Why the Seattle Seahawks need to let DK Metcalf continually be himself

Amidst similar struggles with bonehead penalties, the Seattle Seahawks need not change who DK Metcalf is.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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There is a method to the madness

Certain players operate in a certain way. They are unique in their own way and when allowed to truly be themselves, they can reach their peak. Not everything is about stats, it's about impact, regardless of the sport. Each team generally has a guy who is an energizer bunny or vocal leader whose impact is felt. It could be from a guy like Udonis Haslem on the Miami Heat, who has barely seen the court in recent years. It's their presence, the aura they carry that reaches teammates.

A great example is Phil Jackson and Dennis Rodman. His Las Vegas hiatus is not something that would be tolerated by any coach for any player in this day of age. Yet, it worked with Phil and Dennis. Jackson understood that Rodman was a unique individual. Trying to contain and mold him into something he's not just to fit his "system" wasn't going to work, and he knew that. As crazy as it sounds, he knew that allowing Rodman to go on a party bender would bring him back to Chicago energized and focused for the playoffs.

Another coach who understands this is someone who also played for Phil Jackson, Steve Kerr. Coaching the dynasty known as the Golden State Warriors, Kerr has worked with many different talents. But, that core understanding learned under Phil Jackson has helped Kerr deal with his most roaring personality in Draymond Green. Back in the 2022 NBA Finals, Draymond wasn't playing great. His struggles on offense were allowing the Celtics to have their way on defense.

Kerr, given the relationship he had with Draymond, decided to bench him in a key moment of Game 4. A move like that typically doesn't bode well for someone who is on their way to the Hall of Fame in the biggest series of the season. But, because of the culture established and Draymond allowed to be himself, he accepted the role and focused on doing what he can to help his team.

Although he wasn't pleased, the respect he had for Steve Kerr and the culture established in Golden State, Draymond accepted his role. In fact, in the 2023 playoffs, Green was benched in round 1 against the Sacramento Kings. His suspension resulted in a punishment. As in the past, Kerr was trying to show him that he has to contain his emotions. But, he never tried to change Draymond as a player. He understood he was his best on the court when he was given the freedom to be himself.

But, why I do bring up a completely different sport when talking about DK Metcalf? Because that same Warriors team dealt with a ton of headlines in the offseason, following the hoisting of the Larry O'Brien Trophy. When a video was leaked showing Draymond Green punching then teammate, Jordan Poole in the face, the Warriors' championship defense ended before the season even started.

Obviously, the Warriors had to take action against Draymond. Following a suspension, Draymond returned to the team, but they weren't the same Warriors. Primarily because for the first time, Draymond had to be tamed. His role as the vocal leader was minimized. Granted, he did it to himself by putting himself in that situation. But, the point is, their season was diminished because one of their biggest players wasn't allowed to be himself. Something that Draymond touched upon after the Warriors were eliminated by the Lakers in the 2nd round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

Has DK Metcalf done something that was egregious to cause his role to be minimized? No. Steve Kerr didn't only learn from Phil Jackson. In fact, the person who helped him define his coaching philosophy was none other than Pete Carroll.