Pete Carroll fought like heck to stay in the hunt
In retrospect, Pete deserves a ton of praise for his ability to survive and persevere. If we're being honest, Pete's best shot at getting back to a Super Bowl died when Earl Thomas broke his leg against Carolina in 2016. That team seemed to have begun getting past the SB49 nightmare and were in a position to grab the 2 seed in an NFC that was ripe for the taking with a top 3 defense before Earl got hurt in week 12.
After, the Seahawks' defense fell off, lost the 2 seed, the bye, and a home divisional game. The result was a beat down at Atlanta to former Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn, and soon-to-be 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (with GM John Lynch broadcasting and getting a front-row seat to Shanahan’s brilliance).
That was the last season I truly felt Seattle could go win a championship. Since then, Pete has been scratching and clawing to just get to the playoffs, dealing with a different crisis every year. For almost a decade, Pete has tried and failed to recreate the magic, consistently with the wrong ingredients, while San Francisco and Los Angeles have turned into superpowers multiple times.
After the 2022 offseason where Pete Carroll and John Schneider stated that they needed to get tougher and more talented to catch San Francisco, they failed. Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba look like stars, but the rest of the offseason additions have disappointed while also being expensive. They set out to stop the run and have completely fallen on their face. This failure is not just a one-year wonder either.
The defense is not just horrific, it's been flat-out bad for nearly a decade. It's been eight seasons since we've seen a top-10 defense, with our defensive-minded head coach. Clint Hurtt was a head-scratching promotion two years ago and looks like another failure that falls on Pete yet again.
If you think the offense is getting off the hook, don't. They've been equally as disappointing this season. After finishing 9th in the NFL in offense in 2022, the Seahawks have fallen to 18th in points scored and 20th in offensive yards. Shane Waldron is a solid if not great play designer. I almost always am a fan of his play script to start a game and a half. His ability to sequence plays, adjust, and have a lick of awareness? Nah, it's nowhere to be found.
Today, with an injured Kenneth Walker struggling with an aggravated shoulder injury, and his starting center out with a concussion, chose to run a trick play direct snap that killed a drive with Seattle trailing. Three times in the second half, the Seahawks were in a position to score a touchdown, but failed to do so, settling for field goals. He may be a smart guy, and the metrics are solid, but he's not a championship offensive coordinator who can maximize this offense. He should not be brought back next year, and that too falls on Pete Carroll.
In the locker room, the Jamal Adams fiasco, the early DK Metcalf drama, and the legitimate questions about this team's buy-in to Pete have clearly gotten to him. In his weekly radio show and post-practice interviews, Pete has seemed more hostile and dismissive than I've ever seen him. I think he knows that he had a shot at a quick run to being a contender after the successful Russell Wilson trade, but has realized he can't get to some of his players, and that he just can't reignite the fading light that this franchise is clearly feeling.