“Pete Carroll has too much power.”
It’s a ridiculous sentiment that has gotten a lot of traction this month in the wake of reports that Russell Wilson is upset that Carroll won’t include him in personnel and scheme decisions as much as the quarterback wants.
Colin Cowherd, a radio mouthpiece for Wilson and his agent, is the most visible peddler of this stupid abuse-of-power theory. All of the pass-happy data dorks who despise Carroll’s philosophy agree, of course. And fans who have been brainwashed into believing Wilson is a victim certainly believe it.
This was Herd earlier this month: “It’s a lopsided franchise where the coach has too much power over the playbook, too much power over the quarterback, too much power over the franchise and too much power over John Schneider.”
And last week: “Mark Rodgers (Wilson’s agent) is changing the mantra (from ‘Let Russ Cook’) to ‘Put heat on Pete.’ … Pete’s got too much power. No one’s controlling Pete. He’s got too much say in everything. … Put heat on Pete.”
Talk about a kindergarten flashback. Wilson and his boys Rodgers and Herd are like little tattletales upset they can’t find someone to tell, “Teacher, teacher, Petey won’t let me play with his ball!”
The coach has too much power over the playbook and the roster? Did Herd really say that? How oversized has Wilson’s ego become if he really believes this?
Hey Russ, Herd, Rodgers: Coaches are supposed to have control; they run the team. And Carroll has more power than most coaches because that is what Tod Leiweke promised him when he was hired in 2010. Remember, Carroll was the king of college and had rebuffed several NFL teams over the previous decade. He was in high demand and was going to return to the NFL only if he had total control over his team. And, yeah, Carroll signed off on hiring Schneider and thus does not answer to him.
Even when Paul Allen was alive, the owner did not meddle in the football aspects of the franchise. He asked questions so he could understand certain moves, but he rarely interceded in the work of Carroll and Schneider. A notable exception was when he told them to stop negotiating with Kam Chancellor during the safety’s nonsensical holdout in 2015. But Allen largely left the football decisions to the football guys.
Rodgers and Cowherd want to make Wilson look like a victim and make Carroll the bad guy. But they look like total morons for questioning the hierarchy of a sports franchise, particularly one that has been set with the same structure for over a decade.
Carroll and Schneider put together a historically great defense that, with Wilson, led Seattle to a Super Bowl title in 2013. And to another Super Bowl in 2014. And to the most wins in the NFC since Wilson arrived in 2012.
Yeah, they have dudded out in the playoffs since those Super Bowls – going 3-5 over five postseasons. But no other team in the NFC has made the playoffs eight times in the past nine years (Green Bay has gone seven times).
Carroll clearly has done pretty well for the Seahawks. And he seemingly knows what he needs to fix to get back over the hump, which is why Shane Waldron replaced Brian Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator. (Also remember: Wilson was not in favor of firing Schotty.)
Like the data dorks, Cowherd calls out Carroll for being a fossil of the 1980s for his desire to run a balanced offense.
But here’s the reality: Carroll “let Russ cook” in the first half of last season, until the lack of balance got out of hand and Wilson started turning the ball over way too much for a defense that was historically bad at that point (until Carlos Dunlap lifted it). From Week 7 to Week 10, Wilson turned the ball over 10 times in losses to Arizona, Buffalo and the Rams.
To that point, the Seahawks had called more passing plays than any team in the NFL – Wilson dropping back 69.2% of the time. They were way out of balance.
In that 1-3 stretch, Wilson dropped back to throw 187 times and handed the ball off just 75 – a 71.4% dropback rate. In the losses to Buffalo and L.A., Schottenheimer called passes 74.6% of the time, and Wilson was sacked 11 times – once every eight passing plays. Talk about not helping your offensive line.
Carroll was totally correct to call for more balance in the offense. They needed it desperately. The next game against Arizona, they threw it 28 times and ran it 31 (10 of the runs were from Wilson). Carroll said, “It felt like the Seahawks.”
From that point on, the pass calls dropped to 62.4% the rest of the season. But the Hawks were still throwing it a lot more than they were running it.
As Dave Wyman correctly said on 710 ESPN last week, “It’s been portrayed like Pete took the ball out of (Wilson’s) hands. That’s not really what happened.”
In fact, in the pathetic 17-12 loss to the Giants in Week 13, Schotty went back to the pass again. Wilson dropped back 50 times and handed off just 15. He was sacked five times – most of them because he held the ball looking for receivers. Wilson admitted the plan, as it too often has been in this era, was to attack deep — and Seattle clearly did not adjust to the Giants taking that away. That theme continued for most of the rest of the season – the win at Washington a notable strategy exception for Schotty and Wilson.
That’s been a constant refrain for Wilson – holding the ball too long, getting tentative against good defenses, losing focus and not adjusting. It’s something that has plagued him over his career because he has not had scheme help and won’t alter his style – i.e., get rid of the ball — against good defenses (especially the Rams).
That’s why Waldron is such a huge hire for them – perhaps the biggest move they will make this offseason. He needs to bring the balance and help Wilson be decisive and effective against those good defenses – which they tend to face a lot late in the season and in the playoffs.
Carroll recognizes this. And, for those concerned he will return to the Stone Age and run the ball 33 times a game (as they did in 2018), Waldron is the supposed safeguard against that.
Waldron surely will listen to Wilson’s input, but consider some of the stuff Wilson has lobbied for. He has told Carroll he wants to play up-tempo more, but to do that Wilson has to throw in quick rhythm – something he has not been consistently good at, whether due to scheme or his short stature or his propensity to look for big plays. He is adamant that holding the ball leads to more good things than bad (as he recently told Dan Patrick), but that has almost never been the case for him and the Seahawks against the NFL’s top defenses. Wilson has never figured that out; his ego forbids it. If he refuses to fix it, this offense will always come up short.
Wilson also wants more personnel say. But that’s a slippery slope. If he is deciding roster spots, trust among teammates would quickly erode. Besides, he has never been a great judge of character (he is too naïvely optimistic). He reportedly lobbied hard for Antonio Brown, a clearly troubled human who has created problems with three franchises. But, boy, he had talent to burn, so Wilson wanted him. Wilson also wanted Greg Olsen and got him – but the Hawks again failed to properly use their tight ends and ended up wasting $7 million on the veteran.
Wilson is getting antsy because he sees Tom Brady winning a seventh title, and he feels the urgency as his career enters its second half. But he is misguidedly trying to blame everyone around him for Seattle’s inability to get back to the Super Bowl. He offers some lip service about how he is to blame, too, but in the next breath he says he is not going to change his playing style. So does he really feel like he shares blame?
Wilson needs to stop playing the victim and patch it up with Carroll. And then get going with Waldron, whom he helped pick as the new OC, to address Wilson’s deficiencies that have played a big part in recent playoff losses.
Carroll is not going anywhere, and Wilson needs to tell his people to stop their ridiculously immature, moronic and pointless efforts to oust him. Recently signed to a five-year deal by Jody Allen, Carroll surely will coach this team until he decides to retire (or a new owner comes along and decides to make a change).
If Wilson has a problem with that, he should quit being so passive-aggressive to protect his image and just demand a trade. Otherwise, understand that Carroll doesn’t have too much power; he has the power he’s supposed to have.