Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll Told a Reporter He Knows How to Properly Pacify Iraq

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll believes he could invade Iraq without taking a single casualty, according to a recent report published in The Seattle Times.

A Tuesday article by Seattle Times reporter Jerry Brewer addressing the Percy Harvin trade to the Jets—and Carroll’s belief in his ability to change people—begins with a bizarre tangent about U.S. involvement in the Middle East.  

Brewer reports that Carroll spoke on the subject during a 2013 interview about his charity work. The Seattle head coach expressed his disgust over the United States’ use of force in Iraq and outlined a peaceful plan he would implement instead.

Carroll’s remarks, per Brewer: 

OK, let me give you an illustration. Let’s say, after all the stuff that we heard about what was going on in Iraq, we sent 10,000 people to Iraq as peacefully as we could go. And we walked wherever they would let us go, and we just talked to people and listened to what their issues were. And then we tried to figure out the best way we could support them and change things, as opposed to bombing [expletive] thousands of people with shock and awe.

It might taken us longer to influence change, but nobody would’ve died. And the power that we could’ve generated by just being willing to listen and see if there was a way we could answer their call and help them, whatever they wanted. Not tell them what to do, not change them. Just help them go where they wanted to go. What if we had done that? How much money would that have cost us?

Carroll also told Brewer he thought he could get the job done with 1,000 peace workers:

Give me a thousand peace workers that would go over and do that. Just listen and talk. Think of what we could’ve done, as opposed to killing hundreds of thousands of people whatever we did. And leave the wrath of what we did.

For anyone familiar with Carroll’s stance on U.S. government dealings, his remarks may not come as a surprise.

In 2013, Deadspin’s Jack Dickey reported about Carroll’s meeting with retired four-star general Peter Chiarelli. The meeting allegedly involved the coach asking questions about 9/11 and the potential for a government cover-up.

In any case, Carroll is here, America. If you ever need help with your foreign policy demands, he’ll get the job done without a drop of blood.

 

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Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers: Breaking Down Seattle’s Game Plan

The Seattle Seahawks are facing a bit of adversity after the events of the last two weeks. Seattle was beaten soundly by the Dallas Cowboys, dealt with the controversial trade of Percy Harvin, and followed it with a stunning loss to the St. Louis Rams.

The Seahawks are struggling on the offensive side of the ball with their execution early in games and cannot get off the field defensively. However, the issues that have cropped up are capable of being corrected for the most part.

The opening line for the game between the Seahawks and Carolina Panthers had Seattle as three-point favorites but has since fluctuated, per Odds Shark. The line now rests with the Panthers being anywhere between 4.5- and 5.5-point underdogs.

After Week 7′s action, the Seahawks remained in neutral in the NFC West standings, remaining in third place. They sit half a game behind the San Francisco 49ers, who have played one game more, and two games behind the Arizona Cardinals. The St. Louis Rams are one game behind Seattle.

 

On Defense

Seattle’s front four lacks the depth it had last season, and the results have been markedly poor for the defense. The Seahawks had 17 sacks through their first six games in 2013. They have just seven sacks this season and are struggling to produce consistent pressure.

With their lack of rotation, Seattle’s defensive linemen have played about 42 percent of the total snaps in 2013, but with two fewer players. Michael Bennett, for instance, has gone from playing 57.7 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps to 80.7 percent of the team’s snaps.

The team has to do more to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks by sending in extra pass-rushers. Carolina quarterbacks were sacked 16 times through the first seven weeks of the season. Cam Newton has a completion percentage of just 44.1 when under pressure this season, but 60.7 percent overall.

Since defensive coordinator Dan Quinn appears intent on continuing to rush just four linemen, the Seahawks don’t seem likely to take advantage of Newton’s struggles. Instead, look for the Seahawks to try to mix up their coverages as much as possible in hopes of confusing him.

Carolina’s rushing attack has been all but nonexistent, with an average of less than 90 yards per game. The Seahawks should be able to hold the Panthers to even worse than that standard, making the Panthers one-dimensional and predictable.

The key to the game will be in keeping Newton from having too great an effect on proceedings with his legs. He’s rushed the ball 24 times for 148 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. Barring another poor showing from Seattle’s run defense, Newton should be kept under wraps.

 

On Offense

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell failed to mix in enough creativity to incorporate Percy Harvin into the offense, but he is now free to spread the ball to a group of less dynamic receivers and Marshawn Lynch.

