Seahawks Insider

Player reaction: Embrace the change

Post by Eric Williams on Jan. 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm with 17 Comments »
January 12, 2010 3:59 pm
Pete Caroll talks to Lawrence Jackson, Joshua Trujillo/
Pete Caroll talks to Lawrence Jackson, Joshua Trujillo/

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.

“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.

[wpaudio url="" text=MP3: WarrenMoon]

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.”

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. ArterioZ says:

    Great post, Eric. Thanks.

  2. WiscCory says:

    Eric, I second that. Your coverage of the Hawks the past week has been best in class.

  3. Does anyone have a link to Carroll’s entire press conference today?

  4. Thanks, babyhawk! Listening to it now :-)

  5. Since this is the most up-to-date post, I thought it best to say this here:

    I think Alex Gibbs is a good coach. I don’t think he’s much better than Solari though. Solari looked pretty good when he coached players like Will Shields and Willie Roaf. That was a dominant Chiefs OL we saw about 5 years ago.

    Concerning Gibbs’ Bronco OL: They didn’t win with smoke and mirrors. They won with talent too.

    To Gibbs’ credit, he helped develop Tom Nalen to become a Pro Bowl center. After Gibbs left, Nalen remained a top flight center. Still, give some credit to Gibbs.

    When Gibbs got to Denver and became the Godfather of the ZBS, the Broncos had left tackle Gary Zimmerman. Zimmerman was a Pro Bowl and all decade performer at left tackle for the Vikings. He left Minnesota after 1992 and moved on to the Broncos, where he made another all decade team. This man is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This is an extreme example of the talent that Gibbs had to work with. Zimmerman didn’t need Gibbs to develop him, he was already one of the greats in the game and would have gone to Canton before he met the man behind the mighty zone blocking system.

    I look at a guy like Mark Schlereth. We was an above average NFL guard. He had a nice career. He made a Pro Bowl earlier in his career with the Redskins (no Alex Gibbs) and one later as a Bronco (with Gibbs and the ZBS).

    There are many, many more analogies and comparisons to be made but you get the idea. A great coach can make a bad player – below average, can make a below average player – average, an average player – above average, an above average player – good, a good player – great, a great player – Hall of Fame worthy. Or you can say Solari lines only went from a dominant Priest Holmes to a dominant Larry Johnson, whereas Gibbs had a dominant Terrell Davis and then a bunch of other, different 1,000 yard rushers.

    Gibbs is a winner and I’m glad he’s on our side, but the fact of the matter is that, while he’s a good coach, any good coach needs talent to work with.

    I shouldn’t hold last off-season against this new regime, but I’m bitter about being told that the ZBS can “mask” deficiencies, or hide them. All I know is that talent wins in this league and we’re fooling ourselves if we think the Alex Gibbs signing is going to take our turkeys and make chicken salad.

    Now that we have re-committed to the ZBS… I think it’s safe to say LG Rob Sims is adequate (if there’s a CBA and if he stays as an UFA, or if there no CBA, then he’s stuck here as a RFA). Max Unger at C will be adequate. I really like him. That’s 2/5 of our line. I don’t trust anyone on our active roster at left tackle. I don’t trust Chris Spencer to play RG. How many times can an organization cry “wolf!” on a player and, now that there aren’t any connections, I don’t suspect we will. While I think Lock is a decent RT, many of us have been complaining about paying average players like they are some of the best at their position — which makes me wonder if the organization is going to keep him around at a high cost even though his career at RT only suggests an above average production rate. I don’t know what the best RTs get paid, but I know Lock has to be close to the elites on the right side.

    I am glad Gibbs is here but I caution people into thinking that our OL is going to be good until there is an infusion of talent.

  6. freedom_X says:

    One major difference (and I am a Solari fan) – Solari didn’t necessarily know the ZBS that well. If I were running a man blocking scheme, I might take Solari over Gibbs (in fact, I probably would.)

    But Gibbs is the undisputed mastermind of zone blocking. If that scheme is going to work, Gibbs will make it work.

