Michael Bennett was asked this week what coach Pete Carroll’s best quality was.
“His youth,” the Seahawks defensive end said.
Everyone around him laughed, but Bennett wasn’t joking. The 64-year-old coach is one wide receiver Doug Baldwin likens to a 20-year old. As a compliment.
And Carroll’s energy is usually at its peak on Saturday nights
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What might Carroll do this time in latest Saturday night team meeting, on the eve of Seattle’s biggest game of the season Sunday at Carolina?
Last weekend he pulled what by all accounts was his best one yet the night before the wild-card playoff game at Minnesota.
He talked to the team, then disappeared for a moment to make his players wonder what was going on. Then – wham! – Carroll came flying from the back of the room to the front and tackled a white, dry-erase board so hard it crashed into pieces, according to the accounts of his still-stunned players. The room erupted into a fire of testosterone – and laughter.
Bennett says it may have been the craziest of many zany things Carroll has done to fire up the Seahawks before games. And it worked: Seattle rallied for 10 points in the final quarter then held on to beat the Vikings 10-9 in the third-coldest game in NFL history.
“I thought he broke something, honestly, as old as he is” linebacker Bobby Wagner joked.
He meant bones, not the board.
“I thought that was it. I was like, ‘That moment when he just loses it, I can pinpoint it. I can point it to this,’” cornerback Richard Sherman said, chuckling.
“I didn’t think he was getting up, and I didn’t think the whiteboard was getting up. And I was hoping nobody filmed it, because I mean you guys would be watching that all day long. It would have 2 million views in 20 minutes. It’s phenomenal though. His form was phenomenal. I tell you what, Pete knows how to tackle. The whiteboard wasn’t the best thing to tackle.
“He led with his head though, so I’m sure the league might want to talk to him.”
Sherman has worked to improve his tackling this season, a development that will come in handy against Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart and the Panthers’ No. 2 rushing offense in the NFL on Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina. Based on what he saw last Saturday night in that hotel meeting room in Minneapolis, how would the Pro Bowl cornerback describe Carroll as an all-conference safety in 1971 and ’72 when he played college ball at Pacific?
“I’m assuming by the way he hit the whiteboard that he was a physical safety. He led with his head, but he apparently – he talks about ball so much, so he must have gotten some interceptions.
“He’s shown us one clip of tape of him making a big hit – he didn’t show us the rest of it.”
UPDATES FOR SUNDAY IN CHARLOTTE
The weather forecast: Rain during pregame, then a slight chance of rain for the 10:05 a.m. Pacific Time kickoff. Becoming sunny during the game with a high temperature of 44 degrees.
The betting line has gone from Panthers favored by 3 – the standard differential built in for home teams for what’s handicapped as an otherwise even game – to Carolina by 2 1/2.