For a guy who supposedly only wants to play old-school football - you know, run the ball and play hard-nosed defense - Pete Carroll has been extremely reluctant to actually play that style of football. Depending on what happens in Week 18, he may not get a chance to return the Seattle Seahawks to that style of play.
It seems we always hear the same complaint from a vocal minority of the 12s: Pete Carroll has let the game pass him by. He's too old school. All he wants to do is run the ball. There may be some basis in the claim that the game has progressed past Carroll's methods. I don't agree with the assertion, but it's far more complex than the idea that all he wants to do is run the ball. Yes, Carrol talks a lot about running the ball, but anyone who's been paying attention for the last few years can clearly see that the Seahawks do not run the ball nearly enough.
Listen, I'll admit that I too was seduced by the Dark Side. I preached the gospel of Let Russ Cook as loudly as anyone. Well, I did until it became apparent that Russell Wilson wasn't quite the gridiron chef he imagined himself to be. We can look at Wilson's miscues in Week 13 of 2020 in a 17-12 loss to the Giants. He bounced back with a strong performance the following week vs the Jets but was mediocre the rest of the way.
He kicked off 2021 in vintage Wilson fashion, going 79-109 for a 72 percent completion rate, 1,044 yards, nine touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Yet the Seahawks were only 2-2 in those games. In their two wins, Seattle ran the ball 27 and 28 times. In their losses, the Hawks ran just 17 and 18 times. Hmmm...is there a theme here?
The Seattle Seahawks have always needed to run, but too often don't
In that same year, Wilson was injured in the Rams game. Some 12s seem to have forgotten that Geno Smith's offense put up 10 of the Hawks' 17 points in that game and 166 of their 354 yards, all in the fourth quarter. When Wilson talked his way back onto the field far too soon to face the Packers, he had one of the worst games of his career. Coincidentally, the Seahawks ran the ball just 16 times in their shutout loss.
Wilson was far less than DangeRuss the following week as Seattle fell to Arizona. Despite that their quarterback clearly wasn't in shape to play, the Hawks ran the ball just 19 times. The Hawks hit rock bottom against the Washington Football Team - sorry, but it's just too fun to write that monstrosity when I can - in a 17-15 loss that dropped them to 3-8 on the season.
Looking at the stats, you might think Russ had a decent game. Two touchdowns, no turnovers, and 247 yards passing are okay, right? Except it wasn't okay at all. Wilson wasn't that good, and the offense was an unmitigated disaster. Seattle ran the ball 12 times. Yes, that's about the same as what Marshawn Lynch would get in a half when the Hawks actually did run the ball.
Mike Salk talked about this confusing disparity between Pete Carroll's philosophy and the Seahawks reality on Seattle Sports the other day. Discussing that philosophy - you know it, 12s, a physical running game that opens up the deep passing game. Carroll espouses a defense that doesn't give up big plays and makes the opposition pay for every yard with hard hitting and sure tackling. As Salk wrote, that philosophy is not exactly what we're seeing on the field.
"But in order for it to be effective, you have to commit to it. You have to bring in coaches and players that fit. You can’t make compromises and concessions. You can’t be 29th in the league in rushing attempts. You can’t get pushed around up front. You can’t allow explosive plays one week and 132 yards after contact the next. Those aren’t problems with your philosophy; those are problems executing your philosophy."- Mike Salk