Doug Baldwin had a strong showing in Seattle’s first game sans Harvin, finishing the game with seven catches for 123 yards and a score.

While the team could use a bit of help in finding a strong second target, the key factors in improving offensively has to be penalties and getting Lynch on track. Russell Wilson has been the team’s top rusher in two of the last three weeks, but it has not been by design.

The offensive line is not providing Wilson with much time, and he’s been forced from the pocket fairly often. The poor pass-blocking isn’t necessarily new, but consecutive weeks of poor run-blocking are disconcerting.

Seattle hasn’t been able to get Lynch going as much as they’d like, and it’s hurt the offense’s efficiency. The receiving corps will grow with Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood receiving increased minutes, but that process will take some time.

Typically, the key to Seattle’s success has been speeding things up and going no huddle. Why Seattle has not started mixing in any hurry-up offense earlier in games is irrelevant, but it’s something the coaching staff should have taken note of and planned to put into effect against Carolina.

 

*All stats gathered from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), unless otherwise sourced. 

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Seahawks Aren’t Perfect, but That’s Hardly Reason to Panic

Pro football seasons are fragile, or delicate in a sense, and the wheels can come off quickly for teams that struggle to adapt to unique forms of adversity.

In the NFL, “adversity” has multiple meanings, from the head coach’s office to the locker room, where necessary change must happen to get the focus back on execution, technique and a specific style of football that is proven to win.

That’s Pete Carroll and the defending champion Seattle Seahawks as this season creeps up on the midway point. On a two-game skid with a .500 record, the champs have looked vulnerable at times throughout the 2014 season despite talent and coaching that I see as first class.

This past Friday, the Seahawks shocked the majority of football fans in America when they traded away wide receiver Percy Harvin. That’s right, the same guy who was expected to play a unique role in Darrell Bevell’s offense as a matchup weapon was shipped east to the 1-6 Jets for a conditional draft pick.

Speaking on his weekly radio show on 710 ESPN Seattle (h/t The Seattle Times‘ Bob Condotta), Carroll said of the Harvin trade, “It was about the team moving forward and about us and the group and how we do our work and how we carry ourselves.”

That’s a necessary change to maintain the proper focus as a football team. I get it. And we all should given the talk surrounding Harvin during his time in Seattle despite his skill set, talent and ability to cause headaches for opposing defensive coordinators.

The Seahawks tried to make it work, but for whatever reason that truly existed in the locker room and on the field, it was a move that needed to go down to help this football team. And Carroll wasn’t afraid to cut bait and move on. 

We have to understand that playing for a defending Super Bowl champion is a challenge before the season even starts. Every team in the NFL studies the champs on tape during the offseason as they look for ways to attack, to challenge and to beat the guys with the new rings. 

And once the season starts, the champs get the best from everyone. The game plan, the speed on the field and the aggressive play-calling. It’s all there—every game—against a team that hasn’t changed its roster much since the previous season.

Guys leave for money, or for more opportunities, and replacements come in. But the culture, or the chemistry, is, well, different than the team that held up the Lombardi Trophy the previous year with confetti dropping and high-fives all over the field. The next season, the team takes on a new identity with new faces and new types of adversity.

I played for a defending champ as a rookie with the Rams during the 2000 season on a team that was absolutely loaded with Hall of Fame talent on the offensive side of the ball under Mike Martz.

Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Orlando Pace…

That’s ridiculous talent.

But we couldn’t stop anyone on defense. Opposing teams moved the ball on us up front, took as many shots as they wanted over the top and forced us to adjust (weekly) to shifts and movements versus our combo coverages.

We dealt with injuries during the season and found a backdoor into the playoffs on Christmas Eve with a win over the Saints (and a last-second Bears field goal to get us into the dance). But on our return trip to New Orleans just six days later for the Wild Card Game, Aaron Brooks lit our defense up, and we were done for the season despite an incredible comeback attempt from Warner.

Just like that, it was over, finished. Time to turn in the gear and make offseason vacation plans. 

All of those shifts and pre-snap movements from opposing offenses in 2000? Those were installed during offseason minicamps and OTAs from our divisional opponents in the old-school NFC West (Panthers, 49ers, Saints, Falcons, Rams), and we failed to adjust. That prompted Martz to bring in Bud Carson during the season as a “consultant” before ultimately making the move the following year to hire Lovie Smith as our new defensive coordinator.

Necessary change.

