Pete Carroll Under The Microscope
For whatever reason there seems to be a hot-button, by-line topic surrounding the Seattle Seahawks entering year three of the Pete Carroll era. It’s generally asked in the form of a question, “If Pete Carroll goes 7-9 again this season, will he be on the hot seat?”
Quite frankly, it’s absurd if you ask me. It’s not because I like Pete Carroll or whether or not I support his regime (because I don’t), but it’s utterly naive for anyone to think a head coach would be on the hot seat only two years removed from blowing up an entire roster.
It’s not a secret for anyone who watches sports that rebuilding is a necessary evil that takes time.
It’s not something that can happen overnight, over a period of months, or even over a period of a couple of years. Rebuilding an organization takes years to succeed, and in some cases, the time that is put in doesn’t work at all (see the Buffalo Bills).
It doesn’t matter what your sport is (the NBA being the exception), the right coach needs a minimum of five years worth of free agency and draft picks before fans can actually see the fruits of the rebuilding process unfold before their eyes.
Let me remind you of the Mike Holmgren era so we can accurately reflect on how long a successful rebuild takes. If we can remember, the 1999 AFC West division winning team (Holmgren’s first season) was a collection of players from the Randy Mueller/Dennis Erickson regime from 1995-98.
The very next season Holmgren embarked on a roster purge that saw 8 new starters from the previous season and that number shot up to 20 in 2001. From 2000 until 2002 (3 full seasons), Mike Holmgren painstakingly underwent a massive rebuild of his roster while posting a 22-26 record before reaching the playoffs in 2003.
It took Holmgren six years to win his first division title with his own roster and in the seventh season of his tenure, the Seahawks reached the pinnacle of their sport.
Seven years to reach the top of the mountain and people are asking if Pete Carroll is on the hot seat. We should consider this to be year 1 of his regime. Unlike Holmgren before him, Carroll took on the process of purging his roster as his first order of business.
Over 140 personnel transactions took place in 2010, including 18 new starters that saw the field for the NFC West division winning 7-9 Seahawks. In year 2, Carroll and John Schneider were still adding pieces to the puzzle in what was considered the first season in which the young nucleus was getting their first taste of the NFL.
The upcoming 2012 season (year 2, but really year 3) is a vital step in the rebuilding process. More high motor, high skill-set play makers have been added to the mix and Carroll’s roster is taking the mold of what he envisioned when he first stepped foot on the banks of Lake Washington over two years ago.
A relentless defense with a power running game tailored to Century Link Field and the 12th man. The idea is to punish opponents physically on every down while controlling the time of possession on offense.
Again though, this team is young and vastly inexperienced. They will go through the necessary growing pains attributed to having a youthful roster.
The one key point I must make in regards to Pete Carroll would be to stop with the mantras. It’s nice to see a head coach fired up, but there is a problem with the “always compete” company line.
Carroll inadvertently ratchets up the expectations of the fan base. At face value that may not seem like a huge problem because Carroll may believe his own hype , but having an inexperienced team will almost certainly let you down nine times out of ten.
Having another 7-9 season wouldn’t be a surprise to the inner circle who run the Seahawks, but it would crush a fan base that was expecting to see a playoff appearance. In doing so, it would squarely place the blame on the shoulders of the guy who’s mantras aren’t holding the water they promised over two years ago.
Realistically though, Pete Carroll’s job is probably the safest in the National Football League. Paul Allen’s affinity for Pete Carroll has almost certainly guaranteed him five seasons, if the not the seven seasons Mike Holmgren had to get the Seahawks to the Super Bowl.
That’s not to say things couldn’t change if he’s pushing 7-9 and 8-8 seasons in our face by year five; quite the opposite actually.
Let’s remember now, Pete Carroll came into this job (33-31) much like Dennis Erickson left this job (31-33) . What does that mean? Up to this point Pete Carroll is a below .500 NFL head coach with cool sayings, hip shoes, and flashy hair.
What he accomplished at USC is completely irrelevant. He wasn’t hired because he could win at the college level. Pete Carroll was hired to do what Mike Holmgren couldn’t do, which is to win a Super Bowl.
Right now we have patience with Pete Carroll because we can see where this team is headed.
I fully understand the time frame in which an NFL head coach needs to succeed and with Paul Allen’s resources, it’s not unthinkable to see Carroll succeeding as a Seahawk.
For the time being his seat is ice cold and I’m perfectly okay with that, but if the Seahawks are still pushing out an 8-8 product over the next two seasons, come and see me.
I’ll have the answer you’re looking for.