There’s no doubt we’d rather see Pete Carroll coaching the Seahawks next weekend. However, the Pro Bowl gives him a chance to prove his philosophy is right.
Let’s be realistic here. The Pro Bowl is the game that no one wants to play in. Not compared to practicing for a certain Big Game the following Sunday, at least. No one wants to watch it, either. Viewership of the Pro Bowl tends to be around 8 million. That other game typically draws at least 100 million pairs of eyes. That’s okay as far as the 12s are concerned. It’s okay by Pete Carroll, too.
We’ve got a couple of our guys – not enough, but a couple – and our coaches there. Moreover, I see this game as a big one for Pete Carroll. This is a chance for him to prove the naysayers wrong, and that his coaching philosophy can win. He won’t have to worry about playing fourth-string running backs or third-string guards. He’ll have most of the best talent in his conference available in the game. This is his showcase for both his offensive and defensive schemes. Can he make it work?
This should mean you can expect to see a lot of running plays, a lot of play-action, and a lot of deep throws from the NFC roster. Pete Carroll has a bit of experience with Russell Wilson. DangeRuss is pretty good at that stuff, as you know. Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins can throw the ball a little, too. Regardless, I’d expect to see heavy doses of Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara, because that’s what Pete does.
About those deep balls, the NFC will definitely have the tools to stretch the field. Both Mike Evans and Kenny Golladay can fly as both averaged over 17 yards per catch. Michael Thomas caught about 600 balls this season, and basically catches everything that shows up on Doppler radar. Unfortunately, we know all too well what Davante Adams can do on the field. Add tight ends Zach Ertz and Austin Hooper, and Carroll’s QBs will have no shortage of weapons.
On defense, Carroll will have the pass rush he craves. The ends from the Vikings, Everson Griffin and Danielle Hunter, accounted for 22.5 sacks and 46 quarterback hits on their own. Add in beasts like Fletcher Cox and Cameron Jordan, and the AFC quarterbacks could be looking at a very long day. The linebacker corps is so;id, of course; it’s the Pro Bowl. But Carroll will be missing the game’s two best middle linebackers, Bobby Wagner and Luke Keuchly. I’m sure he’ll get by, though.
The biggest question for me is how vanilla Carroll and Ken Norton Jr. will keep the defense. The Pro Bowl is well-known to feature the most basic schemes possible. That, of course, suits Carroll just fine. Still, I’d love to see him do something other than trot out the same basic schemes on defense. I’m not a fan of Norton’s work with the Seahawks, and I’d hardly on an island in that opinion.
Conversely, I think Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer have an excellent offensive scheme. Maybe you missed it, but the Titans ran over both the Patriots and Ravens in their improbable playoff run. The deeply reviled Niners ran for about eleventy-thousand yards on their way to crushing the Packers last week. Green Bay threw 39 times while San Francisco passed just eight times. As I mentioned in another article, the four teams that ran the most all made the playoffs, while the four teams that threw the most all missed out.
The Pro Bowl will give Pete Carroll one more shot to prove he’s got the right philosophy. I expect his offense to work smoothly. The defense, well… he’s certainly got all the right tools. Considering that teams typically play very basic schemes in the Pro Bowl, I sure wouldn’t expect Carroll and Norton to show a lot of dime coverage. But please, don’t try to cover Jarvis Landry with Shaquil Barrett. Throw in an extra “L” and put Griffin on him. On offense, I expect good things. On defense, I expect to see too many points. If that plays out, that would give Carroll the plan he needs going into this season. Changes are due.