Pete Carroll and QBs and Seahawks 2022

We’re 12 days away from the Seattle Seahawks start to the 2022 season. As with any NFL team the success of this season will depend in large part on the play of the teams quarterback. After trading Russell Wilson in March the Hawks will have a new QB for the first time since 2012. After a thoroughly uninspiring Preseason Coach Pete Carroll has named Geno Smith as the team’s leader.

As with most people Smith doesn’t leave me tingling with excitement at the prospect of him doing much of anything, really. I’ve said repeatedly since March Geno is the reincarnation of Tavaris Jackson. He’s a quarterback who is capable of moving his team between the 20s and before the 2:00 warning. But he has shown no particular talent for getting the ball in the end zone or even coming close inside 2-minutes of either the 1st or 2nd half.

I, however, choose to be optimistic about the play of our quarterback in 2022. The ONLY reason I choose to look on the bright side is because of Pete Carroll’s history with quarterbacks. Simply put, it is unparalleled excellence when he is the head coach. Let me explain.

In Carroll’s 2nd Head Coaching job he led the New England Patriots for 3 seasons. At New England he had former Cougar and Number 1 NFL draft pick Drew Bledsoe as his QB. Bledsoe had already been in the league 4 years before Carroll arrived and had established himself as one of the best at his position. But I think it’s important to note that nothing Carroll did slowed Bledoe’s career. In fact in March 2001, after only one season away from Carroll Bledsoe signed a $103-million dollar contract making him, at the time, the highest paid player in NFL history. Not soon after that Bledsoe’s career crumbled having been replaced at QB by The Goat, Tom Brady.

After being fired in New England Carroll resurrected his career at USC where he won multiple NCAA Championships AND continued to produce top-notch quarterbacks. In his first year at USC Carroll inherited an largely unimpressive, underachieving QB named Carson Palmer. In Carroll’s second year Palmer played so well he won the Heisman Trophy and was the first player selected in the NFL draft. Palmer went on to have a good, not great NFL career. Many would say he underachieved in the NFL. He didn’t have Carroll.

Carroll then won the National Championship the next year with Sophomore Matt Leinart as QB. Leinart won the Heisman the next year, 2004, as the Trojans won their 2nd straight National Championship. Leinart then left school early and was an NFL 1st round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals. He famously did next to nothing in his NFL career failing to come close to the level of play he demonstrated when under Carroll’s direction.

Next quarterback on Carroll’s roster of success was Mark Sanchez. While Sanchez didn’t win any Heismans or National Titles he did play well enough in only 2 seasons to be drafted #6 in the NFL draft by the New York Jets. Carroll famously answered a reporter’s question truthfully by saying he felt Sanchez could benefit by staying in college one more year rather than leaving as a Sophomore. Sanchez, like Leinart, flamed out in the NFL. He is probably most remembered for “the butt fumble”. Look it up. It’ll make you laugh.

Carroll also coached Matt Cassell at USC. And while Cassell never played much, since he played behind Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart he was coached up enough to earn a fairly decent NFL career despite never having started a game in college.

Lastly, in 2012 as Seahawks Head Coach Carroll and GM John Schneider drafted a short (5’10”) quarterback out of Wisconsin via North Carolina late in that draft’s 3rd round. It’s important to note that every other NFL team passed on drafting Russell Wilson, some of them 3 times. Carroll coached Wilson into a probable NFL Hall of Fame career. Whether Wilson will follow the path of Carroll’s previous QB’s and stumble forward in a less than stellar remainder of his career remains to be seen.

The point is Carroll has one of the best record’s in football history of producing GREAT quarterbacks. At least they were great while playing for him. Will Geno Smith be a likewise beneficiary of Carroll’s Midas touch? That remains to be seen.

However, even without high end quarterback play I expect a Seahawk season better than what other’s are predicting.

Their offense will have some great running backs hauling the rock. And they have a rebuilt offensive line with stellar talent that only needs experience to improve over what we’ve had in recent years.

