Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has more time on his hands than he usually experiences during this time of year.
“A little more than usual,” he said. “I have to create some activities around here.”
One of the productive diversions Carroll has created is his series of Win Forever coaching workshops. The final one will be held on Friday at Seahawks headquarters in Renton.
The free workshops are sponsored by Nike, and set up as a way to raise money for Carroll’s community service work with A Better LA. Carroll has hosted a series of coaching workshops across the country, including Los Angeles, Dallas and at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
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The workshop is free, and available to both coaches from all sports as well as corporate folks looking to improve their leadership skills.
“What we’ve taken on is a thought to reach out to the new generation of coaches that are going to coaching the next generation of athletes,” he said. “And knowing that young kids have so much going on, and that their interests are more diverse and spread out than ever before, we’ve got to do a really good job of reaching these guys so we can teach them well, and engage them in an activity that they really joy and make their sports experience really fun.
“And so we know that there’s so many young coaches out there that haven’t had an opportunity to get their philosophy and their approach in order. And so we offer ours, but also we challenge them to create their own, that’s tailored perfectly to their own make-up. So it’s not about Xs and Os. It’s about philosophy and approach.”
Carroll said what he found out in his first year in Seattle is that his approach still translates to the NFL game, and it’s something that will continue to grow over time.
“You wouldn’t be competing if you weren’t, so it’s always up to challenge, adjust and change,” he said. “However, the principles, and the approach, and the language and the communication and the manner in which we carry that message is the same. But we’re always tweeking. But philosophically we haven’t changed anything.”
“And that was something I was really excited to do, to see if we could get that done. And demonstrate how it does apply on this level, as well as it applies all the way down to Pop Warner football and little league baseball all they way throughout, and that it can carry you.”
According to the team’s web site, the event is filled. However, you can still sign-up for the waiting list by email at email@example.com. The event runs from 6-10 p.m.
Along with talking about the upcoming event, I also snuck in a couple questions about the upcoming season
Carroll waiting patiently: With his free time, Carroll said the coaching staff has been focused on making improvements schematically on both sides of the ball by reviewing last year’s film and making tweaks for the upcoming season.
“It is unusual, and hasn’t been as much fun as it usually is, with all the interaction and chances to grow,” Carroll said. “You just have to postpone a lot of stuff. So what we’ve done is we’ve had a lot more opportunity to go into more depth, and looks at things with more focus. We normally would have had probably close to 200 hours with players the football-related practices and workout stuff. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of time not spent with them. So we’ve have to refocus where we’ve could.”
Even though the players are missing the off-season work with coaches, Carroll said he does not expect play during the regular-season to suffer.
“I don’t know if you’ll be able to notice it much,” he said. “At the end of the year we’ll look back and see the efficiencies and stuff like that, the completion percentages and the penalties, but I think it’s going to be relative for the most part, and you shouldn’t notice much. That’s what I’m hoping, I should say.”
High expectations for Tate: Carroll again singled out second-year receiver Golden Tate as a player he’s expecting to have a breakout year in 2011.
Tate finished with only 21 catches in his rookie season. Tate made some jaw-dropping plays at practice during training camp and the early part of the regular season, but he struggled with running precise routes and making the proper reads in order to get regular playing time.
But Carroll believes Tate should see the field more in 2011, particularly in third-down situations as the slot receiver, similar to how Brandon Stokley was used last season.
That’s an interesting development because Stokley worked with Tate a lot after practice on improving his route running in his rookie season.
Stokley was 14th in the league in percentage of catches for first downs in 2010, with 23 of his 31 catches moving the chains.
“There’s nothing that we would like to see more than to elevate Golden’s effectiveness,” Carroll said. “We just didn’t get him over the hump last year, and we need to do that. He’ll be in position to take over a huge role for us.”
Curry a work in progress: Carroll said linebacker Aaron Curry will be used in the same fashion the team used him last year, as a strong-side outside linebacker on the line of scrimmage in early downs. And Curry also will get his opportunities to rush the passer again, although Carroll admitted they would have liked to have seen a little more from Curry in those situations.
Curry finished with 73 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in the playoffs against Chicago.
Those numbers are a slight improvement from Curry’s rookie season, but still not up to the lofty expectations of a No. 4 overall draft pick. Curry is scheduled to make a little over $10 million in base salary and signing bonuses this year.
“We would like to continue to utilize him on the line of scrimmage,” Carroll said. “He’s a real physical factor matching up on the tight ends, and he’ll continue to get that done. He really excelled on that, and we’ll just continue to let him grow in that situation.
“We think he’s has a guy who has a tremendous amount of potential to get better. He wasn’t able to factor in the pass rush as we hoped. He wasn’t able to break into the top two rushers.”
Carroll mum on QB situation: Carroll did not say anything new on the team’s plans to address the quarterback situation once free agency begins.
Both Carroll and general manager have said that Charlie Whitehurst, the only quarterback under contract, will get an opportunity to compete for a starting job during training camp. But they have not ruled out the possibility of bringing back Matt Hasselbeck once they have an opportunity to continue negotiations.
“We definitely have a plan,” Carroll said about the quarterback position in general, and specifically whether or not the team will bring back Matt Hasselbeck. “With every turn of it, we have a strategy that we’re executing. You roll it out and see how it goes, and see if you have a chance to act on it.
“It’s a little different now because not only do you have your own players available, but now you have everyone else as well. So we’re anxious to get started.”