Friction lingers between Seattle defense, offense

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Under coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have done as good a job as any team when it comes to keeping internal strife under wraps. Which makes the details of Seth Wickersham’s deep dive into the dysfunction there even more stunning.

The Senior Writer at ESPN The Magazine has taken a closer look at the Richard Sherman situation in Seattle. Along the way, Wickersham fleshed out plenty of nuggets regarding manifestations of the defense’s resentment of the offense — and, specifically, the resentment of Russell Wilson.

Wickersham sets the tone with a rewind to June 2014 and a notoriously chippy offseason practice that eventually would become one of multiple offseason practices deemed by the NFL to violate the rules. Sherman at one point intercepted a Wilson pass, threw the ball back at him, and shouted, “You f–king suck!”

And that was before Super Bowl XLIX.

Sherman took the outcome of the last-minute pull-a-rabbit-from-a-hat-then-boil-it-Fatal-Attraction-style loss to the Patriots hard. As evidenced by his in-game brouhaha with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell from last December, Sherman still has strong feelings about the pass-over-run decision that prevented Seattle from winning back-to-back Super Bowls. That mindset contributed to the team’s open willingness to be open for business in the offseason regarding the possibility of trading Sherman.

“He’s always looking at what other people are doing,” a former Seahawks assistant coach told Wickersham regarding Sherman. “He’s made it personal. It’s your fault we’re not winning. It wears guys thin.”

Wilson’s inauthentic, manicured persona looms over the article, as does the perception that coach Pete Carroll protects a quarterback whose offense doesn’t score enough points as often as it should.

“A lot of guys, not just on defense but on offense, want Russell to fit into a mold that’s not him,” former running backs coach Sherman Smith told Wickersham. “Why is everyone allowed to be themselves but Russell?”

That sense has been there since Wilson arrived, with a string of interviews and press conferences that Wilson always finishes by saying, “Go ‘Hawks!” — a habit, as PFT has heard for years, that prompted some in the locker room to mock Wilson behind his back with a high-pitched version of his catch phrase.

Sherman all along has had his own catch phrase, even if he only used it that one time he caught a pass Wilson didn’t mean to throw to Sherman. The full article makes clear the reasons for the team’s willingness to shop Sherman, and it will invite speculation as to whether the page truly has been turned, and whether things will be any better now that Sherman begins his seventh NFL season.

55 responses to “Friction lingers between Seattle defense, offense

  1. I guess things are going to get even more awkward now that the defense with all of its older players continues to slide. Wonder who Sherman is going to attack then, kind of like after Earl Thomas got hurt how they got lit up like a Christmas tree by everybody they played?

  2. Sherman’s mad that there’s a bigger star on the team than him.

    I’m not talking about a pure football star, rather someone who’s getting more attention than him… a bigger celebrity.

    This is disgraceful.

  3. This is how you know you’ve tangled with the champs. The Seahawks said SB 49 would crown a dynasty — and they were right.

  4. Love it, with Pete the Cheat as their spiritual leader, what sort of morally bankrupt, stab your teammate in the back, me first attitude would you expect the team to adopt?

    The Seahawks are a classical example of the need to have a strong, unified locker room, or in their case, lack thereof. You can have a ton of talent in the locker room but without a sense of team unity, it will flail and cause the team to lose in that critical moment. It will be fun to watch that play of in 2017.

  5. Just read the article. Great piece. I still think Sherman’s a tool but you gotta appreciate the desire in that team.

  6. Just read the article. Great piece. I still think Sherman’s a tool but you gotta appreciate the desire in that team.

  7. Was it Wilson’s fault that Brady torched the Seattle D for 350 yards passing and two 4th quarter TDs in the SB Sherm?

    Nahh…..I didn’t think so….

  8. The attitude of the coaching staff and team since the Pete era began has been “always compete.” When you have multiple passionate high profile characters on both side of the ball, naturally there will be some tension. This story is making things look worse than they really are. The guys compete and have a deep desire to win. Watch out. The Hawks have plenty of gas left in the tank.

  9. Everyone is Vince Lombardi in hindsight. Taking into account the personnel groupings on the field, down, distance, clock and previous failures to punch it in the call wasn’t the problem, the execution was. To a certain extent it’s understandable that players on that team would be ticked with Wilson at that moment, he should have thrown the ball away. In all of that season and the playoffs there was only one int thrown from the 1 and that was it. The Patriots defense showed Seattle what they wanted to see and then baited Wilson into throwing that ball. Staying mad about it is just childish and ignores the fact that Brady had his way with the legion of bust in that 4th quarter and it was only a ridiculous fluke reception that had them in a position to win after the defense collapsed. That int saved the D from having to look in the mirror and accept that they coughed up a double digit lead. That they and most of their fans are still pointing fingers shows a lack of self awareness that goes well beyond immaturity.

