The Seahawks’ season ended Saturday in disappointment.
Coach Pete Carroll admitted Monday that the defeat still lingered.
“It’s just frustrating that we’re not playing,” he said. “The finality hits you square in the face.”
But Carroll spent the bulk of his end-of-the-season press conference looking back at the success the team enjoyed and ahead at the possibility of even more to come.
“This season was a season of growth and progress, and proving,” he said. “Coming to grips with who we are and what we could do in a great fashion. It was a marvelous season of work with our guys.”
Among the Seahawks’ accomplishments were leading the league in rushing, earning a trip back to the playoffs and rebuilding a depleted roster.
It was the last of those that had Carroll most excited.
“It was so much fun to see these guys grow,” he said. “To see them see the future.”
Carroll admitted the season ended sooner than planned, with the 24-22 loss in Dallas. But he said the team is looking ahead to the offseason and what’s to come.
After parting ways with a bevy of former Pro Bowlers after last season, this year will be about development for the Seahawks.
“I love this team, and I love where we’re going,” Carroll said. “It’s going to be more competitive than ever. The roster will continue to be built and constructed to be competitive and bring out the best in our guys.”
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson spoke of offseason development as well Sunday, when the players cleared out their lockers at the VMAC.
“I think having a great offseason (will be key), having a championship offseason,” he said. “I think preparing at the highest level. There’s only one way to do it and that’s got to be your mentality.”
Wilson will be entering the final year of his contract in 2019 after setting career-high marks in touchdown passes (35) and passer rating (110.9). Carroll said Monday the two had already talked about the quarterback’s longterm future in Seattle.
“That’s very much in our plans,” the coach said.
Carroll also sounded optimistic about extending free agent defensive end Frank Clark, who led the team with 14 sacks. When asked if he thought Clark would be back next season, Carroll was brief.
“I’m counting on it,” he said.
Carroll also said he’s hoping the team will be able to re-sign other free agents, including linebacker K.J. Wright and offensive linemen D.J. Fluker and J.R. Sweezey.
The Seahawks will likely be aggressive in free agency, with the team projected to be in the top 10 in salary cap space.
They will also look to fill holes in the draft.
But Carroll said Monday that he’s happy with where the team is at, regardless of what additions are made.
“You can tell that the nucleus and the core of the team that you need to be a championship team is here,” he said. “These are the guys we’re going to build it around.”