Ken Norton Jr. is gone as Defensive Coordinator and we can all expect addition by subtraction for the Seahawk’s defense this year. Norton was awful. The schemes I saw him running last year, in particular, were laughable. I saw Poona Ford in pass coverage more than once! The Seahawk’s defense will be better.

In looking at the schedule game by game I see 7 wins. Just like last year. I strikes me as a particularly brutal schedule. Try as I might to envision an 8th or a 9th win…I just don’t see it. But, if Geno surprises me and everybody else and follows the path of past Carroll QB’s we might all get a New Year’s treat for 2023, a playoff birth.

Seahawks vs 49ers is Gonna Be Great!

Seahawks logo

Though written in March of 2013 this post is still very timely.

The rivalry between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers has gone from simmer, to slow boil, to 3rd degree- “Oh My God THAT’s HOT!” burn in the past week. And isn’t it just exceedingly fun to watch? I’m lovin’ it. And what’s most exciting is that it’s likely to last for many, many years. All the evidence shows that this will push historical rivalries for significance. We’re talking Yankees vs Red Sox, Duke-North Carolina, Ohio State vs Michigan,  Steelers vs the Raiders in the 70s, Redskins vs Cowboys, Celtics- Lakers, Ali-Frazier. Welcome to Seattle! Home of the NFL Universe. Folks, it’s here.

English: Picture of the 12th Man Flag at Centu...

What made the rivalries of yesteryear so darn compelling were two things. First, and perhaps most important, the teams were always good….championship level good. Second, THEY HATED EACH OTHER. Does anyone hate each other more in big-time sports right now than

English: Head Coach Pete Carroll leads his Uni...

Pete Carroll led his University of Southern California Trojans football team

Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll and Niner’s Head coach Jim Harbaugh?

Head coach Jim Harbaugh at the 2010 Stanford f...

Head coach Jim Harbaugh at the 2010 Stanford football open house

Not based on the evidence that we’ve seen. From the time when Carroll was at USC and Harbaugh was at Stanford and Carroll greeted the Cardinal coach with a not-so-politic “What’s your deal?” after Harbaugh had his team go for 2-points late in a blow-out win over the Trojans to last October when Harbaugh complained to the NFL about that Seahawk cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner were too physical with his receivers.

As we all know the Seahawks were 30-seconds away from meeting the 49ers in the NFC Championship game this past season with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line; a trip won by S.F. Then the team from the Bay area came oh-so-close to winning the league championship and establishing themselves as a potential dynasty.

This week the rivalry was brought back to the nation’s attention when Seattle traded for elite Minnesota wide receiver-Kick Returner Percy Harvin only to be equalled in the headlines by San Francisco trading for Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Bolden of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Fortunately for Hawk’s fans Seattle came back again yesterday by signing free agent defensive-end Cliff Avril to help bolster the team’s greatest need; an improved pass rush. Important to note that while the Hawk’s achilles heel in the past season, and projecting to the coming season, was their pass rush, they still managed to lead the league defensively in fewest points allowed.

After the trade of the 1st round and 7th round draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft for Harvin, Seattle stills owns 8 picks in the April allotment of college talent. But San Francisco has 14 picks, five returning Pro Bowlers and plenty of cash to acquire more free agent help.

Seattle has Russell Wilson; one of the most exciting young quarterbacks to come into the league in years. S.F. has Colin Kaepernick; one of the most exciting young quarterbacks to come into the league in years. Seattle has Marshawn Lynch one of the best running backs in the league. S.F. has Frank Gore; one of the best running backs in the league, and probably a future Hall of Famer. They both have stout defenses. And their two combative coaches both preach a grind it out, smash-mouth style of football. S.F. has won the NFC West each of the past two years. Seattle won it before that. And both teams have among the youngest rosters in the National Football League. So, as excellent as both teams are. They ought to be excellent for years to come.

After this week’s player acquisitions odds-makers have installed Seattle and San Francisco as co-favorites to win this next year’s Super Bowl. And being in the same division they’ll always play each other twice each season. The fact that S.F. is the team that’s geographically closest to the far-away Northwest outpost called Seattle is just the cherry on top of the Sundae.

