No NFL Team Is Better Equipped To Win The Super Bowl In A Pandemic Year Than The Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson are a match made in Football Heaven for winning under duress.

Yes, you have read this title correctly. Laugh all you want, 49er Fan. Chuckle away, skeptical Seahawk fan who is throat deep in despair over the fact Seattle made no serious attempt to bring back Jadeveon Clowney, or strongly chased after veteran pass rusher Everson Griffen (both on the open market for months). Read it and weep, Fire Pete and Let Russell Cook crowds. Put it in your pipe and smoke it, pissed off “Just Stick to Sports” person who now hates the league because of its new found support on social justice causes.

No truer words about this upcoming attempt at an NFL season can stated than the title of this piece. Doubt them and laugh at them all you want, and be the victim of your own football hubris. I don’t care, and neither do the Seattle Seahawks.

Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson Thrive Under Constant Chaos

Anyone who has been following the Seattle Seahawks for the last decade knows how true this statement is. Some love the way the Seahawks play under this “organized chaos” while others have reached the point of emotional exhaustion that they crave nothing more than an Andy Reid type of coach to come into Seattle to let Russell fully cook in an offense. For me, there is no right or wrong way to feel about this dynamic. Being a Seahawk fan can be extremely stressful and also extremely exhilarating. Some people love the crazy carnival rides and some don’t. It is what it is.

I will say, however, that particularly during a highly unusual season, this team is probably built to succeed where others likely stumble. Let’s be honest about this whole thing; when the real bullets start to fly as the league kicks off, it’s going to be massively chaotic. Offenses that rely on timing and precision are probably going to be thrown off by the natural way that defenders will have early advantages in being able to play faster and fresher. There has been no preseason games to sort out continuity with offensive lines and timing with receivers. Every offense will enter into the first week of football with blind spots.

Russell Wilson is an incredible talent at quarterback, and one of the things that makes him so special is his ability to stay calm and sort through the chaos of pressures and coverages as games wear on. His uncanny ability to play “street ball” when plays break down is now very much a living legend in this league and it has been for years. Simply put, there is no quarterback in this league that I want on my team when things break down, and I think all teams are going to be faced with this sort of chaos for at least the first six weeks of the season. Seattle has a massive advantage at quarterback.

Seattle also has a massive advantage at the head coaching position. There is no coach in football who is better equipped to lead his franchise through the fires of chaos than Pete Carroll. The old hippy general thrives in it, he has built up the culture of the team to reflect that, and it all started with the very first practice of the team when he got here in 2010 and it has stayed the same. He wants his team to be able to handle any pressures, and he cultivates players that are capable of this.

Colin Cowherd can talk all that he wants to on his syndicated show about how Seattle is a declining franchise that relies too much on its star quarterback to save them in games. The truth is that he’s sorta besties with Russell, and I think it is likely that Russell has his ear when voicing frustrations about not being allowed to “cook” enough under the coaching of Carroll, and Cowherd is therefor compelled to get a narrative out there that doesn’t favor the coach, but I am perfectly willing to call hogwash to all that.

After eight seasons, I suspect Carroll knows exactly how to best use Russ. He knows what all of his strengths are and he also knows the areas where Russell isn’t as strong. He knows that for his quarterback to be at his very best, he needs to be supported by a balanced attack of a committed run game so that defenses don’t key off of his well documented height issues. The wiser fan probably has more trust in that Carroll knows perfectly well how to use Russell Wilson. Be the wiser fan.

Carroll also understands how to play defense really well, and I think this team is going to be much better defensively this year than many are expecting.

This Seattle defense is going to be better than many are expecting

There, I said it. I’m happy to say it. If you think that I am blindly in denial, I am cool with that, too. I probably think that you are blindly putting way too much emphasis on the fact that Jadeveon Clowney is now a Tennessee Titan.

Look, Pete Carroll understands how to play sound defense much better than you, or I do. This is a statement of fact. I also think that it is a statement of fact that he was as upset with how his defense performed in 2019 as certainly most Seahawk fans were. In fact, I think it is probably quite possible that he was more upset, even if he were to never admit it.

Carroll is never going to throw his defenders under the bus. So when he talked about how his defense stayed in base and the statistics showed how positive it was even though we could all see how terrible it was, let’s look at the bigger picture. Carroll hadn’t suddenly lost touch as a head coach. Carroll was playing the hand that he was dealt, and he retreated to a streamed down defense that would be least likely to give up big plays, and he was saying things to protect his players. This is what a good leader does.

This off-season was all about fixing the problems. Seattle had major issues in the secondary in 2019 that prevented them from playing the coverages that they wanted to play that would help the pass rush. Quarterbacks could dink and dunk all game long against that defense, and it was nearly impossible to generate a good rush, even with Clowney.

What has Seattle done this off-season? They traded for a talented young corner in Quinton Dunbar, and they traded for the best young safety in the game in Jamal Adams. They have also used their preseason to find a specific role in their nickel defense for the talented young defensive back, Marquise Blair. I would not underestimate how impactful these moves are likely to be.

Even more likely to be wrongly underestimated are the returns of Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa as the Leo rush ends. Yes, you read that right. These two “journeyman” players are going to make this defense better, even without Jadeveon Clowney. Chuckle away.

