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What I hope to see: Seahawks-Cowboys
What makes Pete Carroll's 'program' so special in Seattle: Seaside Joe 1630
Contrary to the regular season, in which every game has essentially the same goal (to win), week-to-week-to-week of the preseason has a unique role in the evaluation process for Pete Carroll. The Seattle Seahawks would like to win all of their preseason games because of what that says about the way they prepare, the depth of the roster, the competitive nature of the team.
But each week of the preseason and the precluding mock game each serve a different purpose in building a roster that coaches hope will give them the best chance to win the division as a primary goal. As Pete noted in his Thursday press conference, he likes the new three-game preseason format as opposed to the previous slate of four, as well as not having to cut any players until going from 90 to 53 on August 29th.
I hope he will also like a two-game preseason, as soon as the NFL decides it is ready for the next opportunity to increase the revenue stream again with an 18-game season.
The Seahawks host the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday at 7 PM, here’s what I hope to see.
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I hope to see Seattle be efficient on offense, stop the run on defense, have no penalties, and that they do not turn the ball over; and that’s whether it’s the first quarter or the fourth quarter. Pete Carroll says that his ultimate goal is to have the Seahawks be “the best practicing team in football” and I think if that’s true then it shouldn’t matter if Seattle is playing their starters, their backups, or their practice squad: Execution, professionalism, proving that they are coached well and take well to coaching. These are not standards that should only apply to starters.
It’s how you RUN a team that matters—not just your personnel talent and playbook—and I trust that Pete has one of the best “programs” in the NFL. If you pay attention to what players and national media members who drop by training camp have been saying about the Seahawks lately, there is a running theme with Seattle: It’s a great place to be.
It might be the best place to be.
I mentioned a week ago that former Panthers receiver Steve Smith was blown away by the VMAC and the atmosphere at Seahawks training camp. In the most recent episode of The Sound of the Seahawks, which premiered on Thursday night, free agent Mario Edwards says that Seattle’s team environment is “the best place” he’s been in his career. That’s no small statement, Edwards has been on seven teams.
Clint Hurtt says that training camp this year is the best he’s been a part of during his seven-year tenure with the team. And though it could be easy to categorize a player and a coach being upbeat about the direction of the team because that’s what you’d expect them to do—it’s a fair argument—I do tend to believe them more because I’ve actually never heard anything to the contrary about Pete Carroll’s program.
Even a couple of years ago, when some people felt they could now openly criticize Pete for “the rah rah stuff” because the team hadn’t won as much, they were still saying that the Seahawks were in a rut because of “rah rah stuff”. Nobody has ever accused Pete Carroll of being too negative or too difficult to play for or too stubborn. It was that he was…TOO UPBEAT!
Instead of grueling two-a-days with players vomiting Gatorade and bile on the sidelines, Pete’s practices could be more closely compared to that night in high school when the whole class spent the night in the gymnasium.
As opposed the franchises around the league that have had deeply negative controversies surrounding a coach or GM in the last few years, whether it be Washington, the Jaguars, the Panthers, the Broncos (maybe at least three in the last 18 months alone), the Raiders, the Colts, the Texans, the Jets, the Giants, the Bears, and so on, Pete has managed a steady stream of positivity since 2010.
Not because every season has gone as planned either. It’s because he expects the team to act the same every day whether the Seahawks win or lose, whether they have a game or an off-day, whether it’s the starters in the playoffs or the backups in the preseason. Regardless of the circumstances, Pete has always asked for the same attitide, execution, and standards from the team.
For those reasons, I hope to see the Seahawks play like any other Seahawks team, even if most of these players won’t be as involved after the next two weeks. They have to play like they will.
I hope to see Seattle’s third-string quarterback play a lot and my reason for that is not as exciting as fans might hope: I’ve seen enough of Drew Lock.
I am confident that Lock is a good backup quarterback and that he will help Geno Smith be prepared to win games on Sundays, as is a backup’s most important job. It was great to see him play a lot against the Vikings and to do well. Therefore, I’m done with Lock. File him away, put him to rest.
If he was in Trey Lance’s shoes, I’d want him to play the entire game. (If he were Trey Lance, I’d want a refund.) But Lock has started 21 games in the NFL after starting 50 games in college. I’m not worried if he’ll be ready, should the Seahawks need him to be ready at some point in 2023.
Now is the perfect time to see more of Seattle’s undrafted free agent who almost certainly won’t make the final 53-man roster but I’ll gladly watch him play two more preseason games.
The upside to playing Lock is that he will make the job easier for Seattle’s supporting cast and coaches do need to evaluate those guys with a competent quarterback under center. Ahlers did play five years at East Carolina, maybe I’m underestimating his ability to do that.
The best way to find out is to find out.
Diamonds in the rough
I hope to see players emerge who I didn’t know I’d hope to see…to borrow from the latest episode title of The Sound, those “diamonds in the rough”.
At this point, we can no longer include Jake Bobo, Jonathan Sutherland, or Jacob Sykes in that conversation. They aren’t guaranteed to make the final roster, but we do know about them at least.
How about undrafted free agent guard Kendall Randolph? I’ll add newly-signed receiver Justin Marshall (if he plays), running back SaRodorick Thompson Jr., who should play a lot, tight end Griffin Hebert, linebacker Patrick O’Connell, cornerback Benjie Franklin (Pete noted his speed), and special teams specialist Ty Okada.
Initial 53-man roster? Maybe not. Eventual 53-man roster? I hope to see it.
Of course, I also hope to see some of the Seahawks less-heralded draft picks flash signs of progress against the Cowboys: defensive tackle Cameron Young, defensive end Mike Morris, defensive back Jerrick Reed, and guard Anthony Bradford.
Let me know what you hope to see in the comments.
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Boye Mafe film
Many of you have asked me to keep sharing the good Xs and Os analysis I see on YouTube and we are lucky to get a new (albeit short) one from All_22_Films, one of my favorite finds recently.
Give All_22_Films a subscribe and a like and a comment and he might be encouraged to create more Seahawks content.