NFL Insider: Carroll Puts Stamp on ‘Hawks
In the inaugural edition of the NFL Daily Blog, topics discussed include Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll continuing to clean house, a quarterback who won’t be traded, Tom Brady shooting for more history, Mike Tomlin getting hot under the collar and some fantasy football implications for this Sunday.
Carroll Continues to Put His Stamp on Seahawks
When Pete Carroll took over as Executive VP of Football Operations in Seattle he was leaving a tumultuous situation at the University of Southern California as the school was about to face some of the harshest NCAA violations ever bestowed. The situation he was entering was far from sunshine and roses in the Pacific Northwest as the team finished 5-11 in 2009 under the direction of Jim Mora, Jr.
Without being able to navigate his squad above .500 last year, Carroll managed to win the NFC West and score a playoff victory over defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans in his first year of rebuilding.
Carroll has made over the roster by with wholesale changes including former face of the franchise Matt Hasselbeck, who has led the Titans to a share of first place in the AFC South. A player who was supposed to be the face of the defense has also moved on as Pete Carroll dealt third-year linebacker Aaron Curry to the Oakland Raiders pending a physical, according to Fox Sports.
Curry was the fourth-overall pick in 2009, widely considered to be the safest pick in a draft class that featured Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman and Brian Orakpo. Curry started 30 of 35 games with Seattle, but was never the impact player he was touted as coming out of Wake Forest.
The seventh-round draft compensation the Seahawks are believed to have received from Oakland seems like very little for a player who although didn’t live up to his draft status, suited up every Sunday and was if nothing else a solid special teams contributor.
Orton Will Not Be Traded
With the Denver Broncos finally making the inevitable move to start Tim Tebow next week against Miami, former starting quarterback Kyle Orton’s future with the team is certainly in doubt. Sources tell ESPNFlorida.com that Orton will not be traded, mainly due to his salary which is nearly $7 million in 2011.
Although a much better passer of the football than his replacement, Orton struggled throughout the first five weeks of the season. The seventh-year veteran completed just 58.7 percent of his throws (91 for 155) for 979 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions with two lost fumbles for a quarterback rating of 80.9.
Scheduled to hit free agency in 2012, no NFL team will give up any compensation for Orton and take on the remainder of his contract.
It hasn’t been the greatest of starts for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The defending AFC champions began their season by getting curb-stomped by the Baltimore Ravens, 35-7 and haven’t looked like a team that’s fit for a return to the big game as they sit with a 3-2 record after five games.
One would think Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would be in a better mood following the team’s 38-17 blowout victory over Tennessee, especially with the 1-4 Jacksonville Jaguars coming to town. Jacksonville has dropped four straight and is at the bottom of the league in nearly every offensive category.
Still, Tomlin hung up angry on the local Jacksonville media at Wednesday’s conference call when he was asked about his team’s playoff loss in January of 2008 to the Jaguars, according to the Florida Times-Union.
“I understand that might have been a big game in Jacksonville, but that’s old news, anybody got questions relative to this week,” Tomlin stated when asked about his first playoff loss.
After a short pause and as the next question was asked, Tomlin said thanks and hung up.
Tomlin had a point as his team has been to a pair of Super Bowls since that game, winning one and Jacksonville has yet to make another postseason appearance. Still, the coach needs to be the bigger man and answer the questions asked.
Brady and Belichick Can Cement Themselves in the Record Books
All NFL fans are aware that the most productive era in the history of Patriots football may have begun with a fluke injury as Mo Lewis’ hit on Drew Bledsoe caused a skinny, second-year backup quarterback to be forced into action. Everyone knows that the team went on to upset St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI to cap off the 2001 season with Tom Brady at the helm and a dynasty was born.
The argument of who made who, Bill Belichick or Tom Brady could rage on until infinity and we’ll never know the right answer, nor does it matter. What we do know is that both will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame and the pair could take home some hardware (so-to-speak) this Sunday when the team takes on the Dallas Cowboys.
If the Patriots (currently 7.5 point favorites) defeat the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday the dynamic duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will have 116 regular season victories together, tying Dan Marino and Don Shula for the all-time record for a quarterback and head coach combo.
For the record, Brady has been more important to the Patriots success than Belichick.
For Brady and Belichick to notch that record victory, they’ll have to stop the Cowboys prolific passing attack that will likely return both Miles Austin and Dez Bryant from injury. In the two games this season in which both were healthy, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has completed 43 of 69 passes, for 687 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception for a quarterback rating of just under 110.
The Atlanta Falcons inconsistent offense will likely be more inconsistent this Sunday as they will take on the Carolina Panthers without the services of first-round pick Julio Jones. Jones will miss the game with a hamstring injury he suffered in Sunday night’s loss to Green Bay. Jones leads all rookies with 25 receptions for 358 yards.
If the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to pull off an upset victory in Pittsburgh this Sunday they will need an enormous defensive effort. To assist in that venture the team returns defensive end Aaron Kampman for the first time this season. Kampman went down mid-way through the 2010 season with a torn ACL and is just now getting up to playing speed.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is an NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com. He has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie.