At the time of Mr. Carroll's hire, the words "Clear Vision" were thrown around with sustained conviction by Pete and John, met with derision by the media, and met with skepticism by fans inured to front office promises. The cheerleader from USC says anything, because he is so pumped and jacked, said the college coaches never make it in the NFL crowd. He doesn't really want to coach in Seattle, he is just running from the Reggie Bush scandal, sniveled the pundits. Pros do not buy into Rah Rah coaching at this level, said every damn talking head. Seattle was accused of almost racism in the hiring process for a near violation of the Rooney rule, Pete was releasing a poorly timed book that touted his philosophy, and every player who ever played at USC was linked to the Hawks future by every reporter and blogger with a hunch.
Vision is a funny word that must confuse the hell out of people just learning English. Rhymes with fission, while breaking phonetic rules. I have good vision. Awesome. My vision needs correction. Coke bottle correction, or contacts? I just had a vision. Kook. Pete and John share a vision. Bull.
Those were dark days for many Hawk fans. Foggy days. Rainy days with low visibility. Pete's vision was only clear to a few people. His corrective lenses were of a prescription available to few of us. Binocular in one eye, Telescope in the other.
I freely admit to not having a clue about Seattle's direction after Pete was hired. I knew I was glad the Keystone Cops, aka Ruskell and Mora, were gone, but hope is not vision. Sometimes, hope is less transparent than pure misery.
Fast forward to Week 16, 2011. Seattle still could finish with a losing record. Seattle is assured of at least the same record as last year, and if they do finish that way, the superficial will have their say. Pete will be a .500 career coach in their eyes.
Do you care, or will statements like that just be your new filter for separating the ignorant from the informed?
"No one wants to play Seattle right now." 8 words that ultimately are the ultimate gladiatorial respect inside the NFL fraternity aside from the word "Dynasty". Tim Ryan, the play-by-play man for Sunday's telecast and former NFL defensive lineman, spoke those very words about Seattle and their pure physicality. Beast Mode isn't one player in Seattle right now, it is a culture. It is an attitude that can be almost immune to win/loss record. And it was part of Mr. Carroll's vision when he took over. Seattle fans have lamented even during the winning years that a finesse label was unfairly hung on them by both the NFL's elite and the media, but looking back from where we are right now, can you see why that label was applied? Has your vision cleared? Yeah, I know, hindsight is numerically distinct, but still...can you wear those same spectacles looking forward? Because Pete can.
We fans have speculated about the causes of Seattle's poor road record, in particular in the eastern time zones, for the better part of three decades. Even the coaches tried various things, like changing departure dates and altering practice schedules to reflect time change. Winning on the road in the NFL will never be easy, the inherent advantages of playing at home on your field with your fans will always exist. But is the most effective way to exorcise this NFL demon clear to you now? Our finesse team label was a very real handicap on the road, because it wasn't just a label. It was a reality, a reality that is evaporating before our eyes.
Because Pete has a vision that is clear to him, and is rapidly becoming clear to many fans.
Don't feel bad if you are just coming on board with Pete right now. Part of the lack of clarity of Pete's vision hangs on him. He speaks in catchphrases, which in all honesty is full of contradictions. He talks about priorities as absolutes, like last year when he said this was not a rebuild, and Seattle wanted to win right now, with the talent they had. If you still think this is not a complete rebuild, your grasp of English is tenuous at best. He and John have redefined the words roster churn. Carroll promised that the firing of Bates did not mean he was changing offenses, then he brought in Bevell, who brought his old quarterback because Jackson knew his offense. Wait a sec... I thought we were not changing offenses? When he was hired, much was made of Pete being off of the Monte Kiffen cover 2 tree, which was understandable, since Pete mentioned his admiration of those principles repeatedly. Knowing that, did you envision the two tallest corners in the NFL playing this amount of press coverage?
No doubt about it, Pete's words make seeing his vision pretty damn difficult sometimes. By now, you know that if Pete is hopeful an injured player will play this week, doctors are reattaching his limbs at that very moment, and if Pete thinks he might miss a game, a priest is currently performing last rites. If Pete's lips are moving, he is lying. On accident. I think. Because he speaks in ideals and philosophies. It only sounds like English.
According to John Schneider, this thing is only halfway done right now. Last week, he spoke to the aforementioned Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan on SiriusXM NFL radio and indicated that the rebuild of this team has two more off seasons before it reverts to roster maintenance. Parts of Pete's vision remain unclear right now. What is his real plan for the quarterback position? He said the words Point Guard Qaurterback and confused the hell out of many of us, who wonder what he really means. How will he approach providing even more pass rush? Is this what he wants to happen at the linebacker spot, or will he eventually fill that position with players like he had at USC, where he often had some of his best athletes playing linebacker?
And is there any remaining reason to doubt his vision?