NFL Nation: Pete Carroll



Former New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, who now plays for the Raiders, was a guest on "Mike & Mike" on ESPN Radio this morning, and he discussed a number of topics involving the upcoming Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl. One of the first questions the guys asked Tuck was about Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, who is creating a stir this week with his one-sentence protests of the group media availabilities.

Tuck
The lead-in point was about Seattle coach Pete Carroll embracing the individuality of Lynch and many of his teammates, and Mike & Mike asked Tuck whether Giants coach Tom Coughlin as coach of this current Seahawks team would work.

"No. I don't think so," Tuck said after a pause. "I think Coach Coughlin is a little bit more to the line. Him and Marshawn wouldn't get along very well, because [Coughlin's] not about individuality in that case, when it brings attention to a certain player and not to the team.

"Now, I agree with you. I think Pete is perfect for Seattle and the athletes and the guys they have on that football team, and it's worked well for them, obviously. Those personalities feed that team. I don't think it would have worked well for us and how the New York Giants were built, from top to bottom, from Mr. Mara down. I don't think that would have worked well."

Tuck wasn't criticizing Coughlin -- just analyzing his style versus what the Seahawks and Carroll have built in Seattle. There are many ways to skin the coaching cat, and obviously Coughlin and Carroll have had great success doing it their way. Tuck goes on to discuss Coughlin's style and the ways in which he used to stress to his star players that they had to be focused on the team first.

Tuck also talks, later in the interview, about Sunday's game. As a member of a Giants' defense that beat Tom Brady's Patriots in the Super Bowl twice -- including the year New England came into the game 18-0 -- Tuck believes the Seahawks need to repeat the Giants' defensive formula from those games.

"The way you beat Brady is to pressure him with the front four," Tuck said. "Seattle's front four has to dominate the football game. I know the 'Legion of Boom' is getting all the pub, and rightfully so. But the game is going to be won up front, like it always is."

Spoken like a true defensive lineman.
PHOENIX -- In a Super Bowl with two coaches in Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll who know the benefits of a second chance, the latter stood up for former Denver Broncos coach John Fox.

Carroll dropped Fox's name while answering a question about finding a way to secure another chance in the NFL after being fired as a head coach. Carroll was fired by the New England Patriots after three seasons and by the New York Jets after one before finding success with the Seattle Seahawks. Fox is now the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

[+] EnlargePete Carroll
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaPete Carroll, a beneficiary of second chances, empathizes with former Broncos coach John Fox.
"So often guys get kicked out," Carroll said Wednesday morning. "I got kicked out after one year at the Jets. I didn't even get started figuring that thing out, I was a mess. But those experiences are extraordinarily valuable and I can see why owners look to a guy who has had experiences.

"To hire a guy like John Fox, how could you not want to hire John Fox? He's done everything. He's been through it all and he's a great coach and a communicator. I understand why guys get a second chance in that regard. It's based on the accumulated experiences that give you more wisdom, more understanding, and also an opportunity to see a guy. You've seen them in situations and you know more so what you're getting. I think that happens, too."

The Broncos and Fox parted ways Jan. 12, the day after Denver's loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Fox led the Broncos to four consecutive AFC West titles and three consecutive 12-win seasons, including 2014. In announcing the move, Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway said the two disagreed on how to take the Broncos "to the next level."

In replacing Fox, Elway gave his long-time friend and former teammate Gary Kubiak a second chance as a head coach as well. Kubiak was fired by the Houston Texans 13 games into the 2013 season and spent this past season as the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator.

"I learned a lot," said Kubiak, who was 61-64 in regular-season games with the Texans. "I think you always learn from what happens. You learn what you should do and maybe what you shouldn't do,"

Carroll echoed that sentiment Wednesday.

"It's just experiences," Carroll said. "This is a really difficult job the first time. There are so many things that happen in this position that you just can't predict and you just don't know and you don't see it coming in your preparation. You just have to deal with it as it hits you. Everybody is going to falter and make mistakes and say, 'I wish I would have known then what I know now.' That's going to happen. What unfortunately doesn't always happen is guys get enough time to work through those early years so that you can find your way and you can find your voice and you can find your perspective."

