The Brock and Danny Show on 710 ESPN Seattle
Friday, February 7, 2014 @ 10:54am
By Brady Henderson
The Seahawks got more than a wide receiver when they traded three draft picks to Minnesota for the right to give Percy Harvin the richest contract in franchise history. They got one of the NFL's most versatile offensive players.
Finally healthy after missing all but two games in his first season in Seattle, Harvin was able to put his full set of skills on display in the Super Bowl. He did it all, starting with a 30-yard gain on a fly-sweep handoff on the Seahawks' second offensive snap. That play is the focus of this season's final edition of "Chalk Talk" with Brock Huard.
The situation: A safety on the first play from scrimmage spotted Seattle a two-point lead, and after Marshawn Lynch gained 3 yards to set up a second-and-7 from Denver's 39, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell pulled the Swiss Army Knife out of his pocket.
The play: Having lined up mostly in the slot during his two games this season, Harvin was split out wide to the right before Russell Wilson sent him in motion across the formation. He took the handoff, got a block from Doug Baldwin and nearly took it the distance, barely stepping out of bounds as he was spun around by safety Duke Ihenacho.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Highlights | Interviews||• O'Neil: What we learned from Seahawks' win||• O'Neil: Seahawks ‘D' continues domination in title win||• O'Neil: Seahawks' Super Bowl MVP? Take your pick||• Henderson: Title extra sweet for Harvin, receivers||• Henderson: Russell Wilson makes history in victory||• Henderson: Malcom Smith takes MVP honors|
The statement: The Seahawks ran the same play in their divisional-round playoff game. Well, almost the same play.
"We used it in the New Orleans game, but we did it out of a different formation. We were in a shotgun," Bevell said. "We just put a different wrinkle on it. We thought it was something that was going to be there, and we were able to get a nice gain out of it."
While it produced 30 yards – and then another 15 when Seattle ran it again later – Bevell said it also opened up other plays for Seattle's offense and left the Broncos on their heels.
"It just kind of showed that you better pay attention to where Percy is," Bevell said. "Then we were able to do it again, and then we kind of had a couple things off of it as well. So it had them thinking and had them trying to adjust. We really wanted to be offensive, we really wanted to put the pressure on them, kind of moving them around and doing the things we did. I think they were over there trying to adjust to it."
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 @ 8:10pm
By Danny O'Neil
It's not imitation that is the highest form of flattery in the NFL, but acquisition.
And after winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history, the Seahawks enter this offseason not concerned with making any additions nearly so much as they will be trying to avoid subtraction.
"We want this team together," coach Pete Carroll said. "We want to see if we can keep this team together."
That's not going to be easy. Not in a league with a hard salary cap like the NFL has, and not for a team that is as talented and as young as these Seahawks.
A year ago, Seattle entered the offseason knowing it needed pass rushers – plural – after coming 31 seconds from advancing to the NFC Championship Game. This offseason, the Seahawks aren't looking to add anyone nearly so much as they will be concerned about losing personnel.
Receiver Golden Tate is at the end of a four-year contract in which he went from being a rookie disappointment to becoming the team's leading receiver in this Super Bowl season. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett is also scheduled to return to the open market after leading the team in sacks.
Receiver Doug Baldwin and tackle Breno Giacomini are two starters also unsigned for next season as is cornerback Walter Thurmond.
"Every decision is difficult that we have to face," Carroll said. "And guys that are at the end of their contracts, those are big issues for us. We love the guys. We love what they do and what they bring, and we'd like it to keep it together the best we can."
|• DL Michael Bennett: Led Seattle with 8.5 sacks while playing defensive end and tackle.||• DT Tony McDaniel: Had a career year after being given his first chance to start.||• DT Clinton McDonald: Third on the team with a career-high 5.5 sacks as a backup.||• CB Walter Thurmond: Showed he's good enough to start in his first injury-free season.||• WR Golden Tate: Developed into Seattle's leading receiver and one of the NFL's best punt returners after a slow start to his career.||• WR Doug Baldwin: Made several key catches while showing he can play on the outside in addition to the slot. (Restricted free agent)||• RT Breno Giacomini: A starter the past three seasons and the offensive line's enforcer.||• OL Paul McQuistan: Showed versatility while starting 14 games between guard and tackle.||• FB Michael Robinson: Resumed his roles as starting fullback and core special teams player once he was re-signed midseason.||• K Steven Hauschka: Connected on 33 of 35 attempts and showed increased leg strength.||– Brady Henderson|
"I definitely want to be back," Bennett said.