  10. Marshawn Lynch is all you need to know about the Seattle Seahawks dysfunction.. That team started with him, and when he felt betrayed everything went downhill

  11. Worst play call in SB history. Tough to come back from that. Just enjoy your one year dynasty Seahawks fans.

  12. This is frustrating. I am not a Seahawks fan at all, but a good coach prevents this and works on it. Carroll has always kind of let the players do their thing and be vocal without reigning it in at all. This is the result unfortunately. They still have a ton of young talent and are built to win long term, but they may be replacing a couple of super stars relatively quickly. Sherman is a loud mouth but is undoubtedly still a top CB in the league.

  13. Who the hell is Seth Wickersham? He is just some unknown reporter from New York that has never been in the Seahawk locker room. He probably has not even been to Seattle.

  14. I think its funny that teammates get mad at the QB making more money. At least Wilson can play. Look at Glennon in Chicago, plus how would have Sherman done with a guy like Bradford with the Rams when he had that guaranteed money as #1 and he was horrible. If Sherman wants to be mad at anyone for the offensive woes look at the GM and Coach Cable for that garbage O-Line last year. No QB could play behind that.

  15. Sherman wants to be the star but his position and play don’t support it. He’s a semi shut down corner who really only plays one side of the field. He gets beat, and he doesn’t travel. Everyone who knows football knows the team’s success starts under center, so Wilson is going to get more attention then a CB who teams can scheme away from. Without Sherman in the locker room, the strife between the offense and defense wouldn’t be significant. Find a way to get him off the roster….

  16. As a diehard patriots fan, i have nothing to complain about. However, i was just 13 when Pete was fired in Foxborough. The globe and herald TEED OFF on him for losing the locker room. I really did not see it until he went to the Seahawks. If this was Belichick, sherman would have been fined or suspended. He would not run his mouth because as a stanford grad i HOPE he would know what comes next.

  17. Well, considering how loudmouthed the defense is, all of this makes sense. I also think Wilson is a good guy, and I respect the heck out of him. He doesn’t deserve all of this.

  18. As much as I hate the Hawks I have a lot of respect for them as they continue to win even though people annually predict “this is the year they crash”. Sherman is the cancer of that team IMO and he needs to go. With that being said what does it say about the “unity” of the team if they are supposedly mocking their franchise QB? Who is the leader of this team?

  19. The Seahawks knew what they were getting into when they signed him to an extension. Hell the league knew what the Seahawks were getting into when they signed him to an extension. No one feels any pity or remorse for anyone in that situation.

  20. Sherman may have come out of Stanford, but in no way shows any degree of intelligence. His mentality is one of an adoption of a sick culture which mocks success with honor and class. He routinely scorns anyone (teammate or not) in a classless manner, where Wilson shows grace, poise, and respect. Sherman is a mental knuckle-dragger who is only capable of understanding schoolyard bullying.

    He’s a team cancer with an over-inflated opinion of himself. Problem is, after shopping him around the league, Carroll found no takers…..

  21. Its all about the salary cap, if the defense is getting all the coin (which they are with the exception of Wilson) Should they not be expected to perform at a higher level? When the Offense particularly the Ol loses players so that we can extend are Defense players to better contracts?

  22. Please please PLEASE sign Kaepernick. The daily drama would be better than the NY Knicks.

  23. Sherman’s a very competitive and very emotional person. Even though his opinions haven’t been wrong when he has his outbursts, he needs to learn how to control it and not let it be destructive. You can tell your offensive coordinator you don’t approve of his garbage play calling after a game in a closed meeting. Don’t blow up on him on the sideline.

    I love the emotion that he plays with and how competitive he is, but it’s true that Sherman is allowing himself to be a cancer. Hopefully the trade talk was a wake up call this offseason and it brought his ego back down to reality.

    Also, Wilson is hardly to blame. He’s a good teammate, a good person, and a dang good player. You put a line in front of him as bad as last years and what can you honestly expect?

