RENTON, WA – Russian Wilson has consistently publicly supported Brian Schottenheimer during all three seasons as a quarterback and gambler. And why wouldn’t he?
With Schottenheimer hitting either from the sideline or from the skies, the Seahawks finished in the top 10 in the attack rankings, all three seasons at the helm. Leading the show under the center like a magician, Wilson enjoyed three of his best seasons, averaging 35 touchdown passes, passing 7.8 yards per attempt and scoring 107.2 passes in 48 games. He made three consecutive Pro Bowls and earned his first All-Pro selection after 40 touchdowns thrown in 2020.
Not surprisingly, after Schottenheimer was ousted in January 2021 due to reports by head coach Pete Carroll and head coach Pete Carroll called “philosophical disagreements,” Wilson again resigned from his troubled former coordinator, telling reporters that dismissal. at the post-season Zoom press conference.
“I don’t think it was my decision to change Schotty,” Wilson said at the time. “But I think the coach [Pete] Carroll made that decision. I think I trust his decision. But at the same time, we have obviously been so close to Schotty. That means he’ll be a great coach somewhere else. “
But looking back more than two years later, Wilson’s relationship with Schottenheimer was not as rosy as the picture he painted with local and national reporters that afternoon. According to the team’s source, although they did not feel bad against each other and maintained respect for each other, “Pro Bowl’s long-standing quarterback and his representatives pushed back a lot of coordinators behind the scenes after a disappointing end.” season 2020.
“Don’t let his comments hide his real thoughts,” the source said. “He was tired of Schotty from the point of view of the playing field and wanted something fresh. As much as he benefited from coaching, he didn’t believe the two could coexist in a football marriage.”
How did the dynamics of the quarterback / coordinator deteriorate to this point? As The Athletic has previously reported, after two grim attacks on Bills and Rams, the situation began to boil over when Wilson met with coaches before Thursday night’s football match against the Cardinals in week 11.
In a week of short preparation, Wilson felt he had viable solutions to restore Seahawks’ former unstoppable attack. He passed these ideas on to the coaching staff, but Carroll, Schottenheimer, and others involved in the game’s planning process completely rejected them, leading the player to rush out of the meeting room in frustration.
Although Seattle managed to secure a 28:21 win over Arizona this week and win six of the last seven games to secure the NFC West title, the attack was not a driving force behind that success. Specifically, the passing game continued, and Wilson and his relatives did not forget the meeting. Considering himself one of the elite defenders of the NFL and constantly talking about the importance of his legacy, he had long sought more influence over schemes and staffing decisions, but kept those desires behind closed doors.
Because coaches like Schottenheimer rejected his proposals, Wilson could no longer do so. It wasn’t personal. It was just business.
As he admitted after losing the Wild Card to Rams at 30:20 a few days before Schottenheimer’s unexpected dismissal, Wilson wasn’t happy with the lack of pace because he wanted to interfere more with the non-Huddle help in reading and making the defense. In too many cases, the production came late, leaving little time for such readings on the offensive line before the ball was hit and burned.
“At the beginning of the season, we were able to take deep blows and the like early,” Wilson told Rams after the loss. “I think our pace, our pace and getting in and out and everything else I think we lost it a little bit, maybe a little bit and I think it’s something we’re doing very, very well. So keep that pace and keep pace, I think [that’s] something I’m really trying to explore so much this off-season, and see how we keep putting our foot on the gas?
While contributing to the team’s struggle, Wilson also expressed outrage at Seattle’s inability to respond effectively to his opponents’ defenses, giving them two high-level safety gazes to bring a deep ball to stars DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Whether it’s fair or not, finding a schematic solution is up to the coordinator, and it just didn’t happen because the team scored five or 20 points out of the last nine games.
Ironically, Carroll Wilson supported the need for change in a relationship where there was a lot of friction. As he had said several times at the end of the season when the Seahawks attack swelled, he also lamented Schottenheimer’s lack of change and wanted to return to running football, as they did in their Super Bowl in 2013 and 2014.
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Of course, although the two men agreed not to adapt to the opponents who helped bet the Seattle offensive in the second half, Wilson did not want to hand over a bunch of football, as he did early in his career. He didn’t want to be a glorified playmaker. When he scored 28 assists in the first eight games of the 2020 season, he wished he could rebuild an attack similar to Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City or Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.
