Had the fortune on my late drive in to work today to hear the whole Pete Carroll interview on KJR this morning. Someone can probably link to it, but I just got in, and I'm "really pumped up." This is just from memory, but there were a few things that were pretty encouraging:
- Said he's about 2/3rds done evaluating defensive players. Just an interesting nugget about what's up, and pace of work. Nothing remarkable.
- But some pieces of that evaluation came out, whether he wanted them to or not. He said he's really fired up about what Mebane can do. This cracked an enormous smile on my face. I dunno what the better move is, over or under tackle, with Brandon. It sure seemed like the 3-tech move that Mora made would be the right one. Didn't work at all, but that doesn't mean it was the wrong move. Dunno what will come of this, but I really felt we're in good hands, here, and he will make this work.
- On the other hand, he also included Colin Cole, at the end of mentioning how fired up he was about Mebane. I don't know what he sees that he likes. But maybe he sees something and will know how to leverage the strengths that are there.
- Because in talking philosophy (more on that below) he basically said "not necessarily" to girth being ideal in the middle, or anywhere on the line. He then name dropped classic 3-techs Sapp & Randle, so maybe he was just distinguishing between the two most common tackle archetypes. But it gives hope in suggesting he doesn't simply believe beef = run defense posterity = defense dominance = win.
- So, philosophy. Well, it was juxtaposed with Ruskell. Mitch said the day after Ruskell was hired, on that show Tim said you build the defense from the line, out. I'd been well aware of that, and it sounded good and I never had an issue with it. But when Mitch resurfaced that idea this morning, it occurred to me that perhaps that approach led to the poor pass defense, and even to the defeatist pass defense philosophy.
- You'll be happy to know Carroll didn't endorse the philosophy. Though he didn't clearly distinguish a distance from it. Stupid drivers distracted me at this point and all I absorbed was you always want your guys on the line to be really good, and you want guys flying around, or one of those kind of platitudes. But at the very least the platitude included some kind of active role of the back seven, which speaks against negligence from some belief that pass rush alone will solve all your problems in pass coverage. Hurray for that. I'm certain Pete didn't actually describe his defensive philosophy in what he said, because of that Nike clinic transcript, where he's quoted: "If you can't write your philosophy down, you have some work to do."
- 4-3/3-4: A moderately convoluted discussion about the Charles Haley 49er "Elephant" role that Clay Matthews also held, and how you can still run 4-3 principles using 3-4 personnel, leads me to think that Carroll's always having run the 4-3 will keep this the alignment, according to some underlying principles that I speculate he guides himself by, in which 4 down linemen may be more of a means to the end than the end itself, that for some reason may be better supported with a 4-3 than a 3-4. It also suggests he's a body prototype/skillset kind of coach in determining player position, rather than using a lineup within scheme taxonomy. For what it's worth.
- Beyond having pass rushing LBs, I dunno what 3-4 personnel type dynamics would come to a 3-4 base, a 3-4 Under. He did say, in the "philosophy" discussion, forget about 4-3/3-4, it makes no difference in his book, in terms of philosophy or how to build the defense, etc. Essentially said the media seems to heighten the importance of those alignments more than coaches do. Or at least him.
- Extrapolating further on that, with other statements about Curry and Tapp, which were added to this morning, but not remarkably, I am really believing these two are going to be used for a lot of pass rushing.
- Lawrence Jackson: yet another "maybe never will be a dominant player" statement, that yet still in some way backs the guy. Carroll said he's going to bulk him up. My bet: strong-side end, and an alignment built to free up the 3-tech, weak edge-aligned Tapp and pass rushing LBs, most frequently Curry.
- USC players: this may be the most encouraging of the whole interview. Mitch: Surprised LoJack went so high? The dodge: I'm surprised a lot of our players go so high. I know the guys, and they do really well for us. The folks on the outside apparently really like what they see, and apparently Carroll doesn't think a fair number of Trojans aren't as good as the pro scouts. He then said he's harder on his guys than others are. For some reason, I thought of Saints DT Ellis. Bottom line, he's not in love with SC players.
- Run game: talked about Gibbs and the line, and solidifying & continuity, typical stuff. Bulk of it centered on the RB, though, seeing whether Forsett and the others (I think Forsett was the only specific name) can actually do well in this scheme. What spoke to me is the reciprocal of "you can plug my grandma behind the Denver line and she'll get a thousand yards." He recognizes the impact the back himself has on the running game. This is heartwarming.
- Bradley will call defensive plays in the game. They will work together on everything, planning and all. Carroll heavily involved but Bradley to call plays.
- Wants to build everything better around Hasselbeck, so he can perform, or something like that. Doesn't in the slightest make me wonder if he wouldn't take Clausen. I'm getting the sense that he's excited with how much talent there is on this team, and that it might not be as far away from being good as it may seem.
That's all I can remember. Oh, and apparently Jackie Z is trying to get Cliff Lee to sign along-term extension, now. There is simply nothing that man is not capable of. I pretty much expect to hear a Cliff Lee announcement by the 2nd week of February.