The Seahawks' secret weapon to respectability: Pete Carroll
Seaside Bo-nus: Previewing the "Can Win," "Should Lose" and "Might Surprise People" games on the 2022 schedule
In my conversations with Seaside Joe, he’s always emphasized to me that this Seahawks newsletter must always be a fair and reasonable Seahawks newsletter, not one that is influenced by emotions, ego, or external forces. Usually that means curbing high expectations, but the pendulum must sometimes swing the other way.
For this entire offseason I’ve been trying to prepare Seattle fans for the worst. The Seahawks went 7-10 last year with and without Russell Wilson, which tells me two things:
The Seahawks were still not quite good enough, even when they had Wilson
The Seahawks did not have a supporting cast that could carry Wilson and Geno Smith into playoff contention
If you re-do that formula but keep Smith instead of Wilson, how could the result not be worse than 7-10? How could it not be a lot worse?
Two weeks into training camp, it has become harder for to buy that as the whole explanation for why the Seahawks will be bad. I need to do better than using last year’s team as an explanation for this year’s team, when only this year’s team is this year’s team.
In order for us to remain unbiased, we have to be just as hard on ourselves as we are on others and the worst kind of bias is the “confirmation” variety. Just because I’ve presumed that Seattle will be a bad football team for the last six months, that doesn’t mean I stop verifying if it’s true or not. As we get more information, we should always be updating our opinions.
With several interesting Seahawks standouts and storylines developing in camp, that is valuable information worth accounting for, even if it doesn’t yet convince me that Seattle will be better than 7-10 next season. But I do think there’s at least one interesting piece of information that could motivate Pete Carroll to not lose more than 10 games:
Through 16 years as an NFL head coach, it’s never happened.
Pete took over a bad Jets team in 1994 and led them to a 6-10 record, getting fired after losing his last five games. But it took 27 years before Pete lost 10 games again.
Though he may have underachieved by going 27-21 in three seasons as head coach of the Patriots, even most Seahawks fans argue that he took over the worst roster in the league in 2010. Carroll had to get extremely creative in turning over almost the entire roster in 2010 and 2011, but Seattle overachieved in going 7-9 both times.
I know that a “Jeff Fisher line” is not usually the barrier for success. We already know this is not a “usual” season for Carroll and this is the first time since 2011 that a losing record has even been expected for the Seahawks:
Some fans would rather go 0-17 than 8-9, and I’m not here to argue with anybody’s rationale for either side: I’m only here to promise you that Pete Carroll still believes the Seahawks will go 17-0.
The majority of opinions, like my own, have been that the Seahawks will not come close to 8-9 or 9-8.
If Seattle went 8-9 and missed the playoffs, many people will go “What’s the point?” But the Seahawks parlayed two “What’s the point?” seasons into building a team that was the most dominant in the NFL from 2012 to 2015 and then made the playoffs in eight of nine years. From Pete’s perspective, the losing on purpose for one player would be “What’s the point?”
That’s just how Pete Carroll has always coached football, it’s not going to discontinue at 70.
Sometimes people get so bogged down in finding THAT ONE STAT or THIS KEY PLAYER or AN X-FACTOR, OVER HERE, BY THE FILE KEY!!! to understand what a team’s advantages are that they tend to overlook the most obvious and telling points of all. Like, for instance, the head coach of the football team has somehow managed to stay out of the basement for his entire career.
Now, I’ll avoid confusing the larger question here: Will the Seahawks compete to make the playoffs with either Drew Lock or Geno Smith at quarterback?
That’s still not something I can reason with today. But are the Seahawks being overlooked a little bit because the media tends to overrate the quarterback position and also overstate just how “out of touch” Pete really is? That sounds like something a lot more familiar to reality.
I can’t logic-ify the Seattle Seahawks into being Super Bowl contenders, but in today’s bonus post I will go over games on the schedule that I think the team should be reasonably capable of winning and why in a weak NFC conference…the Seahawks might actually win more games in the year after Russ than in the final year of his Seattle career.
There are a few key points I want to make first about Regular Joes/Seaside Joe:
I have never and will never post a game result spoiler in a headline or the front of an e-mail. Sometimes people get worried that if they’re subscribed, they’ll get an e-mail spoiling what happened in the game. I totally get it. This is my fourth season covering the Seahawks every day in this newsletter and it hasn’t happened/won’t happen. I’ll always hide the details—but by the next day, you’re on your own. You should have watched by then!
Substack has an option to do Free Trials, but those always feel scammy to me, so that’s why no Free Trials yet. I don’t want people to be tricked into subscribing because they forgot to unsubscribe in time. I’m not trying to manipulate anybody into subscribing to Seaside Joe, it should only be because you want to!
What’s behind the paywall? It’s just like all the free e-mails, it’s just more content. I would never put anything “lesser” on either side of a paywall. The free newsletter is great, the bonus content is great. All of Seaside Joe is great.
Back to the Seahawks schedule content.
The Seahawks went 7-10 last season, including three starts by Geno Smith and maybe 3.5 more games where “Russell Wilson” was practically not available. This season’s schedule includes at least six or seven teams that faired about as bad or worse and may help Pete Carroll avoid his first ever 11-loss campaign.
These are the games that the 2022 Seattle Seahawks can win, should lose, and might surprise some people in: