By Brady Henderson
Maintaining Seattle's championship roster is the biggest challenge for coach Pete Carroll and the front office as the Seahawks begin the process of defending their Super Bowl title. For the players themselves, though, it's about maintaining the edge that helped them get there.
"If some of our guys are fat and sassy we'll be kicking them in the ass," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. (AP)
"That's always been the battle cry for years, through the years at SC – it didn't matter what you did before, it's what you're going to do now."
That mentality helped Carroll's Trojans reach the BCS title game a year after winning a national championship and finish with at least 11 victories in seven of his nine seasons at USC.
The challenge is greater in the NFL, however. At least recent history suggests so. Only one team in the last 10 years has won back-to-back Super Bowls, which speaks to the financial difficulty of keeping a championship roster intact as well as the natural tendency to become less hungry after reaching the pinnacle of a given profession.
"That's just human nature. We're competing against human nature right now, and that's why we have to regain the stature of the work approach. That's what it is," Carroll said. "So if some of our guys are fat and sassy we'll be kicking them in the ass, to tell you the truth, to get them back to what they're capable of being. And they better look out, they better watch out because if that's what happens, we're going to bring in some other kids, too. That's not a threat, that's just what our mentality is, and they know that.
"So that's why we're going to be OK. This is going to be really exciting."
Carroll less familiar with college game
Now four years removed USC, Carroll no longer has the benefit of the insight he once had on prospects and young NFL players.
"It's just different. I just don't have the background that I can add to the makeup in this process of putting it together," he said. "I think the instincts that we gained over the years still help us and all that, but sometimes I had inside scoops."
That was true about players Carroll coached at USC like Malcolm Smith and Anthony McCoy as well as others he recruited like Bruce Irvin and Marshawn Lynch.
"Marshawn was a great example," he said. "We had recruited Marshawn and I had known who he was and we had played against him for all those years, that I thought I knew what we were getting. So that's why I was so emphatic about going after him and wanted to get it done. And it turned out great. So we do lose a little bit of that edge."
Praise for Manziel
The Seahawks don't need a starting quarterback nor would they be in position to take one of the top prospects this year if they did. But if Seattle was in a different situation, it sounds like Carroll would have plenty of interest in Johnny Manziel.
Carroll called the former Texas A&M quarterback "an extraordinary football player" despite not always being technically sound and described his Russell Wilson-like ability to keep plays alive and make something out of nothing.
"He has great sense, spacial sense, awareness on the field, movement. His orientation to what he needs to get done in a play as it breaks down is phenomenal," Carroll said. "So anybody that has a chance to take this guy, they've got to be nuts not to think about it. We'll never get a shot at a guy like that, but what a fantastic player. It has nothing to do with how tall he is."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.