Robert De Niro’s “Meet the Parents” character would be disappointed. Pete Carroll, Brian Schottenheimer and Russell Wilson would not make Jack Burns’ “circle of trust.”
They can’t even create their own triangle of trust with the Seahawks. Wilson does not trust Schottenheimer’s scripted plays, so he holds the ball too long, which puts the Hawks in deficits. Then Carroll gets impatient and orders Schottenheimer to abandon his balanced attack and take deep shots. When those fail and the Hawks are in desperation mode, Wilson starts calling more audibles. But, because his lack of trust helped put them in this position, Carroll and Schottenheimer don’t trust him to do that.
On top of that, no one buys Carroll’s explanations for his running back roulette.
It’s a vicious circle of antitrust.
Let’s start with Wilson. On KJR, Mike Holmgren said Wilson seems more comfortable in the up-tempo situations where he can control the action, and the former Seahawks coach said Wilson doesn’t seem comfortable with the scripted plays at this point. That certainly seems reflected in Wilson’s hesitance to let the ball go; it’s like he is waiting for the perfect opportunity, which almost never arises.
“He’s pressing in difficult situations to see if he can come up with a way to make something happen instead of just getting rid of the football,” Carroll told 710 ESPN. “In the long-yardage situations, he needs to throw the football a couple times. We need to get rid of the ball and just give up on a play because it’s not happening and not take an additional pressure.”
In Chicago, Carroll compounded the issue in the third quarter by ordering Schottenheimer to try to make up a touchdown deficit with big plays. On the first series, a bubble screen to Tyler Lockett gained two yards, Wilson threw a bad incompletion to Will Dissly and Schottenheimer called a slow-developing play on third-and-8 that did not work. On the other third-quarter series, Wilson held the ball too long on first down, badly overthrew a covered Lockett and then lost a yard on a poorly conceived halfback screen.
“My fault,” Carroll said after the game. “I got (Schotty) trying a little bit too hard to take a couple of shots and see if we could bounce something back and get back into the game quickly, and I shouldn’t have done that.”
In the fourth quarter, with the Seahawks trailing 17-3, Carroll got out of the way, Schottenheimer used a balanced play sheet and Wilson led the team to its first TD. He also called an audible on third down that allowed him to hit Lockett for the first.
On the next drive, though, as Wilson called another audible and realigned the offense, Carroll called a timeout. Wilson was visibly annoyed about it, and Carroll said he called it because the offense was misaligned. Like most fans, Wilson was mad about the wasted timeout, telling the coaches, “I could have fixed it.”
But Carroll also said Wilson and Schottenheimer were sharing “competitive thoughts” and Carroll wanted to interject — which means Schotty disagreed with Wilson’s audible. Carroll obviously went with the OC because the offense came out in I-formation, rather than the spread look Wilson had checked into, and ran on the next play. Whether the disagreement had any effect or not, the play after that was the pick-six by Prince Amukamara (Wilson and Schotty obviously missed seeing his tendency to jump routes all game, something they could have used against him with a double move).
Meanwhile, Carroll admitted another offensive coaching gaffe: benching Chris Carson after six carries because he thought he was “gassed.” Even though Carson had gained 24 yards on six attempts in the first half, he didn’t get another carry. Rashaad Penny finished with 30 yards on 10 runs.
“I just misread (Carson) on the sidelines a little bit and didn’t clearly understand,” Carroll told 710 ESPN. “I just wanted to give Rashaad a chance to go play, and then Chris never really (got) back in the game. And it feels like, ‘Well, did you bench him or something?’ That didn’t happen. It just was the way things turned. And so I missed it a little bit.”
And that’s all you need to know about Seattle’s broken triangle of trust on offense. Until Carroll, Schotty and Wilson all agree how to run this offense, it will continue to stumble along.
This week won’t be any easier, with Dallas and its fourth-ranked defense coming to Seattle.