What does Pete Carroll do for an encore?
His first season as coach of the Seattle Seahawks was a success, ending with an NFC West Division title and a playoff victory despite a 7-9 record in the regular season.
Now, the challenge to repeat has been made even tougher after an abbreviated offseason because of the NFL lockout. Add the loss of three key veterans – quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu and safety Lawyer Milloy – and Carroll’s 2011 Sea-hawks will be a much different squad in Sunday’s opener than the one that began last season.
Carroll sat down for interviews with each of the reporters who regularly cover the team last week. He addressed the turnover in the team’s leadership, the quarterback situation and his relationship with general manager John Schneider. Here is an excerpt – edited for length and content – of that interview.
Q: You lost three core leaders from last year’s team in Matt Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu and Lawyer Milloy. The coach is always going to be the person steering the ship, but I imagine you want your lieutenants out there getting out the message as well. So how much more do you take on that role with those guys gone?
Carroll: Here’s the deal. If you don’t have anybody who can carry the message for you, then the coach has to do it. And the assistant coaches have to do it. And I’ve always said that. I don’t want to be a coach that says, “Well, we would have had a really good year if we had better leadership.”
There’s so many guys on this team that are great character guys that care so much about this game, it’s just a matter of just working the message and getting to the side and letting them go. So I’m not worried about it one bit.