Coach likes rookies
“This is a fantastic and improved football team; the impact of the head coach is obvious” - Pete Carroll
We often hear Pete Carroll talk about playing his best players, yet there are always whispers questioning wether he believes in his “always compete” mantra or if he is just blowing smoke. Sunday, in Arizona, Pete Carroll will be starting up to 4 rookies for the Seattle Seahawks, in some of the most important positions on the field.
Three will start for sure.
Chances are, if you are reading this, you have heard the term “It’s a quarterback driven league.” During the offseason the Seattle Seahawks signed top free agent quarterback Matt Flynnin an effort to improve the position.
Conventional wisdom led many, including myself, to assume Matt would be the starting quarterback for the 2012 season.
Drafting a quarterback in the third round of the draft did little to change that way of thinking.
After the draft Pete said that there was a three way quarterback battle. I didn’t believe it for a second. There was no chance he was going to have Tarvaris Jackson as his starting quarterback nor would he have had a rookie third round pick.
Heck, coaches don’t have rookie quarterback start unless they had no viable options.
Fast Forward to today
Not only will this be the first time in over 30 years that a 3rd round rookie quarterback will start a season opener, it could also be the first time a rookie has started when the team had a viable veteran option behind him.
Losing The Heater
Middle linebacker position is often referred to as the quarterback defense. Losing last years starting middle linebacker David Hawthorne in free agency the Seahawks added Barrett Ruud.
When April’s draft came around they added another. Bobby Wagner played well enough in the preseason that John Schneider felt comfortable trading Ruud to the Saints.
Sunday the Seahawks second round pick will be starting at middle linebacker.
D-Tackle To Guard?
Very few 7th round picks get a chance to start during their rookie season. Even fewer start the season opener of their rookie season while playing a different position than they did in college.
That is exactly what Pete Carroll is having JR Sweezy do on Sunday. A defensive tackle in college, the Seahawks drafted him in the 7th round because Pete Carroll and John Schneider thought he would make a good offensive lineman.
JR Sweezy not only learned how to play guard, he has become a very solid player who has the nastiness that offensive line coach Tom Cable absolutely loves.
We Know these three rookies are starting week 1. The Seahawks 4th round pick, Robert Turbin could end up being the fourth. Marshawn Lynch is having back spasms and did not practice on Wednesday, other than the morning walk through.
If Lynch is unable to play Turbin will have to carry the load. This is exactly the reason he was drafted. During the preseason Robert looked very good, very Marshawn like.
They are not the same back but Turbin possesses the tough, one cut running style that Marshawn has perfected. The Seahawks aren’t as good with Turbin as they would be with Lynch, nevertheless they are a much better team with Robert than they were last season when Lynch was out.
Those are just the starters, you will also see rookie 1st round pick Bruce Irvin playing a lot. Bruce grew as a pass rusher every game during the preseason.
It’s going to be very interesting to see what he can do when the Seahawks show off their blitz packages and fully unleash him. It should be a very exciting season for Seattle’s rookie class, nothing new for the Seahawks front office.
At USC Pete Carroll was know for starting freshman who earned it, that hasn’t changed a bit in the NFL.
Definitely not conventional, yet one thing is for sure, Pete Carroll starts his best players.