No one is expecting much out of the Seattle Seahawks this season. Their longtime star quarterback Russell Wilson is now on the Denver Broncos, leaving a huge hole in their offense they can't even begin to fill.
But head coach Pete Carroll doesn't accept that. Despite the loss of Wilson, he doesn't think there's any reason to lower the expectations of the Seahawks.
"I don't feel like that at all," Carroll said Monday via ESPN. "I don't feel like any part of any of that is what's true other than the fact that that's what people think. I'm not in that business now. I'm in the business of helping these guys get ready to play with all of the work that we do and all of the mentality and the culture and the environment that we're in. We've been averaging 10 wins a year for the last 20-something years [dating back to 2001-2009 run at USC]. You think I could think anything different than that? I don't. I don't see any reason my expectations should change at all."
Why are people doubting the Seahawks?
The Seahawks trading Wilson to the Denver Broncos is only part of the reason people are picking them to finish with the worst record in the NFL this season. The other part is the guy they chose to replace him: Geno Smith.
Smith, a second-rounder in the 2013 NFL draft, spent two years as starting QB for the New York Jets at the beginning of his career. Since then he's been a backup, starting a total of five games and appearing in 15. He's been with Seattle since 2020, and started three games for them last year when Wilson was recovering from a finger injury. Smith hasn't been a full-time starter in eight years, but ended up winning the job by being better than Drew Lock, who threw three interceptions in a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
If Seattle had gone out and traded for Baker Mayfield or Matt Ryan or even Carson Wentz, expectations might be higher. Those QBs all have proven they can win, even if they're several years removed from having done so. Smith is just not that guy. The hole Wilson leaves could only be properly filled by an elite QB, and while Mayfield, Ryan, and Wentz aren't elite, they're closer than Smith is.
Carroll doesn't care about predictions
Carroll isn't interested in the expectations, the predictions, and the people pointing out that Smith isn't anywhere near the quarterback Wilson is.
"I don't care what anybody says," Carroll said via ESPN. "People have been saying stuff about teams for years. They don't know. They're just guessing at this point, and then we go and prove it and we see where we are ... Win a big game in the opener or struggle and not win a big game in the opener, you've got to come back and get going again and back on track regardless."
It's true that predictions are just "guesses" made before a team has set foot on the field for a real game. But all anyone has to do is look at the Seahawks roster — or even just the part of the roster that says "QB1" — to know that this team isn't likely to have the 10-win season Carroll is expecting.
By the way, that "big game in the opener" Carroll mentioned isn't against just any team. The Seahawks will open their season in Week 1 with a Monday night game against the Broncos and their old pal Wilson.