Pete Carroll said he thinks Russell Wilson is going to return in 2022.
We’ll know the real answer to that in two months. If Wilson is back, though, he needs to be OK with the Carroll Way, because it is the best way for this team as long as Wilson is the quarterback.
It is well known by now that Wilson wants the reins of the offense, to put the team on his back and carry it to a Super Bowl. Well, for seven years, he has proven he cannot do that. He needs a strong running game and stingy defense. It’s what the Hawks had during the Super Bowl seasons, and it is what they will need again, especially if Wilson is to remain their QB.
The lack of a running game — whether because Shane Waldron eschewed it or because the line played poorly — is the main reason Seattle did not make the playoffs this year.
The Hawks were terrible at sustaining drives throughout the season and often blamed the lack of runs on not having the ball enough. But the way to look at it is: If they had run the ball more, they might have kept the ball longer.
The difference is clear.
The Seahawks lost six of seven from Week 5 to Week 12, when they averaged 84.3 rushing yards per game. Running backs ran it just 11 times in Green Bay, where they were shut out 17-0. Running backs ran it just 17 times in a loss to Arizona and had just 10 carries in a loss at Washington, where the season basically ended.
But the Hawks suddenly turned it on in the final six games, going 4-2 as they averaged 176 yards on the ground.
After they ran for 202 in a 38-30 win at Arizona, Carroll said Wilson “loved that football game. He doesn’t care what the numbers are; he really doesn’t. He just wants to win. … He’s said that 1,000 times. He just wants to win.
“It’s not like we’re running the ball so that Russell doesn’t get to throw,” Carroll added. “We’re running the ball so he can kill them when he throws the football. And that’s the point, and he gets it.”
This is the often fatal flaw of Carroll and Wilson: They want to beat teams with the deep pass; but, when they do not run it well, all of the pressure hits Wilson. And he has gotten pretty bad at handling it. That is not a good combination, especially when the defense is not getting takeaways to offset an ineffective offense.
Hopefully Waldron learned the importance of a running game to a Wilson-run offense and will not abandon the run for long stretches next season. Wilson needs it. And Seattle needs it if this crew is ever going to get back to the Super Bowl.