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Pete Carroll’s Master Plan

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by Prime Time, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Prime Time RODerator

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    [​IMG]
    Donald Miralle for Sports Illustrated/The MMQB

    Pete Carroll’s Master Plan
    Winning back-to-back championships is a monumental task. Lucky for the Seahawks, their coach has been there before
    By Robert Klemko

    ORLANDO — How do you repeat as a Super Bowl champion, or at the very least, avoid a letdown season in an encore effort? Every NFL coach who wins a Super Bowl gets asked some variation of that question throughout the ensuing offseason. Some reject the notion their teams are at risk for complacency. Others admit to not knowing the answer. Most say they’ve consulted, or plan to consult, with men who have won back-to-back titles—the Bill Belichicks and the Jimmy Johnsons of the coaching fraternity.

    What say you, Pete Carroll? Will you reach out to Belichick, or better yet, John Harbaugh, who potentially learned some valuable lessons from Baltimore’s disappointing 2013 season?

    “No, I don’t do that,” Carroll said Wednesday at the NFL’s annual owners meetings.

    So what will the head coach of the Super Bowl-winning Seahawks do next year? Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Brandon Browner were among several key contributors lost in free agency. The stars of the team are enjoying the media circuit, their popularity amplified by a dominant victory over Denver at MetLife Stadium. Does the message change for the coach who lives by the motto win forever?

    Carroll pondered this question in 2001, as it became clear his USC teams would be in the national championship conversation year after year. At the time, Carroll established a kinship with John Wooden, the 10-time national championship-winning basketball coach at UCLA, who was living in the area and teaching a spring class on campus.

    “I asked coach Wooden, ‘After all these years, do you change your philosophy year to year?’ ” Wooden looked upon the freshly-50 Carroll incredulously.

    “I thought, Oh God, why did I ask that question? God dog it,” Carroll says. “He said, ‘Coach, you don’t change your philosophy; the players change.’ That’s my feeling now. You either have your philosophy or you don’t. You stay with what you believe in, you bring it to light as creative as you can. The philosophy never changes—sometimes the look of it changes, because the players change. The players will become more in tune to what’s expected of them. I think that’s how this works. We’ll see.”

    Carroll’s feeling is this: If you demand the best out of your players every day, putting the emphasis on performance over winning, and players know their jobs are on the line if they don’t bring it, they’ll never get complacent. That was the design behind his open quarterback competitions in the summer and early fall, which predated the arrival of second-year quarterback Russell Wilson in 2012. When Wilson arrived as a third-rounder, Carroll saw the battle between Tarvaris Jackson and expensive free agent signee Matt Flynn as a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate his Seahawk meritocracy, provided Wilson should outplay the veterans. And he did.

    Carroll has experience winning back-to-back titles in college (the 2003 AP National Championship and the since-vacated 2004 BCS National Championship), yet the NFL presents a unique challenge. The monstrous year-to-year roster upheaval of pro football is nothing new to Carroll, but the size of the personalities and the influence of the fame that comes with winning a Super Bowl can be unwieldy, especially for an NFL team accustomed to a relatively small media market.

    The last coach to have success in a similar situation was Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy, whose Packers won a Super Bowl in 2010, then followed up with a 15-1 finish in the lockout-shortened 2011 season. He looked at his roster six months after beating the Steelers and rewrote his script. “I think the message is different every year, because every football team is different,” McCarthy says. “The goal is the same, but the path and message of how you get there is something different. That’s the way we’ve always approached it.”

    Jimmy Johnson, winner of Super Bowls in 1992 and 1993, had a way of dealing with success that appears to contrast Carroll’s. In an interview with Fox Sports 1 in advance of the Super Bowl, Johnson shared an anecdote that spoke to the subtle and damaging influences of success. After the first Super Bowl, his running backs coach, Joe Brodsky, was laying into Emmitt Smith’s backup but giving the star a pass.

    “When you have that kind of success … you know these assistant coaches, they become very comfortable with these players,” Johnson said. “[Brodsky] was just wearing Derrick Lassic, this running back, out—a backup, and not saying anything to Emmitt Smith. I said, ‘Joe, you got to coach Emmitt Smith’ … and Joe says, ‘He’s been there before.’

    “The more success you have, the more you’ve got to demand it out of them. … I was an SOB that second year, that second Super Bowl. I would have been a bigger SOB the third year. That’s the only way I could get it out of them.”

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    Pete Carroll and Richard Sherman interacting in the locker room gives a glimpse of the coach’s style. (Rod Mar for SI/The MMQB)

    Being abrasive has never been Carroll’s style; he lets the players do it for him. He fills the locker room with “dogs,” says cornerback Richard Sherman, and teases the adversarial nature in each. For instance, safety Earl Thomas and wide receiver Doug Baldwin share one of the most intense intra-team rivalries in football, with repeated one-on-one matchups, jawing and heightened physicality. Carroll encourages it, quietly.

    Says Sherman, “He’ll go to Doug and say, ‘Earl was talking about you earlier. He said he’s got you today. What do you think?’ And Doug will get mad. Or he’ll do the same thing with Earl. And then Doug and Earl go at it.”

