Seahawks fans not in the mood to show patience, but team needs to stay patient
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who has never met a superlative he couldn’t overuse, unplugged the hype machine. He didn’t talk about being “pumped” or “jacked” for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh. He knew better. He was mellow, for a change.
“We need to keep taking these different situations on and see what we can make of it,” Carroll said.
See what we can make of it? Who stole Carroll’s master copy of “Win Forever”? It has been a long time since he has tiptoed into a big game with a “Gee whiz, I hope they don’t see us coming, so we can surprise them” tone.
How concerning is the Seahawks’ slow start? It’s so worrisome that Carroll isn’t living off adrenaline anymore. Humility is pumping in his veins now.
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The Seahawks are only 0-1 this season. So, why does it feel like 0-10?
If you listened to too much of the reaction following last week’s 33-17 loss to San Francisco, you were left wondering what you had missed. The anger and distrust exceeded normal early-season temper tantrums. Only one thing could’ve made the fans more venomous: An announcement that Tim Ruskell is back as team president.
Well, that didn’t happen, and if you’ve already consumed the few positives the Seahawks have shown so far, perhaps you can celebrate the fact that not all of your worst nightmares are coming true. No, the all-too-realistic bad dreams are relegated to the new offensive line, the questionable quarterback replacement and the rampant youth, for now.
Still, the Seahawks are only one game down. Yes, you saw their warts throughout the preseason, but this team barely has begun disappointing you. So, why so much anger?
First of all, folks are tired of rebuilding. Even though the Seahawks made the playoffs with a 7-9 record last season, they’re amid a bad stretch of three consecutive losing seasons, and a fourth almost seems inevitable. It’s as simple as that for many in the barking masses, but don’t underestimate a more subtle and complicated issue.
This rage is also the fans’ reaction to dramatic change that has yet to produce thrilling results. Under Carroll and general manager John Schneider, the Seahawks have altered the direction of their franchise in a major way, breaking up with popular stars such as Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu along the way. While most fans admit this is necessary, they still had to pay a high price. The roster overhaul has cost them players they loved. It has cost them some of their joy in watching the Seahawks.
There’s an easy cure, of course: Winning. A lot of winning. But the Seahawks aren’t ready for that. They’ve been far more entertaining in the offseason than to watch when the games really matter. They’re not a football team right now. They’re an idea, part of a master plan Carroll and Schneider are determined to implement, sentimentality be damned.
So you watch, intrigued at first. Then, horrified. Now, enraged. The Seahawks have sold you on the notion that cold, hard, ruthless business is the proper way to build a winner. As a result, you’re becoming hardened, too. You want a return on the patience you’ve given this franchise. And though you understand this is a rebuilding process, it’s hard to struggle through the poor initial results and not wonder if you’ll ever collect all that you’ve lost, with interest.
What’s missing this season? The joy. It’s mid-September, and there are 15 games remaining, but it already feels like a lost season. What’s the point, right?
Such thinking goes against the virtue of sports. You watch for the unexpected thrills. You watch because, even when you know that’s going to happen, you never know what’s going to happen. You watch to be entertained by the improbable and the illogical.
And what happens when your favorite team just makes you ill?
This is the Season of Second Guessing. It could wind up being the worst year Carroll and Schneider ever have in Seattle. They must allow their young players to mature and gain experience. They must do so at the expense of victories at times. You will question most every decision Carroll and Schneider will make. You will wonder if they changed too soon and too arrogantly. On the other side, they must stay committed to their plan and manage expectations as much as possible.
Carroll seems to be attempting that. But even the joy is now hidden on his face. It has been replaced by a stern yet ponderous disposition, that of a man intent on solving a problem.
We’ll see what he can make of it.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @Jerry_Brewer