On your mark, get set, go!
Culminating a whirlwind month for the Seahawks that began with a bang when the team fired GM Tim Ruskell, an admittedly very "fired-up" Pete Carroll breathlessly addressed the local media late Tuesday morning for the first time as the eighth head coach in the team's 34-year history.
"This looks like a tremendous place to come to work," said the 58-year-old Carroll, who has reportedly signed a five-year deal worth up to $35 million to be the team's head coach and executive vice president. "For this thing to be set in motion they way it has, is almost dream-like. I am so impressed with the vision here and the way they want this organization to be run.
"It is exactly in line with the way I think."
True to form, Carroll enthusiastically worked the room, continually complimenting his questioners in an effort to instantly begin winning them over. But it's going to take a great deal more than savvy schmoozing for one of the most successful college coaches in the country the last nine years at USC to turn around a Seahawks franchise that has won only nine games in the past two seasons and looked like arguably the worst team in the league at the end of the season.
"This is a big job, and I will need tremendous help," understated Carroll, who compiled a 33-31 regular-season record and a 1-2 postseason mark in four seasons as an NFL head coach with both the Jets (1994) and Patriots (1997-99). "We will begin our search for a GM this afternoon. It's an enormous decision, but there is a process that we must go through that is going to be extremely important to our future.
"I can't wait to get upstairs and look at film."
The PFW spin
Talk about an up-tempo press conference! In a little less than an hour, Carroll tried to touch a lot of bases but provided only general responses. Near the end of his press conference/pep talk, when he said he couldn't wait to roll up his sleeves, one definitely got that feeling, as it appeared he had grown almost restless up at the podium.
The focus now quickly shifts to the next phase of the Seahawks' revival with GM interviews expected to begin in earnest effective immediately. As Seahawks CEO Tod Lieweke has explained it, the new GM will have the final say on all personnel moves, but Carroll will have the power to decide which players play on Sunday, thus setting up what could be an extremely tricky dynamic. While the team can't help but be leery of potential friction in such a setup, it appears determined to not to give Caroll the same all-encompassing power it gave to Mike Holmgren as both the head coach and GM from 1999-2002.
The GM prospects reportedly in the mix include two minority candidates — Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross and Steelers business and football administration coordinator Omar Khan. Other known candidates include Patriots senior consultant Floyd Reese and Packers front-office executive John Schneider, who served as Seattle's VP of player personnel in 2000 under Holmgren. Seahawks VP of football administration John Idzik will apparently remain in a position of power and work closely with Carroll, Lieweke and the new GM.
Carroll's staff is expected to come together quickly, and it remains to be seen just how many, if any, holdovers he keeps from the staff of Jim Mora, who was fired as the head coach in a bombshell move last Friday.
"There will be some guys that I've worked with in the past," said Carroll, who already has reportedly convinced three of his coaches at USC — QB coach Jeremy Bates, LB coach Ken Norton Jr. and offensive line coach Pat Ruel — to follow him to Seattle. "We want to put together a vision for everybody in the entire building to get them to be as good as they can possibly be."
There are understandable concerns that Carroll could very well fall on his face the same way as former college head-coach counterparts Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino, to name a few. But Carroll made a point of mentioning how much he's grown since his last stint in the league.
We will quickly begin to see just how much in the coming weeks and days, as there will be no rest for the weary.
Not that Carroll plans on resting any time soon.
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