Seahawks coach rolling dice with rookie QB
Conventional doesn’t suit Pete Carroll. Never did in college.
Certainly doesn’t calling the shots in the NFL.
Since taking control of the Seattle Seahawks, he’s given second
chances to those with checkered pasts at previous NFL stops, tried
players in nontraditional positions and given lower round picks
plenty of chances to make their mark.
Now comes Carroll’s biggest gamble – choosing to start rookie
quarterback Russell Wilson after paying handsomely to sign one of
the hottest free agents available in the offseason in Matt
If successful, Carroll could be on the brink of turning the
Seahawks into the regular contenders they were during a five-year
run of playoff appearances in the middle of the last decade that
included four division titles.
If he fails, and the Seahawks struggle, Carroll will face
increased pressure and scrutiny after going 14-18 in his first two
regular seasons in charge.
”We need to always be in tune with conventional wisdom,”
Carroll said. ”However neither (general manager) John (Schneider)
or I feel like we have to operate under that particular guidance
system. And we’re not. And we haven’t since we got here.”
If the Seahawks are going to be successful, Wilson will not be
that much of a factor. Yes, he’ll need to make plays if the
balanced offense Carroll wants is to be successful. The team is
built around the bullying running of Marshawn Lynch – and rookie
Robert Turbin – and a young, aggressive and confident defense on
Pound the ball with Lynch, use arguably the best young secondary
in the NFL to create havoc, and Wilson doesn’t need to be a star.
And, if Wilson continues his stellar play from the preseason when
the season starts, then Seattle may have its next franchise
”Even though I’m a rookie, I believe in the fact that I can
help this team win and do a lot of great things,” Wilson said.
”We have an unbelievable defense, we have a very strong offense
and great special teams. We just have to keep improving. It’s a
great opportunity. I’m fired up about it, that’s for sure. I can’t
The three-way quarterback battle between Wilson, free agent
Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson stole most of the headlines during
training camp. But Carroll also didn’t shy away from generating
more attention. He signed wide receiver Braylon Edwards then
brought in Terrell Owens for a look, creating a circus around the
normally ignored Seahawks.
Jackson is gone, sent to the Bills, and Owens is gone, too.
Edwards likely will be a significant contributor. Seattle also
added tight end Kellen Winslow in a trade with Tampa Bay.
There was some trouble, too, with Lynch being arrested for DUI
in California in July. On the field, his rugged running style made
him the most productive back in the NFL over the second half of the
Wilson can only hope Sidney Rice and his surgically repaired
shoulders can stand up to a full season and a return to form that
saw him make the Pro Bowl in 2009, when he caught 83 passes for
over 1,300 yards in Minnesota. While Edwards gives Seattle another
veteran target, the continued development of young receivers Golden
Tate and Doug Baldwin will be equally important.
The Seahawks’ secondary is solid, with cornerbacks Brandon
Browner and Richard Sherman and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam
Chancellor perhaps one of the best foursomes in the league. Ten of
11 starters are back on defense, with rookie middle linebacker
Bobby Wagner replacing David Hawthorne.
If there’s a defensive concern, it’s the pass rush. Chris
Clemons is back, and the Seahawks used their first-round draft pick
on rush specialist Bruce Irvin. They also signed defensive tackle
Jason Jones from Tennessee.
”I just want to win; however we can do it, whoever can get the
attention,” linebacker Leroy Hill said. ”We know we’re good, we
know we have all the components in the world to be a (good)
defense. That showed last year.”
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