"I would love to be a part of it," Tate said. "I definitely do not want to play against Seattle, I'll tell you that."
The reality is that over the next month, the business of the NFL becomes just that.
"It's a business," Bennett said.
That doesn't mean money is the only consideration, but it's naïve not to think it's a consideration as Tate made clear when asked about a previous report that he would take a so-called discount to stay in Seattle.
"To an extent," Tate said. "I've still got to take care of myself and my family. I kind of have a number in my mind."
Seattle undoubtedly has a number, too. It's getting those numbers to match up that will be the challenge over the next month and a half on up through the start of free agency on March 11.
There is a price to success in the NFL, and that price is the rising labor costs. Not only do players seek to be rewarded for their contributions to championship teams, but opponents are increasingly willing to pay a premium for parts of championship teams.
It is difficult to assemble a nucleus of young talent like Seattle has. It is downright impossible to retain it all.
And the bill for the Seahawks' success is only beginning to come due. Cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas are entering the final years of their respective contracts and are eligible for extensions. Russell Wilson and Russell Okung will be in that same situation next year.
It puts Seattle in the situation of not just putting a price tag on what the contributions of a player like Tate are worth, but what a contract given out this offseason will prevent the team from doing next year.
The Seahawks aren't facing the same crunch the Ravens did after winning last year's Super Bowl when a number of key players were unsigned, foremost among them quarterback Joe Flacco.
That doesn't mean the Seahawks' job will be easy, though. The trophy they brought back to Seattle is proof that this team isn't missing anything.
"We have what we need," Carroll said.
Now, the Seahawks will try to hold onto it.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 @ 7:21am
By Danny O'Neil
"It's rare in sports that virtually every move you make works out like you hope it's going to work out," owner Paul Allen said Sunday night amidst a raucous Seahawks locker room. "That just doesn't always happen."
In fact, it never happens.
At least not in Seattle over the past 30 some odd years in which prolonged bouts of professional mediocrity were interrupted only by a truly putrid season every now and again (most often belonging to the Mariners) and the occasional crushing playoff exit of a championship contender.
The SuperSonics finishing with the most regular-season victories in the NBA in 1994 only to lose in the first round. The 2001 Mariners setting an American League record for victories only to fail to reach the World Series. The 2005 Seahawks, their Super Bowl loss and a referee whose name we won't mention. Even Big Bertha got stuck on a rock last year.
Maybe it's the ashen taste of those disappointments that sweetens this victory as the Seahawks team that entered this season bearing the weight of unprecedented expectations and somehow succeeded them.
For once in Seattle, things went as hoped.
That was true for Allen, who four years ago decided to hit the reset button on his football franchise, courting Pete Carroll out of USC.
It was true for general manager John Schneider, who could have looked at the team's success last season and decided to let this contender ripen over time, but instead saw a unique opportunity to make a trio of aggressive open-market acquisitions, first trading for receiver Percy Harvin and then signing defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency.
And it was true for an entire city full of fans, whose optimism entering the season was fulfilled by a team that won the franchise's first Super Bowl in Allen's 16th season as owner.
After it was over, and Allen's team won a title, he was asked what this meant to him personally.
"It's just an unbelievable feeling," Allen said. "I just think about all the fans, and the players and the coaches. I'm just really happy for them and everybody else in the organization that's worked so hard to make this possible. When you become the owner of a franchise, you really are representing the community and you're trying to do your best to represent your community and bring the community a winning team.
"So when you win a championship, you have to feel pretty good about the job you've done."
Actually, Allen and this team that was assembled have every reason to feel even better than that.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 @ 2:59pm
By Danny O'Neil
Three things we learned:
1. That Seahawks defense will knock you on your asterisk.
No team allowed fewer points than Seattle during the regular season, but that fact came with the caveat that of the teams that finished among the NFL's top 10 in yards gained, the Seahawks faced only one: the Saints. Turns out that was a pretty telling precedent. The Broncos were held to a single touchdown. Just like the Saints. The Broncos were manhandled by the Seahawks. Just like the Saints. And when Sunday's game was over, there was no doubt that the matchup between the league's top offense and the top defense was a first-round TKO. The Seahawks are heavyweights, and totally undisputed.
