The Seahawks' hire of veteran coach Leslie Frazier tells me that Pete Carroll's advisory role will be limited to the choice of gum on gameday. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but you don't hire an assistant head coach if you're going to listen to Pete, too.
I loved the hire of Mike Macdonald, and clearly, I am not alone in that sentiment. Most pundits have rated John Schneider's hire as the best of the coaching carousel, or at least a strong second behind the Chargers' hire of Jim Harbaugh. The few doubters point to Macdonald's youth as one potential issue. I get it; I have t-shirts older than him. Like, really. But while youth isn't really an issue, inexperience as a head coach is a legitimate concern.
That's why the hire of Leslie Frazier is such a win for the Seahawks. As Bob Condotta wrote in The Seattle Times about the impending hire, Frazier has been a mentor to Macdonald. Eight years ago, Macdonald was in his third year with Baltimore when Frazier joined the Ravens as their secondary coach.
The new Seattle assistant head coach led the Minnesota Vikings for four seasons and was the head coach at NAIA Trinity College for nine years before moving on to the NFL. Throughout 25 seasons in the NFL, Frazier has undoubtedly seen almost every possible situation. He's the perfect fit for the Hawks.
The Seattle Seahawks are truly moving on to the next chapter
That being said, Pete Carroll could still play an important role in the Seahawks organization. It certainly won't be on the field or in the front office. He wasn't consulted when John Schneider conducted his coaching search, so the front office is out. Bringing 25-year NFL coaching veteran Leslie Frazier to Seattle as the assistant head coach precludes any Xs and Os influence as well.
So what role does that leave for the most successful coach in Seahawks history? The role he was always best at - player relations. Carroll commanded one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, so it's not as if the man can't design schemes. But it was Pete's eternal optimism that drove the team. That was always his strength, his belief in his players and coaches. It fueled their own belief and brought the best out of them.
Eventually, that became his greatest flaw as well. Carroll's optimism and loyalty created a blind spot that he simply couldn't see past. It led him to keep Ken Norton Jr. as his defensive coordinator as the Hawks' defense sank into mediocrity. Clint Hurtt brought a temporary improvement, but it wasn't sustainable. Again, Carroll's deeply held belief in his guys wouldn't allow him to see the issues in front of him.
In player relations, that flaw can again become his greatest strength. As I wrote a few weeks ago, Pete Carroll shouldn't stay in Seattle. He needs to be at the league office, leading a players-first initiative for the entire NFL. That won't happen, because Pete already presented a plan to the league and they didn't care. Maybe the NFLPA would show a bit more wisdom than the league and put Pete to work, doing what he's always loved, advocating for the players. No matter what he does next, the Pete Carroll Era is over in Seattle.