Week 12 is set up to be Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll's Waterloo

Pete Carroll has had a good run of success with Seattle since 2010.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Let me start by saying I like Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. His positivity is refreshing and he treats his players like grown men instead of micromanaging their lives as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick seemingly does. Plus, we simply need more positivity in life many times.

But one reason coaches only coach for so long is that eventually, other teams find out what their tendencies are. Coaches simply run out of toys to show the other team. One reason Seattle has struggled for years on third down defense is because of Carroll's influence on the unit. Don't get beat deep, sure, but try to find a way of fixing the second- and third-and-long situations where we know Seattle is going to play zone and leave the middle of the field open for a 10-plus yard gain.

This example has happened even when there was a change of defensive coordinator from Ken Norton, Jr. to Clint Hurtt. What are the chances a defense would work the same way in third down situations over the course of two DCs with a head coach having a great impact. The rest of the NFL has figured out Seattle on third down and the Seahawks seem unwilling or incapable of remedying the issue.

Seattle is 29th in allowing third down conversions in 2023, 27th in 2022, 27th in 2020. There is a theme there. The through-line is Pete Carroll.

How much longer will Pete Carroll be the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks?

Even in Seattle's best seasons under Pete Carroll in the early 2010s, the Seahawks won a lot of close games because the defense was fantastic and the offense ran the ball a bunch with Marshawn Lynch. But that system doesn't work without a great defense. Seattle has evolved over the years to throw the ball a bunch more than they pass - Seattle has thrown the ball the sixth-most per percentage in 2023 and the 13th-most in 2022 - but the defense remains mostly ineffective and Carroll is a defensive-minded coach. The defense, therefore, should be the easier fix for him.

If Pete Carroll remains the head coach of the Seahawks, the team will never be awful. Carroll's players like playing for him and that is important. But Seattle is never going to have the defense it did in the early 2010s because no one has that kind of defense anymore. Plus, as the third down defense most likely isn't going to get better, Seattle is never going to be a Super Bowl contender again under Carroll.

In Week 11, however, Seattle didn't just lose a game to the Los Angeles Rams, they got banged up as well. First, running back Kenneth Walker III left with an oblique injury and then quarterback Geno Smith had to leave for about a quarter of the game with an arm injury. Neither player is assured of playing on Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers. Also of note, the 49ers are simply a better team.

Seattle already got blown out once this year against the Baltimore Ravens. The Thanksgiving night game is likely to be ugly too. Heck, maybe even the following three weeks will be gross to watch as well. How many blowouts should Carroll and the Seahawks be allowed in 2023? Losing badly to the top-tier teams is an indication that while Seattle has quite a bit of talent, the direction of the team might be lacking.

Add to that all the penalties the team gets (in Week 11 alone Seattle had 12 penalties for 130 yards and leads the league in penalties per game - 7.6) and there is a clear lack of committment to discipline on the field. That cannot happen every single year and the Seahawks are normally among the most penalized teams in the league. If you have the scheme and players to overcome that then it is still a problem, but Seattle doesn't have that.

Again, I like Pete Carroll, but 14 years is a long time to be the head coach of one team. He is also the Vice President of Football Operations so he wouldn't be leaving the organization completely. But another blowout on Thursday is a distinct possibility and might signal the end is near for Carroll as the head coach in Seattle.

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