Jody Allen fired the Portland Trail Blazers’ longtime general manager Friday, leading some to speculate she might do the same with the Seahawks’ coach and/or GM after this season.
But Neil Olshey was fired for violating the Blazers’ code of conduct, not because the team may miss the playoffs for the first time in nine years. So, it seems quite unlikely Allen would fire Pete Carroll and John Schneider after one losing season, especially when she just extended both of them and neither has any personal black clouds hanging over his head.
But let’s play “What If” anyway.
We’ll start with just Carroll, since many fans have been calling for his job for several years and are hoping this colossal letdown by his 12th Seattle club is the thing that makes it happen.
If Carroll is fired (or retires), Schneider would gain full control of the club. He then would need to go find his own coach and also decide, perhaps with that coach’s input, whether Russell Wilson should remain in Seattle.
We have made it clear we think Wilson is a dynamic, double-edged player who has hit his ceiling and is not capable of carrying the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl. At this point, he actually is hindering them from even making the playoffs – coming up short in three close losses that easily could have been victories that would have kept the Hawks in the middle of the playoff race.
We think Schneider is ready to trade Wilson and would tell any incoming coach that he should be prepared to have a few extra draft picks instead of Wilson as Seattle embarks on a 2012-style hunt for a QB.
Possible coaching candidates Schneider should/might consider: Nathaniel Hackett, Eric Bieniemy, Doug Pederson, Byron Leftwich.
Hackett and Pederson are nods to Schneider’s Green Bay connections. Aaron Rodgers, whom Schneider helped draft, loves Hackett, who is the son of longtime NFL assistant Paul Hackett. Pederson, a Washington native, was Brett Favre’s backup when Schneider was in Green Bay and joined ex-Packers assistant Andy Reid in Philadelphia in 2009 before becoming coach in 2016 and leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl win in 2017.
Bieniemy and Leftwich are lucky enough to coach great quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady), but they also come from great coaching systems Schneider respects (Reid and Bruce Arians).
Schneider likely would return to an offensive coach, especially if he taps into his Green Bay roots – he came up during the Mike Holmgren/Favre era and returned when the Packers moved from Favre to Rodgers under Mike McCarthy.
That’s another reason Schneider probably is not afraid to trade Wilson. He has been through a QB succession. Granted, he does not have a young Rodgers to replace Wilson, but we think he might pursue the old Rodgers (especially if Carroll stays).
We can’t imagine a scenario where Schneider does not stay as the GM, either with or without Carroll; but if both were let go, it obviously would create a fresh canvas – and Allen and team president Chuck Arnold would have to decide how to paint it.
The Seahawks have not gone the standard way – hire a GM who hires a coach – for years. Holmgren was hired as chief cook, biscuit baker and everything else in 1999. Then he was stripped of his GM title in 2005 and replaced by Tim Ruskell, who later brought in Atlanta crony Jim Mora as a built-in successor to Holmgren. When that all failed, team CEO Tod Leiweke gave Carroll the same kind of control that Holmgren had, and Carroll signed off on the GM who would work alongside him (but not be his boss – both are team executive vice presidents as well).
On the very off chance that Schneider ends up leaving, Arnold and Allen would have to decide which way to go in replacing him. And then we’d embark on a brand-new Seahawks era.
But, as we said, these are only “What Ifs” — we fully expect Schneider and Carroll to be back.