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The Pete Carroll Show: What the Seahawks coach said about the 9-7 finish, the team’s future and more

Pete Carroll on the Seahawks: "There’s no question that we’re transitioning some." (AP)

The Seahawks enter the offseason with plenty of decisions to make at key positions, and head coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard and Mike Salk that there’s no question some turnover is expected.

“There’s always turnover, there’s always issues,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot of dealings to be done. I love the nucleus of what we have… The nucleus of the young guys we need to build around, we feel like we have connected with. And they’re going to emerge in the next couple years to be the guys that are going to be like the guys we’ve had in the past. And there’s no question that we’re transitioning some. There’s no question about that. You saw a bunch of guys that went out this year that got hurt that we were not counting on being hurt, and that just happens.”

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While some of that change will be the result of age or new opportunities in free agency, two players in particular – defensive end Cliff Avril and safety Kam Chancellor – have career decisions to make.

“Cliff and Kam are going to have a hard time playing football again,” Carroll said, “and the jury’s not out on that yet. they’re going to decide that themselves, but it’s going to be very difficult for those guys to come back and play again. That’s just an indication of they kinds of things that we’re going to be dealing with. But there is so much youth, and there is so much vibrance in our locker room, I think we have a chance to do some tremendous things.”

And despite rumors Sunday that Seattle’s coach would be considering retirement, Carroll made it emphatically clear he’d be around for all of those changes:

“I’m not retiring, dude.”

Here are a few other notes:

• On why he called Sunday’s loss against the Cardinals a “microcosm” of the season: “I just think that was a pretty accurate way of looking at it. It was a way to try to explain that this was a very difficult season. It was a challenging season, it was frustrating because we couldn’t find the way we wanted to be and the way we expected to be in any kind of regular fashion… It was just a frustrating time. And that game was just, there it was again. We couldn’t do anything in the first half: we couldn’t slow them down, we couldn’t move the football, we couldn’t do anything. And then we went into the locker room and did the Rocky Balboa thing again and we came out… and looked like a really terrific football team ready to take on the world. And unfortunately we missed a kick, and that was it. It didn’t have to come down to that. And it didn’t matter who we were playing, really; we were playing against ourselves the whole year. And unfortunately, we were tough on us. We are a difficult group to play against. SO there’s a lot of obvious things that will happen for us, there’s a lot of hopefully better fortune in some regard will happen for us, and we have the nucleus of a great group, and we can’t see it any other way, we’re not going to look at it any other way… We’ve got to make big decisions and big choices. This is what this time is right now. We’re going to dig in, we’re going to make our decisions of how we’re moving forward. (General manager John Schneider) has a great process, we had a fantastic class last year and guys who are coming into build and it is time to turn a little bit, we’re turning. And so it’s exciting. It’s with extraordinary energy we have moving forward to do the things we want to do.”

• How much of their first-half struggles were a result of not taking chances early in games: “That’s not it. That’s not how we were, we would mix in our stuff. But when you don’t make your first downs and you don’t execute right coming out of the chutes – of all of the things I’m concerned about, is why did we have trouble executing early? Why were we mentally not clear to execute at the beginning of the game and then we could find marvelous ability to execute later on? That still remains a real issue for me and a problem for me, that we were so inconsistent early in games. It’s not because we talk about finishing, because it’s not like we talk down on starting… but unfortunately, the truth came out that you do get what you emphasize. And so the finished part of it is an obvious strength, but yet there’s emphasis to why we can’t execute as well as we need to (early).”

• Run game struggles: “Let’s make this point clear: we’ve been really clear on the essence of how we’ve tried to play our football. We’ve always played defense, we’ve always played special teams with great emphasis, and we’ve run the football. When that’s not there, it changes all factors… When you don’t have that sure aspect of your play, the execution just becomes more challenged.”

• On trades for Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown that cost draft capital: “Why did we make those trades? Have you guys ever taken a look at why we made those trades? What happened to Malik (McDowell)? He couldn’t play. We were counting on that dude playing and he was going to be a big factor and he didn’t get to play. So what did John do? He went out and found a guy to try to replace that. It had nothing to do with some big statement about this or that. We had a chance to have a great football team this year. We thought we really were on the verge of it. Well we lose that guy. Well what happened to George Fant? We were counting on George Fant making an extraordinary turnaround from first year to second year and he’s done. Well, the process went underway and John tried to figure out a way to do something about it and he did. That’s it. We were competing. We’re gonna compete the same way next year and the same way the year after that… That’s just our mentality and our way, and I don’t think you should read into it any other way than that. You can (say), ‘Oh, they’re taking a shot now.’ Well, we’re taking a shot this time too. And we’re gonna build this team as well as we can, as structured as competitively as we can and make it as fit and forward-thinking as possible. I hope you guys will learn that’s how we do it.”

• With an opening for Green Bay’s GM, whether Carroll expect Schneider to stay in Seattle: “Yeah, I do. I do expect that. I expect John and I (will) do this together. But he’s got a life too. He’s got a life too and he’s got stuff he’s got to deal with also, and that popping up yesterday at about 4 o’clock out of nowhere, that has impact. John grew up there, he’s always loved that area, that program and all that stuff. He loves being here, he loves what we’re doing and he’s dedicated to what we’re all about, and he’s dedicated to me as I’m dedicated to him.”