Woody Hayes

Woody Hayes

Bo Schembechler vs Woody Hayes.

English: Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson and ...

Bird vs Magic.

Richard Petty 1984 Photo By Ted Van Pelt

Richard Petty 1984

Richard Petty vs Cale Yarborough. Alydar vs Affirmed.  We’re talking about this kind of historical rivalry, and it’s staring us in the face.

NY - Long Island - Belmont Park - Affirmed

NY – Long Island – Belmont Park – Affirmed

It’s absolutely delicious for any sports fan. But for the long-suffering fans of Seattle it’s a banquet for a starving man. Thank you Paul Allen for the hasty decision to fire Jim Mora. Thank you Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider for the wisdom and the guts to go after Wilson. And thank you to Seattle tax payers for funding CenturyLink field‘s construction.

I can’t wait, though it’s still 6-months away. I just renewed my Seahawk season tickets for next season. My company Total Broadcasting Service will be giving some of them away, again. I’m predicting a pretty fantastic ride.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Seahawks Looking Good! Can you say Super Bowl?

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

Since the writing of this blog the New England Patriots defeated the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football 42-14. 

This Seattle Seahawk season ticket holder was pretty darned impressed with what he saw in Sunday’s 58-0 record blow-out of the Arizona Cardinals. It’s got me thinking of…dare I say it…the Super Bowl.

Call me crazy if you will but my dreams could be realized if a few small things fall our way. And we could be making plans for a trip to…NEW JERSEY? Ya…New Jersey. The fact that the game is being played in a northern climate again is one other reason why I feel optimistic. Seattle’s only other trip to nirvana occurred in 2006 when the Seahawks lost to Pittsburg in Detroit, MI.

(Oops! It has been correctly pointed out to me that the Super Bowl in New Jersey won’t take place until after next season in 2014. This season’s 2013 Super Bowl will be in New Orleans.)

Picture taken by me of Qwest Field at night fr...

CenturyLink Field where Seattle is undefeated.

Here is the situation: Seattle is 8-5 with three games left. Sunday they travel to Toronto to play the Buffalo Bills. On Christmas Eve eve, December 23rd, the Hawks host division leading San Francisco at CenturyLink Field. And then they close out the season at the “Clink” against the improving St. Louis Rams.

Before anyone gets too excited let me remind you that Seattle has played and lost to both the 49ers and the Rams this season, and at this point in the season they haven’t clinched anything. Having said that I like our chances.

Tonight’s Monday night game, Houston at New England, in Foxboro could be important. If Houston wins New England would not want to lose two straight when they host the 49ers next Sunday night. So come-on Texans! If the Pat’s win tonight they might start shifting into coast-mode before the playoffs when they play San Francisco. (New England won 42-14)  If San Fran loses their game in New England, while Seattle beats Buffalo the game in Seattle would decide the division lead with only one game to play.

Seattle will beat Buffalo for several reasons. First, they exorcised that “can’t win on the road” ghost in beating the Bears in Chicago last week. Second, the game is not in Buffalo so the Bills will not have that much of a decided home field advantage. Lastly, besides the crowd the other huge advantage Buffalo has over all its opponents in December is the weather. But the Seahawk game will be inside what they used to call Skydome.

I think the Hawks can break the 49ers win streak of them and take the division lead. What a nice Christmas present THAT will be. A division crown would come down to beating the Rams on December 30th at CenturyLink; a proposition I favor. But it won’t be easy. The Rams play an up-and-down Minnesota club next week and a declining Tampa Bay after that. They could come to Seattle 8-6-1 needing a win for the playoffs. Still, you can’t bet against Seattle at the Clink, no matter who they’re playing; as evidenced by their victories this year over possibly the 2 best teams in the league, Green Bay and New England.

Seattle would then host at least one playoff game and probably earn a bye the first weekend. This scenario counts on G.B. to lose at least once more. which I think they’ll do. Seattle and the Packers would be tied with an 11-5 record and thanks to Russell Wilson, Golden Tate, and a Replacement Referee Seattle would host their first playoff game after taking a week off.

