Pete Carroll's Strategy: Make the game shorter and how it relates to the QB position

I offer this post as a hypothesis in an attempt to move the QB conversation further down the road. Know that this is all based on my opinions so I'm going to pass on starting each sentence with "I believe" or "In my opinion".

From what I see, Pete Carroll has a way that he wants his football team to play. The basis of his strategy is that football is a complex game where the complexity creates opportunities for low probability events to determine the outcome of the game. The implication then is if a team can shorten a game they can reduce the likelihood that a chance play will happen and affect the outcome of the game.

You can argue that is a bad strategy. If those chance plays happen and work against your team, you have intentionally reduced your capacity to overcome them. That is a valid discussion to have. I think it is also mostly a mute discussion to constantly rehash because from what Pete has said, it is the strategy he believes in. More importantly though, it is a conversation about the Coach and not the QB.

If shortening the game is the strategy then playing tough defense, taking away the ball, solid special teams, protecting the ball and running the ball are the tactics. First of all, you shorten the game by running. That eats up clock and increases the number of plays run on offensive drives. Second, you have to limit the points scored by the opposing team, so you want to focus on a strong defense and limit offensive turnovers. Even better is if your defense can stop drives by taking the ball away and the dream is a defense that scores points.

Finally, your offense needs to be effective yet conservative. If everything is going well, you hope you can win every game with very few points. Your offense only needs to score once. On every other drive, it is a win if your offense keeps the ball for at least 10 minutes and punts. Of course, realistically you are not going to shut out opposing teams, so the offense needs to score several times.

To put it another way, the goal of the offense is not just to score points in this strategy. It is to score some points and keep the other teams offense off the field. There are several implications for personel here that make this strategy appealing. Mostly that you put a greater emphasis on positions that the market at large undervalues and vice versa, but that is not where I'm going in this post.

So in my own humble opinion (had to do it for the conclusion), the plan is not for the Seahawks' quarterback to pass for 300 yards. The team will never invest the resources in a QB that can do that consistently nor will they try to groom a lesser QB to do that. I'm not saying that means that Russell Wilson is beyond reproach, it just means that evaluating him is a more nuanced process than comparing his stats to other QB's in the league. And I would submit the evaluation process should consist of asking whether the Seahawks QB is helping the team carry out the tactics listed above.

So my hope is that we can separate the discussion of the validity of the teams strategy from discussion of the QB's performance. Thanks for reading and hopefully this helps improve the conversation. I look forward to your feedback.


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