Rost: With down year, what direction is Seahawks’ Wilson-Carroll partnership heading?

Nov 17, 2021, 10:09 AM
Seahawks Pete Carroll Russell Wilson...
Russell Wilson celebrates with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll after a touchdown against the 49ers. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

“One of the greatest partnerships of this century in sports.”

That’s how Jerry Brewer, currently a columnist with The Washington Post and formerly of The Seattle Times, described the relationship between Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, the quarterback-coach combo that’s been at the forefront of the most successful decade in Seahawks franchise history.

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But where do the pair go from here? And more importantly, are they going there together?

If the power dynamic between head coach and quarterback – a subject that dominated the NFL news cycle during the offseason – was on shaky ground heading into Week 1 of this season, it’s most certainly being tested again as Seattle seeks to avoid its first losing season since 2011. That year was also the last time the Seahawks were shut out, at least until that streak was snapped with Sunday’s 17-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers in a game that saw Wilson throw two interceptions and finish with the fourth-lowest quarterback rating of his career.

Seattle still has eight games left to play and a slim, though possible, shot at the postseason. Of course, there’s a scenario where the Seahawks pick up steam and right the ship – as unlikely as it feels now – and have enough momentum heading out of the regular season to galvanize the team’s biggest players for another run in 2022.

There’s also a scenario where that doesn’t happen, and while a down year after 10 winning seasons can be expected, at that point it’s hard to avoid the urge to look further down the road, into 2022, when rumors of an offseason split between Seattle and their star quarterback will surely be revisited.

That topic needn’t be revisited with the same approach, though – one of uneasiness, rumors, and, strangely, a list of approved trade destinations released publicly by an NFL insider.

Brewer offered a nuanced approach to the situation:

“I think they can fix it if Russell wants to be patient with them,” Brewer told us Tuesday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy. “The question is at 32, going on 33 years old, where is he in terms of prioritizing what he wants in his career? We don’t quite know… (but) both of them need to be honest about what they’re doing and what they need. And we’ve got to be real; this is professional sports in the year 2021. The reality of it is most players don’t stay in one market their entire career, especially if they’re striving to have 15, 16, or 17-year careers. So, there could be this moment in which we don’t need a bad guy. Where it’s just sort of mutual, where you’re just like, ‘You know, the direction that you’re going and the direction we’re going doesn’t match. And we can try to hold on and be a 10-win team or you can try to go somewhere where you feel like you can have a better shot at a championship your way and we can sell you high so we can rebuild this thing like we need to do.’

“I think everybody’s always looking at it as pick a side and whose fault it is. But it has to be a lot more of a relational thing. ‘What are you trying to get out of this and what are we trying to do in the big picture?’ And everyone needs to be absolutely honest with each other about where the relationship is. And that’s how you make that decision. You can’t make a decision with each entity going into its own corner and not saying the things to each other that you’re hearing in other players. So, I hope they just get to that place where, whatever the future is, it is mutually decided upon. Because it’s been one of the great partnerships of this century in sports and it can end as a partnership. It doesn’t have to end as this battle in which there’s a hero and a villain.”

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