Appearing on a recent NFL Network Podcast, former Seattle Seahawks’ defensive end Cliff Avril admitted some of his former teammates “began questioning” Head Coach Pete Carroll following their last-minute loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
According to Avril, once Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson’s throw from New England’s one-yard line, the Seattle players started tuning out their coach. Instead of using bruising back Marshawn Lynch to punch it in, Carroll’s head-scratching decision to pass resulted in a devastating 28-24 defeat for the ‘Hawks.
“I do think the team would have bought-in more to what Coach Carroll was saying,” Avril said, “instead of going the opposite way of, ‘Hey, this is what we thought the foundation of the team was.’ So I think guys started questioning him more, more so than actually following his lead if we would have won that Super Bowl.”
“It was the fact that we were so close and we didn’t get it,” Avril continued, “so I think a lot of guys got turned off by the message.”
Then, a Twitter post from former Seahawk Bruce Irvin, now an Oakland Raider, seemingly agreed with Avril’s statements.
Big facts! https://t.co/3nHWRmNVim
— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) May 26, 2018
The statements by Avril and the backing from Irvin seem to confirm an earlier ESPN report from 2017. In the story, there were claims that a good deal of internal strife was brewing in the Seahawks locker room following the Super Bowl defeat. The report claimed that Carroll’s methods and the way he gave preferential treatment to Russell Wilson rubbed some veteran players, especially on the defense, the wrong way.
That fracturing of the locker room began to steadily impact the play on the field for the Seahawks. The 2015 and 2016 seasons both ended with Divisional Round playoff losses. In 2017, Seattle finished with a 9-7 record, missing the postseason for the first time since 2011. Then this last offseason saw the departure of several key veterans from that Super Bowl team. Most notably Ricard Sherman and Michael Bennett. Now with the 2018 season just around the corner, Pete Carroll will have to find some way to convince a new corps of players to buy in.
Other Seahawks news and notes:
-Frank Clark, Byron Maxwell and Earl Thomas were all absent for the start of OTAs.
-Russell Wilson has looked great through the first week of OTAs and seems to have a firm grasp of Brian Schottenheimer’s new offense.
-Rookie free-agent quarterback Alex McGough out of FIU has been impressive so far. See McGough’s interview with FPC here.
-For the first time in a long time, all of Seattle’s running backs are healthy.
-Free Agent guard D.J. Fluker has missed snaps while wearing a knee brace. Jordan Roos has been getting a lot of reps in his place.