Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has waded into the dispute between Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano and Giants coach Tom Coughlin over the way the Bucs attacked the Giants’ kneel-down on their final play Sunday. And instead of doing the safe thing and straddling the fence, Carroll has come down firmly on the side of Schiano.
At his press conference today, Carroll made it clear that he thinks Schiano is right. And although he didn’t mention Coughlin by name, he also suggested that he thinks Coughlin was wrong to object to the way the Buccaneers tried to force a fumble on the Giants’ “victory formation” play, saying that if the Giants have a problem with the way the Buccaneers handled the play, then the Giants need to do a better job of protecting their quarterback.
“I’m glad it was brought up like this because I think it was a competitor competing and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that,” Carroll said. “That’s exactly what you should do: Try to win the game. And there was a chance to win the game on that play and I thought Greg did exactly the right thing. And I would do exactly the same thing if in the same situation. So I don’t see where there’s any reason to think other than that. It’s about competing to try to make the play to win the football game. That’s it. And protect your quarterback.”
But the odd thing about Carroll’s claim that he “would do exactly the same thing if in the same situation” is that Carroll was in the same situation a week earlier, and he didn’t do the same thing: When Carroll’s Seahawks were on the losing side of the Cardinals’ victory formation play in Week One, they didn’t try to force a fumble. I just re-watched the Cardinals’ final kneel-down in Week One, and the players on the Seahawks’ defense just stood there and allowed Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb to take the snap, take a step back and take a knee.
Oddly, none of the reporters at Carroll’s press conference asked him the logical follow-up: If you think Schiano is right, why haven’t you coached your team the way Schiano coached his team?
Apparently Carroll hasn’t coached it because he had never thought of it. And maybe Schiano has now taught the rest of the league a new approach to kneel-downs, and we’ll see Carroll and other coaches teaching that approach going forward.