1. Pete Carroll openness –
The Seahawks’ head coach was asked about Richard Sherman’s comments regarding the relationship between Bob Kraft and Roger Goodell, and Carroll acknowledged that Sherman is the type of personality who will form his own views.
“Richard has an outlook that Richard owns and he had an opinion about something. I don’t think he knows the Commissioner and Mr. Kraft very well, ” Carroll said. “I don’t think they have a longstanding relationship, but [Sherman] has an opinion of that and he expressed it. Whether I talk to him about it or not, he’s still going to have his opinion.”
I thought that was a pretty frank way to put it, allowing the player to have his own view. It shed a bit of light on how Carroll allows his players to be themselves. He knows that Sherman is outspoken, and while not agreeing with his comments, seemed completely fine with the star cornerback giving his honest thoughts.
2. Carroll’s power –
He has a unique situation in Seattle, with a lot of say in personnel. Carroll discussed his experience at USC and being the “football guy,” saying he liked the set-up in college. When the Seahawks offered him the head coaching job in 2010, it came with a lot of authority.
“I had the opportunity there to make every decision from recruiting to academics to everything, and you’re responsible for all of that. That is why I thought [USC] would be the only job that I liked, because I felt like it really gave me an opportunity to be at my best. When this opportunity came here, it was expressed and clearly laid out that I could have the same kind of responsibility and the same kind of approach. So it’s been really instrumental, because the way we do things isn’t the way a lot of other people do things and so we really needed our own way to do it,” Carroll said.
As we all saw with Jim Harbaugh’s falling out in San Francisco, there are usually limits to a head coach’s control in the NFL. Carroll himself was fired twice, and he had far less control with the Patriots in the late 1990’s.
A balance of power typically exists between a coach and the GM. With Carroll having some leverage, he was able to get more authority than most NFL head coaches when he was hired.
“It’s what every coach needs, I think, to be at his best,” Carroll said. “The format and the structure that is generally accepted in the league is not that.”
I’m not sure if it’s the ideal in many NFL cities, but the structure Seattle has with Carroll and GM John Schneider has certainly worked very well.
3. Marshawn Lynch –
There was a very similar sentiment echoed by Kam Chancellor, Max Unger, and the other Seahawks when asked about Lynch; great teammate, good person, tremendous in the locker room. Chancellor mentioned that Lynch is the type of guy you go to whenever you have any problems or even questions about life. Unger added a few more glowing words.
“He’s one of the best teammates that anybody can ask for, one of my favorite people I’ve ever played with. I can’t say enough good stuff about him to be honest with you,” Unger said.
My editorial opinion: it’s pretty clear the players on the team like Lynch. He seems to be a very different guy behind the scenes, but that’s something the media has rarely had a chance to see. Had the players had a negative opinion of Lynch, I would expect lukewarm or neutral answers. That definitely wasn’t the case on Monday afternoon. Most of the players made light of Lynch’s media “issues” with a smile.
4. Faith in young players –
Included in those made available to the media were linebackers Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright, along with wide receiver Doug Baldwin. In retrospect, these were all players that were undervalued coming out of college. Wagner specifically discussed how Carroll believed in him as a rookie, giving the former Utah State star confidence in his NFL transition.
“I think for me personally, what I got from everything is just that he had a belief in me. I was like the young new guy, try to be in a row that required a lot,” Wagner said. “[Carroll] kind of instilled that confidence in me that I can do this and that I was the player for that spot.”
Wagner is quietly a lynchpin player for this dominant Seattle defense. He’s recorded over 100 tackles in his first 3 NFL seasons, and the Seahawks have been on fire since his return from injury in Week 12.
Meanwhile, Chancellor mentioned how many NFL evaluators felt he was a “tweener” coming out of Virginia Tech, a player perhaps too slow for safety, but too light for linebacker.
“I felt I was always a football player and had a knack for the ball. I was a student of the game. That’s one thing Coach Carroll said when he first called me,” Chancellor said. “He told me, ‘All we want you to bring is what you bring to the game and that’s being physical. That’s all we ask. Nothing more, nothing less.’”
The Seahawks roster seems to be filled with players who had a consensus view of them that wasn’t shared by the team they play for. Carroll and Schneider have seemingly collected a series of misfit toys that have panned out brilliantly.
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