Just an in general note that I mentioned earlier in this thread ...
This Seahawks coaching staff has a truly remarkable ability to game plan. Honestly, they're one of the very best I've ever seen at it ... and definitely the best in the history of Seahawks Football for sure. Now I loved Mike Holmgren (and still do) in so many ways ... but God love him, he wasn't very good at adapting to what other teams were trying to do to him IMO. He used to script the first 15 plays or so at the beginning of the game ... and those would often work to perfection. The Hawks under Holmgren (in general) used to get out to leads early ... only to watch teams come back on them in the 2nd Half. That happened again and again, as games always seemed to turn in to nail biters.
Pete Carroll's coaching staff -- totally different. If a team has success against them, it's generally early. They have a remarkable ability (almost uncanny) to figure out what a team is doing against them on the fly during the game ... and to adjust accordingly. Holmgren could never do that, as if a team got up on us early, it was generally over. These guys even if they're down by 20 Points at Half ... generally tend to figure out what a team is doing and adjusts (usually stunningly well).
In fact, I did a study earlier this year in which I compared 1st Half Point Totals to 2nd Half Point Totals (both for the Seahawks and their opponents). The data showed exactly that -- that again and again the Seahawks had more points in the 2nd Half, while their opponents had far less than the 1st Half. I have a very good friend who's a long time very passionate USC Fan. I ran this by him and he agreed that this seemed to be a Pete Carroll trait, as he saw time and time again over a 10 year period these kinds of in game adjustments and amazing comebacks.
Pete Carroll was on with 710 ESPN’s Brock and Salk the day after the Seahawks 42-13 victory over the 49ers on Christmas Eve last year (12/24/2012). During that interview, he gave some fascinating insights not only on the Seahawk Offense as a whole … but on his overall mentality as a coach. For those who might actually want to listen to the interview itself (maybe as you read it), go ahead and click on the link at the bottom of the transcript.
Huard: “… and you watch those plays last night. Those are some of the same plays -- tell me if I’m wrong here. Was the touchdown to Baldwin not the same similar concept as the throw to Charlie Martin Week 1 on the corner route in Arizona? Are they some of the same concepts and plays you’re running?”
Carroll: “Yeah, you’d be surprised how similar those are. I mean, there’s subtleties on how we move stuff around. There’s splits and things like that. But, yeah – had we, we’re so much better now – we would have won the Arizona game. They wouldn’t have been able to keep us out on 3 shots to get in – I mean, there’s just no way. We’re so much more efficient. That’s a great throw by Russell. You know, they’ve got a little combination coverage there on the guys right there. They jumped the heck out of Golden because he’s caught the Chicago touchdown and he caught one – you know, Carolina – caught a couple of those and made some big plays on that route. Which, it’s just a matter of reading it out for the quarterback. And on the combo they wind out inside of the corner route and they couldn’t catch up – he throws a great throw to the back flag – and a great catch, you know. So, that’s just getting better – them improving and understanding – they’ve thrown hundreds of those now. When we used to throw about 10 or 20 of them – now we’ve thrown hundreds, so it makes a difference in our ability to execute.”
Huard: “So in some ways that is the essence of efficiency right?”
Carroll: “We can’t make up new plays week in and week out across the board. There’s just no way. There’s little things that we do – little wrinkles that you put in and stuff, but basically you continue to function with your basic stuff. We’ve run inside-outside zone forever. Those are the same blocking schemes forever and ever and ever and we try to – when the defense breaks down, we make a big play because we’re so consistent. And that’s what makes Tom [Cable] such a big difference on our team because of his commitment to the running game in that fashion. And so, you’re seeing the same plays. You’re seeing the same calls for the most part – with wrinkles and formations and shifts and motions and things to make sure that the opponent doesn’t know that they’re coming.”
Salk: “The fact that you’re running a lot of the same plays and different formations – does that give you some of the time to work on the Pistol and develop that? Does it give you a little extra time?”
Carroll:“Yeah a little bit. A little bit. But we still don’t have that much time. One of the things that you really want to do in football is you want to have things that your opponent knows that you like. You want them to have to stop things because when they have to make their efforts to stop things – they become vulnerable. Until YOU know what you know -- and THEY know what you know – you can’t get to that level. Now that may have been confusing, but that’s really what you WANT people to understand what you’re trying to do – and they try to stop it – and you go ahead and do your things to take advantage of that. So, sometimes you’re not even good enough to get to that point. We are now, so it’s helping us and we’ll continue to grow with good fortune.”
Source:Pete Carroll on with 710 ESPN’s Brock and Salk – 12/24/12
The one thing I can definitely tell you is that Pete Carroll, as a coach, is crazy like a fox. He WANTS his opponents knowing and understanding what the Seahawks try to do -- then like a chess master, he pulls off the Queen's Sacrifice and you're in checkmate.
Carroll doesn't do things the conventional way by any means ... but he gets the job done. He and his staff are phenomenal at constructing a game plan that attacks a team's weaknesses ... and at anticipating what an opponent is going to do to them. And I would say above all, expect the unexpected -- especially from Pete Carroll. Though the West Coast Offense is the vast majority of what the Seahawks do on offense, in reality it's more of a kitchen sink. We've seen Zone Read Option, them utilize the Pistol Formation in the past, and employ all manner of trickery (Reverses, Flea Flickers, tosses to Marshawn Lynch, who in turn throws to a wide open WR down the field, etc.).
What I would tell Broncos fans above all heading in to the penultimate game of the season -- be ready for anything.