What the Seahawks lost with Alex Gibbs’ abrupt retirement in September, coach Pete Carroll feels he, the offense and the entire team have recaptured with the hiring of Tom Cable.
Tom Cable arrives with broad shoulders, which is a good thing because Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has some heavy-duty expectations for the team’s new assistant head coach/offensive line coach.
Cable, who cut his football teeth at Snohomish High School and spent the past 2¾ seasons as coach of the Oakland Raiders, was hired Tuesday to fill a role – if not a job – that has been vacate since veteran O-line coach Alex Gibbs abruptly retired in September.
Cable, in Carroll’s estimation, is “a younger version” of Gibbs.
“I’m really excited about Tom,” Carroll said Wednesday during his season-ending news conference. “Tom has been through a challenging environment there with the Raiders and has come out ready to go to work, ready to put his expertise in order for us to get back to the mentality and the approach that we started the program with and that we got a little bit sidetracked.”
Carroll has, and will, make other changes to his staff.
He is looking for an offensive coordinator, after Jeremy Bates was relieved of his duties on Tuesday; and a quarterbacks coach, because Jedd Fisch left to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami. Darrell Bevell, offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings the past five seasons, was interviewing of the coordinator job on Wednesday.
Tuesday, Carroll hired Todd Wash to replace defensive line coach Dan Quinn, who left to become defensive coordinator at University of Florida. He also elevated Kris Richard (defensive backs coach/cornerbacks) and Rocky Seto (assistant defensive backs coach/safeties) because defensive backs coach Jerry Gray left to become assistant head coach/defensive back coaches at the University of Texas.
All this staff turnover after only one season?
Carroll grinned when the topic came up during his Q&A session.
“I’m not uncomfortable with transition at all,” he said. “I’m not going to choose guys that are going to throw us out of whack.”
Carroll has a lot of experience in dealing with staff departures and arrivals because of his unprecedented success during his 10-season run at the University of Southern California.
“Well, you guys don’t know, but I’ve been going through this for years,” he said. “When you’re successful and you do good things, you lose your coaches because people want them. So if you go back, this is pretty normal for me.
“If you have a philosophy and a belief, then it’s not difficult to regroup and to stay on course.”
The Seahawks’ offense veered off course during the just-completed season. Carroll said the decision to terminate Bates’ contract was “a philosophical issue.”
It was looking to recapture that philosophy that led Carroll to not only hire Cable but give him the title of assistant head coach.
“Tom gives us the toughness and the direction and the focus that we want to balance out this offense, one; but also this team. I’m pumped up about him coming in there,” Carroll said.
“We lost a tremendous force when we lost Alex Gibbs. When he decided to retire and he had to go, in my mind he was a huge aspect of what we were trying to create. … I think I’ve put us back on track, which is so important to our entire program. The attitude that we want to project is really going to be enhanced by Tom coming here.”
As for Cable’s assistant head coach title, Carroll offered, “With Tom being the assistant head coach, and being an extension of me … I was able to find a guy who can put me right back on track with what I want this program to stand for – which is toughness and being physical and being committed to the running game. Because I think that affects all aspects of our football team. It’s not just run numbers and trying to run for 150 (yards) a game. It’s the mentality that I want us to all own.”
As Carroll said, there were only “spotty” examples of that during his first season with the Seahawks. They ran for more than 100 yards six times during the regular season, but also had games were the rushing totals were 20, 47, 49 and 58 yards. It was the same thing in the postseason, when they ran for 149 yards in their win over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and then had 34 in the season-ending loss to the Bears in Chicago on Sunday.
“There’s a style that we’re trying to find here that will give us the moniker of what we really want to believe in and stand for,” Carroll said. “Tom’s going to do a great job of that. He is absolutely committed to that and I’m count on him to make sure we pull that through.”
Cable is a Gibbs’ disciple, as they worked together in 2006 while with the Atlanta Falcons. Carroll also has watched Cable from afar, and the not-so-far. Cable was the offensive coordinator at UCLA in 2004-05. He also was across the sideline from Carroll on Halloween, when the Raiders ran for 239 yards in a 33-3 win over the Seahawks.
“I held Alex Gibbs in the highest regard in all of those categories,” Carroll said of the toughness, direction and focus tags he used to describe Cable. “Tom was his No. 1 guy for a long time. So philosophically, we were able to recapture a younger version.
“Tom’s been on his own and proven that he’s a tremendous football coach, he’s a tremendous line coach, he’s as good as you can find. And all of the time he’s proven that, I’ve had the chance to watch him and watch him grow and coach. I know who he is and what he’s all about. So I’m excited about bringing that element to our football team.”
A new line coach, and eventually a new coordinator and new QB coach. But the same offense. Carroll was adamant about that.
“I’m not changing the philosophy at all,” he said. “I’m right on the philosophy, right with the commitment that we had from the beginning. I want to bring it to life more so. I want to make sure we’re able to do all of the things that we believe are important – the balance we want to create, the attitude about the running game, the toughness it brings to our whole football team, the approach.”
Now Carroll has Cable, and those broad shoulders, to help him in this quest.