Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has had a bit of a youthful attitude about him. Between his animated appearance on the field that rivaled that of former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and inspirational coaching philosophy (or at least what is assumed as inspirational), it’s no surprise his interviews contain a guy enthusiastic just for enthusiasm's sake.
But what gets more interesting is when he gets a bit chippy. And that’s what happened with the Bay Area in their scheduled conference call. In all, it’s pretty tame when you think about it, and it’s not anything that will make a top-10 list anytime soon, but this is one of the more amusing question and answer sessions you’d hear this year. It almost sounds like a professional wrestler being interviewed rather than an NFL coach for some of these answers. Most of the stand-offish answers were met with laughs, but it sounded like there was some annoyance. At 10 minutes, the interview isn’t short, but it’s worth a listen if you want to be mildly amused.
How has the 49ers offense evolved since you last saw them earlier this year?
Well Colin Kaepernick has played a big factor. We were accustomed to seeing his style of play just like he did against the rams .He lit it up and came through with the plays he needed to win the football game. Lot of respect for what he does and is capable of doing. I think he’s putting his stamp on the offense. We’ve always known he’s a dynamic football player.
To that, his career arc has been different than most quarterbacks. He started off so well and had struggles. Do you see him getting back to that 2012, 2013 Kaepernick or show flashes of that?
Yeah, I think he’s getting the offense well. He’s using his legs to run in the running agme as well as the passing game. We see him as a threat he’s always been.
How does the Chip Kelly offense create complex for the defense? What are the issues your defense has to be on point with on Sunday?
They’re committed no-huddle team. So we have to be a no-huddle defense which we are pretty accustomed to now. There’s no surprise to that anymore. It’s kind of a high octane offense. They can get a lot of plays, they want to run the football. He’s a committed running guy with nice schemes. He probably has the best background of anybody with that shotgun running game going to his college days. He also knows how to get his passing game off of that and compliment. So it’s a well equipped scheme and he really knows what he’s doing.
How does he try to fit his passing game off the run game?
I’m not going to tell you that if that’s ok.
Ok. That’s fine. He probably knows though.
Yeah, he does knows that.
Does it look like it’s working better? I mean the offense as a whole? Just given that it is his [49ers head coach Chip Kelly] first year in San Francisco now vs. when you faced him in week 3?
Yeah, they’re just more experienced at it and more efficient. They’re doing a nice job, they don’t hurt themselves, they don’t turn the ball over a lot, they don’t get a lot of penalties. They’re a positive moving group.
You’re facing an offense that never huddles this week. In your opinion, what is the value of a huddle?
Well, that’s a good question. This game was designed behind huddling. Guys getting together, talking about it and playing the next play. It’s just shown it’s almost a sign of the times the ability to communicate on higher levels and more quickly, that’s really what it’s taken away from;the interchange and the interaction that happens in the huddle and on the way to the line of scrimmage. There’s a lot of players that have historically elevated the guys around them with those kind of connections. You go back to the old days of the niners when Joe [Montana] was talking to Jerry [Rice] when they were breaking the huddle and reminding him about this and that. If Jerry was standing on the flank the whole time, that conversation wouldn’t take place. There’s stuff that needs to be said on both ends of it but it certainly has invoked and taken over high school and college football which has sped up the game some which is good in some regards for the fans and those who follow it.
Have you considered no huddle? As a regular staple of your offense?
We’ve always talked about it, but we’re a little bit more old school I guess.
Obviously at 2-13 there are a lot of questions about the 49ers and who will be here next year. Just regarding Chip, this is his fourth season in the NFL. After your 4th season in the NFL, people didn’t regard you like they regard you now.
So what are you saying?
I’m saying you’ve been fired twice, I guess.
There ya go.
I guess you can take it right?
You’re about to find out.
So with that long wind-up. Do you see people having patience with a guy like Chip? Do you see things there that are like “Hey, you have to overlook 2-13 because this guy is a good football coach and give him a chance and he can be like Pete Carrol one day?”
Well I’m not going to comment on the San Francisco situation or anybody else. I will say this: This is a very complex job. It takes does time for guys to figure out how they are going to organize their approach and communicate, the dialogue they extend to the players and the fans and the administration and all that—it takes time to develop all of that, and you never are as good in the first couple of years as you are later on. There is so much to be gained through the experience of how you handle your business and how you handle your players how you handle your staff, the rigors of the season; the ups and downs, all the ins and outs. There are so many things that go on that coaches get way better doing it. I do think patience is rewarded as guys grow through these jobs. That doesn’t mean that’s what you do or what you should do, I just know there is so much to learn and how much better you can get just like any of us. I think patience is rewarded in general. The appreciation for how complex this job is not well understood. I don’t think you can understand it until you’ve been in it and done it. Sometimes I think people can act quickly and they can do what they want to do because they are the owners and they are pulling the strings, but we all just get so much better as we work at this. I’m a pretty good indication of that I think.
As it relates to Chip, do you think respect his coaching? Do you think he can be or is already good coach in this league?
What are you doing? Why would you ask me that? Of course I’d think that. I don’t even know why you’d ask that. He’s an extremely successful coach. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s been at the top of his game when he’s had his opportunities and hes’ shown in the NFL and college and all of that. I don’t know him very well, but I really admire the work that he’s done and the innovations that he’s brought to the game and the impact he’s had on it.
I’m going to let someone else—
I’m going to stop talking about your job anymore. What else do you want to know?
I’m going to let someone else ask a question, Pete
What about Trent Brown the young tackle? What have you seen from him in his second season does he look like a guy that was drafted in the 7th round to you?
He’s a monster of a guy. I think he’s going to be a fantastic player as he continues to grow. He’s already a problem. When you’re that equipped, you can move around like that and he’s so big, as he gains experience I think he’ll be one of the really good players in the league.
Were you surprised he fell to the 7th round when you guys were doing your evaluations.
Yeah, disappointed he wound up in our division.
Another young fellow, Rashard Robinson. Obviously an old secondary guy, what are your thoughts on him and does it look like he’s developing well for a rookie?
Who you calling old?
I’m just playing. I have picked up on Rashard’s play and watched him closely. I think he had an excellent game against L.A., was all over the field making plays. We have our eye on him and he’s a very good football player looks like he can make things happen. Haven’t seen a lot of him earlier, but when we go through this breakdown he’s really kind of come out and jumped off the film. He got there, the way he got to the league and all, but he’s really shown he really belongs.
Do you have somebody assigned to give you what you need to know about what’s going on in the Falcons game?
No. there’s no way. No. It makes no difference at all. This is a championship opportunity for us, and we’re going for it, regardless of what happens to anyone else, I don’t care.
Quick running back question: You guys have brought in a lot of running backs either through the draft or after the draft over the last few years. Is that sort of a team philosophical thing you do? Or is it a post-Marshawn Lynch thing where you need to have a lot of bodies because you’re not quite certain about that position?
We’re doing it the same way we do it at all positions, we’re just trying to do get as good as we can get as soon as possible. Has nothing to do with anything else. We got banged up, Thomas [Rawls] was hurt from last year, he broke his leg in the L.A. game earlier in the season. We were just without the guy we anticipated to be the lead back, C.J. Prosise jumped, on the scene, he was hurt all year, then when he jumped he did great, but he got hurt again. We just deal with injuries like we do with any other position.