  24. I’m lumping this one in with your integrity-award-winning coverage of the signing of Colin Kaepernick…

  25. You can always tell when it’s a Florio article just by reading the headline. Doom and gloom, doom and gloom anything Seattle related.
    Russell is a choir boy and hard for me to stomach at times even as a Hawk fan. But of course I am glad to have him in the fold.
    Defense has some guys that are easy for other fan bases to dislike – that is obvious- but again I am glad to have them on the roster even if they are getting long in the tooth.Sherman is a smart guy so hopefully he has taken a long look at himself and his antics – and not just last season- and will reel it in where he can without losing the edge he plays with.
    I think it’s all about staying healthy , catching some breaks , and for the Hawks home field in playoffs is huge as they are so ordinary on the road.
    NFC there has to be 5-6 teams who feel like they can get to and win a SBowl- should be a great battle in 2017. Good luck to all and hope we all avoid any ridiculous injuries early, especially in these OTAs.

  26. The whole premise of this article is that Sherman blames Wilson for the Superbowl loss. If you actually read the whole article there’s not one quote that supports that opinion. Could it be true? sure, I don’t put it passed Sherman for being that arrogant (I’m a Seattle Fan and sometimes question his antics). Wickersham’s article is 90% opinion and 10% quotes and his assumptions of what the quotes really mean. So to me the whole premise of the article is just this writer’s opinion on the situation which everyone has, but unless you’re in that locker room day-in and day-out, you don’t really know. I’m not in that locker room so I don’t really know. But I’ve been in enough locker rooms with enough Type-A personalities to know that this stuff is common throughout and its nothing more than small banter.

  27. It is apparent many of the comments here are from posters that have NOT even read the article…. suggest you do that, and then comment.

  28. These guys are supposed to be professionals but act like a bunch of high school girls who get all two-faced and harbor petty resentments all day long.

  29. As a Packer fan, all I’ll say;

    I long for the time the Packer locker room is seen as imploding, with back-to-back Super Bowls still visible in the rearview.

    I haven’t had that ‘problem’ in 20 years.

  30. Signing Kaepernick would help the team’s chemistry.

    Contrary to what some of the narrow-minded posters here think, Kaep is actually well-respected with players around the league. Look how much support he has gotten from fellow players on other teams. And no players have spoken out against him.

    Posters here think he’s a cancer, but he’s actually a uniting force in an NFL locker room.


  31. Had to stop reading when the author called Sherman a “future hall of famer”. Writers should be fired for typing that phrase.

  32. Sherman should be angry with Kearse for dropping the perfect pass around the 10 yard line that Wilson floated into his hands along the left sideline with Hawks were up 10. Given they personnel on the field…worst play call in SB history. Lost Lynch because of it and D never got over it.

  33. I can’t wait till this blows up in Shermans face…

    When he gets traded to a different team that can’t protect him with schemes and exceptional Safety play, and he is exposed as a slightly above average corner…

    But lucky for him…..he have his “blame-thrower” all lit up.

  34. What an overrated team. Their defense is overrated because they can’t stop Atlanta, Green Bay, Arizona, and even Buffalo from putting up serious points on them. That points per game allowed statistic that looks so low is pulled down by performances against the feckless Rams, Jets, an Eagles team that was going through a rough patch.

    Then, let’s take a look at their offensive point totals:
    12 against the Dolphins
    3 against the Rams
    6 against the Cardinals
    5 against the Bucs
    10 against the Packers

    Their offense clearly underachieved as well.

    And their fans wonder why realists laugh at their “dynasty.” This team is clearly getting worse by the year. Having all that money tied up in aging, whiny players clearly isn’t helping.

  35. Lynch was stuffed in short yardage situations twice already in the game. That was a great play call. No one counted on the fact Belichick saw it on film and practiced against it all week. In fact not once dif Butler execute that successfully in practice. It’s hard to jump a route on a bang bang play like that.

  36. Sherman keeps harping on that one play for a simple reason, it keeps the limelight off of the Seahawks’ defensive collapse in the fourth quarter of SB 49. How bad was the complete and utter defensive breakdown of Sherman and his vaunted defense? Brady completed 13 of 15 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the final quarter. Brady’s final throw was a three-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 2:06 remaining and his passer rating for the quarter was an unbelievable 140.7. If not for a miracle catch by Jermaine Kearse to set up a first and goal at the 5 yard-line there would have been no chance for the Seahawks to pull off a win at all. If Sherman and his defensive teammates had lived up to their billing then that game should have been on ice at 24-14 with 12 minutes to go.

  37. I read the ESPN article as well. I am a little torn here. Now that Beast is gone, these 2 are my favorite Seahawks. Sherman has a very valid point about the offense. I remember writing a “very sternly worded letter” to the front office in ’08. At the time I was a season ticket holder, and I was absolutely livid that the offensive quality control coach still had a job after watching poor Matt Hasselbeck run for dear life on every snap. All 5 receivers and all of the linemen were injured at some point during the season. I demanded they fire him or lose my business. He still has the job, I don’t have season tickets.

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