Who’s under the most pressure this year for Seahawks?
When 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard published a Twitter poll asking Seahawks fans to vote on which player or coach would face the most pressure in 2018, he wasn’t too surprised by the results. In large part, because of conversations he’s had with national sports reporters.
Nearly one-half (46 percent) of all 4,468 voters believe head coach Pete Carroll will face the most pressure. Now entering his ninth season in Seattle, Carroll faces the challenge of getting the Seahawks back to the postseason without several of its longtime stars. Carroll headed a Seahawks team that captured the franchise’s first Super Bowl and oversaw five consecutive seasons of 10-plus wins; however, his 2017 squad finished with a 9-7 record and missed the postseason for the first time since 2011. Now with a trio of new coordinators, Carroll will spend most of the season fighting a national narrative that compares his success in Seattle to his success at USC – dominant, exciting, and short-lived.
Tomorrow will be a day bathed in Mariner talk and promise. But I am curious who you think faces the most pressure/expectation for the Seahawks in 2018?
— Brock Huard (@BrockESPN) June 4, 2018
Granted, that’s not a narrative held by many local fans. But it’s been championed by national voices like Colin Cowherd, and it is voices like Cowherd’s that are driving some of the pressure.
“I’ve said this (many) times that if you traveled around with me a bit nationally and you chatted with a little more of the national voices, you would hear a lot more of that chatter about Pete, about his tenure, about where it’s going,” Brock Huard said during his Blue 42 segment of Brock and Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle. “The Colin Cowherds of the world will have all eyes on Pete Carroll, and whether or not he can truly reset this thing, or is it going to go down the USC road.
“You’ve already seen that narrative. You’ve already seen people write about it and talk about it, the, ‘Yeah at the end it just kind of ran out of steam. It’s tremendous when its young and youthful and you start the whole engine up and everybody buys in. But in the end, kind of like at USC, it just kind of ran out of gas.’ And now he’s made his coordinator changes, he’s turned a bunch of this roster, he let go of a bunch of veteran voices, the thing got out of whack a year ago, and does Pete have the capability at this stage to turn it around? It think the most pressure clearly falls on him.”
710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil argued Tuesday that while Carroll is dealing with a unique challenge this year, he’s certainly not someone who should find his job threatened anytime soon.
“I think that Pete made a change based on wanting to bring a different kind of energy to the defense and wanting to bring a different kind of accountability to the offense,” O’Neil said. “And I think that his desire to get back to what this team was … is an attempt to turn back the clock. And I don’t know if it’s going to be successful, because I think there’s some problems with that approach.
“I wonder if he’s going to get the results he desires. Because it feels like they’ve gone back and taken two paths not chosen. They’ve gone back and taken the guy who could’ve been the defensive coordinator three years ago and now he is. They’ve gone back and taken the guy who was the offensive line coach when (Carroll) got here … and now that guy’s coaching the offensive line (in Seattle). (But) I can’t see a scenario where his job status is in jeopardy anytime in the next two years.”
New offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer got the second-most votes (26 percent). A result that surprised Huard was the ranking of quarterback Russell Wilson, who came in third-place (18 percent). Fans place the least amount of pressure on general manager John Schneider (who finished with just 10 percent of votes).
“Pete’s been embraced and beloved (locally), and I can’t imagine him ever getting pushed out,” O’Neil said. “But nationally, people looking at him, you’re exactly right: people are looking at it (like) ‘I don’t think he can do it again, I don’t think he’s goign to be able to kickstart this thing.'”