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While the organization has made a strong effort to become younger and more talented, it's legitimate to question whether or not the team has ample leadership and continuity to be competitive through this transition.
Seattle is undergoing a rapid transition on both sides of the ball and the dynamics are changing on and off the field. On top of that, not every position is at the same stage in transition; and that will affect the team as a whole.
As the preseason unfolds, both youth and leadership will be an ongoing discussion; sociological concepts such as the Totem and Calling will re-enter the discussion, along with some new ideas.
The Seahawks' culture is evolving and only 17 players remain from the old regime; the affect individuals have on the continuity--or lack-there-of--of the team will be a constant issue of note.
Back to the present. We've talked about Tarvaris Jackson's importance already; we haven't talked about left guard Robert Gallery. Seattle's 2011 offensive line has only one starter from the 2010 opener--Tyler Polumbus filling in for Okung to start last season, otherwise the number would be two.
Gallery's familiarity with Cable's offense is a huge boost to a very young offensive line. Gallery's toughness will help set the tone for the entire offense, an extension of Tom Cable on the field. Thus far, the offensive line has struggled with false starts. Can the offensive line gel quickly enough? Tom Cable will be a crucial factor in ushering this transition; the bar is set high.
At the skill positions Seattle has budding leadership; Michael Robinson is a veteran, Forsett and Williams are emerging as leaders; Williams is a hard worker dedicated to making it in the league, Forsett a tough, smart contributor that leads by example.
In highlighting those two, Raheem Brock was also a focus; his offseason drawing somewhat volatile outside attention, but was his attitude too important for Seattle to lose? With the departure of Tatupu and Hasselbeck, bringing back Brock made sense, especially on a one year deal.
Defensive ends tend to wear in their early 30's, but his on-field energy and toughness after Bryant went down last year was imperative to the teams success. Brock came back for money, but also unfinished business; he wants to go to a pro bowl. The 12th man would certainly take it, along with some wins.
The organization has complemented the youth in the back seven with a very experienced group up front, a mix of emerging veterans and established players; as Mebane explained, "I feel real good about this (veteran) group."
In my opinion, Seattle has put the defense as a whole in a position to succeed with the new changes. Lofa Tatupu's leadership was invaluable, partly because of the impact he had on Hawthorne off the field; Hawthorne is ready for this challenge and will be helped by the changes up front.
"Going back there (to the middle) is a natural fit for me...last year was the only season I've played where I wasn't the Mike...I'm really accepting that challenge, stepping in there and trying to get guys to follow me as a leader."
But most importantly, Hawthorne noted how the linebacker corps is "growing together." Continuity on offense is greatly accelerated by the coaching staff and free agent additions, but on defense ambiguity is much more of a factor. Linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr. must help this process along.
Seattle's leadership may be untested, but it's not as though the players have gone untaught. As Lawyer Milloy displayed after the victory against New Orleans; "We're all we got, we're all we need" (watch from 2:30, forward) isn't an individual mentality.
Rather, it's one that focuses on the success of the group; and it applies on and off the field, the fans included. It's a state of mind that Milloy passed down to his pupils in the secondary.
A mentality that must remain ingrained within the locker room despite the loss of long time leadership; as the Seahawks progress towards the first exhibition game in San Diego, and ultimately prepare for Week 1 in San Francisco.