The Division Preview Series goes to the blue bloods of the NFC West, where the most interesting marriages between quarterbacks and coaches live.
What do Jenny, Conor and Gary think of the Jared Goff update to Matthew Stafford? Will this increase the pressure on Sean McVay? Will Les Snead catch some heat if a fine defense crumbles? And is it anything less than an acceptable Super Bowl for the Rams?
A look at Trey Lance and all the many reasons this isn’t like RG3’s setup – Kyle Shanahan in Washington. Examine the Seahawks’ search for answers with a Russell Wilson-centric offense and find a solution for Jamal Adams on defense. And does Kliff Kingsbury’s offense have more than just a cool name? Could Rondale Moore be the alcohol that shoots the red Kool-Aid?
Plus our preseason poll for the order of arrival, a preview of the division Mad libs–Style, Conor’s anti-bucket list, lots of powdered drinks and much more.
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Gary Gramling: I also like Budda Baker, and I want to use that as a transition to our most interesting coach here in the division. I’m going with Pete Carroll because I feel like if you guys are the Seahawks and you just got Jamal Adams and now you face Budda Baker twice a year and you look at Budda Baker and you say oh that’s what our guy was supposed to should be doing. And this is not how it works. Pete Carroll has a lot of really cool things going on with his team right now. Number one, you could do some kind of 1A, with Shane Waldron here, the new offensive coordinator coming from the Rams, because we’ve seen some kind of offensive coordinator series that you wouldn’t say like, oh, this offense failed. , but everyone is trying to build something focused on Russell Wilson. And it just hasn’t been fully sustained success for, you know, 19 games and it’s gotten them where they ultimately want to go. And as you saw last year, he was very aggressive at the beginning of the season. And then they had a series of turnovers and it seemed like it really rocked Pete Carroll. And he pulled back and looked more like the Marshawn Lynch-centric offense, the Chris Carson-centric offense, which they’ve run for years in Seattle at the end of the season. So are you going to let Shane Waldron do his thing and find an answer here with Russell Wilson? And have that elite offense for a full season that they just haven’t had over the years. And then of course the other big question, you know, Carroll and Ken Norton Jr. have to figure out exactly what they want to do with Jamal Adams, who’s on a one-year contract and probably wants to get paid sooner rather than later. A lot of service capital was spent to get it. Are they falling for some kind of sunk cost fallacy? It just wasn’t, maybe it was an injury, but you could tell from the way they used it, it wasn’t what they expected last season to be. They expected a lot more from the coverage. Every time a team could get a catcher to face Jamal Adams, they attacked him and they pulled it off and he turned into a guy that’s a blitzer. I think he can handle some limited coverage roles, but they have to figure out what they’re going to do to maximize Jamal Adams here. And I don’t know if he’s necessarily using him as a linebacker, because they’re already quite interested in linebackers here between Bobby Wagner and Jordan Brooks, a former first-round pick. So you can go a lot of different ways with the Seahawks here, and it will be really interesting what Pete Carroll finds out, especially in the division where I think the Rams and 49ers are probably better teams. But every year, the Seahawks only have 10 or 11 wins, no matter how it plays out.
Conor Orr: Yeah I wonder when the wheels completely come off on this and, you know, maybe to your point, you know, is some of Russell Wilson’s frustration justified to the end? You know, are they wasting service capital or not getting you the things you need to be successful? I know they got a wide receiver and I think Russell Wilson could help elevate it. You can also work on the return game. But I think there is an agreement on this. Like, you know, if you look from the outside in, Pete Carroll’s valuable contribution to the NFL was that defense, right? It was Cover 3 that changed everything, but all the branches of your tree have taken it and made better things with it, right? Robert Saleh did cool things with him, Dan Quinn did cool things with him, Guss Bradley is changing some things and doing some cool things with him. And they just remained stagnant. They don’t have the punishing athletes that they used to have to run the system the way it was created. And so, at some point, Pete Carroll is arguably the best culture creator or perhaps the second best culture creator in the NFL. But at some point, when do you need him to, you know, step aside so you can get that extra oomph? Because you’re right, they’re wasting time, they’re wasting draft capital on guys who aren’t performing as well as they should be.
Jenny Vrentas: Yes, it seems the same story every year in Seattle with a similar ending. But is it your choice then, Conor, or do you have someone else?
CO: So that’s not my choice, Jenny. I wanted to sprinkle some divisional potpourri in here. I wanted us to be able to hit all the boxes here. But I’d say my most interesting coach, and I’m going to recycle a point I made 10 minutes ago, would be Kyle Shanahan, and just because I think there’s a lot of pressure on Kyle Shanahan, right? I think it’s interesting that we have assumed that he is the guru, that he knows what he’s doing, but I think you could argue that there have been more losses or high-profile mistakes and great associated moments. with him that these moments of innovation or whatever you want to call it. And so I think that switching and selecting a quarterback that he is going to stamp his name on will be more ingrained in his legacy than 28-3 or the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, this is going to cement his legacy, I think like an offensive interlocutor and a guru. Can you mold the quarterback now? Can you change the quarterback? Can you make it what we think it will be? And that’s why I’m really interested. Because I think Kyle is the best offensive mind in the NFL. I think I can say that probably comfortably. But, you know, that’s where you are now and that’s where you can take this. And I think I’m interested in seeing where his legacy goes from here and how that changes and changes throughout the season.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.