Despite the appearance of a fragmented coaching staff in transition, Carroll has maintained the program is much further along than it was at this point last season.
In building this new coaching staff, Carroll has shown he understands the value of keeping as much continuity as possible during times of progress.
The importance of being on the same page as a coaching staff and front office is being continually discussed for the organization and they feel the downtime created by the lockout gave them continuity in the draft evaluation approach; the vision for the team largely understood throughout the organization.
They focused on finding players who have a potential familiarity with the scheme, or mindset, in place for Seattle; likely a part of their evaluation approach at the combine. Players familiar with the language, concepts and/or mindset should have a smoother transition to the pros, and ultimately have a better chance of making the roster and contributing.
The offensive lineman drafted come from very strong run game programs, Wisconsin and Alabama; finding a small-school, natural ball-hawk to backup Earl Thomas, but also help unleash E.T.’s versatility, was a savvy move.
When injuries struck and depth was challenged mid-season in 2010, the team appeared unprepared and struggled with the new schemes; the defense struggled to “stay inside” the discipline of the scheme, while the offense continually forced the issue and made untimely mistakes, struggling to protect the ball at crucial times.
If not for wiping the slate clean and playing clean, “championship” football during the win-or-go-home stretch at the end of the season, the Seahawks mentality as a program may have remained fragmented, and fully re-building, going into 2011.
I would like to re-visit a few thoughts from an article I published nearly four months ago, highlighting the Seahawks’ offseason plan:
I want to share two quotes I heard during Super Bowl pre-game coverage on ESPN, in regards to building a championship program:
Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young on team mentality: “teams need to develop something that can be held on to, year by year, where players can show up and continue to master the program.”
Super Bowl winning Head Coach Sean Peyton on what it takes to be a championship organization: “an organization must have a sound relationship between Head Coach and GM in terms of personnel, character and defined directions the team wants to go. When you have that, you have a dangerous program. You must have patience, ignore the white noise and stick to the plan.”
The new Seahawks regime displays both of those Championship qualities. Yes, a delayed labor situation will bring uncertainty to the roster turnover; do not expect as many transactions as last offseason. One thing is for sure; Carroll and Schneider will not let the labor situation hinder their ability to keep the “program” mentality running strong.
The Seahawks have been able to keep the team mentality running to the extent that the not under contract, former franchise quarterback is presumed to be organizing unofficial team activities; the Seahawks, frankly, don’t care about outside opinions regarding the success of their draft. Carroll and Schneider appeared very comfortable in sharing their feelings of success with the media after the draft.
Seattle has proven this offseason they are a driven program that has patience; building the offensive line before selecting a franchise quarterback.
The challenge for the Seahawks lies in creating and executing a solid plan to teach their players, and the new players, the 2011 version of the program quickly and efficiently, a scenario Carroll is confident the Seahawks can handle.
They must be prepared to weather a potential fast start, and the resulting lull--the Seahawks mishandled the lull in 2010 into a 2-7 stretch--or bounce back from a slow start and remain competitive for the entire season.
The Seahawks’ self-imposed need to come through in the eleventh hour, with the support of the 12th man, was not the desired path to the 2010 division title.
In 2011, the rest of the division is focused on making the ‘Hawks flight path to destination “own the division” as turbulent as possible; if the Seahawks take a flight path as bumpy as their 2010 season, the organization may need to make an emergency landing in 2011.