Wednesday in Hawkville: Carroll recalls his departure from Patriots

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 10:

FOCUS ON

Pete Carroll. Before he was the coach of the Seahawks, Carroll was roaming the sidelines at USC. And before that, he was head coach of the Patriots for three seasons.

That fact is pertinent this week because the Seahawks are preparing to face not only the Patriots, but the coach who replaced him in 2000 – Bill Belichick. It was a situation that left Carroll with fond memories, but also some he’d just as soon forget.

“Great. I don’t like to talk about that,” Carroll cracked today when asked about his departure from New England during his midweek Q&A session with the media.

After everyone laughed, Carroll added, “The process, I think it was about five days later I was in Disney World. Because that’s always been kind of my mode after something like that occurs. So we packed up and went south.

“But that was a great challenge to me career-wise. How did it affect me? I didn’t sanction the change. I was OK about it, in the sense that we had a lot of things to do, we had a lot of things we could have fixed and gone forward. So I was just being competitive about it.”

The transition from Carroll to Belichick coincided with the Patriots push for their new stadium, which opened in 2002 and has served as the home base for the team’s on-going run of success that has including winning three Super Bowls.

“They needed momentum and they obviously made a great pick in Bill. He did a great job for them,” Carroll said. “And Robert (Kraft) really came together as an owner through that transition. He’s done a historic job since.”

As for Carroll? “It was hard,” he said. “But I really wasn’t knocked down about it. I was embarrassed, as much as anything, because you get fired. But I was ready for the next one.”

That would be at USC, where the Trojans won seven conference titles, two national championships and posted a 97-19 record in nine seasons under Carroll. And that, of course, led to Carroll coming to the Seahawks in 2010, so he could have this matchup with his former NFL team.

“What I learned from that situation is to be a really successful head coach you need to have control,” Carroll said. “Otherwise, it’s somebody else’s job that you’re dealing with. That’s why everything that came out of that experience changed me, and I’ve never been the same since.

“It is, classically, one of those deals where you get kicked in the tail and you come out better. I hate to learn the hard way. I like the other guys to learn the hard way. But it did give me an opportunity to put something in motion that I’m really, really proud of – the years that we spent down south, and what we’re trying to do here. So it was a great change, unfortunately.”

PLAYER WATCH

Bobby Wagner

Bobby Wagner. He was selected as the team’s best rookie in the first quarter of the season by Seahawks.com, but the middle linebacker is starting to draw some national recognition, as well.

In his “Second Read” feature at SI.com, Chris Burke writes, “Bobby Wagner is the NFL’s most underrated rookie: I brought up this point on Twitter, too (shameless plug: @ChrisBurke_SI), but it’s worth repeating. Wagner has been very solid early for Seattle and had his best game Sunday, recording five tackles and two sacks (actually 1.5). He’s extremely quick to the football – he made multiple plays against Carolina by chasing the ball to the boundary.”

Wagner’s efforts the week before against the Rams weren’t too shabby, either: a team-high seven solo tackles, including three for losses.

OPPONENT WATCH

Brandon Spikes. The Patriots’ linebacker is anticipating – and preparing himself for – an afternoon of collisions with Marshawn Lynch on Sunday.

“I have the most respect for that guy,” Spikes told reporters who cover the Patriots today when asked about Lynch, who is third in the NFL with 508 rushing yards.

“He does a great job of moving his feet, getting yards after the hit. If we can get all guys to the ball, he can’t really run through 11 people. As long as we’re flying, being relentless, playing 4-6 seconds, we should have a good (chance) of containing him.”

Lynch leads the league in yards after contact with 229.

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as released by the team:

Out

OG John Moffitt (knee)

Did not practice

C Max Unger (hip)

DT Clinton McDonald (groin)

DL Jaye Howard (foot)

Limited in practice

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

With Unger sitting out, Lemuel Jeanpierre worked at center with the No. 1 line. Carroll said he expects Unger to play on Sunday, but added that they’ll go day by day with him before making the final decision. When Lynch wasn’t on the field, rookie Robert Turbin got the carries.

For the Patriots:

Did not practice

WR Julian Edelman (hand)

S Steve Gregory (hip)

TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion)

LB Tracy White (foot)

Limited in practice

RB Brandon Bolden (knee)

QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)

DE Brandon Deadarick (ankle)

Justin Francis (ankle)

TE Rob Gronkowski (hip)

TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)

LB Donta Hightower (hamstring)

OG Logan Mankins (calf/hip)

C Nick McDonald (shoulder)

CB Sterling Moore (knee)

RB Shane Vereen (foot)

OT Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee)

WR Wes Welker (ankle)

Full participation

DT Kyle Love (knee)

STAT DU JOUR

No chart today, just a factoid: The last time the league’s No. 1-ranked offense met the league’s No.1-ranked defense in Week 6 or later was in Week 14 of the 2007 season. The Patriots had the No. 1 offense (as they do now). The Steelers had the No. 1 defense (as the Seahawks do now).

The winner? Patriots 34, Steelers 13; as Brady threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns while completing 32 of 46 passes.

UP NEXT

“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to prepare for Sunday’s game.

The Seahawks have seven takeaways in five games, which is middle of the pack in the league. They have forced 11 fumbles, but recovered only four. The Patriots have 14 turnovers, which ties for second most in the league, and have turned the ball over only four times. That plus-10 differential is tied with the Falcons for the NFL lead.

YOU DON’T SAY

“They can play defense and they get it going and offensively if we make a bunch of mistakes, I’m sure it will be very loud for us. But hopefully, if we get the ball in the end zone it will quiet it down. But I think it’s going to be our challenge.” – Brady, who will be playing in Seattle for the first time


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