    Also, I think Gibbs is going to teach the techniques that let the ZBS be effective with less coveted talent. I.E. the low, blindside block.

    The ZBS requires a different type of talent than man blocking, so I agree talent will need to be brought in. As you’ve said, Ray Willis probably will never be a good zone blocker.

    But, it means that it may be possible to acquire players for the scheme at a lesser cost. If you can use a smaller, quicker, smart tackle instead of a bigger, quicker, smart tackle – you can get that smaller player cheaper than the bigger one. Generally intelligence is devalued in positions other than QB when it comes to drafting. When’s the last non-QB drafted in the top 10 because “he’s really smart and knows the game?”

  7. After listening to Carroll’s press conference, all I can say is WOW! Five minutes of listening to him installed more conference than hours of listening to Mora.

  8. McIntosh is currently Hawks best LT (assuming Walt can’t make it back). Damion is much better at run-blocking than pass-pro, but with FB or TE help the LT position is workable. If Walt can pull a miracle, then Hawks could be good to go at LT. Sims’ll do at LG. Unger’ll improve quickly at center. Spencer did OK at RG and may improve if healthy and has a full offseason at the position. RT is weak. Neither Willis nor Lock have had much real success there. Could PC bring in Charlie Brown and might he make an athletic ZBing RT? He’s smaller, but athletic, quick.

  9. Spencer is going to leave because he thinks he’s a Center. Though, maybe Carroll and Gibbs will convince him otherwise.

  10. Crap. I thought the zone blocking JOKE had departed with (K)Nap(P).


  11. And folks, it’s good to be excited, but let’s stick to reality: the only NFL quality starter we have is Unger (& Walter if he comes back). The rest are backups of various ability.

    Yeah, the ZB is supposed to conceal OL weaknesses.

    LOL. Right.

  12. I should have specified above “the only NFL quality starter we have ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE is Unger”…………

    Sorry ’bout that!

  13. All I know is that the Texas didn’t exactly have a great line in ’09. Granted, they were better than us, but who wasn’t (maybe Washington)? That’s not saying much. They also have a bit more talent that Gibbs had to work with in Seattle. I wish he could bring Eric Winston with him.

  14. bigmike04 says:

    I do hope Jim Solari get back on his feet as he makes for good OL coach some where, thought hope to see Knapp and Bradley follow Mora to be exit.

    Thought I say this I think Chris Spencer and Rob Sims days at Seahawks are over as one would think Pete Carroll seen alot better OL in college than those 2 Hacks. Rob Sims and Chris Spencer should not be welcome back period along with Over paid Branch and Locklear.

    Seahawks need LT they need to get someone to groom as who know if Jones will play ever again and every seahawks fan knew that day was coming when Jones was going to retire and behold now look like it could be happening real soon.

    Thrill to have better coach than lame Mora and his coaching staff.

  15. piperfeltcher says:

    I think the thing that will benifit the O-line this year under Gibbs is that they have a year of experience in a zone blocking scheme. Yes they need some more talent expecially at LT and Rg but I can not see the Hawks not taking a LT with one of there 2 1sts. I really like the staff Carroll has put together as I think Bates is a great O-coord who will be a head coach somewhere in a few years and I hope Norton can improve our LB’s play as I thought Hill and Curry both underperformed this year.
    I do believe Mora got a raw deal as I do not believe any coach would have won with the team we fielded and the injuries we had but I think Carroll is a upgrade and has a far better staff then what Mora had so I do like the move. And besides life is not always fair so Mora should just accept what happened as by bad mouthing people he is only going to hurt his chances of getting another job.

  16. maddog12 says:

    BobbyK- I think Carroll might be talking about a different ZBS than Solari had. Not sure what that difference might be but maybe it is how he utilizes ZBS in the Carroll offense. I got the idea that the new guy’s system is a better fit than Solari.

    Either way I am glad to see emphasis on O-line. I have thought that we should have made a move for an Oher last year. But no.

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