Yes, there is always plenty of chatter about our perennial Super Bowl hopefuls. But I also find that there is always some angle to Seahawks coverage that just doesn’t seem to get enough airplay. This column is dedicated to that “elephant in the locker room.”
I have had a lot of good things to say about the Seahawks this year. But one thing I have observed, yet failed to note, is how much better Pete Carroll’s coaching staff has been with in-game adjustments to what has been happening on the field: quickly getting a sense for what the opposition is up to, and responding with scheme changes.
Prior to the 2018 season, Darrell Bevell and the various Defensive Coordinators that served under Carroll made excellent half-time adjustments; but very, very often they would continue to get torched right up until half-time. Ken Norton and Brian Schottenheimer have not exhibited the same frustrating, lame-brain tendency to “stick with the scheme” even when the opposition has clearly coached circles around it.
So Sunday night’s failure—complete, utter, abject failure—to find a way to stifle the Rams’ ability to control the tempo when Goff and Co. were on the field came as something of a shock. Troy Aikman and Joe Buck called the game accurately: the Rams were continually catching Seattle’s D unprepared for the snap. And Seattle never—never—adjusted.
And troubling. If I were opposing coaches, I’d be all over that in gameplanning for the Hawks in coming weeks. This could be Carroll’s Achilles’ Heel in this 2019 campaign.
This leads me to a couple other observations about weaknesses in Pete Carroll’s approach to game management.
First, I can’t count the number of times this year that opposing Ds have had linemen lined up in the neutral zone without getting called for it. I’m certain that opposing coaches have noticed that Seattle’s O linemen have a much harder time with pass protection when they are being crowded at the line of scrimmange—it’s a game of inches after all—and since officials aren’t calling the infraction, opposing teams are taking advantage of the opportunity.
If I’m Pete Carroll, I either a.) bring this consistent infraction to the attention of officiating crews; or b.) take advantage of the lax enforcement by having Seattle’s D utilize the same tactic.
Pete has done neither. Also puzzling.
Second—and this is not just a Pete thing, it’s league-wide—I don’t understand why the Hawks’ offensive doesn’t put more pressure on opposing Ds by presenting confusing looks or tempos that force the opposition to use timeouts earlier. Running a team out of timeouts is even more critical in the modern era of challenges, yet I haven’t noticed any team—not even the Patriots—leveraging this crucial potential advantage over an opponent.
Again, puzzling. I guess it’s just that kind of week.