Former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who was fired 12 games into his second season in Denver and is now the Patriots' offensive coordinator, is hoping for a second chance as a head coach. Like Carroll, McDaniels said this week that the first time through can be a bumpy ride.

"I think I'm a better listener than I was then. I was young, made a lot of mistakes, learned from them -- hopefully -- try to be a better person, a better coach," McDaniels said. "I learned every day from it ... sometimes when you step away from it, you can look at it with a better eye, see what you did and why and make sure that it was the best way."
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In the middle of a career-changing losing streak, as he sought to pull the 2013 Houston Texans out of the rut they had fallen into and find the unturned stone that would make the difference, Gary Kubiak said he tried to do too much.

That he saw his limit but went right on by.

"That was a scary time," Kubiak said this week. "... I probably ran myself into the ground a little bit. I think I learned a lot from that."

[+] EnlargeGary Kubiak
Chuck Coo/USA TODAY SportsNew Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said he learned to delegate better in his season with the Ravens after suffering a health scare with the Texans.
The circled date will always be Nov. 3, 2013, against the Indianapolis Colts, when Kubiak, in his eighth season as the Texans' coach, collapsed on the field just before halftime of what would become the team's sixth consecutive loss in a streak that reached 14 by season's end.

Doctors called it a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. It happens if blood flow to the brain is briefly interrupted, often by a blood clot or narrowed blood vessels. It is often referred to as a "ministroke," because symptoms last only a few minutes or a few hours with no permanent brain damage.

TIAs can be a sign that a person is at higher risk for a stroke in the future. But just over 14 months since that episode, Kubiak said he's healthy and more than physically and mentally ready to be the 15th head coach in Denver Broncos history.

Kubiak returned in '13 to finish out the season but was fired after 13 games with the Texans at 2-11. He was the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator this season.

"I'm doing great, I'm feeling fine," Kubiak said. "Hopefully I look OK. But I'm doing fine, I worked through that. I think it's like anything else, you're giving something everything you have and that was a tough season, tough situation and I was going to keep swinging. Like I said, I probably just ran myself down a little bit too much, but I've come back from it. Everybody tells me I'm doing just fine. I took a big physical this past week, so I'm ready to go. I'm good."

John Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations/general manager, said he discussed the topic of health with his new coach.

"I think Gary, we talked about it and he said it, he said it was a good lesson for him," Elway said. "I think a lot of times, obviously my dad [Jack] was a coach and he didn't take great care of himself, so we had talked about that before. And I think, as Gary said, it was a good thing for him, because now he had to be more conscious of his health and how he was treating his body and the things he was working on."

It can be part of the learning curve on the job, surrounding yourself with people you're willing to delegate to in a profession filled with hands-on, Type A personalities. It's a profession where getting fired is part of a longer path than perhaps the coaches anticipate when they first land a top job in the league. After all, the two head coaches in the Super Bowl were both fired in their first tries -- Bill Belichick by the Cleveland Browns and Pete Carroll by the New England Patriots.

Kubiak said that in retrospect, he believes he was not willing to involve the people around him with the Texans enough in his attempts to try to correct a season that was off the rails. He added that his season with the Ravens will also have a lasting impact in how he takes on the job with the Broncos.

"Then I really can't explain the value of last year for me as a coach, being around [Ravens coach] John Harbaugh, being around that organization, being around [general manager] Ozzie Newsome, watching them go about their business, how they go about being successful week in and week out," Kubiak said. "I take all that with me as I move forward, and I know I'm a lot better coach now than I was when I left. A lot more experience. It still gets back to the people you surround yourself with. I think all coaches are only as good as the players they have and coaches they've got working with them. We'll have a great crew doing that, I promise you."
Belichick/CarrollGetty ImagesDrew Bledsoe says Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll create similar cultures around their teams.
Former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe played for both head coaches involved in Super Bowl XLIX -- Pete Carroll (1997-99) and Bill Belichick (2000-01) -- while in New England, and insists they are more alike than it might appear on the facade.

“There are a lot more similarities between the two guys than there are differences,” Bledsoe told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd on Monday. “The differences are purely stylistic, but the substance is very, very similar.