    It all speaks to a mantra Sherman shared early last season when he wrote “we compete against ourselves” as an explanation for avoiding a letdown against an underperforming club on the heels of a big-time division win. Seattle followed up Sherman’s September column for The MMQB with a 45-17 thrashing of the Jaguars. The goal for 2014 is to turn micro into macro; every team won’t be the Broncos, and few will be as good. So how will the Seahawks continue to dominate for the entire season without Carroll turning up the volume or changing a mantra his players probably recite in their sleep?

    New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin (winner of Super Bowls XLII and XLVI) says maybe it’s not about changing the philosophy; just the way it’s delivered.

    “You’re constantly looking for new themes, new buttons to push. New ways for them to relate,” he says. “You have to challenge them after a Super Bowl year. The media is quickly going to throw the complacency thing in their face, which in reality gives you an opportunity to work your team with that.”

    Listening to Carroll speak on Wednesday, you could tell he was already pushing buttons. He was blunt in describing the circumstances surrounding the departure of Browner, the cornerback Seattle let walk in free agency. Last season was likely the best in Browner’s NFL career before he ran afoul of the league’s substance abuse policy and was replaced in the playoffs by backup Byron Maxwell.

    Says Carroll: “Byron Maxwell played so well that we were able to move on.”

    And just like that, the Legion of Boom defensive backfield was no more. If an established starter like Browner, a Pro Bowler in 2011, can be jettisoned based on the performance of a third-year special teamer with five starts on his résumé, what message does that deliver to the rest of the roster? What does it mean for running back Marshawn Lynch, with 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael on his heels (Carroll has heaped praise on Michael all week), or Michael Bennett, the defensive end whose four-year, 28.5 million contract signed this offseason could end up being worth little more than the unfulfilled three-year $20.5 million deal Flynn received? What does it mean for Sherman, the current face of the franchise and media/endorsement darling of the 2014 offseason?

    Come August, bring it.

    “We set a direction on having the greatest offseason of our lives, individually,” Carroll says. “That doesn’t mean you cant go out and have fun and live the life. You can work out and still be on the Tonight Show. The most important thing that will happen is if we can recapture the work ethic that made us what we are. Nothing else really matters.

    “If a guy’s not having the best offseason of his life, he’s going to get beat out, I think. That’s kind of the way we roll.”
     
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  2. PowayRamFan Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't have read any of that right after lunch....
     
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  3. Username Has a Well-Known Member

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    That's a lot of text do define the word "cheat."
     
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  4. NJRamsFan Cocaine Cowboy

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    Pete's a great coach. Commands the utmost respect from his guys
     
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  5. jrry32 Well-Known Member

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    Carroll never won back to back titles in CFB. They didn't win it in 2003, LSU did.
     
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  6. Prime Time RODerator

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    Pete Carroll gets contract extension with Seahawks
    Posted by Curtis Crabtree on April 4, 2014

    [​IMG]Getty Images

    Head coach Pete Carroll led the Seattle Seahawks to their first Super Bowl victory in a dominant 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in February.

    Now he has a shiny new contract to go along with the Lombardi Trophy.

    The Seahawks announced a press conference for 10:30 a.m. PT Friday morning but didn’t specify the reason in their release. A league source confirmed to PFT that the press conference is to announce an extension for Carroll, who took over as head coach of the Seahawks in 2010. The contract extension was first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

    The five-year deal Carroll signed when coming to Seattle from the University of Southern California was set to expire at the end of the 2014 season.

    Carroll has led Seattle to the playoffs in three of his four seasons as head coach, including the victory in Super Bowl XLVIII. Along with general manager John Schneider, Carroll has completely rebuilt the Seahawks from a team that had won just nine games in two seasons in 2008-2009. They found a franchise quarterback to replace Matt Hasselbeck in Russell Wilson and put together the best defensive unit in the league last season.

    The Seahawks earned the 1-seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record and defeated the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers on their way to New York. The victory over the Broncos gave the Seahawks their first championship in the 38-year history of the franchise.

    With Carroll’s extension now out-of-the-way, a pair of defensive stars are likely next up to cash in on the team’s success. Safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman are both set to enter the final year of their rookie contracts and are prime candidates for contract extensions this offseason as well. The team has nearly $15 million in cap space available and is in a position to potentially take care of both players this offseason.

    While quarterback Russell Wilson has outperformed his rookie deal as well, he cannot be given a new contract until after next season.


    Pete Carroll has turned Seahawks around from prior dysfunction

    Posted by Curtis Crabtree on April 4, 2014

    [​IMG]Getty Images

    When Pete Carroll arrived in Seattle in 2010, he was taking over a Seahawks franchise that had fallen into complete dysfunction following their only Super Bowl appearance in 2005.

    General manager Tim Ruskell botched the handling of All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson by going behind head coach Mike Holmgren’s back and only placing a transition tag on Hutchinson when the front office had collectively decided to franchise him prior to the NFL combine in 2006. It opened the door for Minnesota to sign Hutchinson to an offer sheet with a “poison pill” included that made the deal impossible for Seattle to match.

