Pete Carroll is usually a coach that likes to blend. He likes to let players be themselves. However, when it comes to “team first,” Carroll takes no prisoners. As it was when he reacted to criticism about two former players this week.
Pete Carroll likes to make sure the players on his team understand that team culture comes first. He has always been this way. Team unity identified his teams at USC and in the early years of his Seahawks tenure. But lately, there has been some criticism about players having too much leeway.
Former Seattle defensive tackle Michael Bennett, according to a report by Greg Bishop, brought books to team meetings in 2017. Carroll has denied this. Bennett is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Former cornerback Richard Sherman, now of the San Francisco 49ers, used to belittle former offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on the sidelines for his play-calling. Was Sherman correct in his summation that Bevell made some bad play calls? Maybe. But Sherman’s place was not to air his complaints on the sideline either. This would go against Carroll’s philosophy that in the public eye, at least, team comes first.
Neither Bennett nor Sherman will be Seahawks in 2018. Both were viewed as outspoken players. These kinds of players would not seem to be an issue in the liberal city of Seattle. And honestly, their political views probably had little to do with their leaving the Pacific Northwest. But their team-first attitudes, or lack thereof, most likely were impetus for the former teammates leaving.
Seahawks better off?
And maybe it is best they are gone. Might Seattle suffer in 2018 because they are no longer on the team? Yes. Might Seattle be better off in 2019 and beyond without them? Yes as well.
Carroll told the Tacoma News Tribune’s Gregg Bell this week
"The thing I would tell you about that is that we’ve been through a lot around here, we’ve grown tremendously together and all of that, and changes are inevitable. Sometimes, guys can’t hang with what’s expected, for one reason or another – their growth, their development and all of that.And the best thing I can tell you is, that they’re not here."
When the usually optimistic head coach of the Seahawks says things like this, what he really means is that Bennett and Sherman were team cancers and better that they left.
Again, Seattle might not be better in 2018 than they were in say 2016. But the culture of the team is probably better in the future without these two players.