before the season began.
So, the question remains: if all Carroll cares about is winning, then why are we settling for this year's team? If Hasselbeck were guiding this team, it’s likely the Seahawks could be competing for the division again, instead of competing to get out of the lottery—which at that this point in the season also makes little sense.
It’s in this regard that I am most perplexed. If the Seahawks knew they were going to be garbage this year, why not just hold out for Andrew Luck? Winning 2-4 games this year won't do much to make your draft look good.
Not if you miss on the can’t-miss prospect of the decade just because you really wanted to compete against the New York Giants in Week 5—but not in free agency, where you allowed the face of the franchise to leave, in lieu of…Tarvaris Jackson.
Where was the competition then? Why should the fans accept this product when Carroll clearly has not done everything he could do to make this team respectable this year? Is Tarvaris Jackson really someone to build around?
Carroll will need to turn things around next season if he is to inspire any confidence in his direction of the quarterback position.
Missing on Andy Dalton
Yeah, we're mad about it too.
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Many people were surprised that the Seattle Seahawks passed on Andy Dalton with the 25th overall pick in last year's draft.
Dalton’s success, however, hasn't seemed to surprise anybody. The kid is as advertised—accurate, fiery (not just his hair), a fast learner and a leader of men.
Imagine where this team could be right now if Dalton were at the helm—perhaps not within striking distance of the San Francisco 49ers, but certainly in respectable company.
With a QBR of 85.2 and 12 touchdowns against seven interceptions, the young Dalton could have been a veritable steal at No. 25. The Seahawks will be comparing their QB play to both Dalton and Matt Hasselbeck for years to come unless they solve the position with a great 2012 draft.
While RT James Carpenter has played much better as the season has progressed, it will be tough for Pete Carroll to justify picking him over Dalton—who plays the most important position in organized sports.
Especially when Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst are his preferred alternatives.
Too Many Gaffes
This 61-yard field goal attempt was almost, uh, reasonable.
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While at the University of Southern California, Pete Carroll earned a nickname from the hometown faithful: Big Balls Pete.
Now in the NFL—without a recruiting advantage—Carroll is having trouble making good on the many risks he takes.
Risks like: when he chose to run the ball at the 2-yard-line with only 19 seconds left in the half against the San Diego Chargers last year—thereby eliminating a chance for a field goal—or when he did virtually the same thing last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, this time while at the 3-yard line with only 14 seconds left.
Both moves robbed the Seattle Seahawks of a chance to put points on the board. Hey, sometimes you have to go for it, but you never want to lose your unspent downs when you've got time left on the clock.
"We learned about what happens when a coach gets hormonal and tries to jam it down their throat for a touchdown at the end of the half," said Carroll afterward.
Okay, but what about running Matt Hasselbeck and his brittle wrist into the trenches on 4th-and-1 against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7 last year? How about the ill-fated fake field goal against the St. Louis Rams in Week 4 of that year? What about the 61-yard field goal attempt against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4 this year?
Apparently, Carroll must be going through male menopause, because this has been a recurring theme.
For fans that grew tired of Mike Holmgren’s ultra-conservative style, Pete Carroll may have been a welcome change at first, but the novelty is quickly wearing off in Carroll’s second season.
He needs to do a much better job of managing the game for his players. He doesn't have the benefit of superior talent anymore.