Seattle’s Pete Carroll talks Trojans QB Sam Darnold and the challenges for coaches drafting short QB’s

COLIN COWHERD: Listen, Sam Darnold’s getting a lot of love. You obviously, you know, you know Sam. It’s your former program. I love Sam. I think he’s a wonderful kid. I love his family. I think he’s got a great work ethic. He does at times– he’s a little reckless. He had some interceptions and fumbles. And, by the way, Deshaun Watson did last year in college. And I kind of look at interceptions as I like risk-takers, and generally I like my quarterbacks to be risk-takers and throw the ball down the field. When you see a Darnold, and everybody goes, he throws too many picks, what do you make of interceptions? Is that overstated? Is Darnold’s recklessness overstated?

PETE CARROLL: I think so. I think there’s a lot that goes into that. You know, the younger offensive line that he had, look at how many times he was hit, and how many times he was pushed out of the pocket compared to last year, and that factors in. He’s still a very young quarterback. He’s just developing. He’s got extraordinary potential. He’s shown so much savvy for the spot, and playmaking ability, and toughness, and strength, and all that, you know, that levelheadedness that he shows. I think if you look at the other elements, you can start to put together the pieces of that puzzle to make good decisions there. And all of the GMs and the coaches are doing that at this time.

It just depends. Some guys, you know, they’ve been throwing interceptions all their life, and that’s just the way they’ve been, and their conscience allows them to do that. I think in this case you saw from one year to the next somewhat of a significant change in the numbers for Sam, but I think a lot had to do with that. And, you know, he can only play as good as the guys around him. So I think he’s a fantastic talent, and he’s got a great future. It depends on the makeup. It’s not just the height, it’s how strong the kid is, how well he can run, his arm strength, the delivery that he has, all those other elements.

You know, Russell’s showing you that where all of the, you know, the skeptics came in thinking he’s not going to be able to do this and that, he’s been able to do it all. And he’s throwing the ball in the pocket, he’s throwing the ball behind big linemen. He had a huge line in college at Wisconsin. Those issues were not really issues. Look at how many balls he’s had knocked down at the line of scrimmage over the years in college and in the NFL. It has not– it’s not a factor.

And so it depends on the style of player and really the dynamics of his athleticism, you know, what kind of a player can he become. Can he move? Can he– does he have the strength? Does he have that great arm strength? All of those are the issues. And then does he really have that special knack on how to play the game. And Russell gives you a great illustration of what it takes.

COLIN COWHERD: By the way, I look at cap space, I look at rosters. I saw somebody the other day that said Seattle’s in a little bit of a rebuild, and I thought, I don’t think you’re in a rebuild. Are you in a rebuild right now?

PETE CARROLL: I don’t think that, Colin. We could have said that a couple of times over the years, and people would have said, oh, you’re rebuilding this, you’re rebuilding that. We don’t think that. We’re just trying to put together the best roster we can. We think we have the nucleus for another great run in another season coming up, with leadership in the right spots and some terrific talent. We have to always, you know, rebuild it and construct it in a manner that suits the strengths of the players and the coaches. We’re at it again. So we feel like we’re going for it all over again and can’t wait to get started.

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