Seahawks’ Carroll: Wilson is at his best, but the offense must have balance
With Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s ascent to one of the best two or three at his position in the entire NFL, a common mantra from Seattle fans this offseason has been “Let Russ Cook.” While that means different things to different people, the common theme is that the Seahawks need to let Wilson be the focal point of the offense more so than he has been, and that typically means passing the ball more.
While head coach Pete Carroll – who is known for wanting his offenses to establish the run to set up deep play-action passes – acknowledged how good his quarterback is in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton, he stressed the importance of maintaining a “balanced” offense.
“Russell is at the best of his game that he’s ever been and his command, his control and understanding of everything we can put forth on him allows him to be, I think, at the best he’s ever been,” Carroll said Friday morning. “… And we want him to have more opportunities to be the factor of the game and control the game. But John, in just football in general, that doesn’t mean that you throw the football all the time to do that. We need to be a really good, functioning team that’s hard to beat because we’re so good at the things we do. That means that you have to have balance in your game.”
The Seahawks, who went 11-5 last year, were again one of the league’s better rushing offenses. Other top rushing teams, such as the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, were among the league’s best teams last season. Carroll was quick to point that out.
“Look again at all these successful teams that won all these games last year. All of them were balanced teams,” he said.
But not “letting Russ cook” and not expanding his role in the offense and be at his best are two different things in Carroll’s eyes.
“We’re not going to take anything away from Russell’s ability to produce – we want to maximize his opportunities,” he said. “So whatever this ‘Russell cook’ thing is about, I don’t know what it’s about, but he is at his best, he is in the most command he’s ever been, and he and (offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer) and the offensive staff have worked this offseason to a point where we’re ready to unveil it, the best version of us. And that means the best version of Russ.”
Handling the remote offseason
In this strange offseason, which has prevented teams from getting together in an official capacity due to COVID-19, Wilson has been conducting workouts with a few NFL players at his home in California. Carroll said his star quarterback is “ready to roll.” Additionally, Wilson and the entire staff have taken advantage of the online practices and meetings that every team has been forced to do, Carroll said.
“Our guys – coaches, players – everybody’s chomping at the bit to get started and we want to do it,” he said. ” … Russell has been in a great leadership position throughout the offseason. He’s been such a central part of it with all the communication and we’ve been running two-minute drills and all of the sequencing with our playcalling in different positions on the field and Russ has been right in the middle of it.”
Training camp is expected to start this month, but Carroll admits there’s a lot of unknowns, especially since other leagues have been unable to get going like initially planned.
“We were really counting on learning a lot from the NBA as they started up, but they’ve been somewhat delayed and are just getting into it now … Baseball is underway as well, but they’ve had somewhat of a slower start and we were hoping to learn as they went through their process,” Carroll said. “… The whole idea is can we protect our people and can we protect our players, their families, the coaches and their families and all of the people we support as we go through the process of unveiling a football season? There’s so much that goes into it and the thing that I’m feeling with it is right now, we would like all the information we can get.”
If gathering more information means pushing back the start of camps, Carroll is all for it, though he says there’s been no talks or indication from the league that that will happen.
“We want to be as smart as we can when we make these choices in the season as we go forward and if we need more time to get it done, I hope that we’ll take it,” he said. “If we need to postpone the start of camp coming up and we could use that to our advantage, I think we should do it.”
You can listen to Carroll’s full conversation about the Seahawks, Wilson, the offseason and more at this link or in the player below.
- Tune in to 710 ESPN Seattle weekdays at 10am for John Clayton's show.
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