Cowherd: Seahawks’ Pete Carroll was ‘tone-deaf’ but has ‘pivoted’

Aug 3, 2023, 8:36 AM | Updated: 10:30 am

Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll Darrell Taylor...

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll talks to Darrell Taylor before a 2022 game against the 49ers. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)

Head coach Pete Carroll led the Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs for the 10th time in 13 years last season after the Hawks went 9-8 and clinched a wild card berth.

For a few years, FOX Sports host Colin Cowherd had criticized Carroll, and he sided with former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, believing Carroll was holding Seattle back.

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Has that viewpoint changed since the Seahawks thrived while Wilson and his Denver Broncos failed in his first year away from Seattle? Cowherd discussed his thoughts on Carroll while visiting Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Wednesday.

“First of all, I’m not anti-Pete. He’s a Hall of Famer. He’s in the Jimmy Johnson mold – great personnel guy, college rock star, NFL rock star,” Cowherd said. “He may not have the Cowboys prestige or gravitas, but Pete’s a Hall of Famer to me. He’s one of the 10 best football coaches in the last 25 years. I’m not anti-Pete.”

So where did the criticism in the past come from?

“I did think, like we’re seeing with (Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike) Tomlin (where he) can’t get the O-line right, (Buffalo Bills head coach) Sean McDermott can’t get the O-line right, (New England Patriots head coach Bill) Belichick hires a DC as OC,” Cowherd said. “I thought Pete was a little tone deaf, a little run-centric with Russell in the last two or three years. I wasn’t anti-Pete. I thought he was tone deaf.”

Cowherd wasn’t alone in that kind of criticism of Carroll, with many believing he was far too conservative with Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense rather than going with a “Let Russ Cook” style of airing the ball out more. Carroll has always preached “balance” on offense, and it’s no secret he likes his teams to run the football.

Carroll comes from a defensive coaching background as a longtime defensive play caller as well as a secondary coach. That’s hardly the direction the current iteration of the NFL is going.

“You’ve seen a pivot by the league to offensive coaches. It’s virtually impossible if you have a good quarterback and an offensive coach who’s competent – (Cincinnati head coach) Zac Taylor – it’s hard not to win a lot of games,” Cowherd said. “So I thought Pete culturally was a tad tone deaf, but his energy, his brainpower, his experience, his ability. I mean, (former Seahawks tight end and current FOX Sports NFL analyst) Greg Olsen told me of all the coaches he’s had all through his life, Pete was the most organized, detailed, best meetings, best energy he’s ever seen. So I’m not anti-Pete.”

What has impressed Cowherd is that Carroll has clearly adapted his offensive style for the better.

“I think Pete has pivoted, which I give him and (Alabama head coach) Nick Saban and a lot of these defensive guys (credit for). As the world’s pivoted around them in football, they have smartly pivoted,” he said.

Listen to the full interview with Cowherd at this link or in the audio player earlier in this story.

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Cowherd: Seahawks’ Pete Carroll was ‘tone-deaf’ but has ‘pivoted’