Look, Chuckles.. Clowney is a good player. I get that. He’s a freak athlete who can create instant disruption. He’s also a player that has an extensive injury history, has had years in the league to develop as a pass rusher and hasn’t, and apparently he doesn’t like to attend training camp. Pardon me if I am not overly upset that Seattle chose to not overpay for him. I’m sure that they would have liked him back, but not at any cost. Why? Because he is not a Leo rush end, and they probably don’t want to sink a ton of money into the five technique spot when they already have Rasheem Green and LJ Collier in the wings.

What they needed up front in 2019 were defensive ends that could play Leo. They had none. You are free to laugh at the idea of Mayowa being the featured player there because he’s been a career journeyman, but so was Chris Clemons when Seattle acquired him in 2010 and decided to feature him. Things turned out pretty well when they did that.

Now, I am not here to say that Mayowa will be as good as Clemons, but I am also not here to say that he won’t be. I am here to say that Carroll has a type of player that he covets for certain spots on his defense, and it seems to me that he is happy to have settled upon Mayowa at a very critical spot, with Bruce Irvin and likely rookie Alton Robinson rotating in (who has been the glowing talk of training camp by beat writers). Again, allow me to remind you that Carroll understands NFL defenses better than any of us.

Yes, they can stand to get more at defensive tackle behind Jarran Reed and Poona Ford. I’m not too worried there, I suspect they will add another player soon. I am also encouraged that they seem willing to go with Reed and Ford as the starting tandem. They are both talented young players worth continuing to develop. Give me upside anytime, especially in the interior of the defensive line.

The thing that I will circle back to is that Carroll has gone back to his defensive coaching DNA and that is building his defense from the back seven forward. They only other coach in the NFL that does it that way is Patriots coach Brian Belichick. That’s good company.

New England invests heavily in defensive back and linebackers, and they go with bargains on their defensive line. They want to be great at coverage and tackling. That is what Seattle was during 2012 through 2015. That is what Carroll is wanting to get back towards. I applaud that.

I’ve also seen it written by others that follow the team that Carroll runs a simple defense that requires the ability to rush with only four, and Carroll doesn’t get exotic with blitzes and doesn’t adjust his schemes. I think this is true, but to a degree.

Yes, Carroll has stayed committed to the single high cover three defense over the years in Seattle. And yes, it was streamed down and became less effective, especially last year without Earl Thomas. But I also think that he chose that defense specifically to fit Thomas when they drafted him in 2010, and before then, when he was the coach at USC, he ran more of a two deep defense. He adjusted his scheme to fit the strengths of a special athlete that they drafted.

Seattle traded two first round picks for a special athlete in Jamal Adams who does a lot of different things really well. He can cover, he plays the run really well, and he can pass rush. I have a sneaking suspicion that we are about to see a new evolution to Pete Carroll’s defense in Seattle. With Adams, free safety Quandre Diggs, and Marquise Blair, I suspect that it will be more safety centric than ever, and I think there are going to be twists that we haven’t seen.

With the drafting of Jordyn Brooks at linebacker, I think we are also going to see a lot more speed on defense as a whole. I’m excited to see how it unfolds. I’m not sure how it’s going to look, but I am confident that the 2020 Seahawk defense is going to be much better than last year’s. Chuckle away, Chuckles.

Finally, expect Russell Wilson to cook

Russell Wilson is going to cook in 2020. Bank on it. I think Pete is going to allow for Russ to do more up tempo, and I think they are going to mix in more quick passes to keep defenses even more honest.

This doesn’t mean that Russ starts throwing forty to fifty times a game. They will still strive for balance, but it does mean they will likely lean into Russ more on early downs.

Don’t expect this to look great out of the gates, or maybe even for this to happen immediately out of them, either. This will likely be an “as the season progresses thing” that will establish more as the offensive line gathers its chemistry and players settle in. Yes, we will likely still hear Cowherd lament how Seattle isn’t using Russell the right way, and the Let Russell Cook crowd will be screaming on the internet, but I recommend a more patient and reasoned approach.

Russell Wilson will cook in 2020. Bank on it. They didn’t bring in Greg Olsen, Phillip Dorsett, and they didn’t bring back Josh Gordon for Russell not to cook.

Writing off the Seattle Seahawks is a stupid thing to do

When will league pundits and fans ever learn this? Seemingly for the last five seasons people expect the Seattle Seahawks to fall off, and they always stay in playoff contention.. like, always.

Why would this season be any different?

Yes, you can talk yourself into thinking that the Arizona Cardinals are going to be the next big sleeper team to rise, or the Rams will rebound back to the top of the division, or the 49ers will easily hang onto it. Yes, you can look at the current projection of the Seattle defensive line and scream in terror about it. Yes, you could even do the same about maybe even the offensive line with three new starters.

But writing the Seattle Seahawks off with Pete Carroll has their head coach and Russell Wilson at quarterback is really stupid. If you want to be stupid, go for it.

Be that person calling for Pete Carroll to be fired, for Jeff Bezos to buy the team from Jody Allen because she is not the billionaire success that her more famous brother was. Jody Allen has given no indication that she can’t be a solid owner in the league, and all Pete Carroll has done as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks since he got here in 2010 is to coach players up into a scrappy team that just finds ways to win through the positive yet fearless culture that he establishes each and every year.

2020 should be no different and I am actually picking this team as my favorite to win the Super Bowl. Could I be wrong? Of course, I could be, but I’m certainly not going to make the idiotic projection of placing the third or fourth in the NFC West.

I got a good feeling about this team just like I have done every year that Carroll has been coach and Russell as been the quarterback, but this year, during a massive pandemic and everything else that has made the United States a daily dose of chaos, I like this team even more.

I smell a Super Bowl.

Go Hawks.


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