“Pete, you watch his press conferences and hear the way he talks and I think people could have the impression that he’s this happy-go-lucky, kind of crazy guy. But Pete’s got an edge to him. I played for him, I’ve seen it.

“The thing that the two coaches do is they create a culture of intense competition on the field in practice. They both make sure their players know there’s no free lunch. There are guys looking for your position at all times.

“You look at Belichick, I was out there for the Dolphins game here recently. I think he’s enjoying the ride a little bit more now than maybe he has in the past. I was on the sideline, he came running over with a big smile and gave me a hug. We talked for a minute, I think he’s enjoying this ride quite a bit.”
When Sunday’s game ended at CenturyLink Field, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh met a midfield, shook hands and seemed to have a cordial conversation.

Carroll
Carroll
Harbaugh
There was no, “What’s your deal, man?” as Carroll once asked Harbaugh back in their Pac-10 days, and no dead fish, phony handshake (at least not visually) as has taken place between the two men in the past.

Both men knew they probably were meeting for the last time as rival coaches in the NFC West, with Harbaugh likely moving on after this season. One close observer said Harbaugh told Carroll, “Thanks for the rivalry. It’s been fun.”

But neither man confirmed what was said between them. During his Monday news conference, Carroll was asked if the longtime foes had a brief, warm moment.

"I don’t know if I would refer to it as a warm moment,” Carroll said. “We had a moment. You’ll have to ask Jim if he felt it as a warm moment. It was a nice exchange, just two coaches talking.”

OK, maybe a warm moment is stretching it, but I’d like to think two men who had often been at odds, realized they had made each other better. And they knew the fierce competition between them was ending, at least for now.


SEATTLE -- The New York Giants are 3-6, which is the same record they had at this point last season, and if you're a Giants fan you're not real happy about much of anything right now.

But whether you like it or not, this year for the Giants is about showing progress in their new offense, and rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is showing quite a lot. Beckham caught seven of the nine balls that were thrown his way Sunday for a total of 108 yards. He couldn't come down with a miracle catch in the end zone on a play that ended up being a costly interception in a 38-17 loss, but he impressed his opponent quite a bit.

[+] EnlargeOdell Beckham Jr.
AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonOdell Beckham Jr. caught seven passes and the Seahawks' attention on Sunday.
"I thought Beckham was really good," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He really came out of there and was the big factor early on. I thought he showed that he was a really good football player today. They've got a great one in that kid."

The Seahawks clearly saw something on tape that impressed them about Beckham. They don't usually move their cornerbacks around, but they did switch up top corner Richard Sherman a few times to get him on Beckham. Beckham beat Sherman for a long one in the first half (with the help of a perfect throw by Eli Manning), but the Seahawks made some coverage adjustments in the second half to slow him down a bit.

Regardless, Beckham looks like a rising star in the Giants' offense and a player on whom Manning believes he can rely.

"He's doing some good things," Manning said. "He made some big plays for us, had a couple of third-down conversions, finding holes in the defense. He's definitely doing some good things."

For his part, Beckham seemed to enjoy the challenge of competing against Sherman, who complimented him after the game and let Beckham have his jersey as a souvenir.

"When you go up against a great defense like that, you can't just sit back and not try to attack," Beckham said. "You have to go at them. I think we did a great job of that tonight, we just didn't execute as well in the second half."

For a rookie who missed all of training camp and the first four weeks of the season with a hamstring injury, Beckham is at least meeting expectations if not exceeding them on a weekly basis. If you're a Giants fan looking for something to feel good about over the final months of this season, Beckham is where you should look.
One of the fashionable criticisms of NFL officiating is to suggest that it's now illegal to "play football" the way most of us conceive of the game. Physical play, violent contact and now even pancake blocks at times appear fair game for penalties.

That was the sense many of you had Monday night when referee Jeff Triplette's crew called Seattle Seahawks guard James Carpenter for unnecessary roughness, wiping out a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to receiver Percy Harvin. When you watch the replay, you see Carpenter blocking Washington Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker to the ground and then diving on top of him in what seemed a standard finish of the block.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll initially termed the penalty "outrageous" and complained to the league about it. Presumably, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told Carroll the same thing he said this week on the NFL Network. Did you know that a player on the ground is considered in a "defenseless posture," thus making his head and neck area off limits to contact? Carpenter didn't, Carroll didn't and I'm guessing most of us in the audience did not, as well.