2. There is no more valuable player in the NFL than Russell Wilson.
That's not to say he should have been named the regular-season MVP. Peyton Manning earned that honor with a league-record 55 touchdown passes. Manning played a larger role in Denver's success than Wilson did in Seattle's. But if we're really talking value, let's consider that Wilson made $526,217 this season, which is only about $17 million less than Manning made. The value of that $17 million is accentuated in a league with a hard cap like the NFL because Seattle could take that $17 million it wasn't spending on its Pro Bowl quarterback and pay it to Cliff Avril. And Michael Bennett. And Percy Harvin. Now tell me who's more valuable.
3. That is why the Seahawks traded for Percy Harvin.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Highlights | Interviews||• O'Neil: Seahawks ‘D' continues domination in title win||• O'Neil: Seahawks' Super Bowl MVP? Take your pick||• Huard: Breaking down the fly sweep in ‘Chalk Talk'||• Henderson: Title extra sweet for Harvin, receivers||• Henderson: Russell Wilson makes history in victory||• Henderson: Malcom Smith takes MVP honors|
This season isn't at all what the Seahawks had in mind when they traded three draft picks – including a first-rounder – for the right to pay Percy Harvin. He underwent surgery before he played a down and then came back too soon to be able to finish out the regular season. But those four times that Harvin touched the ball in the Super Bowl showed exactly why the Seahawks thought he was worth the power-play acquisition. He has not only the speed but the explosive change of direction to change the angles and geometry of a defense. Just look at Harvin's first carry, that 30-yard gain on the end-around, and watch how he outruns a safety who thought he had an angle on him only to end up with a fistful of nothing. If the field was 2 feet wider Harvin might have had two touchdowns of more than 50 yards in a game that insured he won't be remembered as another one of this franchise's big-budget busts at receiver.
Three things we're trying to figure out:
1. Why didn't we recognize the importance of Kam Chancellor's contract extension earlier?
The deal – especially its size at more than $20 million guaranteed – came as a bit of a surprise last year with players like Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and – yes – Wilson nearing the ends of their contracts over the next few years. Chancellor – perhaps more than anyone else on this roster – embodies the overwhelming physical style of play that coach Pete Carroll considers the bedrock of his team. And when Chancellor hit receiver Demaryius Thomas on Denver's third play from scrimmage, knocking the Broncos' 225-pound Adonis 5 yards backward, it embodied the advantage that Carroll believed his team had in this game. "We really felt like we could knock the crud out of these guys," Carroll said. Chancellor certainly did on that play.
2. Is this just the beginning?
The average age of Seattle's team: 26 years, 175 days. That's the fourth-youngest of any Super Bowl champion. The Seahawks have the franchise quarterback that is the closest thing the league comes to having a golden ticket to perennial playoff contention, and they have a front office that has hit way too often on late-round draft choices like Chancellor, Sherman and Byron Maxwell to consider that a fluke. The Seahawks will have tough decisions to make, starting with whether or not to retain unrestricted free agents like Michael Bennett and Golden Tate, but this team is in a distinctly different position than last year's Ravens, who didn't even have their quarterback signed for the following season. The Seahawks aren't going to experience the free-agent attrition Baltimore did.
3. Which was more exciting: The last-minute victory over the 49ers or the Super Bowl landslide?
Obviously, the victory over the Broncos was more significant. It was more satisfying, too, given the door-to-door domination on display as Seattle won its first Super Bowl. But was it as exciting, as exhilarating as the victory over the divisional-rival 49ers with its singular defining moment? That was a game sweetened by the anxiety that preceded it, the 49ers only 19 yards from a potential victory only to be denied by Sherman, Seattle's weapon of mass deflection. A city went from anxious to exhilarated in a matter of seconds. Compare that to the Super Bowl, which was as close as a football game will come to a parade. Which was more exciting? It's a matter of personal preference.
Sunday, February 2, 2014 @ 9:58pm
By Danny O'Neil
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The most difficult thing about Seattle's Super Bowl victory: Picking an MVP.
That should give you an idea of just how little suspense there was regarding the outcome and how well-rounded Seattle's effort was.
Kam Chancellor had one of the Seahawks two interceptions, plus a tone-setting hit on Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas in the first quarter of their Super Bowl win. (AP)
Percy Harvin led all players in rushing and ran a kickoff back 87 yards to score a touchdown, Russell Wilson had the ninth-best quarterback rating ever in the game and became the third-youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl, while all Malcolm Smith did is return an interception 69 yards for what turned out to be Peyton Manning's most important pass of the game.
But as important as each of those individual efforts was, Seattle's victory was so completely overwhelming that my decision wasn't based on which one player was most responsible for the third-largest blowout in Super Bowl history, but the player who best embodied the reason for that victory.
