Brock and Salk: The change that makes most sense for Seahawks
While 12 NFL teams are preparing for playoff games this weekend, the Seahawks will be at home as their season is done after going 7-10 and finishing in last place in the NFC West in 2021. It marks just the third time that Seattle has missed the playoffs since head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider came to town in 2010.
With the disappointing season in the books, it’s a time for reflection for the organization as it looks to get back to the playoffs next year.
Due to the Seahawks losing double-digit games for the first time in Carroll and Schneider’s Seattle tenures, there naturally has been speculation regarding some shakeup in the building going forward. Carroll said Monday he’s confident he and Schneider will be back, and he also said he doesn’t anticipate major changes to his coaching staff.
Some form of change is expected this offseason, though, and former NFL quarterback Brock Huard thinks that could be in regards to how the Seahawks operate in building their rosters. He explained what he thinks during this week’s Brock and Salk Podcast for 710 ESPN Seattle.
“I think there’s going to have to be some change after this season,” Huard said. “… I cannot imagine after a 7-10 season, (where) in many of those weeks where there were no answers for what was going on, and just (with) some of the tumult and challenge and difficulty and whether this program is ascending, descending, staying flat, all of those things that (Seahawks chair Jody Allen) and her team are going to evaluate, I do not think at the end of that analytics and evaluation, her and her team are going to say, ‘Yep, status quo. Status quo. Just keep it good. Just bring the whole crew back together.'”
Huard noted that seven of the NFL’s 32 teams currently have head coaching vacancies. While he doesn’t want to see the Seahawks make it eight openings, he does think a change may be coming to Carroll’s role. That change is something he noted that his co-host, Mike Salk, brought up midway through the disappointing season.
“I would not want Pete out the door as a head coach,” Huard said. “But I think there’s going to have to be consideration for something that you said, Salk, about Week 9 or 10 when you were like, ‘I’m done. I’m done with these little tents in which you’re in. Just do your job.'”
In addition to Carroll being the head coach of the Seahawks, he’s also the team’s executive vice president of football operations, giving him final say on all roster and personnel decisions. Huard thinks Seattle may be better off with Schneider having that power starting in 2022.
“Pete, you know what? You’re the coach and you’re a culture builder. Do that,” Huard said. “Hey, John Schneider, you’re the personnel guy. And you may need a new voice in there, you may need some restructuring or whatever you need to do your job, or simply keep Pete out of doing your job. Do your job. … Go draft, go bring people in, go acquire, go be creative, go trade, go do those things that you are gifted to do. And Pete builds your culture.”
Huard said that the Seahawks clearly are bought into Carroll’s culture given how the team played in the final two weeks of the season when they had already been eliminated from playoff contention, and that’s what the head coach needs to focus on.
“Backs against the wall, down a number of guys at the end of the year, your culture won out. Guys love to play, dudes love to play (in Seattle) … I think that is absolutely what needs to happen. Pete, just coach,” Huard said.
Huard noted that he nor other media members are privy to what goes on in the Seahawks’ “war room” or behind the scenes to see how the working dynamic between Carroll and Schneider plays out.
“But through 12 years of covering this team and knowing the way they operate, I think there has been probably a time or two where this isn’t healthy to be this loose,” Huard said. “And you know what, John, if we gave you an extension to 2027, you’ve got to be at the forefront. You’ve got to lead, you’ve got to build the personnel. I think that change could be coming.”
Salk said he believes Allen needs to ultimately make that decision, but whether or not everyone can agree to that is another issue.
“Do you think everyone can agree to do that? Can they? Or are some of the egos … are you sure they’re not too fragile?” Salk asked Huard.
“I don’t think so,” Huard replied. “I think John Schneider is one of the most egoless people in his position in the league of his standing and of his winning and everything else. And for 12 years, it’s Pete and Russ (quarterback Russell Wilson) who get all the headlines, and the byline is John Schneider … I think his ego is not an issue at all. And I think empowering him – and you did it last year by extending him to 2027 – is best business.”
Carroll, Huard said, may be “too emotional” at times to have that much power over personnel matters.
“You’re an amazing culture builder, but you are an emotional guy,” Huard said. “You do bounce all over four of these walls. And you know what, you’ve got to stay in your office, and we’ve got to let John and the scouting department do their job and you will not intervene. And again, none of us have been privy to the war room. From what I understand, it is totally detailed and they separate emotion. It’s business. But you’ve got to let John do that business in every facet of building the personnel.”
Listen to Brock and Salk break down the 2021 season and what’s next for the Seahawks at this link or in the player below.