I’ve noticed a change in the dialog concerning Pete Carroll in the media. More and more people are openly questioning if he can “get it done” here in Seattle. I’m not talking about the big national media outlets that generally hate all things Seattle simply out of principle. I’m referring to the more balanced voices out there that have been pro-Carroll in the past.
One in particular responded to a Pete Carroll quote from this morning (“We”re so close to 8-0.”) with “Something a loser says.” It caught me off guard. I started looking around the internet and asking people, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that the Pete Carroll bandwagon has gotten rather empty outside of Seattle.
Now, those of us that are apart of the 12th Man seriously don’t care about all that. But it does leave me wondering why so voices that used to speak out on his behalf are now turning against him. I mean, just look at the roster and you’ll see how good he’s been to the Seahawks.
When he took over, the roster was full of old, small, slow players, with generally bad contracts. The roster was a mess, and there was essentially nothing to work with. The fact that the Seahawks are competitive now speaks volumes to the improvement of the roster.
This is especially true on defense. Even coming off a poor performance yesterday, it’s impossible not recognize the talent the Seahawks have in the secondary and the front 7. The scheme needs some fixing, but the athletes are there.
The truth is that the Seahawks have been in every game this season. They’re 4-4, but have had the ball with a chance to win in the 4th quarter in all 4 losses. 4-4 is still mediocre, but at least they’re competitive. That certainly wasn’t the case before Carroll got here when the Seahawks won just 9 games combined in the 2 seasons prior to his arrival.
But lets be honest and take the good with the bad. The offense is a mess. The O-line has regressed this season, the receivers are genuinely poor (sans Sydney Rice), and the TEs after Miller are hardly worthy of spots on an NFL roster. Is this offense genuinely better than when Carroll got here? It’s tough to objectively say that it is.
There are also other things about the Carroll’s Seahawks that are immensely frustrating. The penalties come to mind, though they have been better the last couple weeks. It’s still a concern but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on the subject until they come back.
The bigger problem is the fact that Seahawks can only seem to play well for 2 quarters in any game. Usually it’s the 2nd half, but that’s hardly consistently true. In the 49ers and Panthers games, it was the 1st and 4th quarters. Against the Packers is was just the 1st half. In the end, it’s just unacceptable. Teams in the NFL aren’t going to win very often if they can’t put forth 4 quarters worth of effort each week. If Caroll can’t fix this, then the Seahawks will always be mediocre under his tenture.
I was asked today if Carroll could be let go if the Seahawks don’t make the playoffs. The answer to that was a definite “no.” Carroll said before he was hired that it would take 3 years to build the roster, before being able to win in year 4. That was the expectation when he was hired, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be given the chance to see it through.
Even if the Seahawks stumble in the second half of the season, the only way Carroll loses his job is if he loses the locker room. Unless the players turn on him, (and they wont; they love him.) Carroll will definitely be back in 2013.
And he should be. Carroll has done a good job. He hasn’t been perfect by any measure, but he hasn’t been bad either. He’s earned the right to see his plan though to the end.
Beyond that, his future is tied to the development of Russell Wilson. Carroll waited until too long into his tenture in Seattle to settle on a QB. If Wilson develops into a franchise QB, than the Seahawks make the playoffs next year and he’s set in Seattle for a few more years. If Wilson doesn’t improve, then the Seahawks are destined to mediocrity, and Carroll’s leash with the Seahawks will become incredibly short.