Seattle would be favored over whoever they played and I would expect them to win, putting them into the NFC Championship game.

NFC Championship Game logo, 2005–2010

Under my scheme that game would only be in Atlanta or Seattle. If it’s Atlanta, well, the Falcons would be deservedly favored. If it’s in Seattle against the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers or the last playoff entrant (Who cares. They won’t win), then I like my teams chances of going to East Rutherford.

I’ve never been happier being so wrong. I’m referring to Pete Carroll’s pick of Russell Wilson as the teams starting quarterback this year. I was the first in the Matt Flynn camp, dating back to last January. And as good as Wilson has played, who’s to say Flynn couldn’t have done the same thing? Having said that, clearly Wilson is a special player and can lead this team to the Super Bowl provided a few not-so-unlikely things fall our way. Go Seahawks! Go Texans! Go Patriots (next week)!

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Seahawks need to Sign Some Free Agents

Seattle Seahawks logo

At 1pm today the NFL opens its free agency season. When they do some rumors have it that the Seattle Seahawks will be very involved in early activity. It’s a good thing. With San Francisco having won 13-games and missing the Super Bowl by a fumbled punt; the St. Louis Rams having landed a plethora of draft picks by trading the number-two overall, and rumor that Arizona is Peyton Manning‘s first choice

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; the Seahawks suddenly look like the fourth best team in the four team NFC West. To be clear, they are already the third best team having lost the regular season finale to the Cardinals and closing the 2011 season with a 7-9 record for the second straight year. Without a good draft next month along with the signing of some key free agents Seattle is doomed to mediocrity at best. And I wonder if Pete Carroll can survive a third straight losing season.

The Seahawks have one glaring need in order to assure their rapid improvement. A blind man without a stick or a dog could see it. They need a good quarterback. They haven’t had one in at least three years. Matt Hassellback’s injury filled last two years don’t count as Seattle having a good quarterback. And Tarvaris Jackson just plain sucks and cannot be an option going forward. To be fair to Jackson he played to his statistics, posting a 79-passer rating compared to a 77 career passer rating. His problem, in my opinion is that he is the worst 2-minute drill quarterback I have ever seen. Not just at the end of the game, but at the end of the first half time and again this past season he showed himself completely incapable of managing a team or completing passes when it was most urgent to do so.

Wide spread speculation has Seattle making a play for Green Bay backup Matt Flynn. Quick…answer this question: Who holds the Green Bay Packers record for most touchdowns and most passing yards in a game?:

A. Brett Favre

English: Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett F...

B. Aaron RogersAaron Rogers

C. Bart Starr

D. None of the above.

 

 

 

Remarkably the answer is “D”. Matt Flynn has started two regular season NFL games in his career. Given that he backs up last season’s league MVP that can’t be too much of a surprise. But in one of those two games last season against the playoff bound Detroit Lions Flynn led his team to a win while throwing 6 touchdowns, and nearly 500 yards…in Green Bay…in January. His resume is more substantial than just one game. Flynn was a 7th round draft pick out of Louisiana State in 2008. He led the Bayou Bengals to a National Championship in his one season as a starter. This guy is a winner. Sign him Seahawks.

If the Hawks don’t sign Flynn Arizona’s possible signing of Peyton Manning would free-up Kevin Kolb for the 2nd straight season. He would be an improvement over Jackson. Possibly a big improvement.

Seattle also has a need to improve its pass rush which was amazingly weak for such a strong defense. Imagine how much better our strong young secondary will look when quarterbacks have 1-2 fewer seconds to hold the ball and wait for receivers to come open. We placed two defensive backs on the NFC Pro Bowl team while having only 33 sacks on the year compared to 50 allowed to the opponents.

