Do Seahawks have leadership, buy-in problems? K.J. Wright weighs in

Dec 13, 2023, 12:23 PM | Updated: 12:27 pm

The Seattle Seahawks are in unfamiliar territory.

Lefko: Seattle Seahawks risk being stuck in mediocrity, should look for future QB

After falling 28-16 to the San Francisco 49ers, the Hawks have lost four in a row. It’s the first time since Pete Carroll took over as head coach in 2010 that the Seahawks have lost four games in a row.

So what’s going on behind the scenes?

Legendary Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright shared his thoughts on the state of the team’s leadership and more during his weekly Seattle Sports show on Wednesday.

“Is it the leadership on the football team?” Wright asked. “Is there not enough guys in there saying, ‘Let’s focus on the attention to details. Let’s take this walkthrough seriously. Let’s communicate during practice. Hey, you messed up right here. You said this in the media, so I’m going to you. Do this, let’s get it behind us and let’s move forward.'”

How many vocal, go-to leaders does a team need? Wright said four, and he’s not sure if the Seahawks have four guys like that.

“This team right now, they’re just so distracted. It’s not even about the opponents anymore,” Wright said. “They’re fighting their own internal battles within the building. They’re fighting guys buying into what’s Coach Carroll is saying.”

Mike Salk actually asked Carroll about his team buying in to his messaging on Monday, and he had a very blunt answer.

“Ask them. Next,” Carroll said.

Seattle Seahawks’ Carroll has interesting answers to two tough questions

Wright, who played for Carroll for 10 seasons, said Carroll’s response is very telling.

“What I’m hearing from Coach Carroll is that he’s sick and tired of these guys. He’s extremely frustrated,” Wright said. “He feels like that he’s preaching to him, he’s trying to be nice with them, but they’re just not receiving his message. So essentially, they don’t give a (darn) what he’s saying at this point.”

Wright said that during Sunday’s game, he saw a clear example of the Seahawks’ lack of leadership when rookie receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba was penalized for pushing an opponent’s facemask.

“I wasn’t even mad at Njigba. This is a young pup who’s trying to figure it out. That’s just all leadership in the locker room,” Wright said.

And what Smith-Njigba did after the penalty was telling, too.

“Who’d he go and shake hands with after that? DK Metcalf. He went over and shook hands with him,” Wright said. “Like, what the heck is this? What are we saying right here? What are we teaching these young guys who have so much potential? Who is (rookie cornerback) Devon Witherspoon looking up to in that building? Who is he looking up to? It’s really hard to see when you have quote-unquote ‘leaders’ … in the locker room, are they showing the younger guys what it’s supposed to look like?”

Carroll ‘has to do something’ different with this team

Wright said it’s clear that too many Seahawks players aren’t receiving or respecting what Carroll is trying to preach. He also doesn’t think enough players “have his back enough.”

“We bought in during our time. We bought in. And if these guys are not buying in, if your message is not getting through to them … you have to do something,” Wright said. “If you just continue to let this behavior continue, then people will see like, ‘Oh, he’s not doing anything. Oh, he’s not holding these guys accountable.’ You have to create some kind of shock in this building to show, ‘Hey, I’m doing my best, I’m trying, I’m doing everything I can to connect with these guys.’ But if I look at us on Monday Night Football and I see the same personnel out there, I see the same plays out there, it’s being received that even if he is trying to do it that it’s not good enough, if that makes any sense. He has to do something come Monday night.”

Wright shared a story from when he played with the Seahawks where a teammate was causing a lot of issues and guys almost fought him because of his attitude.

“In my locker room, players, we handled it. We handled each other. If you’re doing this, you’re pushing (against) the grain, we handled each other,” he said. “When I look at this team right now, no brother is holding the other brother accountable … So Coach Carroll, if the players are not doing it, doggone it, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it. You don’t have a strong enough locker room to withhold your message to make sure this thing is going. So you’ve got to be the one to execute it.”

Listen to the full K.J. Wright Show at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

• Bumpus on Seahawks TE Parkinson’s TD: ‘Let’s do more of that’
Rost: One thing clearly separates Seahawks from NFC’s best teams
• Salk: Truths are being hammered home by Seahawks’ losing streak
• Rost: Three words that underline the state of the Seahawks’ season
• Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll has interesting answers to two tough questions

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Do Seahawks have leadership, buy-in problems? K.J. Wright weighs in