RENTON, Wash. (AP) - When Pete Carroll and John Schneider took control of the Seahawks, Carroll firmly remembers Schneider believing it would take three or four years to complete an overhaul of Seattle's roster and create the foundation the duo wanted going forward.
At the end of two years, Carroll believes the Seahawks are there, even after a second straight 7-9 regular season.
"We know the formula, we know the style, we love the toughness, the way we prepare the mentality in the locker room, the communication between the coaches and the players," Carroll said. "It gives us a chance to really grow. Now we have to grow up. We have to do something with it. We haven't done anything yet, but we feel like we're at the point where we can go from."
Carroll held his season-ending news conference on Tuesday, a wide-ranging 45 minutes that touched on nearly every aspect of the Seahawks two years after Carroll and Schneider took command of an aging, high-priced roster and replaced it with a younger team that has salary cap room heading into free agency.
But most of the makeover is complete and the swiftness with which it happened is partly why the Seahawks have so much optimism moving forward after coming back from a 2-6 start to close the 2011 season with a 5-3 flourish.
"I'm pleased at this point because I'm really enthusiastic and excited about what we can do now," Carroll said. "We have to go do it. Saying all that doesn't mean a darn thing until we go out and do something with this offseason and come into preseason raring to go."
While Carroll can exude optimism about the Seahawks' strong finish, during which two of their losses came by a combined five points to San Francisco and Arizona, much of the focus was on the play of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and whether he's the best option moving forward. During Seattle's impressive second-half turnaround, all three of the Seahawks losses were highlighted by their inability to mount a late drive for a winning score and much of the blame was placed on Jackson.
Carroll tried to deflect some of the criticism of his quarterback, noting Jackson was playing through a pectoral injury that nearly ended his season when he was hurt in early October. Carroll also placed blame on himself for not putting enough focus on late-game situations in practice, saying it was already an area that was being re-examined for next year.
"We've already made big statements and declarations of how we're going to adjust practice issues so that we can prepare our guys more so and just give them an overload of scenarios - for the coaches and the players - so that we can just function more clearly," Carroll said. "That's the part I regret the most looking back at the season."
Seattle is likely to address its quarterback situation in some manner this offseason, either through free agency or the draft. Jackson has one year remaining on his deal, but the only other quarterback under contract is undrafted rookie Josh Portis. Backup Charlie Whitehurst, whom Seattle traded for before Carroll's first season, never developed and likely will not be back.
Jackson was at peace on Monday with the idea that Seattle could add competition at his spot for next season.
"I've been through different situations close to that, so I know how to handle the situation. It won't be a problem," he said.
Carroll also reiterated the importance of getting running back Marshawn Lynch back after he became the trigger for the Seahawks' turnaround. Lynch finished the year with a career-high 1,204 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. He highlights a group of 18 unrestricted free agents that includes fullback Michael Robinson, defensive end Red Bryant and linebackers David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill.
"I think he (Lynch) added everything we could hope a guy could add, so we're going to try to hold on to him," Carroll said.
Carroll also announced that wide receiver Sidney Rice underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder and that cornerback Richard Sherman will have arthroscopic surgery on his knee.
Rice is expected to have three to four months of recovery for an injury originally suffered during training camp. Rice was placed on injured reserve Nov. 30 after suffering a severe concussion.
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