As part of its effort to increase player safety, the NFL lists 10 definitions of a defenseless player in Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7(a). No. 5: "A player on the ground." Article 7(b) notes that prohibited contact against a defenseless player includes "forcibly hitting the defenseless player's head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm or shoulder ..."

As a result of Carpenter's block, Baker was on the ground. By NFL rule, Carpenter needed either to leave him alone -- a difficult request for an offensive lineman during a live play -- or "bury" him with contact to an area other than the head or neck. (Carpenter's forearm appeared to hit Baker high, intentionally or otherwise.)

I think we can agree that this penalty isn't called on every occurrence. What's surprising is that Triplette's crew has called what I term "behavior penalties" relatively infrequently this season.

The ESPN Stats & Information chart below compiles all calls, accepted or declined, for personal fouls, roughing, taunting, unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct. These penalties all require some level of subjective judgment, as opposed to, say, false starts -- which either happened or didn't.

Triplette's crew called a total of five through the first five weeks of 2014, placing it near the bottom of the league's 17 crews. Based on these figures, which most NFL teams monitor as well, you're more likely to get away with a hit on a defenseless player with crews led by Triplette, Walt Coleman, Bill Leavy or Pete Morelli than you are with the crews of Gene Steratore or Jerome Boger. Steratore has called more than six times the number of these penalties than those at the bottom of the list.

Meanwhile, at the top of this post is our weekly look at frequency of all calls from each crew. (Thanks to ESPN.com editor Brett Longdin for the fancy upgraded graphic.)

Moment in Time: Fail Mary revisited

September, 3, 2014
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SEATTLE -- As painful as the play might have been -- and probably still is -- for Green Bay Packers' fans, the famous Fail Mary touchdown in Seattle nearly two years ago will always have a place in franchise and NFL history.

It will forever be a "Moment in Time," which makes it interesting to revisit the play through the key figures involved in one of the most controversial endings pro football has ever seen. You can do that by clicking on the link above.

What you will find is anger, jubilation, humor and much more from the play's central characters, including the official who made the touchdown call.

Here are some highlights from each:
  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who was standing next to team security head Doug Collins while the play was being review: "And I remember talking to Doug saying, 'Hey, they're not playing the replay here. We're going to be fine.' But I had this weird feeling. It reminded me a little bit of the Immaculate Reception. I remember [referee] Wayne [Elliott] comes walking out to the boundary, and I said to Doug, 'Holy s---. He doesn't have the balls to overturn it.' He was scared to death. He looked nervous."
  • Side judge Lance Easley, who made the touchdown call: "I said, 'Oh God, please when I get over to that pile, let someone have clear possession of the ball.' I got over there and looked down, and it was like a meatball with spaghetti wrapped all around it. … By rule, I got it right. By rule, there's nothing else I could do with it."
  • Then-Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, who caught the touchdown: "I actually have a bottle of wine signed by Charles Woodson that says 'Touch-ception' or something like that. M.D. Jennings signed a picture that I also have that says something, but I forgot what it says; I haven't looked at it in a while."
  • Then-Packers safety M.D. Jennings, who thought he intercepted it and said he signed autographs with the postscript "Screwed in Seattle" on pictures for Packers' fans: "It's what they wanted. I did it. The fans loved it."
  • Packers cornerback Sam Shields, who said he knew immediately who had shoved him as the ball was in the air (an act the NFL later said should have been called offensive pass interference): "It was Tate."
  • Packers cornerback Tramon Williams: "I'm looking at M.D., who's got it and has got it against his chest, and I'm saying to myself, 'We won the game.' And you look up at the referee, and you want to get that validation. You look up at the referee, and those guys are looking around like they don't know, and then they call it a touchdown, and it's like, 'No, no, this can't happen.'"
  • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll: "What I liked is Golden had the ball lying on the ground. I know he had the ball on the ground. When do you call it a catch? [Easley] looked down and that's what he saw, so he gave him a touchdown. It was a tremendous play by their guy and our guy, and that's the way he saw it."
  • Seahawks receiver Charly Martin, who also was in the scrum for the ball: "I take a lot of flak, being the white guy who can't jump, because there are some pretty good pictures out there where I am about two inches off the ground and everyone else is skyrocketing over me. I just tell them, 'Hey, they used me. They used me as a springboard.' I kind of boxed them out for Golden, and they pushed me down."
  • Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, the man who heaved the pass: "Everybody was a target. I was able to find a player in the back of the end zone and hit him."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It should come as no surprise that Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy ranked as one of the NFL's top coaches in ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando's extensive project that examined all 32 coaches Insider through the eyes of a wide range of league sources.

