Seahawks' Geno Smith knew Mike Macdonald was different after one thing was missing

Seattle should be a much more disciplined group in 2024.
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Former head coach Pete Carroll led the Seattle Seahawks to a high level of success over 14 seasons. The team won a Super Bowl and made another and missed the playoffs just four times. Whatever happened near the end, Carroll has earned the respect he gets from most 12s. He is the best coach in franchise history and second place is not that close.

But Carroll also had a reputation for running a fairly loose team. The off-field laid-back atmosphere may have rolled over to the on-field product as Seattle was consistently one of the more penalized teams in the NFL. There appeared to be no real drive to try to fix the issue and the team lived with the situation. That was easier when Seattle's teams were more talented and more cohesive such as in the mid-2010s.

One non-football object served as a staple of Carroll's regime as well. That was the basketball goal that the team kept in its auditorium at Seahawks headquarters. Having a basketball goal is not unusual for a team in the practice facility, but having one in the meeting room was an emblem of Carroll's years. The goal implied that the team should remain calm and have fun, but sometimes that meant not being as serious as one should be.

Seahawks QB Geno Smith knew there was new direction when the basketball goal was gone

As the players met the new coaching staff for the first time this week at voluntary workouts, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith noticed that the basketball hoop was gone. This was clearly intentional and one way of new head coach Mike Macdonald setting a tone that the team will be much more serious, and, hopefully, more focused.

Smith told Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, "That was the weirdest thing. Cause I really walked over there to grab a basketball (and the basketball goal was) not even there." Macdonald does not want his players to think about anything else other than what is being said in the team's meeting. After all, players should have fun when playing, but they are also paid to win football games. Instead of any softness, Macdonald wants his team to be tough and physical.

Another team that keeps a basketball goal in its meeting room is the Miami Dolphins. They have been a successful team recently as well, but no one would claim they are a mentally tough team. Miami seems to back down when another team is more bullish. NFL teams don't win on finesse alone.

As opposed to the early 2010s when the Seahawks were bullies on the field, the team appeared to become softer over the last half-decade. This won't be the case with Macdonald's teams. Instead of Carroll being overly friendly with his players, Macdonald will act more like a coach. That will hopefully translate to more wins in Seattle.

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