Make-or break season for Coach Carroll?
For most Seattle Seahawks fans, the sights of an overly exuberant Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll hooting and hollering, high-fiving players, and smiling from ear-to-ear on the sidelines is a welcome one.
We have been witness to this display of energy and joy whenever things have gone right for Carroll since the 2010-11 season, when he signed a 5-year contract with the team.
It is an even more welcome sight as his tenure starts to erase the ho-hum memory of Jim Mora Jr.’s time in Seattle. Not too hard of a task.
Mora’s only season was marked with a 5-11 record, and saw him fired with three years and $12 million dollars remaining on his contract. After notching two 7-9 seasons with the Seahawks, could Carroll also be dismissed early if his team falters?
Let’s take a closer look
Miraculously, the Seahawks won the then-dismal NFC West and made the playoffs in the 2010-11 season with their 7-9 record.
Heck, they even won a home game against the explosive New Orleans Saints, sending previous season’s Super Bowl MVP Quarterback Drew Brees and his team home in a stunning upset (the Seahawks would later be eliminated by the Chicago Bears).
That 7-9 record was matched this past season, but this time yielded no playoff return.
One has to wonder would another 7-9 record send Pete packing?
How about a record worse than 7-9?
It is worth noting that during his time as Head Coach with the New England Patriots from 1997-1999, his teams went 10-6, 9-7, & 8-8, respectively. That 1997 team won the AFC East. The 1998 team made the playoffs, losing in the Wild Card round.
If it happened to the man once before, it is certainly possible that if the team misses the playoffs, Coach Carroll could be ousted once again by this Seattle regime.
The Quarterback position could be the biggest factor in Carroll’s fate. Three seasons in, the team’s owners would expect to see something solidified at that most important of positions.
While Pete is a defensive Coach by his pedigree, and not the sole voice in matters of drafting and free agent signing, the Head Coach is ultimately responsible for not addressing that position sufficiently.
The jury is still out on ex-Green Bay Packers backup QB Matt Flynn who signed with the team this offseason, and Carroll has definitely not hitched his wagon to him or incumbent Tarvaris Jackson, or for that matter, rookie Russell Wilson.
There is a bit of a jumble at that position right now, but when a clear starter is named, he better look the part, for “Pete’s sake”.
The NFC West has gotten stronger, especially defensively
The Seahawks also face a daunting schedule which will see them go up against Quarterbacks Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, and Cam Newton. Could that play a role in the team’s and Carroll’s standing?
There is no denying that the Seahawks defense has become their strongest unit, stout and physical. That the team is far better along then they were under Jim Mora Jr. That the running game has started to click.
That they are definitely in the mix to vie for the NFC West title if they play to their potential all season long. But, since this is Carroll’s third year, if the team falters due to injury, suspect quarterback play, or a drop off on the defensive side of the ball, we may not see those smiles and fist pumps on the sidelines any longer.
There have been far too many one-and-done coaches in recent memory, and perceptions can change drastically from July to September, from September to December.
In today’s NFL, things even go from sunny, to doom-and-gloom, and back again from week to week. The best may yet be coming for Coach Carroll and this young Seahawks team, but let’s say that while the seat isn’t hot at this time, given the nature of this league, the hot plate and chair are being located in storage.