Carroll brings fresh look, but Seahawks must have patience

  • By Pat Kirwan
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Elaine Thompson / Associated Press
New coach Pete Carroll is working hard to turn over the roster and change the culture in Seattle.

The Seahawks were 5-11 last year and had issues all over the roster. With several areas to address, no team has been more active in moving personnel out and bringing new faces in.

There could be upwards of eight new starters in Week 1 and a fresh attitude about how this game is played. Critics will say Pete Carroll is a rah-rah college coach and will not be able to sustain the enthusiasm he has instilled in the Seahawks.

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Carroll is a lot tougher than the outside world knows and his team was walking on egg shells this week with the trade of former first-round pick Lawrence Jackson.

As cornerback Josh Wilson said, "I walked into the locker room and was glad to see my name over my locker."

The NFC west is always within arm's reach for a competitive team. Seattle looks like an 8-8 squad and a year away from a serious run. Still, as Carroll said, that's not good enough, because they are thinking about winning now.

Even if it takes two years, this team is headed in the right direction. The Seahawks should scratch the surface of respectability this year and make a lot more noise in 2011.


» The running game, which ranked 26th last season, is going to be a lot better with offensive line coach Alex Gibbs running the show. No one, and I mean no one, is exempt from the wrath of Gibbs if they don't execute their run game assignments.

"Oh, I've heard Coach Gibbs get in my face if the blocking isn't right and so have the wide receivers and fullbacks," tight John Carlson said. "No one is safe from the laser pen in the film room."

» Linebacker Aaron Curry has to play better and admitted as much to me. To help him achieve that goal, he has been moved from Will to Sam linebacker with the hopes he can return to his college production.

» Sooner or later QB Charlie Whitehurst is going to make a run at Matt Hasselbeck's job. I believe Hasselbeck will hold him off, but make no mistake about it, the gap has closed.

» Leon Washington is ready and the third preseason game against the Vikings should be very interesting. He told me he can go now and could see some action Saturday, but the third preseason game is always critical as veterans see more time.

"Coach Carroll believes in me, and I'm ready to do whatever it takes to help this team win," Washington said.

Gibbs was working Washington hard to be prepared for more than third-down duty.

» "I'm in" is the team motto. Meaning, if you walk into the building or out on the practice field, you are committed to 100 percent effort. For now, it looks like 80 guys claim 'I'm in.'"


» Top pick Russell Okung really looks like he belongs at left tackle and will give Hasselbeck great comfort that his blind side is protected. Okung has a lot of work to do with his technique, but his feet are so good and his work ethic is so high, that he looks like a lock.

» Fellow first-round choice Earl Thomas is roaming the center field like a 10-year veteran at safety.

"Earl can go red line to red line and that makes any corner feel good," Wilson said.

The red line is a practice field line about 10 yards from the sideline on both sides, which means Thomas has 40-yard range.

» Golden Tate, a second-round selection, sat down with me and discussed the ups and downs of learning wide receiver in the NFL.

"After the minicamps and OTAs, the defensive backs studied what I was doing and made it a lot tougher on me this camp," Tate said. "The details are so important and I realize I have a lot of work to do."

» DE Dexter Davis might be a steal. In his first preseason game, the seventh-round pick had two tackles, a sack, four hits on the quarterback, one tackle for a loss and two special teams stops.


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» WR Mike Williams, a former first-round pick with the Lions, appeared to eat his way out of the league and was labeled a bust. He's having a very strong camp, however, after losing 35 pounds and regaining his suddenness on the field. Don't you be surprised if he not only makes the team, but is a factor in some of the packages used by offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.

» The Seahawks traded Jackson to the Lions while I was at camp, which caught most players' attention.

"Wow, that shocked me and made me realize that no one is safe on the team," Curry said.

» I was surprised to see how well veteran offensive lineman Chester Pitts was moving around and working with the trainers on the sidelines. He will be ready for Week 1.

As general manager John Schneider said, "He was the No. 1 guard on our emergency list and it made sense to sign him before he was physically ready to play and let our people get him ready."

» After watching the team practice twice, the biggest key to where this defense is headed could be DT Red Bryant. A fourth-round pick in 2008, Bryant has the ability to help this unit morph into a hybrid 3-4 package.


"Coach Carroll drives home the competition thing every day, and whether it's offense vs. defense or tight end vs. linebacker, we compete. Whether it's in shorts or pads."
-- Carlson on the concept of competition



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