Hey everyone! I'm excited to be doing what I hope to be many Fanposts in a series on Pete Carroll's Win Forever. I started reading the book, an updated version with a chapter on the first season in Seattle, for fun with no intention of doing something like this. I thought this important enough to share with you all. I'll be doing writeups as things continue to strike me as particularly interesting.
I've only read the first chapter so I can't honestly say how many of these posts there will be, but considering that we are at one write up for one chapter, I'll go ahead and chalk that up to good karma. Read on after the break to delve into the mind of Pete Carroll! First though, more about me!
My name is Bobby (Hi Bobby...) I'm 23 years old and I'm absolutely crazy about the Hawks. I spend more time than I should on this website and I'm thankful I've got an understanding girlfriend who doesn't mind I get particularly poopypants watching the Seahawks lose. Hopefully I don't have reason to be too upset by the time this season is over. But you aren't here to read about me; you are here to read some overly wordy writing as to why things are the way they are in the Seahawks organization under Carroll, ergo you shall read the continuing paragraphs and question why on earth I wrote the way I did and how much better it could have been.
Much has been made on this website recently on the turnover battle in the game threads. It prompted resident writer/badass Thomas Beeker's to write an article, which can be found here. We are constantly critiquing Tavaris Jackson on his inability to get rid of the ball quickly enough, that he takes too many sacks, that he's got too much hair on his head than we are used to, etc. I'm not here to debate these things, even though I agree with some of them to a point. The one point that I agree with wholeheartedly is the idea that T-Jax doesn't seem to want to take the risks that a quarterback needs to make to be anything more than a below average game manager. There is a reason for this. It lies at the heart of Pete Carroll's philosophy.
Win Forever's first chapter is entitled Beginning to Compete. It details many of the experiences Carroll had growing up playing on sports teams from Pop Warner football through college. He describes in detail a game from his senior year of high school:
I remember one occasion that year when [Coach Troppmann] put me in at quarterback, later in the game against Santa Rosa High School, essentially to mop things up. In those days we called our own plays, and all the guys in the huddle were begging me to throw the ball to them. Coach T had told me specifically not to throw the ball and just call running plays. Instead I called a pass to one of my receivers and their defensive back intercepted it. On the interception return, I tried to take him on the sideline, but he got around me and ran it in for a touchdown. I'll always remember the sight of Coach standing over me as I opened my eyes, laying there in the mud. "Carroll," he said, "you're on my black list." Eventually he let me off the hook and forgave me. To this day, I still call Coach T from the sidelines before every game we play. I don't think we've missed one of those calls in years."
I don't believe that this one experience is so singularly important that it is alone why Carroll calls Troppmann before every game. Carroll mentions how much time he spent going to practice early and staying late that he and Troppman became very close over the time he spent in high school. I do believe, however, that this interception return for a touchdown is the reason that Carroll has determined that the quarterback he looks for to run his teams are going to be game managers.
Game managers are typically looked upon with disdain in the football world because they do not have the physical and/or mental capabilities to consistently win games for their teams. Naturally quarterbacks lacking in physical ability are not able to push the ball downfield in the same way that rocket-armed (insert whoever you think has the best arm in the league) is able to. More important is the mental aspect of the game. Physical talent doesn't diddly-squat to Carroll if you can't make the right decisions and keep the ball out of the hands of the opposing teams defense.
Personally, I like to imagine that anytime one of Pete's quarterbacks throws a interception, his blood starts to boil. He might even question the diet of the quarterback growing up. The competitor in Pete is as impressive as most anybody else. The difference is that by the time the play is over, Pete probably has a flashback to that Santa Rosa game. Unless we are playing in Oakland after a rainstorm, the QB isn't likely to be covered in mud, but Carroll sees a younger version of himself come off the field. He does his best to come up with the words to build up his guy instead of tear him down and move on to trying to win the game having just suffered a setback.
Here's what I think this means for this season: It is going to take an extraordinary amount of extremely poor play on Tavaris Jackson's part to get him pulled from the starting position. We saw last year Hasselbeck had a four game stretch in which he threw for twelve interceptions. Much to the dismay of many Seahawks fans, Hass still continued to start. The situation is completely different this year seeing as how Jackson certainly is not Hasselbeck and doesn't have credentials that even remotely resemble those of the Bald Bomber.
Pulling Jackson would also would severely undermine Carroll and Schneider given their comments that Jackson was jerked around in Minnesota. I see few circumstances (10-12 interceptions in the next four games) in which Jackson is replaced by Charlie Whitehurst before or during the bye week. Anything less than that and I believe that we are still going to see T-Jax start against the Browns in Cleveland week 7.
What I think it means for the future: Pete Carroll drafts his premier quarterback of the future in the coming draft. What's that, you say? It's fairly obvious? I agree. The point I'm going to make is that Carroll is going to find his quarterback that has the built-in emphasis on not turning the ball over. Part of the problem we have seen is that Tavaris looks afraid to make mistakes.
This comes from Carroll's voice in the back of his mind saying "don't turn it over" and it's clear that he is inhibited. The top quarterback on Seatte's roster next year will not have Carroll's voice in his head: it will be his own. Does anyone believe that Tom Brady is wondering what Belichick is going to think if he throws an interception? Not a chance. Tom Brady is only thinking about getting the ball to his receivers and that's it. That's part of why he and Belichick work so well together. It's symmetry between player and coach. There has been a lot of talk about Luck, Barkley and Jones, but the one name in college football that screams "I don't turn the football over" is Kellen Moore of Boise State. Yes, I know. He is undersized and throws against weaker competition, but this is just a feeling of mine. It is pure speculation of my part, but the point is the same: Carroll is going to find the kid whose philosophy resonates with his own.