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Seahawks back in playoffs; Carroll gets contract extension

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll reacts during the second half of  Sunday’s home win over the Kansas City Chiefs. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll reacts during the second half of Sunday’s home win over the Kansas City Chiefs. (Elaine Thompson / AP)

RENTON, Wash. – Doug Baldwin is one of the few still on the Seattle Seahawks’ roster who has hung around long enough to give an accurate and comprehensive read on coach Pete Carroll – who received a three-year contract extension Monday.

After being with Carroll for eight of his nine seasons in Seattle, Baldwin said the coaching job done this season may be Carroll’s best, taking a team few expected to be contender and leading it to the postseason for the seventh time in his Seahawks tenure.

“I would put this up there as one of his best years coaching, without a doubt,” Baldwin said. “All the new faces, all the new coaches, the new guys, really just figuring out how best to utilize them so that we can be successful on the football field and perform at a high level, it’s incredible. Now he’s not going to get all the credit, because we do have an offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator and all the position coaches who work their tails off, too. It’s a full team effort, for sure, but I will say that I think Pete has done a fantastic job this year.”

Seattle clinched its spot in the postseason with Sunday’s 38-31 win over Kansas City, the Seahawks’ fifth win in the past six games, completing a turnaround from a 0-2 start and sitting at 4-5 at midseason. The Seahawks (9-6) are likely headed for a wild-card round matchup against Dallas, although there are a handful of scenarios in which Seattle could fall to the No. 6 seed and face Chicago in the opening round.

The Seahawks rewarded Carroll with a multiyear extension.

“I am excited to announce that we have extended head coach Pete Carroll through the 2021 season,” said Jody Allen, Seahawks chair and trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust. “This will continue the championship culture that we have created in Seattle.”

Carroll’s not one to rank or dissect his performance, but when considering the number of changes Seattle made after missing the postseason a year ago, it is an impressive job from the 67-year-old. In August, the question was how bad will the Seahawks be as they undertook a significant rebuild? In December, and with the playoffs on the horizon, it’s become how far can they go?

“It was a smack in the face. It was a smack in the face to say we would be that bad because that’s really, really bad to win four games,” Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said. “This team is much better than that. I appreciate it. I appreciate them saying that. I’ve been in the business of proving people wrong.”

Carroll’s role in advancing Seattle’s rebuild to the point of being in the playoffs started in the offseason. The roster was remodeled and his staff underwent its most massive overhaul of his tenure. Within all those changes, Carroll stayed true to the style he wanted Seattle to play. It was getting those new coaches and players to buy into that belief and style, then translating it into victories on the field where Carroll has succeeded.

As Carroll said Monday in referencing John Wooden, “You don’t change your philosophy year to year, your players change.

“You either believe in something or you don’t. I think just staying the course and knowing we’re on to something. Believing in the history. We know what we’re capable of doing. We’ve shown it over a lot of years. You’re always adapting, but it’s staying what you’re true to. I think that’s what is happening. We look like a team that we have seen before, and that’s powerful.”

Sticking with a strategy means Carroll doesn’t intend to sit any of his regulars for Week 17 unless injury dictates they could use a break, or the game gets out of hand and Seattle is given an opportunity to rest some players. A win over Arizona in the finale would give Seattle its sixth 10-win season under Carroll and ensure a meeting with the Cowboys, who the Seahawks beat in Week 3 for Seattle’s first win.

“We have to keep doing what we’re doing to keep the momentum going and the precision that it takes to keep sharp and all that,” Carroll said.

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