McCarthy
McCarthy
In a poll of 30 NFL people -- eight current general managers, four former GMs, four personnel directors, four executives, six coordinators and four position coaches -- McCarthy came out tied for sixth with Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin. They ranked behind only New England's Bill Belichick, Seattle's Pete Carroll, New Orleans' Sean Payton, Kansas City's Andy Reid and Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants.

McCarthy's 88-50-1 record in his eight seasons gives him the fourth-highest winning percentage in the league among current coaches with a minimum of 60 games.

Using the same voting system Sando employed earlier this year in his "QB Tiers" project Insider, the coaches were broken up into five different tiers. McCarthy came in near the top of the second tier.

But it was perhaps more interesting what some of those league sources told Sando about McCarthy.

Here's an excerpt:

Like Payton, McCarthy gets high marks for his offensive acumen and overall leadership. The Packers have won with varying run/pass emphasis and they continue to evolve as their personnel changes. But the Packers' defensive performance has declined in recent seasons, leading voters to cite the same reasoning over and over when asked why McCarthy wasn't a '1' in their eyes.

"I like him as a head coach and would love to work for him," one veteran assistant coach said. "I think Mike is a great offensive coordinator who has done some pretty good things as a head coach, but defensively and on special teams, they have never done well enough up there. There is something missing in the program."

A former GM said he thought McCarthy needed to "fix the staff defensively" while noting that the head coach must coach the coaches, not just the players. McCarthy did get 11 votes in the first tier, however. One of those votes came from an executive who blamed some of the defensive issues on personnel, noting that McCarthy had in fact made sweeping staff changes back in 2009.

A GM placing McCarthy in the top tier focused on offensive flexibility. "You look at him as an offensive play-caller and he was grinding the s--- out of the ball when he was in New Orleans, and then he changed things up," the GM said. "He developed a passing game in Green Bay, and he is just the same guy all the time – strong leader.”
SEATTLE -- Coach Pete Carroll was thrilled about how well his Seattle Seahawks starters played in the 34-6 victory over the Chicago Bears Friday night, building a 31-0 halftime lead. But he pointed out one positive area that many people may have overlooked.

Carroll
Carroll
“A note that I’m really fired up about is when the first unit’s on the field, we’ve had two penalties,’’ Carroll said. “It’s really good execution for us. It’s a big step in the right direction and hopefully we can keep that going.

“I’m really happy with those guys and their attention to the details to get that done. That will help us down the road.”

One year ago, the Seahawks had 34 penalties for 354 yards in the first three preseason games, including 14 for 182 yards in a 17-10 victory at Green Bay in the third game where most of the starters played three quarters.

And careless penalties have hurt the team at times in the regular season, as well. That’s why seeing the team play such disciplined football is important to Carroll, along with the fact that the starting offense has scored 55 points in the first half of the past two games.

“They’re as ready as I can get them right now,” Carroll said of his starters. “We did just what we wanted.”

That included a controversial decision Friday night to have quarterback Russell Wilson and the starting offense play the first series of the third quarter, which seemed an unnecessary risk considering the score. But Carroll explained his reasoning.

“We wanted them to come out in the second half and make the transition from halftime, so we forced them back out there a little bit,” Carroll said. “We could have substituted, but that was the plan. Everybody hung on to that one.”

 
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had a lot of interesting comments at the town hall meeting Wednesday night. Here are a few things that stood out:

On the rivalry between him and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: “I think Jim’s a great coach. I watched him in college and I've watched him San Francisco. He’s done a fantastic job and molded a style of play to be a big force in our division. And we love beating him.”

