The Seattle Seahawks season-ending playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night left a bitter taste in the mouths of Seahawk coaches and players. In the minds and hearts of the Seahawks organization, Saturday’s game was there for the taking and the lack of execution in the run game caused a woeful third-down conversation rate.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll met with local media Monday afternoon for his annual end of the season wrap up session and the coach was optimistic about the teams future despite the loss to the Cowboys
( On team moving forward)
“The game was frustrating. We love that we had a shot to keep coming back and keep roaring back. We were going for two’s (point conversions) throughout and we made the adjustment with Seabass (Sebastian Janikowski) getting banged up. The guys really went for it. I think it was a statement really of what this season was all about. This season was a season of growth and progress and proving and coming to grips with who we are and what we could do in a great fashion.
“It was a marvelous season of work with our guys. It was so much fun to see these guys grow and to see them see the future and to go for it and not take a step back at any time as far as how they went about it and took to the challenges and all.
“We come out of here with a great feeling about our future. Our guys are excited about it. They know that we can do some damage in the playoffs. They know that we can go a long way and they know that they have a lot of work ahead of them too. All the indications where you come up short, there’s enough of them. There’s enough lessons here that we’ve learned.
” I love this team and I love where we’re going. It’s going to be more competitive than ever. The roster will continue to be built and constructed to be competitive and bring out the best in our guys. I think it’s evident to me we made a connection with our fans that they can feel our team and they can feel the future with us and it’s exciting.
“We actually leave here on a positive in that we know that there’s a lot of work to be done, but there’s so much out there for us. It was a really good feeling about it and tremendous frustration along with that. At a time like this, you’ve got to deal with all of it and we did. So, on we go.”
(On Brian Schottenheimer and the play calling in the game )
“First off, for somebody to look at this game and say somebody didn’t do this or do that and try to hold that against him or whatever, I think is really unfair. Hold it against me, I’m the guy that’s in charge of this thing. There’s nowhere to look at any individual guy here in my opinion, it’s a team thing. But I’m on top of it and I’m the one to be pointed at. We couldn’t have been more committed to being an aggressive football team than we were this year. That meant that we’re playing great defense and we’re working on our teams and running the football and we’re playing off of that – that’s us, that’s how we do it.
“That’s not anybody but starting with me. The fact that Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer) was working the game plan and trying to hammer the football is what we did every week and that’s how we’ve figured to win. When it doesn’t work, you have to find a way to get moving and find the ways that you’ve got to get there to get the game won and that’s what we were attempting to do. You forget maybe that the go-ahead touchdown drive in this game was a nine-play drive, eight plays were runs.
“We got the ball at midfield off great field position off a great kick, exactly like we like to do it. Defense held them, here we go. We knock it on down there, we fight our way through a fourth down conversion and make it to 14-10 and okay let’s go from there. To try to blame Schotty or the play caller on anything – I understand that reaction, but it isn’t warranted. We had a hell of a season and we did a bunch of good stuff. We’re just getting started. That’s what it feels like.”
On renewing contracts of core veterans.
(On his confidence in having Frank Clark a member of the Seahawks in the future)
“I’m counting on it. Counting on it. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Let me say this, this time of year, we always cite that it’s a really difficult time. There’s a lot of stuff that has to take place, there’s a lot of business. John (Schneider) has a master plan of carrying this thing out. He’s got a schedule and calendar of all kinds of stuff that he’s working. Already, we’re well into it. There’s a strategy and a plan to carry this out and our guys know.
“We’ve communicated with everybody. We’re on-going and there’s a process to this and it takes a long time. There’s free agency coming up, there’s our own contracts that we’re dealing with, there’s the draft coming up – all of that stuff is all what’s at hand right now this time of year.
“We’re really good at doing this and we’re going to carry it out with a real plan and a strategy to make us as strong as we possibly can. The other side of that, the individual questions about guys and stuff, we can’t go into any of that right now. We want Franky (Clark) to be with us. We’ve got some contract issues that we’re going to be dealing with and discussions that will go on for months now.”
(On if he would like to have Russell Wilson’s long-term future secured before next season)
“We’re talking about all of that, yeah. Russ and I met yesterday and we’re talking about the future and we’re talking about where we’re going and what we want to get done. That’s very much in our plans.”
(On how much a player’s leadership in their position group factors into contract talks)
“It really does factor in. All of that factors in, in particular in our program where the relationships are so important to us and what they add and how they help others play better around them – it’s one of the great factors that some athletes bring. They bring that factor that guys around them play better when they’re next to them and we have to evaluate that just as much as height, weight and speed and try to understand where we’re going to make the considerations and all that.
” There’s no question that’s important. You hear me, I always go back to (how) the leadership has been so significant around here and we’ve had such great direction from guys. The really exciting thing is to watch guys go into that position. Frank (Clark) is a great example of that and he has just grown in to become a voice and a constant. Those guys bring value in that manner, for sure.”
(On drafting players with the right mindset)
“I think it showed up across the board in the draft class. In Poona (Ford) and figuring out that Jordan Simmons fit with us too, and Elijah (Nkansah) and some guys that fit with us and added to our team. It’s so important, mentality. So important, the competitiveness and the chip on the shoulder that the guys bring and the attitude that they’ve got to prove something. Those guys, we’ve just lived with those guys.
” They’ve been the core of this team for years and I think it’s the element for any team in any sport anywhere. It’s that grit that they bring that makes them uniquely stand out and uniquely hang tough and persevere and all of the stuff that that stands for. We’re going to continue to try to evaluate even more deeply to understand our guys more so that we can count on what we’re going to get from the guys – and it’s not always about how fast they are or how big they are.
“I mean, a great example, let’s just talk about Poona. Poona’s 5’11” and he was player of the year in his conference because he was a great player in college and he got overlooked to the point where we had a chance to get him in free agency and we got him. That’s a classic example. He’s a baller and it’ll be really tough to keep him down because he’s just such a good football player and it means so much to him and he cares so much about it. It’s a great attribute of a guy. Hopefully, that’s consistent throughout.”
On how he keeps the unity together knowing the team will change)
“I’m going to take that challenge on personally, to do everything I can to find the ways to make sense to these guys of where we’re going and how they, in their individual ways, can contribute to this by figuring out who they are, what they are, what are the possibilities they can venture into to create the most dynamic aspect of themselves for this team.
“That’s in every aspect of developing them and challenging them and teaching them and challenging them to find their greatness. That’s what this is. It’s challenging them to find how deep they can dig and how much they have in there so that they don’t miss this opportunity to be the best they can possibly be, and that maybe sounds like a bunch of language to you but that’s what this is. It’s one guy, an individual, his story, his world, where he’s coming from, how can he tap into it, and how can we kick him in the ass to push him and then love him up and hug him up – whatever it takes to get that done.
” I’ve got a bunch of guys I’m working with that care in the same fashion. The staff cares that way. They understand this is what we’re all about and want the culture of this building to be obvious. You walk in here, you can tell that something’s going on here. That’s part of it and that means it’s an everyday, never stop ethic. Really, it’s the ethos of this place that we have to have that intact and I’ve got to make sure that that happens. To take on that challenge, that’s life’s challenges. That’s what we’ve got to do and see where that leads us.”