Pete Carroll’s comment to Tyler Lockett after a second rare gaffe speaks volumes about both men and the Seahawks winning culture. It was hard to believe our eyes, right 12s? The unthinkable had happened.
In the second quarter, Tyler Lockett fumbled a ball that led to a Giants touchdown that netted the game at 7-7. Then with a chance to redeem himself with minutes left in the third, Lockett missed on a sure touchdown pass that would have given the Seahawks the lead. Geno Smith delivered the ball perfectly, yet the man who makes impossible catches look routine simply dropped it.
Lockett was so disgusted with himself after the miscue that he spit out his mouthpiece. Clearly, this is not a man who is comfortable with failure in any way. I think it’s fair to say that the Seahawks team captain isn’t very familiar with personal failure at all. I mean, he is one of the best wide receivers in Seattle history. He’s proven that he’s a consummate team leader over and over. I certainly don’t know exactly how he felt, but seeing his reactions, it’s obvious he felt he’d let his team down.
Tyler Lockett deserves the accolades, and so does Pete Carroll
The touchdown catch that slipped through his fingers was Lockett’s first drop of the season. The Hawks did kick a field goal on the next play to take a 13-10 lead, it’s true. But the Giants’ only touchdown was the result of a two-yard drive that began with Lockett’s fumble. And now he had cost his team another four points. Is it any wonder he was feeling down on himself? You all saw it, but look again: Lockett was the very picture of dejection here:
Now here’s where the magic happens. Pete Carroll came over to Lockett and had a few words with him, then went back to coaching the action on the field. According to Gregg Bell of the News Tribune, Carroll gave Tyler Lockett the ultimate tribute: “You are the best receiver I have ever seen.” So naturally, Lockett redeemed himself with an absolutely filthy route that resulted in a 33-yard touchdown that put the Seahawks ahead for good.
Please think about that comment by Pete for a moment. That’s a pretty big statement, far more than what you would expect as typical coach-speak. Pete Carroll is very much a rah-rah guy, but one thing he isn’t is a hype machine. He doesn’t exaggerate. You never hear Pete say “this guy is the best ever”; except that’s exactly what he told Tyler Lockett. Or qualified it to say he was the best he’s ever seen.
That choice of seen as opposed to coached is critical. Yes, Pete has coached some terrific receivers. Doug Baldwin immediately comes to mind, sure, but there is a rather exceptional player on the roster right now named DK Metcalf. But let’s not forget that the Hawks aren’t Pete’s first team. Even restricting the choices to players who he’s seen up close on teams he coached, you’ll add players like Rob Moore of the Jets. You may not remember him, but 628 catches for 9,368 yards and 49 TDs are pretty hot numbers. Terry Glenn was no lightweight on Carroll’s Patriots either, considering his numbers: 593 catches, 8,823 yards, and 44 TDs.
But that’s just scratching the surface. Carroll’s 1994 Jets team also had an old guy by the name of Art Monk. No big deal, he’s only a Hall of Fame player. Oh, and did I mention that Pete was the DC for the Niners for a couple of years? His defenses got to cover a pretty decent guy in practice, some dude named Jerry Rice. That doesn’t even count all the standouts he saw in his stellar college career.
If anyone is a student of the game, it’s Tyler Lockett. Now I’m sure when Carroll told him he was the best receiver he’d ever seen, Lockett didn’t flip through his internal database and call up video of Monk and Rice shredding defenders, but he knows who Carroll has seen. It isn’t about Lockett being the best. It’s Caroll’s belief in his players that drives the Seahawks to win. That belief is a large part of why they’re one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 season.