    The mistake was one of many incidents that led to a falling out between Ruskell and Holmgren as the team that won the NFC in 2005 began to fall apart at the seams.

    Ruskell constantly missed in finding productive players in the draft and Seattle’s veteran team began to break down. In Ruskell’s five years as general manager, the Seahawks drafted just two players that would become Pro Bowl selections in linebacker Lofa Tatupu (2005) and center Max Unger (2009). Carroll had three Pro Bowl selections in his first draft class alone in left tackle Russell Okung, safety Earl Thomas and safety Kam Chancellor. In addition, wide receiverGolden Tate – Seattle’s second round pick in 2010 – just signed a big second contract with the Detroit Lions.

    Ruskell drafted more fullbacks (three) than running backs (one, Justin Forsett) and failed to hit on any of his first-round draft picks.

    In 2008, Ruskell selected San Diego State long-snapper Tyler Schmitt in the sixth-round of the draft. In addition to the oddity of drafting a long-snapper in general, Schmitt’s back was so jacked up he only appeared briefly in one preseason game.

    “He is a young man and has a back like mine. So it’s not good,” Holmgren said at the time. Holmgren was 60 years old at the time. Schmitt was just 22.

    It was a microcosm of the ineffectiveness of Seattle’s personnel department under Ruskell.

    Holmgren went 4-12 in his final season as head coach in 2008 with Ruskell promoting Jim Mora to head coach for the 2009 season. Mora led Seattle to a 5-11 record as Ruskell resigned midseason. Mora was then fired after just one season as head coach with owner Paul Allen and CEO Tod Leiweke convincing Carroll to return to the NFL.

    The roster Carroll had inherited was old, small and slow in comparison to many other teams across the league. Under Carroll, Seattle won a historically weak NFC West in 2010 and pulled off an upset victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Seattle compiled 284 roster moves in their first year with Carroll at the helm in an attempt to overturn the roster.

    The Seahawks have now made the playoffs in three of Carroll’s four seasons as head coach and won games in the postseason each time. Seattle won their first Super Bowl in February with a 43-8 thrashing of the Denver Broncos.

    Along with general manager John Schneider, Pete Carroll has righted the ship that had fallen so horrendously off-course under Tim Ruskell. The success has earned Carroll a well-deserved contract extension.
     
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  7. Angry Ram aka Captain RAmerica aka the OG Rammer

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    Is "dogs" another term for "thug", Richard Sherman?

    Should I twist that into something negative?
     
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  8. moklerman Warner-phile

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    It's considered a split championship. Which emphasizes just how silly college football has been for years but the AP awarded the #1 ranking to the Trojans after all was said and done.
     
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  9. Stranger How big is infinity?

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    [​IMG]
     
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  10. moklerman Warner-phile

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    One doesn't have to like 'em to respect 'em. Both Carroll and Harbaugh are good coaches. So is Arians. This division is the best in football.
     
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  11. The Rammer ESPN Draft Guru

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    Pete Caroll's 'Master Plan' is chewing gum so fast until his jaw flys off...
     
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  12. CGI_Ram Hamburger Connoisseur

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again; the Pete Carroll schtick only works when he's winning.
     
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  13. jrry32 Well-Known Member

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    I recognize that. But being called champions by the media and winning the championship are two different things imo. ;)
     
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  14. moklerman Warner-phile

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    But that's the problem. "The" Championship was a bit of a joke. LSU's strength of schedule and USC's opponents tanking games is what got LSU in the BCS game which is what made it tainted.
     
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  15. jrry32 Well-Known Member

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    So is life. LSU got there, USC didn't. I remember Michigan fans complaining in 2006 when Florida was chosen over them after Michigan had lost to Ohio State by 3. Florida and Michigan had the same number of losses with Michigan having a loss to the #1 team.

    Of course, Florida went on to absolutely throttle Ohio State in that game. So they were proven right.

    What I am saying, though, is that life isn't always "fair". USC didn't win the championship. There was a championship game and LSU won. The media called USC champions. So no, I don't consider them as having won back to back champions. Because they didn't win it.

    Not that it particularly matters.
     
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  16. moklerman Warner-phile

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    The BCS hasn't been around forever though and the "champion" has been named by the media many times in the past. All of it is farcical and has been so bad at times we are finally at a point where there's going to be a playoff system.

    But technically speaking, there's no getting past USC being awarded a share of the title that year. It's in the record books right, wrong or fair.
     
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  17. Elmgrovegnome Well-Known Member

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    The worst was when Former President Nixon, who is a Texas native was chosen as the most qualified judge of who should be the National Champion. The choice was between Penn State and Texas. You can all figure out who the guy from Texas chose.
     
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  18. laramsoriginal Well-Known Member

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    I believe if usc had played lsu that year the trojans would have won convincingly. Those usc teams were stacked from top to bottom along with a tremendous coaching staff
     
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  19. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master

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    Shouldn't this thread be banned? Don't care how good of a coach Petey is. freak the shecocks and all who cheer for them.
     
    #19
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  20. moklerman Warner-phile

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    Why should it be banned? You don't want to read about Carroll then don't click on a thread with his name in the title.
     
    #20