INDIANAPOLIS — Pete Carroll acknowledged the massive changes the Seattle Seahawks have undergone – and continue to evaluate – this offseason are an attempt to reset the competitive culture the coach covets.
The Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012 last year, and Carroll and general manager John Schneider decided to part ways with embattled offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, defensive coordinator Kris Richard and with highly-respected offensive line coach Tom Cable.
“I felt it was time,” Carroll said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine, while quick to add that he was not placing the blame for the team’s fall off in 2017 on the departed coaches. “I wanted to challenge the opportunity to get better. It comes back to competing and trying to get better.”
Carroll added that the changes were as much about bringing fresh ideas and energy into the building, while maintaining the team’s overall philosophy and approach.
“I’ve never wanted to stay the same,” Carroll said. “Every year is loaded with change, and we’re forced to adapt.”
And that change is likely nowhere close to being complete.
Tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson are potential free agents. Former Pro Bowlers safety Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril are still trying to determine whether they can play again following serious neck injuries last season, and Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman is among several key players recovering from significant injuries of their own.
Carroll said Sherman recently underwent a second, more minor cleanup procedure on his other Achilles tendon but that he is having a “fantastic offseason.” Carroll declined to say whether the team has had any trade conversations specifically concerning the former All-Pro, offering only that, “it’s the time of year where there are conversations in all directions.”
Meanwhile, Chancellor and Avril continue to make progress and the team monitors their situations through regular checkpoints. The team is also keeping close watch on running back Chris Carson, who was enjoying a standout rookie season until suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
Left tackle George Fant is also continuing his recovery from ACL surgery, and when he is healthy he faces an uncertain role following last year’s trade for Duane Brown.
“We’ll see how far he can take it,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how that all fits together.”
The same could be said of the team’s salary cap situation. Along with Graham and Richardson, the Seahawks have key decisions to make with defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who is due to count $6.65 million against the salary cap at 32 years old last season. And there’s free safety Earl Thomas, who has hinted at a holdout if he does not receive a new contract before training camp.
“This time last year, he was retired,” Carroll joked, referring to Thomas briefly considering retirement after a season-ending broken leg in 2016. “So I don’t know where to put that right now. Everyone is talking to everyone.”
–Carroll deflected a question about whether he would support Russell Wilson getting at-bats in a spring training game, but said it is “awesome” that his quarterback is spending time with the New York Yankees in Florida.
“He’s going to be working out and doing something anyway,” Carroll said. “Some guys are traveling around the world, and he’s playing baseball.”
–Derek Harper, Field Level Media