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Sports with Art Thiel
Fri January 21, 2011
Seahawks start offseason with big changes and challenges
There's no rest for the weary at Seattle Seahawks headquarters. Less than a week after the end of the season, head coach Pete Carroll fired offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and hired Darrell Bevell from the Minnesota Vikings to replace him.
Carroll also has hired the newly-fired head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tom Cable, to be his assistant head coach and the man in charge of the Hawks' offensive line. How does all of this impact the effort to re-sign quarterback Matt Hasselbeck?
Keeping Hasselbeck a 'top priority'
Carroll said this week that re-signing Hasselbeck was their main goal this offseason. After 10 years with the team, he's now a free agent. Carroll said Hasselbeck will be key in building on the success of the NFC West title, which the Hawks won with a losing 7-9 record - something Art calls a "false positive."
Some fans may think that Hasselbeck is too old (he turns 36 this year) and too fragile (he's been plagued with injuries for the past several seasons) to be the Seahawks' starting quarterback. But Art says the team has too many more significant needs to fill than to worry about getting a new quarterback this offseason. He thinks the team should sign Matt for at least another year or two.
Whether Hasselbeck actually sticks around is another story. He's expressed a desire to stay in Seattle. But Art says Hasselbeck will want to wait and see if he gels with new assistant head coach (and Snohomish native) Tom Cable and new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Regarding Cable, Art says he's known as a "tough and demanding task master" who also brings a lot of negative baggage with him.
New assistant head coach has history of abuse
In a column on his website Sportspress Northwest, Art discusses allegations of domestic abuse leveled against Cable by two ex-wives and an ex-girlfriend. And, in August, 2009, Cable also was said to have punched out his own assistant coach during a hotel-room meeting, breaking his jaw.
“We’ve done our due diligence to understand the background,” Carroll said Wednesday in his final press conference of the season. "I feel that this is a good time for him to come to us. He’s going to get supported. He’s going to be reinforced as he moves ahead to do all the good things and the right things and live the life that he wants to live in the manner that he wants to live it."
Art notes that Cable was on the other sideline on Halloween in Oakland when the Seahawks were given their most physical beating of the year.
Why the surprise dismissal of Jeremy Bates?
Despite praise from Carroll throughout the season, Art says it appears that Bates was either "unable or unwilling" to produce the running game that Carroll wanted. Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, the Seahawks were 31st in rushing this season.
Art says another problem may have been personnel - that Bates didn't have the players he needed to put a good rushing game together. The team made an unusual mid-season move to try to invigorate the offensive line by obtaining running back Marshawn Lynch.
Bates was let go after just one year with the team. Doug Farrar with Sportspress Northwest has more on Thursday's announcement that the Seahawks hired Darrell Bevell to replace Bates. Bevell most recently filled that same position with the Minnesota Vikings and was the quarterbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers. That's reportedly good news for the type of offense Hasselbeck wants to play, and can play well.