The time of innocence in Seattle just a few weeks ago seems a distant memory now. The situation at wide receiver for the Seahawks prior to the start of training camp looked to be a spirited competition amongst several young players looking to distinguish themselves on an up and coming team.
Sure there were a ton of question marks and the issue of quantity versus quality, but some times in life you just go with what you've got and hope for the best...it's just how things work with Pete Carroll in charge.
Then in the middle of July things started to change when veteran wideout Mike Williams, a reclamation project during Carroll's first season in Seattle, was cut loose following a disappointing campaign last season.
At the time, the move appeared to be a bit strange. Williams after a solid year in 2010, never really clicked with the offense on the rare occasions he was healthy in 2011. Still it seemed like Williams was as good a candidate as any to get a shot at making the roster before getting released.
Then two weeks later just before training camp commenced, the 'Hawks opted instead to give veteran Antonio Bryant a chance when he signed with the team in the hopes of resurrecting his career. Then before the ink could even dry on Bryant's deal Braylon Edwards signed a deal as well to join the team.
It was with that move I started to wonder what exactly Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were looking to accomplish.
Was anybody with a pulse going to get a shot at WR?
Now entering their third season in Seattle, the two have done a solid job rebuilding the Seahawks from scratch by gutting the roster from top to bottom by keeping only a handful of leftovers from the previous regime while drafting, signing and trading for the rest of the pieces to build a team that could contend in the NFC West in 2012.
Often times they've chosen the road less traveled, but even the most skeptical/jaded 'Hawks fans have to tip their hats to Carroll and Schneider in turning this team around so quickly and yet the Edwards signing on top of the Bryant signing irked me.
On the surface it seemed like a low risk/high reward deal, but adding Edwards to an already crowded mix at wideout felt like a forced fit for a guy who has consistently fallen short of expectations in recent years.
Yes, Edwards has talent, but at 29 does he finally have his head on straight?
For years he's drifted in and out of situations that one minute seem tailor-made for him, only to blow it. This should be his last chance to make good, unless he really wants to be a journeyman picking up paychecks from teams based on his rep alone.
Speaking of such, how did we get this desperate in needing to sign Terrell Owens?
I'll confess that on occasion I will sip the Kool-Aid that Pete Carroll is offering to the good folks of the Pacific Northwest, but this time I'll pass.
Sure, why not kick the tires. No harm done and besides, he's already gone.
Why not see if the 'Hawks can squeeze any juice out of a lemon?
But Terrell Owens?
I feel that we've finally gone dumpster diving.
All of the Seahawks' recent moves at wide receiver have been mildly intriguing, but this crosses a line into a territory I'm not sure the team can successfully navigate.
Owens at 38 following major knee surgery and a stint in the Indoor Football League should for all intents and purposes be washed up.
With 12 wide receivers already on the roster, do the 'Hawks really want to make Terrell Owens unlucky number 13?
Is this supposed to be another clever Jedi mind trick from the "Book of Pete" to simultaneously motivate the players and distract the masses?
It just doesn't add up with a guy like Owens given his past history.
Up until now Carroll has made sure to bring in players that are not bigger than the team or for that matter...him. It's worked well as the team has managed to retain, attract and draft talent that until now have generally followed orders.
Why risk that with Owens now?
Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times believes the reward outweighs the risk and TO will behave with Pete keeping a close eye...yet others seem either keen on holding their tongue rather than say anything that could come back to haunt them, trying to balance the good with the bad, or flat out see this as no guarantee.
Honestly, five to 10 years ago, on a team pushing for a Super Bowl, Owens was a stud...so maybe you roll the dice and deal with the consequences later. But for a team that is simply looking to make the postseason as part of a long-term rebuilding project featuring a fairly young roster, it seems like the 'Hawks are playing with matches.
Is Pete worried that his own window is closing and therefore looking to accelerate the process?
I had hoped to see the team develop some of the young raw talent on the current roster with the vision of seeing them grow into long-term fixtures. Instead, it's almost like Pete and John are trying to skip a step in their master plan, mask a larger problem or perhaps even scarier...both.
Are the youngsters simply not as talented as we had hoped?
It's certainly on the top of Sports Illustrated's Peter King's list of "Ten Things I Think I Think."
Rather than using copious amounts of duck tape to fix the problem with the likes of Owens, Edwards and Bryant, why didn't the brain trust sign or draft someone over the offseason when they had the chance?
For the moment it's supplanted the QB competition as Seattle's most confounding issue as that's only a three-man derby.
Of course Carroll's defenders will say it's all part of the master plan, to keep faith and have patience.
That's all well and good, but the speed dating approach to picking a group of wideouts seems dangerous. Even if the 'Hawks do find their quarterback, will he have developed a strong enough rapport with his receivers in time for when the games actually count?
Either way, what had seemed to be a quiet training camp will no longer be the case with TO on board.
Not sure how things are going to work out exactly, but hold on tight and perhaps keep hope that the circus that is TO only stays in town for a short time, because at some point it will come to an end, if not a complete screeching halt.
And that's what worries me.
Is Pete Carroll really capable of controlling the situation? I'm unsure and really don't want to find out.
Owens doesn't operate in a vacuum as someone you can simply cut loose and then ignore. Based on his past and the media's endless curiosity in him, it would probably bring a lot of unwanted attention to the organization and could possibly drag down a lot of people with him regardless of who is right or wrong in the matter.
Now a days people don't care about the real story, they simply feast upon the syrupy drama of it all.
As much as I'd like to see the 'Hawks unearth an affordable and arguably talented player to help their playoff push, odds are this move could end up being one of Pete Carroll's worst since taking over in Seattle...and by comparison this seems mild today.
On the other hand, if the 'Hawks want to really make Camp entertaining, why stop with TO?
Joking aside, what it comes down to is a choice...would you rather see the 'Hawks try to catch lightning in the bottle with the potential to get severely burned or build something long lasting with the right pieces in place?
Obviously Pete is trying to catch lightning, but could end up catching hell.