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Pete Carroll angrily refutes report of friction in Seahawks’ front office

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

 

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A Friday morning report from Pro Football Weekly publisher Hub Arkush and senior editor Eric Edholm has caused quite the ripple effect in the Pacific Northwest. Arkush and Edholm reported that Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider "could be on rocky ground."

"Carroll is very unhappy with a lot of the moves that Schneider has made," Arkush said in the report, referring to the acquisitions of former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and receiver Sidney Rice, and former Oakland Raiders guard Robert Gallery and tight end Zach Miller. The 0-2 Seahawks have a terrible offense, Gallery is out 4-6 weeks with a groin injury, Rice hasn't played in the regular season because he's recovering from a shoulder injury, and the team's poor offensive line play has greatly affected the roles of Jackson and Miller.

That said, the license taken by Arkush and Edholm is a bit much. "Pretty much everything Schneider's tried to do hasn't worked," Arkush said, "and I guess there's some stuff going on behind the scenes that Carroll's not too happy about either."

"I can tell you that these two are not on the same page," Edholm added. "I talked to one agent who had one of his free-agent clients shipped into Seattle, and when he got there, Pete Carroll said, 'What is he doing here? We don't need him for a football team.' That's just one example of personnel not matching up to what the coach wants to put on the field."

The problem is, Edholm gave just the one example, and it's far from definitive. Asked about the report after the Seahawks' Friday practice, Carroll left no doubt as to his feelings on the matter.

"There was some report or something that John and I don't get along, and I think that's extraordinarily irresponsible. It's inaccurate, and it's lazy, and I wouldn't believe a word they said. That's so far from the truth -- John and I are as close as we can get, and I've never been any closer to anyone I've ever worked with. Every decision we make, we make together, and they don't even understand. I don't know who those guys were, or where they came from, but they're just dead wrong.

"It's just weak that somebody would say something like that. They know nothing — they've never talked to us or seen us. They know nothing about what we're all about. But it does show that the media can say whatever they want to say! That's what just happened — those guys said whatever they wanted to say. They have no backing and no truth."

As much as I respect Pro Football Weekly as a publication, the background I have from covering the Seahawks for multiple outlets over the last two years has me wondering exactly how Arkush and Edholm came up with their information, because it certainly doesn't jibe with what I've seen and heard and experienced at Seahawks HQ. Carroll will sometimes bend the truth as all coaches do, but there's simply no basis in fact for the idea that Schneider is on the hook for the personnel missteps taken by this front office.

First of all, one has to understand that Carroll and Schneider have a very different relationship than most coaches and general managers. Carroll has full control over the ship; Schneider is in charge of personnel, but that is as much from a scouting standpoint as anything else. He doesn't oversee personnel; it's a collaborative process. That's the main point PFW misses here.

When the Seahawks got back together following the lockout and looked at the abbreviated timeframe to get everything together, and multiplied that complexity by the number of personnel holes they had, they decided to lean very heavily on their position coaches when it came to personnel.

The decisions to strike on Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice were sourced from new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who worked with both players as the Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator from 2007 through 2010. The decisions to sign Robert Gallery and Zach Miller were unquestionably vetted through offensive line coach Tom Cable, who resuscitated Gallery's career by moving him from right tackle to left guard, and turned Miller into the Oakland Raiders' most targeted receiver when Cable was the Oakland Raiders' head coach. Cable is also the main man on the hook for the underperformance of the team's offensive line — Carroll and Schneider basically handed Cable the top of their 2011 draft from which two starting offensive linemen were plucked, and Cable was the one who signed off on the Seahawks going so young on the line, Gallery excepted. Cable's also the one who laid off on installing some of his protection calls in the preseason.

Schneider was undoubtedly a major part of those decisions, but to imply that he was the one behind all of them is to betray a complete lack of understanding about how this front office works. And going on the word of one anonymous and possibly disgruntled agent … well, to be honest, I'd expect more and better from such a respected publication.

I'm not sure where this whole thing came from, but from everything I've seen, it's as off-base as it can possibly be.

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