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Chancellor Departure Latest Blow For 'Team In Transition'

David J. Phillip
AP Photo
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll celebrates with strong safety Kam Chancellor (31) after an interception during the second half of NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.

The news this week that a neck injury has ended the playing career of Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor is just the latest blow to Seahawks fans.

The team is going to look a lot different this fall – on the field and on the sidelines. That prompted KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick to ask sports commentator Art Thiel about the impact on head coach Pete Carroll.

Back To Old Philosophy

"I'm not sure Pete's going to change his philosophy," Thiel said. "I think he's going to go back to it."

"His whole outlook is 'Defense first, second and third.' And the secondary is the most important part of a Carroll defense."

"He also believes in the running game. And they got away from that in a big way last season. They finished 23rd overall in rushing yards last year when they'd been a top-five team the previous five years."

"So it was a real regression in terms of the run game. And, of course, the defense had a whole bunch of injuries. Richard Sherman was hurt. Cliff Avril was hurt. Michael Bennett was hurt. (They've all left the team.) And now Kam Chancellor is not going to be playing next year."

"That's a lot of star power and talent the Seahawks have to compensate for on defense. And they've got some holes in the offense - some of which were filled with the draft."

"It's still going to be a difficult transition and Carroll wants to get to where he was - not where the team was last year."

Was All This Change Expected?

"Injuries can always be a surprise, although it is a part of the game and I don't think there was any shock. But having the simultaneous departures of all of these guys for (mostly) injury reasons suggested to me that events overtook the Seahawks."

"Age is obviously something you anticipate. And having big contracts given to star players - that's something you anticipate. But a lot of these things conspired together to leave the Seahawks vulnerable."

"I really do think that they probably made a few mistakes, particularly with the drafts of the last four years. They were very unproductive relative to the success they had in the tenures of Carroll and general manager John Schneider in the first three years."

"Those mistakes are coming home to haunt because the Seahawks don't have quality talents to replace these guys - or at least proven talents yet. That's something that they were hoping to develop but without good draft choices, it isn't working."

New Coaches Under Carroll

Thiel pointed out that the Seahawks also hired a new offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and line coach in the offseason.

"All of these moves were made to create a better balance between both sides of the ball," he said.

"The Seahawks want to get back to the running game. They want to, on defense, become more intimidating."

"The combination of coaching changes and player changes is going to get Pete back to where he wanted to be when they were successful in 2013 and 2014. We'll see how that plays out."

Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Sports With Art Thiel with iTunes orGoogle Play now. You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.