Carroll
Carroll
On NFC West rivals: “Honestly, we don’t look at our opponents as rivals. I don’t want one game to be bigger than another game or have a different feel to it. That issue can change you. Over the long haul, it’s way more valuable to be disciplined about it. It’s that day, that game and that’s it.”

On offensive tackle Russell Okung asking Carroll to run a tackle-eligible play for him this season: “I’ve seen Russell try to catch the football. I’ve seen better hands on a clock.”

On whether the Seahawks will throw the ball more this season: “Don’t expect us to throw the ball 50 times a game That’s not who we are. If we have to, we will, but in general, we are going to run it down their throat. We close the loop on toughness by running the football. We want to be as physical as any team you have to play. We are an absolutely committed running football team.”

On what they try to do with each player: “We are relationship-based style to our coaching. We will do whatever we can to make them the best they can be. It doesn’t matter where they come from. It’s who they are now and what can we find in them that we can draw to the surface.

“What do they have that’s unique? We don’t have a philosophy of, ‘Do it this way or get the heck out of here.’ We do it which way will help you do it best and help us become a great football team. We keep building on the strengths and uniqueness of the people in our program.”

On the team’s expectations this year: “We are trying to recapture the work ethic and mentality that it takes for us to play our best. If we play the best we can play and draw that out one week at a time, I like our chances.”

On the increasing national popularity of the team: “The Seahawks have four of the top 10 selling jerseys in America.’’

On former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson: “Mike’s getting close to the end and I hope he gets another chance to play. If we had the opportunity we would bring him back, but we think we’re moving on. I would love for him to coach football someday and we’ve talked about that.”

On what he tells the coaches he hires: “I promise our guys I will help them get the job of their dreams.”

On outside linebacker Korey Toomer: “He looks like the hottest guy in camp right now.”

On the 12s: “It is your team and we get that.”
Doug Baldwin doesn't really mind his nickname of Angry Doug, but he doesn't consider it accurate.

"I'm not angry," Baldwin said Thursday. "I'm passionate about what I do."

That passion paid off Thursday for the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver when he signed a contract extension that will pay him $13 million over the next three years, including $9 million that's guaranteed.

[+] EnlargeDoug Baldwin
MCT via Getty ImagesDoug Baldwin was willing to take a little less money to stay in Seattle for three more years.
It's a nice sum, but a little less than what was first reported. And maybe not what he could have gotten as a free agent next year had he opted to play out 2014 on his one-year tender offer of $2.2 million and test the NFL market in 2015.

That's not what he wanted, not now anyway. He wanted to stay with what he calls his family, and that starts with cornerback Richard Sherman, his long-time friend from their days together at Stanford. Sherman was sitting on the front row at Baldwin's news conference Thursday.

"I called [Sherman] to discuss the terms of the deal before agreeing so I could ask his opinion," Baldwin said. "The first thing he said was we'll be able to be together a couple of more years.

"That was the overwhelming factor. I love this organization and my teammates. It's about being able to play side by side with my family. That's huge for me."

That feeling extends to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, the men who gave him a chance to prove himself as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

"Those guys have been instrumental in my progress on and off the field," Baldwin said. "They're not only my bosses, but my friends. And I like to call them teammates.

"That John and Pete were willing to reward my hard work is a testament to the philosophy they have. Every word that has come out of their mouths has been honest and trustworthy, and that goes a long way for me."

Schneider pointed out a couple of key stats that show why Baldwin has been successful -- 92 percent of his fourth-quarter catches last year were for first downs, and his average of 10.7 yards per targeted throw was second-best among NFL receivers.

Nice numbers, but that really misses the point of why the Seahawks wanted to keep him.

"We are rewarding Doug for who he is more than what he does," Carroll said. "He's a great team guy. The leadership he brings is exactly the kind of makeup and mentality we seek.

"He's just the epitome of a great competitor. He always battles to the point that they call him Angry Doug. There's just a way about him that stands out."

Schneider said it's Baldwin's ability to get the job done in the clutch that stands out for him, along with his relentless attitude.

"Doug is a guy who represents what our organization is all about and the culture we have here," Schneider said. "He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He's reliable, smart and incredibly passionate. He acts like a pro and a champion every day. So we wanted to let everyone know how special this guy is and that he's a core part of what we do here."

