Hasselbeck: Why Carroll, Geno have Seahawks in 1st place at bye week

Nov 15, 2022, 2:43 PM

Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll Geno Smith...

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and QB Geno Smith celebrate a win over Arizona on Oct. 16, 2022. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

The Seahawks hit their bye week on a disappointing note as they fell 21-16 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Munich, Germany, but they enter the off week at 6-4 and in first place in the NFC West despite many think they’d be among the worst teams in the NFL this year.

Pete Carroll breaks down what went wrong in Seahawks’ loss to Bucs

So what’s stood out about the Seahawks this season to legendary Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck? He joined Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710 AM on Tuesday and spoke at length about the job that head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Geno Smith have done.

“They’ve bought in to what Pete Carroll is selling, don’t you think?” Hasselbeck said of the Seahawks’ success. “I mean, Pete has a philosophy and it’s something he believes in and, and they’re doing it and they’re doing it really well, and their quarterback playing outstanding. It’s fun to watch.”

Hasselbeck, who played for Carroll in Seattle in 2010, said this year is “who Pete Carroll is,” even in the face of some adversity over the last year or so.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I kind of feel like people were ready to turn the page on Pete Carroll,” he said.

As the Seahawks’ early-round playoff losses piled up and friction between the franchise and star quarterback Russell Wilson came to the spotlight, some fans and analysts thought Carroll should retire and make Wilson the true focal point of the franchise.

“Some people, they were like, ‘Maybe Pete Carroll is going to be gone.’ I remember there was like, ‘Oh, he’s gonna have a meeting with ownership and he might be out,'” Hasselbeck said. “I remember talking to you, Salk, and I’d be like, ‘Listen, I’m Team Pete here.'”

Hasselbeck thought – and still thinks – Carroll is the right guy to “steer the ship” of the Seahawks.

“He’s got a philosophy, they’ve just got to do it. They’ve gotta all be together on it and clean up some things X’s and O’s things,” Hasselbeck said of his thoughts of the 2021 Seahawks. “I thought they got too cute last year in a lot of different ways. But they’re they’re fun to watch. And I think it started Week 1 when they got that win. I think everyone was like, ‘Hold up, maybe we’re not rebuilding. Maybe we might be decent this year.’ And I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Pretty cool.”

A big reason for the Seahawks winning as much as they have is Smith has been one of the best quarterbacks in football.

Smith, 32, had been a backup for seven years before getting this latest chance to start in Seattle, and his emergence as a “late bloomer” is sort of similar to Hasselbeck emerging as a true starting quarterback for the Seahawks at 28 years old and in his sixth NFL season in 2003.

“I wanted to be ready for when I got that opportunity,” Hasselbeck said, later adding, “And Geno, quite honestly, if he didn’t win this job, he probably wasn’t getting an opportunity somewhere else. But he did and he’s made the most of it. And quite honestly, he’s played so stinking good.”

Smith has been aggressive while playing with rhythm and timing, Hasselbeck said, while staying in attack mode and still playing smart football.

“He’s getting the playmakers their touches, he’s been clutch on fourth down and in the red zone, on third down, no huddle,” he said. “I want to say it’s one of the best stories in all football this year how he has played. And it’s not been just him. His receivers are playing really well, the running backs are coming on, young players are doing a good job and this coaching staff has done a good job. It’s easy to root for and it’s easy to get behind.”

Something Brock and Salk have discussed of late is Smith’s long-term future with the Seahawks since they have two first-round picks and Smith is a pending free agent.

Is he the Seahawks’ long-term answer at quarterback?

“To me, he’s earned something like that. When you start talking five, six years, I think that’s dangerous,” Hasselbeck said. “I think really, the mindset needs to be kind of that like, ‘Hey, I got one shot. It’s 1-0, every week, and I’m gonna go out and have one great year this year.’ And then you stack your years and then you’re aggressively attacking and obsessively attacking your offseason, like, ‘OK, how can I get better? How can I take my game to the next level?’ Then if you stack those years, just every year with that mindset, then you’ll look back and say, ‘Oh, shoot, that was just five years right there. That just happened.’ But I think he’s earned it. I mean, to me, he’s done a great job.”

Listen to the full interview at this link or in the player below.

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