Free agency does seem to offer a possible solution for Seattle that the draft is not likely to. Seattle picks 12th in the 1st round of the draft, and historically all the impact pass rushers (and quarterbacks) are long gone by the 12th pick; like former number one draft pick Mario Williams. The Houston Texans All-Pro Defensive End is now a free agent. He could be a big solution for a team not needing too many answers on the defensive side of the ball. You CAN get excited too. ESPN football guru John Clayton says the Seahawks signing Williams is a better than 50% possibility. That’s huge!

If the Seahawks can address their two biggest needs in free agency than their draft next month can go a long way toward filling the need for strong backup performers and building a team that can compete in the increasingly strong NFC West. Call me crazy, but I’m optimistic.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

The Seahawks new QB!

Seattle Seahawks helmet

Seattle needs a quarterback

Lets start this blog with the most obvious statement I have ever typed…the Seahawks need a new quarterback if they are going to ever be a Super Bowl contender. Tarvaris Jackson served as this year’s stop-gap between an aging and increasingly fragile Matt Hasselback and the young untested quarterback the Seahawks will pick in this upcoming NFL Draft. At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe.

The fact that Jackson was a stop-gap is hardly a question. General Manager John Schneider signed Jackson for a fraction of what Hasselback was asking. And the length of the deal is only two years. So what’s the risk?…they asked themselves. They have a 4 year veteran with a moderate career QB rating of 79.1 and they aren’t committing a lot of dough in the process.

What I think is more in debate is where that next quarterback of the future is going to come from. Given that Seattle is so good that they won’t pick any higher than 11th in the coming allocation of college talent all the best quarterbacks that you could possibly bank on may be off the board. Yes, I know Tom Brady was a 7th round draft pick. But I’m talking about someone you can plan to be good nearly from the start. Everyone knows Brady is the exception to the norm.

The 15-1 Green Bay Packers didn’t play this year’s MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers in their last game against the 10-6 playoff bound Detroit Lions. You may have missed this because Green Bay scored 48 points against the Lion’s formidable defense. And Green Bay’s quarterback threw for six touchdowns and 480 yards; both Packer records. And …to repeat…it wasn’t Aaron Rodgers.

English: Green Bay Packers back-up quarterback...

Packer's back up QB Matt Flynn

Talk of Matt Flynn as a quality quarterback existed long before his record day against the Detroit Lions. Someone is going to make this 26-year old a very rich man.  And it’s not as if Flynn has no history of success behind him.

LSU QB Matt Flynn drops back to pass against T...

Flynn won a National Title at LSU

His relative anonymity comes from four years in the NFL as Rodgers backup and only one year as a starter at Louisiana State University where he backed up eventual Number 1 NFL Draft pick JaMarcus Russell. So…what did he do in his one year as a starter at LSU? He led the Bayou Bengals to a National Title, beating Ohio State in the BCS National Title game.

Here is the best news about acquiring Flynn to be next year’s quarterback…he is an unrestricted free agent. So Seattle wouldn’t need to trade anything for him and they wouldn’t need to spend a relatively high draft pick. The only thing that could stand in the way of this free exercise of football capitalism is if the Green Bay Packers tag Flynn with the franchise tag. Doing so would require them to promise a contract to their backup quarterback of $14-million dollars, making trading him very difficult.

Picture of Seahawks Practice Scrimage at Easte...

Mike Holmgren

Plus I like the history. Hasselback was a Green Bay backup to Brett Favre when Mike Holmgren plucked him out of obscurity and turned him into a Pro Bowl quarterback who led Seattle to our only Super Bowl appearance. And they’re both named Matt. And acquiring someone else’s backup as your starter is at least as successful as drafting a quarterback in the first round. Houston’s Matt Schaab, former Husky Mark Brunnel, the aforementioned Favre, Kansas City’s Matt Castel, and Arizona’s Kevin Kolb have all been successful as starters after having apprenticed as an NFL backup to a Pro Bowler. Flynn could be the next guy; the next Matt to be a star quarterback in the NFL.

So scuttle plans to scour over all those useless college statistics for quarterbacks you aren’t going to get anyway. Schneider and Pete Carroll need to fork over the bucks necessary to bring the latest Green Bay Matt to the Puget Sound.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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