Pete Carroll leaves USC to become head coach at Seattle. The 2009 season was surely a disappointing season for USC, but Carroll ends one of the most successful runs as leader of a college program in recent history. USC has been in the picture as a possible national champ going into every season.
This could be the right time to leave USC. His program has been raided for its coaching talent. An ongoing investigation into suspicious goings on with Reggie Bush during his time as a Trojan persists with the possibility of NCAA sanctions could have horrible consequences.
Carroll had previous coaching experience with mediocre teams with the New York Jets and New England Patriots. His performance can only be judged as lackluster or unproven.
The Seahawks are a mess. Their defense has fallen apart. Their quarterback, Matt Hasselback is getting old. For all practical purposes, the situation could get worse before it gets better regardless of who is patrolling the sidelines. In hiring Pete Carroll to run their team, Seattle’s ownership must be clear that they are bringing him in to supervise a rebuilding process and not an instant trip to the Promised Land. Between the coordinators Carroll brings in and what the front office can provide, can they do the job?
The NFC West is not a strong division right now. The Arizona Cardinals are the best team and looked sharp on offense in their first playoff game, but look at what their defense gave up. Kurt Warner is nearing the end of his career, and Matt Leinhert has not looked good living up to the hype that accompanied his drafting into the NFL.
The St. Louis Rams are in limbo as ownership gets stabilized. San Francisco could be heading in the right direction having looked on their way in some parts of the past season but looking sloppy and weak in other games. Mike Singletary certainly has tried to put his imprint on the team.
Given that background for the conference, Carroll should be able to put forth a competitive team in reasonably short order, but the need for personnel across the board is urgent.
His hiring also points to the effectiveness of the “Rooney Rule” requiring teams to conduct interviews with minorities as possible candidates for coaching vacancies. To whatever extent such an interview took place, it would have been, excuse the expression, a token gesture which could probably likewise be said of Mike Shanahan’s hiring in Washington.
Meanwhile, there are other openings with perhaps more to come. John Gruden says he’s happy to be in the ESPN Monday Night booth. Bill Cowher seems to be dropping hints he could be ready for the right possibility. Buffalo is open for sure. Jacksonville could be open too especially now that former USC player, Jack Delrio has been mentioned as a likely replacement for Carroll.
The coaching carousel continues.