By HCR Staff | July 31, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
After experiencing tremendous success in building the Seahawks program, culminating in back-to-back Super Bowl trips, Pete Carroll’s Seahawks are now trying to stave off significant decline.
Carroll’s strengths as a head coach are personal energy, disciplined adherence to a specific defensive philosophy, and ability to build enthusiasm and positivity within a program. He is one the most successful head coaches of his generation.
He still has these strong traits, but this offseason he has had to make significant adjustments to how things have worked in the past.
Last year, the Seahawks were an inconsistent team, and there was plenty of data to indicate that the approach had to change.
Offensively, the Seahawks simply relied on QB Russell Wilson and a scheme that had very little coherence. With a lesser athlete than Wilson, the Seahawks may not have won more than two games — he was a legitimate MVP candidate.
So Carroll replaced OC Darrell Bevell with Brian Schottenheimer. He also replaced assistant HC/OL coach Tom Cable. We expect the Seahawks to be more formation exotic this season. Wilson simply needs more help.
Defensively, Carroll replaced DC and former long-time protege Kris Richard with former protege Ken Norton Jr. Schematically, we don’t see much change, but we suspect Carroll could feel that Norton will bring more personal gravitas to bear than the much younger Richard.
Some departing veteran players expressed that Carroll’s motivational techniques had grown stale. If so, it is understandable. There was a strong veteran group that had been together with the same staff for a lomg time (five years is a very long time by NFL standards) — people can grow weary of the same message. But in Carroll’s defense, preaching the same message over and over often helps with consistency and stability.
Carroll’s teams are known for playing fast, with high enthusiasm, energy and physicality. Carroll is not known necessarily as a strategist. He’d rather have his teams dominate you physically than outsmart you.
He’s got a ring, and he’s built more than a team — he’s the rare head coach who has built a program. But he’s also the NFL’s oldest head coach in a division with two of the youngest.
It’s a big-time transition year for the Seahawks and Pete Carroll.