What affect will Pete Carroll have on the 2010 Seahawks?
Could he be the offensive spark TJ Houshmandzadeh didn’t provide in 2009?
Who knows? We might not be sure about his intentions until we get to the NFL Draft. The Seahawks have many questions and are in dire need of help. However, from a fantasy perspective there is some talent already in Seattle.
Can Carroll pick the right complements/replacements and get the most out of the offense? That’s the most important thing for us fantasy managers, right?
Could I possibly include any more question marks in this intro? (Rhetorical!) Let’s move on.
Carroll’s previous NFL fingerprint
In his previous stints in the NFL, Carroll was less than stellar.
In 1994 with the Jets, his contributions hurt the 6-10 team’s offense and defense despite having the same skill players from the 8-8 team that finished third in the AFC East the year before.
In his second head coaching stint, a three-year tenure with the Patriots, Carroll had the benefit of Drew Bledsoe’s golden arm and inherited a team that went 11-5-0 and won the AFC East and went to the Super Bowl as AFC Champions under Bill Parcells.
New England repeated as AFC East Champs in Carroll’s first year. They gave up fewer points, but the offense wasn’t quite as potent either.
The following two years saw steady declines on both sides of the ball and increasingly less impressive records despite Bledsoe and the addition of Terry Glenn as a big contributor.
Here’s a quick look at some basic stats that tell the tale of decline from Parcells’ last year through Carroll’s tenure:
Year 1996 1997 1998 1999
Points 418 369 337 299
P/against 313 289 324 284
Record 11-5 10-6 9-7 8-8
Some college coaches just can’t coach in the pros. So far, Carroll hasn’t given anyone reason to think he’ll buck that trend. Expect this stint to be another short one.
However, Carroll has had two previous NFL head coaching stints and several assistant jobs before that. He’s also coming off several years running a successful top-level college program.
So, could he surprise? Absolutely. Will he produce fantasy stars? Ah, there’s the important question.
With the smattering of talent the Seahawks already have and his track record it wouldn’t be surprising to see him churn out a few.
While he didn’t have great success with the Ws and Ls as an NFL coach, Carroll always had a few fantasy stars on his squads. Jets receiver Rob Moore went to the Pro Bowl under Carroll. Bledsoe, Curtis Martin, Terry Glenn, Robert Edwards, Troy Brown, Shawn Jefferson and Terry Allen all provided some great fantasy performances while Carroll was in New England.
Players worth noting
Some marginally significant fantasy players might see their roles change considerably based on Carroll’s personnel and coaching decisions:
Matt Hasselbeck –– This is the obvious one. Will he stay healthy? Is he done? Will he be a half-season stopgap before a rookie replaces him in 2010? Will Carroll and the ‘Hawks bring in a veteran QB?
Julius Jones — It became more obvious as the season went on that Jones just cannot be a feature back. He did average 3.7 yards per carry so we can’t count him out as a bye-week filler until we know what kind of scheme Carrol’s going to run.
Justin Forsett — Forsett seems like the heir apparent to Jones spot. He showed flashes of brilliance in 2009, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Carroll makes him the starter. In fact, if the team doesn’t bring in someone else I’d be more surprised if Jones remains the starter. Forsett averaged 5.4 yards per carry and had more 100-yard games (2-to-1) than the former Dallas back.
TJ Houshmandzadeh — Could still be a productive player, but he’s not going to put up the points he did over that four-year stretch with the Bengals even if there are serious changes. He was criminally underused in 2009 — he only had 79 catches, his smallest total since he had 78 in 2005-06. Carroll has to rectify that.
Nate Burleson –– A valuable free agent pickup for a lot of fantasy teams in 2009, Burleson’s fate will follow Housh’s, but this could be a formidable 1-2 punch — with Burleson deep and Houshmandzadeh over the middle — if the offense gets on track. Had he not missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain, Burleson would have finished with 1,000 yards for the second time in his career.
John Carlson — One of my preseason favorites looked great after Week 1 — 6 catches, 95 yards 2 TDs — but disappeared after that. Carlson did have a few more fantasy points in 2009 than he did in 2008, but not nearly as many as a lot of people thought he might. If Carroll wants to succeed, he’ll involve Carlson more.
What do you guys think? Is Carroll going to be good or bad for the Seahawks? Discuss in the comments section below.