NFC Notes: Seahawks, Carroll, Foster, Saints

Appearing on Dave Dameshek’s podcast, Cliff Avril said that following the Seahawks‘ loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, Pete Carroll started losing the trust of his players. The former Seattle defensive end said “a lot of guys got turned off” when the head coach opted for a potential game-winning pass instead of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch.

Of course, we know what happened next. With the ball at the one-yard line, quarterback Russell Wilson ended up throwing a game-deciding interception to New England cornerback Malcolm Butler.

“If we win that Super Bowl I think we would have won another one,” Avril said (via Michael David Smith of “I do think the team would have bought in more to what Coach Carroll was saying, instead of going the opposite way.

“Guys started kind of questioning him more instead of following his lead if we had won the Super Bowl.”

The Seahawks ended up losing in the divisional round during the 2015 and 2016 playoffs, and they failed to make the postseason in 2017. The team ultimately let go of a number of veterans this offseason.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner has left Athletes First and is without an agent, reports Liz Mullen SportsBusiness Daily (via Twitter). Wagner signed a four-year, $43MM extension (about $22MM guaranteed) with the Seahawks back in 2016, and he still has two years remaining on that deal.
  • According to Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb, 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster had “several months of clean drug screen results” during his pre-trial diversion program (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch on Twitter). Foster ultimately completed the program. In this past week, Foster has seen both of his offseason arrests lead to dismissed cases. Yesterday, the former first-rounder had a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge dismissed, and we learned earlier this week that he wouldn’t be charged in a domestic violence case.
  • The Saints are still hoping that special teams coach Mike Westhoff will return to the organization after he successfully completes recovery from offseason surgery, according to Josh Katzenstein of The 70-year-old underwent surgery for “an issue from his hip all the way down his leg,” and he’s yet to return to New Orleans. Sean Payton had previously expressed some optimism in Westhoff’s return, but he also said he didn’t expect the coach to come back until training camp. After retiring in 2012, Payton convinced Westhoff to return to the NFL towards the end of last season.
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14 comments on “NFC Notes: Seahawks, Carroll, Foster, Saints

  1. danielstats

    While I never been a fan of Pete Carroll I think that any player who does not give it all and questions the coach should be shown the door. He is the coach. You don’t think he made the call because he thought he was wrong.

    • cka2nd

      That’s just not realistic, danielstats. With a head coach like Greg Childress, you’d have to cut half the team, including Pro Bowlers. Pete Carroll will get cut more slack, but it’s not endless. I’m not sure there were too many tears shed in Cleveland when Paul Brown was shown the door, and he was only probably the single greatest head coach in professional football to that point in time.

  2. fungie22

    Why did he lose trust of players? He’s the coach he calls the plays. If they scored would they have complained?

    • seattleite

      People also forget that the pass play was on the 2nd down. Given the timeout situation and 4 potential downs, it stands to reason that one of them was going to include a pass. The call may not have been the best one, but it did allow enough time for two more plays.

      • seattleite

        Lynch ran on 1st down. Also, he wasn’t very successful in goal line situations like that all year. Details!

        • cka2nd

          Not to doubt you, but if he wasn’t scoring in goal line situations, how the heck did he end up with 13 rushing TD’s that year?

  3. konalawrence

    As a staunch 49er fan, I’ve grown to respect Carroll as a class act, starting with the respect he paid a departing Harbaugh. Hard to understand players turning on him like this – pretty lame.

    • seattleite

      Agreed. Especially Sherman. Carroll is a huge reason why he even has an NFL career.

      • cka2nd

        Fair or not, if you’ve followed the game long enough, why are you surprised? In reading books about the Minnesota Vikings, there is an undercurrent of criticism towards the coaching staff by the players of those four Super Bowl losing teams (sometimes pretty specific about the problems, but never naming names). And before anyone rushes to Bud Grant’s defense, the press was all over the Vikings at the time for being tense and not handling the two week’s between the conference championship games and the super bowls as well as their opponents.

        Now, I can’t say how soon the doubts in the Seahawks’ locker room became a real problem, but an historically good defense saw the running game fall apart, the offensive line fall apart, and their team barely getting 10 wins and then losing in the playoffs two years in a row. And the broken pieces remained broken in 2017. Hell, from a distance, I’ve been wondering when Russell Wilson was going to demand a trade because he was tired of having to run for his life every other play.

        Carroll essentially lost the players’ unofficial “Vote of Confidence,” is what Avril is saying. He wouldn’t be the first successful coach to do so, and he won’t be the last.

  4. whereslou

    Everyone says that is the worst call ever but nobody really puts the blame where it really belongs. That ball was high and in front of the WR ( brain dead on who it was right now) where it gave Butler the chance to catch it. If it was low and right at his body where it should be so his body screened it Butler would have to foul him to get the ball. The fault is not PCs it is Wilson’s for a poorly thrown ball. Nobody will say that because we can’t say anything bad about RW. The call wasn’t bad the execution was bad.

    • seattleite

      Agreed that a better throw may have prevented the interception. Kearse was unable to block out Butler too. I blame him more.

      • cka2nd

        You both may be right, and the players thinking Lynch should have gotten the ball could be wrong, but that’s the kind of debate that can just go round-and-round for years, with the other side arguing that Lynch getting the ball again was always the safer play.

        Someone pointed out her a week or two ago how few games Wilson had won the last three years when the team has been behind going into the fourth quarter. Really made me question whether he is an elite QB or not.

        • whereslou

          Did they show stats or just make a statement? Because I don’t think that is correct. Just from memory he has a great record at come from behind wins. I could be wrong but it seems that he is very giod at it. Maybe it is after the last SB but I doubt it.

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