Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk is back with another question for us. If you can't view the video above, here is what he had to say:
When you're Professional Grade, you look to stay ahead of others in your field. Think about what defines your team. Maybe it's a tough defense. Or a commitment to the ground game. What team in the league is most similar to yours in playing style or emphasis? What can your team learn from them that will help you reach the next level?
This is kind of a difficult question, because the San Francisco 49ers are all over the place at this point. How many teams have a championship caliber defense, and a "lottery pick" offense? And how many have a lot of talented players on the crappy unit?
Naturally, one of the first teams I thought of was this weekend's opponent, the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers and Seahawks have been similar in recent years, with both teams built around strong defenses. They both have had notable offensive weapons, but neither is really thought of as offense first. There are some basic similarities right there, even if they go about things in different manners.
However, this also got me thinking about part of Pete Carroll's conference call earlier this week. The Seahawks got this season off to a strong start with a Week 1 thumping of the Green Bay Packers. However, they went 2-3 in the following five games, and people quickly assumed the Super Bowl hangover was in effect. The team has since turned things around, and Pete Carroll explained some of his thoughts about the turnaround
On moment/game when Seahawks figured out what they needed to do as a team:
Well, I think in every season there's an ebb and flow to the focus and attention to the really crucial matters, and it kind of comes and goes. Last year, we got off to a great start, we were 9-1 or whatever, and then we started faltering in the middle there, and we had all kinds of problems. In that, we had to kind of rediscover what kept us connected, what kept us so tuned in and intense like we needed to be. And we were able to find it and so this year was much of the same. It's never just steady all the way throughout. There's ups and downs, and challenges, injuries, and concerns and issues of all sorts. And you have to bounce from those things and make sure you stay true. Sometimes you have to take a step backwards to take a couple steps forward, and that's just the way it is.
On sensing when this kind of thing is happening
I think everything counts. We have to be great observers, and listeners, and watchers, and communicators, so that we always can stay abreast of what's happening. And sometimes you can't stop it from the way it's going, until you kind of get to a critical juncture. And that's just how it goes. Last year, we were down 21-0 to Tampa Bay at home, and they were 0-8 at the time. And they played like the Green Bay Packers of old, you know, they were killing us. It was a fantastic game for them, and we had to come back from that, and we fortunately did. And we had to regroup after that. This year, we got bounced around some in uncommon fashion. It took us some depths to get to before we could figure out we needed to get back to the right business, and all that. It's not as easy as it sounds. It's like tuning a fine instrument, it's difficult. And so it does take observation, information from the players, a feel, and all kinds of stuff to get it done. And that's why we have a big staff, and all try and take care of our business, and figure it out.
Carroll talked about how things can go awry and sometimes you can't stop it right when you want to. He mentioned letting things get to a critical juncture. It's safe to say the 49ers passed "critical juncture" a while ago. I don't know that they will be able to re-group at this point, although it is safe to say a win over the Seahawks would certainly go a long way toward helping them re-group.
Carroll didn't exactly provide any sort of magical formula for what got the Seahawks turned around, but he is correct about ebb and flow. However, in the 49ers case, the ebb and flow might just be something that is year-to-year in this case. The key now is figuring out the problem ASAP before the 49ers find themselves in a repeat of much of last decade.