A couple of championship-winning coaches were back at it this week for their second episode of "Flying Coach," a podcast featuring Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
The podcast, which can be found at theringer.com, is not only a very entertaining and informative listen, it also is helping raise money for COVID-19 relief. Already $100,000 has been donated to the Warriors Community Foundation and the Seahawks Charitable Foundation, which will use that money for COVID-19 relief in the Bay Area and Puget Sound Region, and nearly $50,000 has been raised for World Central Kitchen.
Carroll and Kerr have maintained a friendship for several years since Carroll invited Kerr to visit with the Seahawks for a few days early in Kerr's coaching career, with Kerr attending meetings and practices. Now they're using that relationship to team up for a good cause. If you missed the first episode, it can be found here. As for this week's podcast, you should give the whole thing a listen, but here are a few takeaways from from what Carroll had to say.
1. This draft will be a "really unique" experience for the Seahawks and every other team.
The NBA draft normally takes place not long after the NBA Finals, which for the coach of a really successful team means that Kerr hasn't been very involved in the draft process in recent years, he said. The NFL is different, obviously, with Carroll very involved in the entire process, and when Kerr asked Carroll about the upcoming draft, which will be a virtual draft with everyone working from their own homes, Carroll said it'd be a unique experience, but one that will see the Seahawks competing to handle the situation better than everyone else.
"This is a one-time only situation I would think," Carroll said. "It will never be the same no matter what happens. It's really unique. The whole process has been affected. So much happens at the end. You accumulate all the information and at the end of it, you pick it all apart and get it situated just right for the draft. A lot of the normal formatting is just not available. We're not in the same room talking about stuff. It's all being done virtually. Thank goodness for Zoom. We've been Zooming everywhere. A lot of the closing types of analysis that's done, the analytics, are just not available like they've been. It's relative. Everybody's got the same [situation]. We're all competing, which is kind of cool. We're trying to figure out how to whip the other guys and get better information and more intel and all that."
2. What Carroll's looking for in a player beyond physical ability.
When Kerr and Carroll were discussing the evaluation process and finding players that fit into their respective teams, Carroll gave an interesting answer on what it is he looks for, beyond the obvious physical skillset.
"The number one thing that has come through to me all of this time…I want to take the guy that I want to play with in the park," he said. "It's very subjective. It's very personal. But I want to win. I want to play with the guys that care so much and it's so important to them. It may be way beyond what the physical stuff looks like. Sometimes there are guys you just want to ball with. That's where I like to go. We've had a lot of free agent guys that just got that thing about them. They have that attitude about them, that chip on their shoulder. It's so freakin' important to them to be something. Maybe not even great, but they've got to be something. They really have something that drives them and pushes them. They're just going to outlast the next guy because they've got to freakin' win."
3. DK Metcalf was "a fantastic pick" for the Seahawks.
It took less than one season to see that the Seahawks got great value in selecting DK Metcalf at the end of the second round, and Carroll talked more about that process with Kerr.
"That was a fantastic pick for us," he said. "Interesting story, because he had everything you're looking for with the measurables and all that. He only caught a handful of passes his senior year. But he was extraordinary in his makeup and his speed and size and all that…Through the process, I've got to tell you, I didn't embrace what an extraordinary individual the guy was. I didn't know that. There was so much hype and all that about him. It kind of precluded maybe the good clear analysis that I would have liked to have made. Now that I know him, he's unbelievable. He's such a hard worker. He cares so much and he's smart. It matters to him. He takes care of his business, his world is in order. He can't wait to get great. He's so determined to be a great player. We didn't know that right away either. It took a little bit of time to get to know the kid because he kind of stood off because he was such an amazing looking dude."
Asked by Kerr why Metcalf might have fallen so far in the draft, Carroll said, "There was so much hype about him, so much build-up about him, and he did some phenomenal things that he got picked apart so badly. I think guys felt, "we're not going to be the ones to fall into the hype". He was a top-15 pick going into the draft at one point. All of a sudden, the speculation about…maybe he isn't quite this, he's too stiff, he's too this, he doesn't know the route tree and all of this other malarkey. It wore him down. Well we loved the guy. Somewhere in the middle of the second round, he's still there. We could tell something was up. There was a stigma. Something had happened across the league. Guys kept going, "no, no" and letting him go. John and I were sitting there, we took a look and we were about six or seven picks away…we've got a chance. We positioned ourselves at the bottom of [round] two…I was blown away. I was just blown away that he made it to us…Man, he has been great. He had a great rookie season and he's ready to go again."
4. Chris Carson is one of Carroll's favorite picks.
As the two were talking about finding value with later picks in the draft, Carroll pointed to how cool of a moment it was to see John Schneider's conviction about Russell Wilson before the Seahawks took him in the third round of the 2012 draft. Kerr then asked Carroll if he had a favorite late round pick, and Carroll pointed to Chris Carson, who has rushed for more than 2,300 yards over the past two seasons after being a seventh-rounder in 2016.
"There's a guy on my team right now, Chris Carson," Carroll said, "… He doesn't do much playing his junior year. He got banged up. He comes back his senior year and I think he had 82 carries or something his senior year. Somewhere along the process, I remember John saying, 'Hey, there's this running back at [Oklahoma] State. Just take a look at him and see what you think.' Well I fell in love with this guy. He had style, he had toughness, he had the big 3-2 on him. He looked great. He had all the moves and all that. But he wasn't well known. He had been banged up. So we just followed him all the way through the draft. I started nudging John around the fifth round…sure enough, we had a chance to get him. Got him in the seventh round. Chris came in and he was so much of a ballplayer in our style of play. He fit in so well. One of my favorite picks we were able to make because I just thought there was something unique about the kid and sure enough, he's had two or three great years for us. He's been really fun to coach."