FOXBOROUGH — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is more concerned about the Patriots’ frenetic offensive pace than any special meaning Sunday’s game might have for him because of the time he spent as New England’s coach.
Carroll was the coach of the Patriots from 1997-99 — sandwiched between Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick — winning the AFC East once and taking the team to the playoffs twice. He’ll be facing his former team for the first time, aware of the significance.
“It’s a regular game for me that I look forward to because of Coach Belichick and [Tom] Brady and my relationship with Robert [Kraft],” Carroll said Wednesday afternoon in a conference call from Seattle. “I’ve always liked playing people that I like and that I know, it always adds something a little bit special to it.”
Carroll never had a losing record with the Patriots, and went 27-21 in his three seasons. After being dismissed in 1999, he became the coach at Southern California, going 83-19 and winning the BCS national championship in 2004. His time in Foxborough, he said, prepared him for the success he’s had since.
“I loved living there, it’s a great fan base and I loved being connected to them,” Carroll said. “I regret that we weren’t able to get it done the way we wanted to. We did some really good things and we were close, but I learned so much coming out of that experience that it changed me.
“I found a lot of good stuff since then, and I’m grateful for that, but I wish I would have been able to get to fix it and finish it, but we didn’t get to.”
Looking at how the Patriots have used a fast-paced, no-huddle attack the last two weeks in wins against the Bills and Broncos, Carroll said there’s no other team in the NFL with that kind of tempo. He can think of just one comparison.
“Yeah, the Oregon Ducks. They’re the ones that play similar to this. There’s nobody in the league that’s close at this time,” Carroll said. “It’s their willingness to go this fast that separates them from other teams. They’ve taken on a different approach and philosophy that singles them out in their commitment to the tempo, and that’s cool to watch.”
How do you defend against it?
“You’ve got to play really fast,” he said. “We’ll see if we can get lined up and execute like we’re capable, and they’re hoping that we don’t.”