The Seattle Seahawks finished the 2021 season with a 7-10 record, a disaster of a season compared to the typical success this team usually garners. The team hasn’t had a record below .500 since the 2011 season, the year before Russell Wilson was drafted.
Before Wilson, Matt Hasselbeck was the team’s unquestioned leader from 2003 to 2010. In their best season, a Hasselbeck-led Seahawks team went 13-3 and went to the Super Bowl in 2005.
On Wednesday, January 12, Hasselbeck talked about the Seahawks on the “Matt Hasselbeck Show” on 710 ESPN Seattle. The host of the show, Mike Salk, asked Hasselbeck to finish a sentence summarizing the Seahawks’ 2021 season.
“[The Seahawks were at their best this year when they] were using the formula that Pete Carroll believes in: protecting the football, not turning it over, being balanced, dominating the line of scrimmage, competing at every opportunity,” Hasselbeck responded on the show.
“Ball’s on the ground, we’re competing; ball’s in the air, we’re competing. If his formula is not the DNA of your team, then the formula is no good.”
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Seahawks Winning DNA Was Lost in the Shuffle
The Seahawks had similar personnel, playmakers, coaches and game plan as they did last year when they finished with a 12-4 record, so why was it so hard for the Seahawks to stick to their consistent mold and winning ways?
Hasselbeck played under Carroll for one season in 2010 and said in the January 12 interview that the leadership among coaches was consistent.
“I’m really not there, but I would say that when Pete came in, as a group he brought so many people with him from USC, that everyone was together and they’d had years together. They all knew like I didn’t need to ask the questions to Pete Carroll to get the answer that Pete Carroll was going to say. I could go to the strength coach, I could go to the O-line coach, I could go to the linebackers coach, they all would know how Pete would answer the question,” he said.
Among the coaching coordinators on the team, two joined just before the 2021 season: Andy Dickerson as run game coordinator and Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator. The Seahawks running back corps was injury-riddled all season, a possible reason for the shaky run attack that the Seahawks love to set an identity with.
With the rotating door of offensive coordinators for the Seahawks as of late, it’s hard to find an offensive identity that is needed to build a successful recipe that translates into wins.
“When you do have a lot of coaching turnover like they have had, and player turnover, after a while you look around and not everybody in the building understands [Pete Carroll’s formula],” Hasselbeck told Salk. “When you have all this turnover, it’s sort of hard to keep everybody on message the same way that he did initially.”
Although one year isn’t indicative of overall success, it’s difficult to see how the Seahawks will respond to their coaching staff and see which areas that need to be addressed ahead of the 2022 campaign.