KJR-AM’s Mitch Levy talked with Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll this morning about how his evaluation process is going with his new team, and what changes might be coming down the pipe this season.
Carroll said he’s going about the evaluation process in a patient matter, and that he’s only two-thirds of the way through looking the defense in performing an individual study on each player. Carroll has not started the evaluation process on offense yet, but he did offer up a few nuggets worth noting.
“I think the easy thing to nail when you look at it is if we’re going to go about this and run the football the way we want to we’ve got to make the sure the offensive line is situated and stocked with guys who can block in the manner we’re going to do with the approach that Alex (Gibbs) helps us generate here,” Carroll said. “We need really athletic guys who can move the line of scrimmage, get down field and get to the second level of their blocks so the scheme, the zone principles that we block with, can be executed properly.”
*It sounds like Seattle will be sticking to a 4-3 defensive alignment, which is the same system Carroll has been running for over 30 years. However, Carroll said he could use some 3-4 principles within that system, which includes using a stand-up defensive end on the weak side.
“We can play 4-3 principles, which is what we’ll do, with 4-3 personnel or 3-4 personnel,” Carroll said. “It just depends. Meaning it’s a defensive end vs. an outside linebacker-type.
“That’s the first thing I took a look at to see what’s Aaron Curry all about. Can he be that kind of player who is an outside rusher, where you would rush him more like two-thirds of the time he’s a rusher and some of the time he’s a dropper. As opposed to the other way where he’s an outside backer, where he drops 80 percent of the time and rushes in pressure situations 20 percent of the time.”
USC used Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews as stand-up ends during part of their careers with the Trojans, and Seattle used Darryl Tapp and Nick Reed in that capacity at times last season. USC calls this the elephant position, which you can learn more about here. But expect Curry to be used in this capacity as well, as Carroll believes he plays better at the line of scrimmage, and I tend to agree.
Carroll spoke highly of Curry, Tapp, Cory Redding, Brandon Mebane and yes, Collin Cole. I know Cole has been used as a punching bag at times by some in the comments section, but I watched him pretty closely the last four games and I also believe he’s part of the solution, not the problem for Seattle defensively.
*On Lawrence Jackson, Carroll said the Seahawks have to get him back to playing down and dirty and being a solid, every-down player, not a pass-rush specialist.
“Lawrence was a really good player for us,” Carroll said. “And he’s learning to be a good NFL player. He’s still working at it. He’s a work in progress. I think we have some ideas on how to help Lawrence on the way he approaches the game. He’s trying to be a flashy, 4-3 outside pass rush guy. We need to make him a down-and-dirty guy who plans down after down and does all the hard work. And I need to beef him up a bit.”
By that description it sounds like the expectation is for Jackson to continue to play strong-side defensive end and perhaps some 3-tech inside, which he did last season.
*Carroll emphasized getting athletic players on the offensive line that can get to the second level in the zone blocking scheme. He said it will be important to run the ball because the passing game will work off of that. And he also talked about evaluating Julius Jones and Justin Forsett to make sure they fit the scheme.
* Carroll said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck already has started meeting with new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates to learn the offense, and again reiterated that he believes Hasselbeck can still play.
“We’re fired up that Matt is a guy that’s played,” Carroll said. “He’s been in big games. He’s won big games. He’s been a championship quarterback. And now we need to build it around him so that we can be successful.
“So that’s where it’s so obvious the easiest formula is to get the running game going. So that’s why our commitment is so clear there. A great deal of our passing attack comes off the running game.”
*Carroll said he also would choose speed and agility over size and and girth in terms of evaluating athletes for his team defensively.
*Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will continue to call the plays defensively, with both Bradley and Carroll working together to come up with a defensive game plan during game week.
* Carroll said he recommended Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin for the job in order to maintain the tradition they have at USC, but he didn’t contact either one of them.
KJR-AM’s Elise Woodward talks to TNT’s Dave Boling in this audio link.
CBS Sports Chad Reuter details the record number of underclassmen who will enter this year’s draft.
Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated outlines which underclassmen made good and bad decisions in entering the 2010 draft.