Bigger, faster, stronger. It's the motto this team was rebuilt around, and a reality that Chancellor personifies at 6 feet 3, 232 pounds.
And his first-quarter hit on Demaryius Thomas was the kind of blow that literally knocked Thomas backward, short of the first down, and figuratively stopped the Broncos cold.
"We knew tackling after the catch was going to be as big as anything," said Dan Quinn, Seattle's defensive coordinator. "Nobody embodies outhitting an opponent more than Kam Chancellor. He's as physical as they come. He does it week in and week out."
Just ask San Francisco's Vernon Davis. Or New Orleans' Jimmy Graham.
"All these other guys know that's coming," Quinn said.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Highlights | Interviews||• O'Neil: What we learned from Seahawks' win||• O'Neil: Seahawks ‘D' continues domination in title win||• Huard: Breaking down the fly sweep in ‘Chalk Talk'||• Henderson: Title extra sweet for Harvin, receivers||• Henderson: Russell Wilson makes history in victory||• Henderson: Malcom Smith takes MVP honors|
And on Sunday's turn it was Thomas and the rest of Denver's passing offense asked to navigate between Earl Thomas' range as a centerfielder at the back of Seattle's defense while Chancellor was poised to play the sledgehammer.
He finished with nine tackles, tied for second-most on the team with Smith.
As explosive as Harvin was in this game – and he was every bit the game-breaker Seattle had hoped to have throughout this season – and as efficient as Wilson was, Seattle won this game because of this defense that was both unapologetic and unrelenting.
"We just came out and played Seahawks football," said linebacker Bobby Wagner, who led Seattle with 10 tackles. "That's all it is. We came and hit them in the mouth."
And no one on this defense hits harder than Chancellor, who is bigger, faster, stronger and on Sunday, no one was better.
Sunday, February 2, 2014 @ 8:46pm
By Danny O'Neil
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Seahawks could have won the Super Bowl without their offense taking a single snap.
After a week of the country asking whether the Seattle defense was ready for the Broncos' top-ranked offense, well, Seattle's defense went and outscored the Broncos all by itself: 9-8.
Malcolm Smith returned an interception for a touchdown and recovered a fumble to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. (AP)
As far as conclusions go, that was pretty fitting, and that's not to diminish the contributions of Seattle's offense, whether it's the diminutive quarterback or the dominating running back.
But this was a team built upon the bedrock of this defense, a unit that didn't allow a single one of the final eight opponents to score so much as 20 points and on Sunday went and silenced Peyton Manning to finish a season in which he threw more touchdown passes than anyone in NFL history.
How did the Seahawks do it? By being themselves.
Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator: "We didn't want to change how we play."
Safety Earl Thomas: "We stayed to our guns," safety Earl Thomas said.
Cornerback Walter Thurmond: "We don't get caught up on who our opponent is. At the end of the day, they have to deal with us."
And Denver couldn't deal with Seattle. Not even close.
The Broncos had scored in the first quarter in all but three games they had played in the regular season and the postseason. They didn't have a first down in the opening period.
This wasn't just about the safety that Denver allowed on the first play from scrimmage when center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Manning's shoulder and into the end zone. That was a fluke. It's what followed for the next 63 plays that proved to be a fulfillment of everything that Seattle's defensive-minded coach could have wanted.
"It was exactly the way we wanted it," coach Pete Carroll said.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Highlights | Interviews||• O'Neil: What we learned from Seahawks' win||• O'Neil: Seahawks' Super Bowl MVP? Take your pick||• Huard: Breaking down the fly sweep in ‘Chalk Talk'||• Henderson: Title extra sweet for Harvin, receivers||• Henderson: Russell Wilson makes history in victory||• Henderson: Malcom Smith takes MVP honors|
Denver couldn't run first because the Seahawks' pass-rush package was capable of squelching Knowshon Moreno, and later because the Broncos trailed by too many points.
And when Manning was forced to pass, it played right into the strength of Seattle's defense.
The Seahawks forced four turnovers, three from Manning. Combine that with the five passes Seattle picked off from Peyton's younger brother Eli and it means that in the eight quarters of football the Seahawks played at Met Life Stadium this season, they averaged a turnover a quarter from the Manning family.
Look at the players responsible for those turnovers. Kam Chancellor recorded the first interception. He was a fifth-round pick. It was Malcolm Smith, who returned the second interception 69 yards for a touchdown, breaking the game open. Smith was a seventh-round selection.