But Carroll had already seen the Let Russ Cook movement as a setback in Seattle and was not interested in steering back in that direction. He said the 10 combined ball losses against Arizona, Buffalo and Los Angeles in the three games ahead of the infamous VMAC match provided tangible evidence that the attack could not pass through his defender in the long run. which meant imminent doom along the way.
In the end, Schottenheimer acted as a fork between the sharply opposing offensive ideologies of Carroll and Wilson, leading to his overthrow. On the one hand, he wanted to continue to look for Wilson’s striking opportunities and take advantage of his strengths as a bottom-pitcher. But he had also cut his teeth to develop ground-based star attacks for more than a decade as a coordinator and building on his previous reputation. His recent efforts to combat changes to his defense mechanisms were unsuccessful.
Days after Schottenheimer received his walking papers, Wilson quickly left his usual guarded behavior, expressing his resentment in public interviews after Super Bowl LV. He was tired of being beaten so much, asked Seattle to add more stars to the list, and expressed interest in getting more involved in such staff decisions, although Carroll later said the defender never spoke to him. about this desire.
Shortly afterwards, Wilson’s agent Mark Rodgers talked to CEO John Schneider about his client’s future. When the match ended in poor conditions, he decided to attract four teams to ESPN’s Adam Schefter whose client would be willing to give up his non-trade clause to play. Trade speculation revolved around the player and the franchise, so Carroll met with the defender to clear things up and put out the fire he said caused and provoked the media.
Although Schneider called on Wilson to buy through trading after Wilson’s public comments and the brave PR maneuver of his agent, Seahawks was not yet ready to move on and did not receive an offer that could not be rejected. The members of the organization believed that meeting the player’s demands for free agencies and the bill, along with being able to play a key role in electing Shane Waldron to replace Schottenheimer, would keep her happy and streamline things. The title window was still open.
When Wilson arrived in the middle of the OTAs, both he and Carroll said all the right things, they seem to have put their problems aside. Earlier trade rumors were seen as water under a bridge, and they were ready to take another chance at the championship together in Seattle.
Unfortunately, the same problems that irritated Wilson in previous seasons did not go away when Schottenheimer ceased to be a gambler. After a strong start to the first two weeks of the season, Waldron’s attack battled many of the same recurring problems, including an inability to adjust in the second half of the game and bring the chains down third. The quarterback then suffered the first major injury of his career in Week 5, falling into a reserve injured by a tendon rupture in the middle finger.
When Wilson returned after skipping the first three games of his career, he was clearly not close to 100% and suffered three consecutive losses to Packers, Cardinals and Commander. Dropped to 3-8 in the season, the Seahawks were out of the play-offs before the calendar went into December, and at that point it became clear that the franchise was undergoing major changes.
The million-dollar question that came after the worst season in more than a decade was: would Russell Wilson be a part of that future?
For destiny, Wilson would not. Even after Carroll told reporters at the combine that the team had no intention of dealing with him, he received an offer from Seattle Denver that he simply could not refuse, leaving Mile High City with two first-round selections, two second-round selections, a fifth-round pick, and three well-established veteran players.
When the deal went official on March 16, Wilson and the Seahawks started playing elsewhere. The quarterback would eventually be able to play offensive to the head coach, who would allow him to be the center of attack, while his former team could use the drift capital acquired for the future Hall of Fame to update their list with young talent. fits Carroll’s vision to win games.
In retrospect, after several months in the Broncos, a number of factors contributed to Wilson’s shocking departure. Schneider’s willingness to flirt with prospective defenders, including Wyoming’s Josh Allen in 2018, shattered feathers and then some. The reluctance of Carroll and other key decision-makers to fully engage in a player-centric attack over the years has been disappointing. Being beaten behind shaky lines of attack and the inability to move on in the afternoon made things even more sour.
But Wilson’s intense conversations with coaches at that infamous meeting in November 2020 stand out as a real turning point, marking the end of his time at the Seahawks. Especially for all the great things he had accomplished with Schottenheimer next to him, and the friendship they enjoyed outside the square, even if he did not intend to make his thoughts public, it no longer worked for him. The same can be said of Carroll for mostly different reasons, the dynamics that eventually accelerated the decay process.
When Wilson’s powerhouse, which helped hire the coordinator he helped select manually, didn’t go out as expected and Seattle dropped to last place in the NFC West 7-10, it became clear that the organization would never trust him to be the center of the offense. No longer sure that both sides can work in harmony, it was really time for both sides to break up and start again.
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