Baldwin has played in the slot most of his three years at Seattle, but Carroll said he will move to split end in 2014, taking over the spot vacating by Golden Tate's departure to Detroit.

That likely means Percy Harvin will start in the slot, which won't surprise anyone. Baldwin also threw his name in the hat for the punt returner job in 2014.

"Doug always has shown the ability to do whatever we needed him to do," Carroll said. "He has extraordinary quickness and the ability to separate from anyone.''

But it's Baldwin's determination to prove his doubters wrong and overcome his obstacles that got him where he is now. Just like his buddy Sherman, Baldwin has accomplished more than most experts thought he could.

"Nothing changes for me just because I signed my name on a piece of paper," Baldwin said. "Obviously, I have a little more security, but that's not why I play football. I play football because I love the game and I put everything into it.

"This is about leaving a legacy and sharing it with other players. It's not about individuals here. We're always trying to get better and make each other better."

Which is why Baldwin was willing to take a little less to stay in Seattle for three more years.

"It was the best for both sides," Baldwin said. "When this comes up again, I'll still be young (28). And it leaves us flexibility as a team to be able to do certain things with other guys."

The main guy in that equation is quarterback Russell Wilson, who can renegotiate his contract after the 2014 season.

For Baldwin, Thursday was about sticking with his family and sending a message.

"The message is that hard work does pay off," he said. "I have a 12-year-old brother [Devon]. Since my junior year of college, I decided to live a life in a way he could look up to. So the message also is to him that you can accomplish whatever you want in life, even if you have failures, if you continue strong to get to where you want to go."

Richardson impressive on Day 1

May, 16, 2014
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RENTON, Wash. -- It's just the first day of rookie minicamp, but one thing is clear: Wide receiver Paul Richardson is as advertised. He can flat-out fly.

It's wrong to read too much into a rookie-camp practice, but Richardson was an obvious standout. The play of the day came on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Keith Price to Richardson after he ran right by Eric Pinkins, a sixth-round draft pick from San Diego State.

"Oh my god," Price said of Richardson. "That guy's a blazer. He told me to throw him the ball deep today. I saw one-on-one with him and I let it rip and he made a great play."

Richardson was Seattle's first choice of the 2014 draft, coming at No. 45 of the second round. The 6-0, 183-pound receiver from Colorado made several impressive plays in 11-on-11 drills and 7-on-7. He had one diving catch over the middle and made another tough grab in traffic on a crossing route.

"There's no question how fast he is," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Richardson, who consistently runs 4.3 40s. "He has great speed."

Carroll is pleased with what he's seen from both receivers the Seahawks drafted, Richardson and Kevin Norwood, a fourth-round pick from Alabama. Norwood also had a deep touchdown catch Friday after his defender fell down.

"The receivers really showed up," Carroll said. "They jump out at us, Kevin and Paul. They've done really well."

Earl Thomas speeds to his big day

April, 29, 2014
4/29/14
4:30
PM ET
Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas was running a little late for a news conference in his honor Tuesday, so he might have gone a tad over the speed limit on the way there.

A police officer pulled him over just up the street from the Seahawks' facility. The officer took one look at the driver and let him go with a warning, immediately becoming the most popular policeman with all the 12s.

After all, it was Thomas' big day, the official announcement of the contract extension to make him the first $10 million-a-year NFL safety. The exact numbers are a four-year, $40 million deal with $27.75 million guaranteed and a $9.25 million signing bonus.

"This is a family to me," Thomas said. “I love everybody in this organization. It's not about me. It’s about the people that helped me along the way, too. This is where I grew up [as a football player]. I’m excited to keep this going.”

So are the Seahawks. General manager John Schneider called it a “historic day.”

Coach Pete Carroll said of Thomas’ extension: “It's a very proud moment for us.”

Cornerback Richard Sherman, who also is negotiating a contract extension that could be completed soon, sent out this tweet and Instagram photo.

 

Asked about Sherman's contract, Thomas said he's not worried. “Sherm's got it under control.”

Thomas's extension will piggyback on the final year of his current contract, which pays him $4.6 million in 2014. So the extension keeps him in Seattle through the 2018 season when he’ll be 29.