Then there was sixth-round choice Byron Maxwell perfectly punching the ball out from receiver Demaryius Thomas before the final turnover came on a forced fumble by defensive end Chris Clemons and recovered by Clinton McDonald, who was cut entering the first week of the season.
Yet somehow that defense built from so many overlooked and underestimated players turned in a performance that was completely and totally overwhelming.
And when it was over and Red Bryant stood on a field full of confetti, a cap proclaiming the Seahawks world champions on his head, the captain of this defense could say that he truly wasn't surprised at just what had happened.
"I knew we were going to do it," Bryant said. "I knew when we woke up this morning we were going to win. I knew we were going to continue to do what we've been doing all year. That's silence the critics.
"Can't nobody say we ain't the best. Can't nobody say that this wasn't one of the best defenses to ever do it."
Friday, January 31, 2014 @ 1:41pm
By Danny O'Neil
NEW YORK – Taking a closer look at two key players in Super Bowl XLVIII, Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor and Broncos tight end Julius Thomas:
Kam Chancellor's vitals
•Position: Strong safety/Designated hitter
•Experience: Fourth year
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor has earned the nickname Bam Bam on account of his hard-hitting style. (AP)
He went to college as a quarterback if you can believe that, the position he played in high school, only to switch to defense before his second season and wound up playing safety in spite – not because of – his size.
Chancellor is big enough that there's always background chatter about his possibilities as a linebacker, but it's mostly his speed on the field and velocity of his hits that makes him a game-changer.
Seattle drafted him in the fifth round out of Virginia Tech, and after being a special-teams mainstay his rookie year, he became the team's starting strong safety in 2011, making the Pro Bowl after picking off four passes.
Even then, some wondered if he was going to be one of those players who was a key contributor, but ultimately proved too expensive to re-sign given the breadth of Seattle's young and talented nucleus. Seattle re-signed him to an extension last offseason, showing that the player nicknamed Bam Bam is part of the bedrock of this defense.
The description for Chancellor's role in Seattle's defense would call for the strong and silent type. Very strong. It's only fitting, then, that he once took Seahawks legend Kenny Easley's daughter to a high-school dance. In terms of playing style, Chancellor is known for the kind of punishing hits Easley was known for.
Question: Has playing physical always come natural to you?
Chancellor: "Always. It has always been a part of my game. I've always been a physical player, and I just love that part of the game. I love being a physical presence on that field, and I love having that impact and being an enforcer."
Question: How much pride do you take in Richard Sherman calling you the enforcer of the Legion of Boom?
Chancellor: "A whole lot, man. I love being called the enforcer, and I love the respect from my teammates and the LOB. Since Day One, I always been a guy who has been physical. Always been a guy who brings the boom to the group. And they always looked at me as that guy. They looked at me as a big brother. Every chance I get I try to go out there and lay the boom for these guys. I play for my brothers, and we emphasize that all the time."
Julius Thomas' vitals
•Position: Tight end/Post-up specialist
•Experience: Third season
Broncos tight end Julius Thomas caught just one pass in his first two NFL seasons, but he had 65 receptions for 788 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013. (AP)
Who says Ken Bone can't put a player in the pros. Yeah, that's right. Thomas played for Bone at Portland State. He played basketball for four years before giving football one season as a redshirt senior.
Then he followed in the path of such previous transition-game successes as Antonio Gates in San Diego and Jimmy Graham in New Orleans in going from the hardwood to the hard hits of football.
Drafted in the fifth round, Thomas appeared in nine games and caught all of one pass his first two seasons combined. This season, he caught 65 passes for 788 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.
Seattle has had success against top receiving tight ends this season, most notably the Saints' Graham in two meetings. The difference is Denver has three other receivers who have caught 10 or more touchdown passes this season, meaning it will be tough to focus too much on Thomas.
Q: Will Denver be able to have success considering how well Seattle stopped Graham and then San Francisco's Vernon Davis?
Thomas: "They've done a great job against two great tight ends. They were both Pro Bowl tight ends, but we'll say it the same way we have all season: If a team wants to focus on taking one guy, we have so many weapons that can go out there and make big plays. At times, it may be me that's not having the most production in a quarter, but if you watch our season, all it takes is one quarter or one drive and you're like, 'That guy's going. He's here.' "
Q: What does Seattle do to take away opposing tight ends?
