Seattle Seahawks seem fearful of making a change that could doom the team for years

An NFL team afraid of change is not going to be a very good team.
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Maybe the game of football really has caught up to Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. But not in the way some might think. Carroll knows the game, the concepts of how to defend, and how an offense might be run somewhat efficiently, but in the NFL organizations and coaches cannot have a fear of change. And right now, Carroll seems incapable or afraid of change.

He has always been loyal to his players and coaches. He does not like to throw any under the proverbial bus. He implied that Jamal Adams has been an issue this year after Seattle's loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14 when Adams bit on a play and the 49ers just used that bite to complete a 54-yard touchdown pass. Still, Pete Carroll didn't say specifically that "Jamal Adams" is a problem long-term for the team.

Seattle could have won its final two games and clinched a playoff spot, however, so what began as a promising season is seemingly now likely doomed. The Seahawks could be facing a losing record after how well the Arizona Cardinals ran the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17. But even when the team was struggling for much of the season defensively, Seattle did not do much in terms of player changes, and certainly no coaching moves.

In contrast, the Philadelphia Eagles had lost two straight games ahead of Week 15, and they made a defensive coordinator change. Philadelphia announced before the Seahawks games that senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia would move down to the field and do the defensive playcalling. Sean Desai still retains the title of defensive coordinator, but he moved up into the booth. The Eagles' defense hasn't improved much, but not because the Eagles didn't at least try to make some kind of coaching change.

While the Seahawks wait, they will continue to see losses mount in the same way

Clint Hurtt is the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks, of course. He was a position coach in Seattle for a number of years until Carroll promoted him to DC in 2022. This was after Carroll kept Ken Norton, Jr. around for about three years too long and Norton was fired after his fourth season as DC in Seattle. Carroll was too slow to make that move and he seems too slow to make the move from Hurtt as well.

This is not college football. The NFL is a league of constant changes in scheme and players. A coach can either adapt and change quickly or he gets stale, teams know that coach's tendencies and take advantage of them. In many ways, the Seahawks' defense is worse in Hurtt's second season, with more points allowed this year being the most critical number, and there is no reason to think 2024 will be any better.

Seattle needed to fix its run defense after 2022's awfulness. For the first five games in 2023, that issue appeared to be better. In the last 11 games, though, Seattle has allowed a league-high 5.2 yards per rush and the most rushing yards per game. Clearly, teams adjusted to what Seattle did early in the season and the Seahawks have been incapable of readjusting.

In Week 17, the Pittsburgh Steelers gained 6.6 yards per play and their running backs averaged 4.9 yards per rush but for most of the game, it was much higher until Pittsburgh had obvious runs deep in Seattle's territory late in the game. Tackling was a wretched problem, but so was scheme. Plus, poor tackling technique is a coaching problem too.

Maybe Clint Hurtt is a good defensive line coach, but he has shown nothing to make one think he will be a very good long-time defensive coordinator. And yet, there is very little chance Pete Carroll will remove him from the job. Philadelphia made a defensive change quickly because they appear to have a more energized leadership group among coaches at this point and a greater will to try to win, rather than to not hurt someone's feelings over the loss of their coaching job, than do Pete Carroll and the Seahawks.

Clint Hurtt no longer needs to be the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator. If Pete Carroll doesn't want to remove him from the job due to loyalty - a great trait for a person, but not one for an NFL head coach - then Carroll probably needs to move on as well. A fresh perspective might do a young Seahawks roster some good in 2024.

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