At 3-3, the Seahawks aren’t in the same situation as defending champs, but teams have found ways to run the football against their defensive front during this two-game skid while using personnel and alignment to attack their single-high safety coverages versus a pass rush that isn‘t getting home. 

On offense, the running game with Marshawn Lynch isn’t as productive, as this unit relies more and more on quarterback Russell Wilson to make plays outside of the pocket. This past Sunday, Jeff Fisher and the Rams used gadget plays on special teams and a conservative ball-control offense to pull out a win at home.

“Some unbelievable cool things that they were able to do on special teams, and it made a big difference in this game,” Carroll said after the Week 7 loss.

Those high-risk gadget plays are part of the deal when opposing teams dig deep into the playbook as they line up versus the defending champs.

Going back to the Week 6 loss versus Dallas, I have no problem saying the Cowboys were the more physical team, and they also played with more team speed (or aggressiveness) on defense.

Panic? Desperation under Carroll at this point in the season? Nah. I don’t see that. 

Plus, with a four-game stretch that is very manageable for the Seahawks (at Carolina, vs. Oakland, vs. New York Giants, at Kansas City), this team is in a position to put a midseason run together before the big boys show up on the schedule. Remember, good teams, playoff teams, handle the adversity and make the necessary changes to win.

This Seahawks team isn‘t perfect, but it has the players and coaches to work through the chaos of an NFL season to manage the daily narrative that follows a defending champ. 

 

Seven-year NFL veteran Matt Bowen is an NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.


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Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers Betting Odds, Analysis, NFL Pick

The cross-country trip to the East Coast supposedly is hard on West Coast teams, but the Seattle Seahawks don’t seem to mind considering they’re 5-0 both straight up and against the spread in their last five games in the Eastern time zone including a victory and cover at Carolina last year and the Super Bowl victory in New Jersey. In a scheduling quirk Seattle visits Carolina for the third season in a row Sunday afternoon.

 

Point spread: The Seahawks opened as three-point favorites; the total was 44.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (Line updates and matchup report).

 

NFL pick, via Odds Shark computer: 31.6-18.6 Seahawks

 

Why the Seahawks can cover the spread

The Seahawks ran into a buzzsaw last week in St. Louis, falling outright 28-26 as six-point favorites. The Rams did everything right, from scoring on an ingenious punt return to converting a fake punt for a first down in the final minutes to basically ice the game. And still the Seahawks almost rallied from a 21-3 deficit to win.

For the game, Seattle outgained St. Louis 463-272, as even without target Percy Harvin quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 313 yards. The defending Super Bowl champs have lost two games in a row, but they can take solace in the fact they just beat Carolina last September 12-7, outgaining the Panthers that day 370-253.

 

Why the Panthers can cover the spread

The Panthers are struggling at the moment, after last week’s 38-17 loss at Green Bay, but they still lead the NFC South at 3-3-1 (4-3 ATS). So they’ve got something to defend. Carolina also ran into a bit of a buzzsaw last week, falling behind the Packers 28-0 in the first quarter, but that could happen to a lot of teams considering the way Green Bay is playing at the moment.

Two weeks ago the Panthers tied the score at the buzzer to force overtime at Cincinnati, then tied it again in OT before escaping with a 37-37 tie, and three weeks ago Carolina rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to win at Chicago. The Panthers are not playing like the team that won the NFC South last year, in part due to the lack of a running game outside of Cam Newton, but perhaps the return of running back Jonathan Stewart will help.

 

Smart Pick

Seattle has outgained four of six opponents this season and outrushed five of six foes, while Carolina has been outgained by six of seven opponents, and outrushed by five of seven. So the smart money here resides with the visiting Seahawks, minus the points.

 

Betting trends

  • Seattle is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games
  • Carolina is 14-5-1 SU in its last 20 games

 

Note: All spread and odds data powered by Odds Shark – follow us on Twitter for injury updates and line move updates.

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A Flawed Seattle Seahawks Offense Didn’t Miss Percy Harvin

There was no Percy Harvin era for the Seattle Seahawks. Instead, he’ll be remembered for a few plays and fleeting moments of game-breaking speed.

Pick your reason for why he was jettisoned to the New York Jets so abruptly.

According to the Seattle Times and NFL.com, he has a disruptive personality that went beyond verbal confrontations to the even more unacceptable territory of throwing punches at teammates.

