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Carroll quickly winning over Seahawks fans

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

When the Seahawks first dropped the bomb on an unsuspecting Jim Mora with the intention of replacing him with Pete Carroll, word is there was a bit of a backlash locally in defense of Mora.

"But he seemed to get people to warm up to him pretty quickly," one team insider said of Carroll, whose demeanor in his frenetic introductory press conference as the eighth head coach in the Seahawks' 34-year history closely resembled his high-energy style on the sideline as the highly successful head coach at USC the past nine seasons.

Moving quickly is a big part of Carroll's m.o., and it appears he is wasting no time assembling his coaching staff while also being prominently involved in the Seahawks' search for a new GM who, according to CEO Tod Leiweke, will have the final say in all personnel decisions, with Carroll reserving the right to decide which players make the final roster.

"What Leiweke is stressing is a relationship (between Carroll and the GM) where there is enough legwork that the picks the team makes on Draft Day almost become automatic," the insider said.

What the Seahawks don't want is the same kind of relationship that former head coach and, for a time, general manager Mike Holmgren had with front-office higher-ups Bob Whitsitt and, more recently, Tim Ruskell, whose forced resignation as general manager a month ago triggered a stunning turn of events culminated by Carroll's arrival.

"Holmgren and Ruskell really had a 'my guy, your guy' thing going on with personnel decisions, and they want to avoid that," the insider said.

In many ways, just as significant as Carroll's hiring is the emergence of Leiweke from team owner Paul Allen's well-stacked corps of chief lieutenants as the undisputed head of football operations, with both Carroll and the new GM expected to answer directly to him.

That's not to say, however, that Allen, who has been battling cancer for the past year, will be uninvolved.

"He was there at the press conference and wanted to be a part of what was going on," the insider said of Allen. "He looked a lot better at the recent Christmas party and appears to be in full recovery."

As for Carroll's evolving staff, one hiring that drew immediately strong reviews was that of zone-blocking guru Alex Gibbs, who reportedly will coach the offensive line.


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