NFL free agency starts today, but of course some pretty big noise was made in the NFC West on Monday. Within maybe an hour, the Seahawks made a big splash by dealing for Percy Harvin and then the 49ers countered by moving a 6th round pick for their Super Bowl nemisis Aquan Boldin. But while I’m high on the Niners grabbing Boldin, I don’t share the same optimism as the football world does about Harvin.
I’ll start this off by saying I’m not a Pete Carroll fan at all. He has a bit too much personality as a head coach for me. Some might love that, and I do to some extent as it obviously keeps things interesting. But over time there haven’t been many “wacky” NFL coaches who have sustained success. Carroll was a failure as a head coach in 2 previous attempts with the Jets and Patriots (when he took over the Pats they were loaded and they eroded under his watch).
He loves bringing in high risk/high reward guys. He took Bruce Irvin in the 1st round last year (15th overall). He got a pass on the pick basically because he hit a home run with Russell Wilson in the 3rd round to overshadow it. Had he grabbed a guy like Chandler Jones with that 15th pick, then he would have had a legitimate great draft. But the fact he grabbed a head case like Irvin about a round before he had to makes me think more so that Carroll got very lucky taking Wilson.
But I digress. My point in all of this is that teams that build with high risk/high reward guys don’t maintain success. The 2005 Bengals might be the best comparison to the Seahawks. They had an amazing season, and big things were expected of the Bengals in 06. A lot of experts picked the Bengals to go to the Super Bowl. Arrest after arrest after arrest after….wait for it….arrest happened that offseason, and they proceeded to go 8-8 in the 2006 season and the team continued to crumble further then next 2 seasons.
Now Russell Wilson is pretty special, so he could end up masking a lot of this teams problems. Then again, coaches are now going to have a lot of film on Wilson and are going to have schemes in place this season designed to slow down the likes of Wilson, Kaepernick and RGIII. He will have to adjust which might be the reason they went out and got him a new elite weapon.
And don’t get me wrong, Percy Harvin is an elite talent in the NFL. Add to that, Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell had Harvin when he was in Minnesota so the familiarity will definitely help. But Harvin is a diva and a bit of a head case. And it’s a locker room filling up with guys like that. Irvin, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman is outspoken and he also was facing suspension last season, Brandon Browner did serve a 4 game suspension for drug use, and now Harvin.
Some teams can get away with it if they have a good infrastructure already in place, such as the Patriots. Belicheck and Brady have the ability to keep the train on the tracks with some of the problem childs they’ve brought in. But Belicheck didn’t start making moves like that until Brady was well established as an elite NFL QB. Carroll in no way strikes me as a coach who can steady a sinking ship if things start to go wrong. And Wilson is going into his 2nd season, he doesn’t need a diva’s in the huddle telling him how he needs to get the ball to him more.
I could easily be wrong about this. EVERY NFL expert and insider are raving about this move for the Seahawks. I understand why because on paper it looks great. But Harvin has had a lot of off field issues in the past, as have a lot of other Seahawks, and when you combine that with a head coach who isn’t a guy who will keep the troops in line and I just don’t have the same feeling about this move that others do. Also I wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks bring in yet another problem child or 2. They’ve got away with doing it so far so why stop?
One thing I know for sure, this will either be a move that gives the Seahawks one of the best offenses in the league to go with an already amazing defense….or this will completely blow up in their faces because they were only worried about the talent they were bringing in and not the people they were bringing in. We will see.
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