He wasn’t producing outside of sporadic bursts, with an average of only 45 total yards from scrimmage per game this season, and 11 of his 22 receptions came behind the line of scrimmage. The dollars attached to his namea $67 million contract, $25.5 million of which is guaranteedare drastically bloated and not at all aligned with his production.

Perhaps most importantly, creative trickery was often required to manufacture his touches, an effort Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell approached halfheartedly.

Harvin appeared on the field for only 60.1 percent (subscription required) of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps.

All of those reasons are correct, and they were all happening at the same time.

What we saw Sunday—and what we’ll keep seeing going forward—is that having or not having Harvin on the roster isn’t the primary concern for the Seahawks offensively. He was a luxury item, and his contributions were minimal.

There’s more than enough firepower to compensate for his loss, and the same leaky offensive line problem remains in his absence.

The Seahawks have now lost two straight games for the first time since the middle of the 2012 season. They’ve lost those games by a combined nine points, with the latest a 28-26 disappointment on the road Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

That game serves as a case study for what their offense will become without Harvin—or rather, how little it will change.

Let’s start with the usage of other quite capable offensive weapons who were minimized at times while the ball was forced into Harvin’s hands, courtesy of Rotoworld’s Adam Levitan:

That’s a slight uptick for wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who was averaging 56.4 snaps per game prior to Harvin’s departure. Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse’s increased involvement was more significant after he was getting 54 snaps each game.

Rookie wideout Paul Richardson saw a swift spike. His previous single-game high was 10 snaps.

When we go a layer further and look at productivity, we see that although Harvin’s explosiveness may be nearly unmatched, the Seahawks still have plenty of speed to both stretch secondaries deep and gain yards after the catch.

Much of it belongs to Baldwin, who looked quite Harvin-like on Wilson’s second pass attempt of the game Sunday. He was targeted in an area of the field Harvin is quite familiar with: short up the middle, with an opportunity for more.

On third down, Baldwin caught the pass seven yards downfield, just shy of the first-down marker. With enough speed to gain an angle on Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree, he was able to break a tackle and burst ahead for 42 more yards.

Should Ogletree have made that tackle? Absolutely. But it was the sort of whiff forced by a receiver who runs with unexpected acceleration and power after the catch, words used once to describe Harvin in Seattle.

Baldwin and Kearse have plenty of both and don’t need to have an offense tailored specifically to fit their skill sets.

Baldwin’s quick jump in production showed the ease of the transition to an offense without Harvin.

Russell Wilson completed four passes for 20-plus yards. One went to Kearse, who also did a Harvin impression when 38 of his 50 receiving yards on the day came after the catch (subscription required). Harvin wasn’t missed, and he wasn’t the reason for the loss.

No, the real source of Seahawks’ offensive despair and blame lies with the five men in front of Wilson.

The Rams sacked Wilson three times. That came from a defense that had one mere sack over five games prior to Week 7, a record low to start a season. In total, Wilson was either sacked, hit while throwing or under pressure on 32.6 percent of his dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information (h/t ESPN.com’s Terry Blount).

Overall, he’s faced pressure on a league-high 37.3 percent of his dropbacks.

Although Wilson often makes us spit various fluids at televisions with the plays he’s able to execute on the runhe finished with 106 rushing yards Sundaythere’s a reason why he’s leaving the pocket so often outside of read-option plays. He doesn’t have a choice.

The time to get comfortable and scan the field simply isn’t there. Of the Rams’ three sacks, two of them came on the same drive. The first showed just how easy it is to penetrate into the Seahawks’ backfield.

On 1st-and-10 at the Rams’ 38-yard line, Wilson lined up in shotgun and faced a blitz. Before the snap, the Rams were showing up to seven pass-rushers. All seven came, but they didn’t need nearly that many.

Just over a second had ticked by since Wilson received the snap, and already defensive tackle Aaron Donald had muscled through into what should have been the pocket. Donald was on his way past left guard James Carpenter and center Steve Schilling:

Another split second later, and Schilling was overpowered. Wilson’s time was up before it even began:

The offensive line also did little for Seahawks running backs Sunday. Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael combined to average only 3.0 yards per carry against a Rams run defense that’s been gashed repeatedly on the ground, giving up 145.0 rushing yards each week.

Protection and blocking issues will be the Seahawks’ offensive demise.

Not the absence of a hybrid receiver and running back who wasn’t utilized enough at either position and can be replaced by other options who don’t need a highly specific role to be successful.

 Advanced statistics courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.

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