Thomas said the contract negotiations started out of the blue. He wanted to have it done before training camp.

He said it was important to him to become the highest paid safety, not for the money, but to show his separation as a competitor.

When the news conference ended, Thomas asked all the Seattle defensive coaches to join him on stage because he wanted them to be a part of it.

That says a lot about why the Seahawks were willing to make Thomas’s salary reflect the fact he is the best safety in football.

And being a Seattle hero and good guy might also help you get by with a warning -- this time around -- when you're caught speeding.
John FoxJustin Edmonds/Getty ImagesJohn Fox, 59, is 34-14 with three AFC West titles in his three seasons with the Broncos.
At the start of free agency, John Elway was asked about the chances of the Denver Broncos making the effort to bring back some of their players who were set to test the market.

The Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager said:

“The market sets the prices."

When it comes to NFL head coaches, the market has been set in recent weeks. On Friday, Pete Carroll, 62, signed a three-year extension with the Seattle Seahawks that runs through the 2016 season.

Carroll’s deal had been set to expire following the 2014 season.

Like Carroll, Denver coach John Fox’s contract was set to expire following the 2014 season. And like Carroll and the Seahawks, the Broncos and Fox came together on a three-year extension Friday. Despite some who said the fact things had not been wrapped with Fox meant there was potential trouble on the horizon, both Fox and Elway had consistently expressed optimism a deal would get done.

There were talks at the scouting combine in February, and Elway said at the league meetings in Orlando, Fla., last week that Fox’s deal was “the next thing on the agenda."

The only way a deal wouldn't have gotten done is if one side had simply pushed too hard to win. If the Broncos tried to dig in a little too hard on the money, Fox could have ended up coaching the coming season without an extension. And if Fox’s agent, Bob LaMonte, had pushed too much, also on the money or for too many years, the Broncos might have folded their arms to simply wait and see.

Fox signed a four-year deal worth about $3 million per year in 2011, and he would have received a $1 million bonus had the Broncos won Super Bowl XLVIII in February, but Denver was bullied 43-8 by Carroll's team. And this is where Carroll’s deal comes in. Essentially, welcome to the market being set.

After all, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl and looked like a far better prepared team on the way to a 35-point win. Carroll is 38-26 as the Seahawks’ coach and 5-2 in the playoffs.

That is where the fence stands. Win the big trophy as a 60-something head coach, get a three-year extension.

Fox just turned 59 in February, he’s 34-14 with three AFC West titles in his three seasons with the Broncos, and he helped recalibrate the franchise to dig out of the crater that was the 4-12 finish in 2010.

However, the Broncos have also let quality championship opportunities slip through their fingers with a double-overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens to end their 2012 season, to go with February’s title-game rout. Those two games alone, at least from the Broncos’ perspective, could have pushed Fox out of consideration for a three-year extension, and there were rumblings to that effect in and around the team early in the talks. But this is where the Broncos stepped up to get things done.

Again, the market had been set. Seven active head coaches have won Super Bowls, and Fox is not one of them. But Elway has repeatedly said, including last week, he likes the direction the team has gone in the last three years, and that he didn't expect any major hurdles in the negotiations, but also always added he expected the team to take the next step.

To not just play for a title, but to win one. And Fox obviously outlined his plan to get that done to Elway's satisfaction.

Those who know Fox well know he did not enjoy coaching the Carolina Panthers in the last year of his contract there in 2010, when the roster was scraped to the foundation and the Panthers limped to a 2-14 finish. Fox knew for that dismal season that the Panthers had no intention of bringing him back no matter what happened.

But coaching a team coming off back-to-back 13-3 finishes with Peyton Manning at quarterback in the last year of your contract isn't in the same football galaxy of what Fox went through in 2010. And at the league meetings, Fox said the sides were “working on it."

“Really I’m going to coach my rear end off no matter what happens," Fox said. “That’s in people’s hands, and I feel confident something will happen. But either way I’m going to be fine, I’m under contract ... They’re talking and working on it ... Everybody’s got good intentions, we’ll see where it goes."

Where it went is where all involved expected, and they all did what needed to be done to get there.

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