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Pete Carroll on the best players he’s ever coached, opposed

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. (Getty Images)

Last week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens gave Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll the chance to face off against an athlete who has turned heads since his rookie season last year — Lamar Jackson.

“He’s a fantastic athlete — he’s a whole cut above the rest of the field,” Carroll told Dori Monson on KIRO Radio’s Pete Carroll Show. “Hit burst, explosion, and also his toughness about the way he runs, his style of running is very aggressive, more aggressive than most quarterbacks. He can control the game — and he did a little bit of that in our game.”

Jackson joins the ranks of some of the greatest players Carroll has ever faced across a field. He named retired NFL record-setting wide receiver Randy Moss (“the guy who was so impressive, so much taller and faster than other guys”), retired Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders (who “just wowed you with his explosion and change of direction and burst”), and retired New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor (“a guy who just shocked you with his athleticism and his ability”) as the other best opponents of his coaching career.

It goes beyond just the stats, Carroll said — these players had something extra inside them that made them stand out.

“Those guys jump off the charts … Those were guys who were just extraordinary,” he said. “And I thought Lamar was one of those guys … he’s in that kind of category as a unique, special player.”

As for the best athletes whom he’s coached, retired Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu — whom Carroll coached in his University of Southern California days — makes the cut.

“I thought Troy Polamalu was one of the greatest players I’ve ever been around,” he said. “An incredible player — speed, burst, instinct, savvy, come-through. He was an amazing football player.”

And of course, the list is not complete without Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

“When it’s all said and done, I know I’ll look back at Russell [Wilson] as one of those guys, one of the all-timers,” he said. “He’s an incredible player too.”

Wilson made the Seahawks’ injury report this week due to a knee issue, but Carroll assured fans that Wilson will be on the field in Atlanta against the Falcons on Sunday.

“He did get banged a little bit, but he came out of it just fine, and he is a remarkable healer,” Carroll said. “And also, he works so hard in his rehab, whenever he’s got anything that ever bothers him, you don’t even know it, so he didn’t miss anything — he didn’t miss a second all day.”

Pete Carroll looks past the losses

With both of the team’s losses occurring at home so far this season — including the second double-digit home loss in Carroll’s history last Sunday against Baltimore — he remains hopeful for future games, but reminds players not to let home field advantage make them over-confident. He noted that the Seahawks gave away two touchdowns to the Ravens last Sunday.

“I hate that we’ve lost a couple games at home, and that those got away from us,” he said. “Those are games that you like to think, just because you’re at home, you’re going to have an advantage and you can find a way, but both teams played really [well] against us.”

If this season does turn out to be a smashing success for the Seahawks, it will have to come “from this point forward,” Carroll said.

“We can play a lot better, we’ll play better at home, I think, as we’re going down the stretch, we always finish well, I’m counting on that,” he said. “We’ve got to get out of this 6-2 at the halfway point and then get hot.”

Listen to the Pete Carroll Show on Fridays at 12:30 p.m. during the Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. 

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