The Seattle Seahawks surprised many by winning the NFC West in 2010, battling through significant injuries in what was tagged as a “rebuilding” year. Pete Carroll’s refined philosophy, his "rah rah" approach to getting players to “buy in” and “always compete” worked.
Maybe "rah rah" is no longer the correct tag for Carroll, nearly 13 years and two National Championships removed from his days in New England.
Depth was tested at all positions, some replacements more successful than others, as the team continually mixed and matched personnel.
All of this while enduring the inherent struggles of having a new head coach and essentially a new team (nearly half the 2009 roster gone on 2010 opening Sunday).
The Seahawks were 4-2 until the Raiders pirated the 'Hawks health on Halloween, Week 8 in Oakland.
Starting Guards Ben Hamilton and Max Unger along with defensive centerpiece Red Bryant were placed on IR by Week 9. Special Teams Captain Roy Lewis and improving receiver Deon Butler joined the list by Week 15.
Starters Lofa Tatupu, Marcus Trufant, Matt Hasselbeck, Michael Robinson, Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane played the majority of the season with injuries or missed 4-plus games.
The Seahawks started 11 different offensive line combinations, and at one point, were without three of four starting defensive lineman. But backup Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst did win the week 17 game for the division title.
The team goes into 2011 in an awkward transition with as many as 27 free agents and restrictions on coach to player contact due to the potential lockout.
The team is hoping for a young core of players to mature into team leaders. Many of these players struggled with injuries or had limited playing time last year. Who can step up in 2011?