Former Seahawks TE Greg Olsen Calls Out Coaching Staff for Team’s Struggles: ‘They Need to Take the Training Wheels Off’

The Washington Football Team handed the Seattle Seahawks a terrible defeat on Monday Night Football. Longtime Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson looked stifled and frustrated, and even longer-time head coach looked out of touch with the modern NFL.

Just hours before the game, former Seattle tight end Greg Olsen predicted why they would struggle. He even laid the blame for the team’s problems directly at Carroll’s feet.

The Seattle Seahawks choked on ‘Monday Night Football’ against the Washington Football Team

The Seattle Seahawks have had their fair share of struggles this season — the biggest of which was the team being without star QB Russell Wilson for three-plus games. But even before Geno Smith went 1-3 in the games he played, the Seahawks were in trouble.

Leading into the Los Angeles Rams game in Week 5, Wilson and his Seahawks were just 2-2. After Smith helped the club claim a 3-5 record, Wilson returned. However, two straight losses put the team on the verge of a lost season.

That could have all changed Monday night as the 3-7 Seahawks took on the 4-6 Washington Football Team.

A 4-7 record would have vaulted Seattle over the WFT and put it just a game out of the No. 7 slot in the NFC and two games behind the No. 6 San Francisco 49ers with six to play and the Niners coming up next.

Instead of winning and reclaiming its season, Seattle rolled over and lost an utterly winnable game to Washington.

The WFT dominated the game, holding the ball for 41:21 to the Seahawks’ 18:35. The Washington defense held the Seattle offense to 267 total yards and 10 first downs. Ron Rivera’s team accomplished this without its best player, Chase Young, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Wilson had a poor game as well, completing 20 of 31 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns. While this might not sound horrific, without a heroic two-minute drive to make the game close, Wilson’s stat line would have been even uglier. Before the last drive, Wilson had put up 12 completions for 161 yards and one score.  

Former Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen places blame for the team’s struggles on the coaching staff

(L-R) Greg Olsen of the Seattle Seahawks looks on against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 04, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida; Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.
(L-R) Greg Olsen, Pete Carroll | Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images; Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

Simply put, the Seahawks’ offense is a mess. The team only managed 34 yards on 12 rushing attempts. This is one major reason it couldn’t manage double-digit first downs until the last drive of the game.

The Seahawks also targeted one of the best wideouts in the league, DK Metcalf, zero times in the first half and just four times in the second. Metcalf, one of the most dangerous outside receivers in the NFL, finished the game with one catch for 13 yards.

Former Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, who finished his career with one season in Seattle in 2020, knows this team well. During a Monday afternoon appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Olsen discussed what he believes to be the problem with his last NFL home.

Even before Seattle’s unconscionable loss to the WFT, Olsen diagnosed the source of the team’s problems in 2021:

They should not be losing this many games. I understand that Russ was hurt, and now he’s back. They need to be better offensively. This has to become an offensive-driven team. They need to take the training wheels off, they need to let the offensive coordinator do his job. They cannot treat this like the 2012-2013 Seattle Seahawks where they’re going to win 14-9. It’s just not going to happen. … They need to turn this over to Russ. ‘You are our guy,’ DK, [Tyler] Lockett, throw it 40 times and let’s go try to score 35-plus a game and see where it shakes out.  

Greg Olsen on Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks

Olsen also noted that his 2020 Seahawks team did play a more high-octane style during the first half of the season before the defense “found their way.”

Once the D did, though, Olsen mentioned that the O became “much more conservative and the results the second half weren’t as good.”

Head coach Pete Carroll just refuses to “let Russ cook,” as they say. And that might mean the coach and QB’s relationship could be coming to an end after a decade together.

Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll’s partnership may be over

In a 2011 Week 16 matchup vs. the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers backup QB Matt Flynn threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns. For this performance, the Seattle Seahawks signed him to a three-year, $19 million deal to be the team’s starting signal-caller.

In the fourth round of that year’s draft, Pete Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider took Wisconsin (via NC State) QB Russell Wilson with the No. 75 overall pick.

None of the quarterbacks selected ahead of him — Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, or Brock Osweiler — turned into the superstar passer that Wilson did.

The 5-foot-11 QB took the job from Flynn in training camp and never looked back. Over the next nine-plus years, he started 149 consecutive regular-season games. He also made seven Pro Bowls, reached the playoffs eight times, and played in two Super Bowls. In 2013, he won a Lombardi Trophy.

He did it all with Carroll, a successful college coach at USC who finally proved he could succeed in the pros. Carroll brought a defensive and run-first philosophy that carried Wilson as he learned how to play quarterback in the league.

Now an accomplished 33-year-old passer, Wilson seems frustrated as so many offensive coaches — especially in his own division — let their QBs throw it all over the yard. All the while, his coach still prefers conservative offense and stout defense.

This is why after the 2021 season, which will now (almost) certainly be a losing one for Wilson and Carroll, the two will likely go their separate ways.

Wilson, who flirted with the idea of leaving after last season, has an easy out after the season, with his dead cap number dropping from $58M to $26M. And, if Wilson goes, will Carroll stick around for the rebuild at age 70?

Chance are, Week 18’s match against the Arizona Cardinals might be the last time you see either Carroll or Wilson in Seahawks colors.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference and contract figures courtesy of Spotrac

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