Seahawks’ Pete Carroll: Russell Wilson ‘is our QB,’ don’t expect coaching changes
The book has officially closed on the 2021 Seahawks after Seattle wrapped up its season with a 38-30 win Sunday over the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals.
The season didn’t go as expected for the Seahawks, as they followed up a 12-win 2020 campaign with a 7-10 record to finish last in the NFC West for the first time since 2009. That 2009 season was the year before Pete Carroll joined the franchise, and the team has made the playoffs all but three times now in Carroll’s 12 years as head coach.
With Seattle having a disappointing season, there has been speculation that the team could undergo some shakeup in the coaching staff, roster and front office. Carroll discussed that, how close he thinks his team is and more during 710 ESPN Seattle’s final Pete Carroll Show of the season Monday.
As far as how close the Seahawks are to making the playoffs and competing for another Super Bowl, let’s just say Carroll is very optimistic after Seattle closed out the season with back-to-back resounding wins.
“I think it’s right there. I mean, I wouldn’t want to play us right now if I was another team,” Carroll said. “I think we have the elements that make you really dangerous that you can’t pinpoint where you’ve got to stop us … I think it’s really an exciting time for us. I’m really pleased that we finished with a real clear illustration of who we are.”
Now onto the juicy part – potential changes.
When asked by Mike Salk what changes we should expect to see, Carroll jokingly said, “Give me a freaking day, dude,” before adding that while he doesn’t mind the question, he doesn’t “have the answers for you right now.”
“We have so many decisions to make and so many things we have to handle,” Carroll said. “We love the guys that play in this locker room right now. This is a bunch of guys that really, really care about playing this game, and that’s a centerpiece for building a championship team … We have so many good aspects of our team and I’m excited about adding to it and building and all that and also playing better. We can play better, which we will, and we’ll coach better, too.”
Speaking of the coaching staff, does Carroll expect to go a different direction there after his first double-digit loss season with Seattle?
“I don’t anticipate anything right now,” he said. “Right now I’m just trying to get my world settled and we’ll get after all the decisions and stuff when we get more time to look back and make the evaluations and all that.”
As far as the roster goes, the big question is whether star quarterback Russell Wilson will be back with the team in 2022.
Wilson, who just finished his 10th season and has the most wins of any quarterback in his first 10 years in the NFL, is under contract through 2023. He has been the subject of trade speculation since last offseason, though, when he admitted he wasn’t thrilled with the team’s pass protection, said he wanted more say in the team’s personnel, and a report came out that he wasn’t seeking a trade but would consider waiving his no-trade clause to four teams.
Part of Wilson’s frustration is believed to be tied to Seattle’s offensive scheme and the fact that he wasn’t always the focal point, especially early in games. But the Seahawks ran the ball a lot – and were very effective in doing so – in their last two games, and Wilson was sacked just once in each of those contests. Carroll said Wilson has no issues with being the quarterback in that type of offense.
“He had a blast last night. He loved that football game,” Carroll said. “He doesn’t care what the numbers are, he really doesn’t. He just wants to win … That’s just who he is. He’s said that 1,000 times to me, that he just wants to win … It’s not like we’re running the ball so that Russell doesn’t get to throw. We’re running the ball so he can kill them when he throws the football. And that’s the point, and he gets it.”
After that, Salk asked if Carroll’s expectation is that Wilson is the Seahawks’ starting quarterback in 2022.
“Yeah, he’s our quarterback,” he said. “Of course. I do think that. Yeah, I do think that. And he’s on our team.”
Salk later asked Carroll about the power dynamic between himself and general manager John Schneider.
Carroll has final say on all moves as he’s Seattle’s executive vice president of football operations. Salk asked Carroll if that “loose structure” still works.
“There is no looseness to this. We’re trying to figure it out,” Carroll said of making the team more successful. “We use every resource (Schneider) has, every resource I have, every experience we’ve ever had, and we throw it out there on the table and try to figure things out … It’s no different than how we play a game where everybody’s got to give everything they got every single time we go, every step you take. And that’s how John and I do it.”
Someone whose name has been in the news of late regarding the Seahawks is team chair Jody Allen, as ultimately it’s her call as far as the direction the franchise goes.
Carroll told Salk that they meet every year once the season ends and that that meeting should come in the next couple of days. That meeting will focus on what happened this past season and will set the course for what’s next, Carroll said.
“I’m so excited to work with her because she’s just on it,” Carroll said. “She’s so tough about the process and doing things right and tirelessly, just like I love to hear about competing to figure out what the right choices are, what are the options, and use all of the research and all the information that we can. We’re all on the same page in that and so you’ve got some real competitors going at it. And only good stuff comes when you work like that.”
Listen to The Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.