Seattle Seahawks veteran safety Lawyer Milloy, who played for Pete Carroll during his few years in the league while with New England, talked about his experiences with Seattle's new head coach
“We went to the playoffs two out of the three years he was there,” Milloy said. “I think that’s successful. The only thing about it is when he got the keys to the car, we were coming off an appearance in the Super Bowl. So when you look at it like that, the team was declining every year. But I think he was successful, and I think guys fought hard for him.”
Milloy said his first interaction with Carroll was him sitting Milloy down and telling him he could be a star in the league. Milloy said Carroll wanted him to be the Tim McDonald in his defensive scheme. Carroll coached McDonald while he was the defensive coordinator for San Francisco.
Although he believes Carroll will be successful in Seattle, Milloy also feels departed head coach Jim Mora could have gotten things turned around if given the opportunity.
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“I’m a believer in Jim Mora,” Milloy said. “He’s one of the reasons why I didn’t retire last year. This day is kind of weird for me personally because I think I’m friends with both coaches. One coach I feel very, very sorry for, only given one year in the NFL to try and make magic happen. And just ecstatic that another coach I think very highly of has another shot.
“But this team, we do have talent. I think the same issues that Jim was facing going into the offseason, Pete’s going to be facing.”
“One of the things we need to improve on is better communication on and off the field,” Milloy said later during the interview. “We need to get more mentally tough, gets some of these younger guys tougher. I think that prevents injuries. And ultimately he’ll come in. I think he has to stay true to himself, and it’s up to you guys to label him as whatever.
“But the only thing that matters in this league is wins, that’s it. Wins and losses. You have to have more wins than you have losses, and at the end of the day there’s only one champion, and that has to be our focus.”
Linebacker Lofa Tatupu said he’s been surprised by what’s happened the past week, but looks forward to a second opportunity to play for his former coach in Carroll.
“At the end of the day I know I had great success, and the team had great success – and that’s first and foremost, the team had great success,” Tatupu said. “And if that can translate here I would be very pleased.”
As far as the changes Carroll will make, Tatupu said that along with evaluating film Carroll will get chance to see the players during off-season workouts.
“I think the minicamps will help him see what guys are capable of and what we have as far as depth and things like that – like I said where we need to add. But I think like Lawyer (Milloy) said, putting guys in the right position. And just making sure they’re in tune with the game and they’re thinking about the game nonstop.
“And I know at SC, there wasn’t a situation that anybody wasn’t aware of as far as on the field, and really just people were heads up football players out there.”
As far as the defensive scheme, Tatupu said things could get easier for him at middle backer.
“I think his scheme, it put a little more stress on everybody to have to know it, which takes a little stress of the Mike (linebacker),” Tatupu said. “I’m going to know anything and everything anyways, however in years past there’s been a lot of call having to be made by the Mike, and I mean it’s stressful, and kind of at times can take away from your game. Because you want to be perfect, you want to be right on and you want to make sure that everyone has their assignment down. So hopefully he’ll alleviate some of that stress. But either way, I’m excited.
Contrary to perception that USC ran vanilla stuff in terms of scheme and won based on superior talent, former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Warren Moon, now the team’s color analyst, said Carroll was ahead of the curve in terms of zone blitz schemes defensively. Moon spoke from experience, saying he played against Carroll’s defense while still in the league.
“He was doing it way back when a lot of people were not doing it,” Moon said. “He was ahead of the curve then. And then he brought it to college football, and that him ahead of the curve in college football. So I think he’ll add a little bit more to that as he gets into the pros, because you can add more when you have smarter players, and more experienced players.”
Moon went on to say he likes his offensive concepts as well, and points to the fact of USC’s quarterbacks being NFL-ready, and that the Trojans ran a pro-style offense built on establishing the running game.
Carroll said schematically he will run a similar system defensively, but offensively things will change, with a focus on the running game. Carroll reportedly hired zone blocking guru Alex Gibbs to coach the offensive line, so it appears Mike Solari is out.
Moon says he expects 25 to 35 percent of the roster to change in Seattle, and that the key for Carroll will be getting the talent to run his schemes with the Seahawks.
“If he can get the players here, the schemes I think he has will work,” Moon said. “The key is to get the players. He can stand up there all day and fire us up. But if he doesn’t have players to work with, it doesn’t matter. And it’s the same thing with Jimmy Mora.”
Moon compared Carroll’s situation to Jimmy Johnson taking over Dallas. Johnson kept around his core group of players, including Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, but he also infused the roster with a steady group of young players.
“He always had young guys come in there because he could practice them to death,” Moon said. “They could kill each other in practice. They did a lot of physical practices when he was in Dallas. But you can do that with young players Veterans aren’t going to put up with that. They’re going to complain about it.
“So I think he wants that too because he runs very competitive practices. And when he talks about that competitiveness, they are very competitive at SC. I used to watch them all the time, and I couldn’t believe they practiced like that in college.”
You can listen to the conversation with Moon here.
Finally this from former USC player Lawrence Jackson on Carroll joining Seattle:
“I think the onus is on the players to open up and embrace the change,” Jackson said. “And know that if you want to be a great football player and reach the individual goals you set for yourself within the team perspective that this is a great situation. He really is passionate about getting the most out of each player because it produces a winning program.”