Seahawks’ Carroll: Why Clark is back, impact of rookies recently
Oct 27, 2023, 12:54 PM
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
The Seattle Seahawks will look to make it back-to-back wins this weekend when they host the Cleveland Browns, and they should have a “new” face in the mix on defense for this matchup.
That would be defensive end Frank Clark, who may be new to the roster this season, but is hardly new to the Seahawks.
Clark, 30, was Seattle’s second-round pick in 2015 and enjoyed a very nice four-year stretch with the Hawks, tallying 35 sacks during that time. He then was traded to Kansas City, where he won two Super Bowls, and spent the start of this year in Denver before being released.
So why is Clark back with the Seahawks? Head coach Pete Carroll discussed that and much more during the weekly Pete Carroll Preview on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM.
“The opportunity, first off,” Carroll told Steve Raible. “The fact that Uchenna (Nwosu) wouldn’t be there. We’ve had a really good four-man rotation that we’d like to keep going with to keep our guys fresh and really hot coming off the edge, and Frank could could fit right in in that regard.”
Nwosu signed with the Seahawks ahead of 2022 and had a breakout year, tying for the team lead in sacks with 9.5. He then signed a lucrative contract extension this past offseason, but he suffered a season-ending pectoral injury last week against the Arizona Cardinals.
Clark now joins a pass-rush quartet with Boye Mafe, Darrell Taylor and rookie Derick Hall.
“He’s a Pro Bowler, he’s a Super Bowler, he’s a favorite of ours,” Carroll said of Clark. “We drafted him and loved Frank when he was here. And we know him really well, too. He’s stayed close with (defensive coordinator and former defensive line coach) Clint Hurtt over the years. It’s a guy we know that we can rely on, so I’m anxious to see him go. We’re planning on him going playing this week and getting in that rotation and seeing if he can add a little bit and get to the quarterback.”
The Seahawks got great contributions from rookies last year during their playoff season, and they’ve had some first-year players shine this season, too.
That was especuially true last week with receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo each catching touchdowns, center Olu Oluwatimi starting for the first time and cornerback Devon Witherspoon again making an impact.
While Carroll has shown during his time in Seattle that he likes to play rookies early, that mentality wasn’t always there for him, in large part because of his mentor, the late great Bud Grant.
“He used to say for every rookie you start, you lose a game,” Carroll recalled. “… I really wasn’t able to change that thought until I was at USC and we played freshmen all the time and we really nurtured them along. I was kind of the GM and the head coach there, so I was calling all the shots with the personnel. So we gave those young guys a chance and found that you could work them in and they could become factors and by the time we get to mid-year, they can play like starters if you do it right. And I hate to go against Bud, really, but I do think that that’s the truth.”
“It’s one of the things we’re happy to go ahead and continue to stick with,” Carroll later added. “I think we’re one of the youngest teams in the NFL … But there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not gonna worry about that at all. We’re accustomed to doing it that way.”
The Pete Carroll Preview airs every Friday at 8:15 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM’s Seattle’s Morning News. Listen to this week’s edition at this link or in the player near the top of this story.
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