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Seahawks’ Pete Carroll on changes to NFL draft and offseason due to coronavirus: ‘We’ll figure it out’

UPDATED: Thu., April 9, 2020

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll talks to reporters at a postgame news conference after the Seahawks played the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Seattle. (John Froschauer / AP)
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll talks to reporters at a postgame news conference after the Seahawks played the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Seattle. (John Froschauer / AP)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – You wouldn’t expect Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to view the challenges facing every individual and business as anything other than another opportunity to compete.

True to form, when asked this week about how he and the Seahawks will handle some of the changes that will be forced on all 32 NFL teams this offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic, Carroll responded with trademark optimism.

“We’ll figure it out,” Carroll said during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio with hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Monday. “We’ll get it done.”

Like his 31 NFL coaching counterparts, Carroll is not only preparing for an NFL draft that will be done in a virtual format with club personnel required to work from their homes, but also waiting to find out what kind of offseason program teams must conduct.

The Seahawks were expecting to begin their offseason workout program April 20, a period that typically begins with a few weeks of conditioning and eventually morphs into on-field Organized Team Activities and concludes with minicamp in June.

For now, everything is on hold.

Teams with new head coaches (with a two-week head start) were to begin their programs this week, hoping to at least communicate with players via video.

But the NFL last week decided that teams must wait for the league to give further instruction on how, if or when teams will be allowed to conduct meetings and workouts remotely.

“We just kind of keep grinding and stay with the mentality kind of like if they tell us next week we are on, then we are attempting to be as prepared as possible,” Carroll said of the offseason program. “We are competing like crazy right now to make sense of how to do this remotely.”

The same holds true with the draft, with teams having to prepare without the benefits of past years, such as the 30 visits by prospective draftees to team facilities and attending pro days.

Carroll said it’s hard to predict the impact those changes will have on how the draft unfolds.

“There’s just stuff to be worked out,” he said. “It’s going to be fascinating.”

As Carroll noted, no team is theoretically more harmed than any other since “we are all doing it. … It’s no different than everybody is in the whole world right now.”

But therein lies the challenge and the chance to compete, especially when it comes to preparing for the draft April 23-25.

While teams can’t meet with players or attend pro days, they can still try to mine through other avenues of information – rewatching player film, scouring every scouting report, combing through every interview from the combine – to set their draft board.

Carroll called it like being in “the wild, wild West.”

“We are working to try to figure it out,” he said. “Where we can find the edge, where we can find the opportunity to get the information.”

That some of the traditional sources for getting that information are no longer available, Carroll said “doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways in there to get what you need.”

You don’t know Carroll if you think he’ll give up the specifics of how the Seahawks plan to do that.

“Yeah, some of that I’m not going to tell you because we are competing,” Carroll said when asked during the 15-minute interview how the Seahawks are adjusting their predraft process. “But in general, it is different, because we are not able to get as much information as we normally have. So we have to operate on less information.”

The Seahawks have seven picks in the draft, including three of the top 64 and four of the first 101.

The good news there is that the players at the top of the draft were well-vetted before limitations on travel and pro days were put in place, notably at the combine and the Senior Bowl.

“We’re all kind of in flux, so I think the mentality and attitude is what’s most important,” Carroll said. “We’re going to figure it out and work through it, and we’re going to be open to the change and willing to be adaptable and all of that so our mindset is real good about it, and I think it goes kind of across the board for everybody. We’re all living that way right now.”

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