Thomas: "They play fast. I've been saying it all week. They're a bunch of guys that enjoy playing football and they enjoy playing with each other. You put the tape on and you see guys flying around making plays, encouraging each other, and I think they feed off each other. It helps them play with a tremendous amount of energy."
Friday, January 31, 2014 @ 8:02am
By Danny O'Neil
NEW YORK – It took Seattle 30 seasons to play for its first Super Bowl.
And after an XL-sized disappointment in Detroit in February 2006, it took the Seahawks eight seasons, two coaching changes and a complete overhaul to get back to their sport's biggest stage.
It wasn't easy, and it certainly didn't happen overnight, but after tallying nearly 150 roster moves in Pete Carroll's first year as head coach, it's possible now to look back and lay out in chronological order the five biggest risks Seattle took en route to reaching this moment:
1. Hiring Pete Carroll as coach and vice president of football operations | Jan. 11, 2010
The Seahawks had a coach when they reached a crossroads at the end of the 2009 season. The team had won nine games the previous two seasons – four of them against the Rams – and endured a transition from Mike Holmgren to Jim Mora that was not necessarily unpleasant but certainly awkward.
The Seahawks could have kept Mora. There was a financial incentive to do so given the fact he had three years remaining on his contract. There was a human component to that, too. Mora was coaching in his hometown. He had passed on job opportunities with Washington – both the NFL team and the university – to get that chance, only to be given a Tim Ruskell-assembled roster that was clearly inadequate.
Owner Paul Allen opted for a more extreme remedy – resetting all systems instead of rebooting. And he went out and hired a coach who was historically successful in nine seasons at USC but who had a record of 33-31 as an NFL coach and as many NFL playoff victories as Mora: one.
2. Parting ways with Matt Hasselbeck | July 29, 2011
Matt Hasselbeck was the franchise's most successful quarterback when he and the Seahawks parted ways in 2011. (AP)
"He had a lot of angst because he knew he was going to have to be the guy who told Brett it was time to move on," Schneider said of Ted Thompson. "I felt that with Matt when I got here. Just because I was here when we acquired him the first time so I knew we were going to be going in a different direction at some point."
It wasn't a foregone conclusion that was going to be in 2011. The Seahawks tried to re-sign Hasselbeck, offering to guarantee to the first year and portion of the second season in the contract. The Seahawks put an expiration date on the offer at the end of February, saying that if it wasn't accepted by the time of the league lockout everyone was expecting, then it might never be back on the table.
It wasn't, Seattle choosing to sign Tarvaris Jackson and usher in a new era at quarterback.
3. Drafting Russell Wilson in the third round, No. 75 overall | April 27, 2012
No one in the Seahawks' draft room was opposed to the decision to select Wilson. However, Schneider was the only one who wanted to pick him in the third round.
Good thing the Seahawks did. The Eagles were planning to choose Wilson later that round – with the very next pick, in fact – seeing him as a ready-made backup for Michael Vick.
Instead, Seattle landed the quarterback who was exactly 4 inches from being a sure-fire first-round pick. Two years later, Carroll was able to joke that Seattle should have chosen Wilson sooner in the draft. No one else in the league is laughing.
4. Naming Russell Wilson the starter | Aug. 26, 2012
Matt Flynn's arm was sore and Wilson's exhibition-game performance was incredible, so by the time the rookie was named Seattle's starter it wasn't quite unbelievable.
Seattle chose to start Russell Wilson at the beginning of his rookie season instead of letting him learn as a backup to free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn. (AP)
That has never been the route these Seahawks have traveled. Not under Carroll and Schneider, and after signing veterans like Charlie Whitehurst, then Jackson and finally Flynn, the Seahawks found their starting quarterback in an undersized rookie with oversized ambitions.
Has the experience changed the way Schneider evaluates quarterbacks?
"Since we got here, I think there's lessons to be learned about how you acquire the player," Schneider said. "But not like the skill set and the way he plays."
5. Acquiring Percy Harvin | March 12, 2013
It's too soon to evaluate the single-biggest personnel risk Seattle has taken over the past four years. Not just in terms of the money the Seahawks paid Harvin in a new contract, but the three picks they gave up for the privilege of paying him that contract, including last year's first-round selection.
Harvin was injured this season, sidelined first by a hip injury that required surgery and then by a concussion. It wasn't the start that anyone envisioned for his Seahawks career, but it's also not the final judgment. He was a player acquired not to put the team over the top, but the manner in which Seattle had constructed the rest of this team offered the flexibility – financially and in terms of draft picks – to make its most aggressive move. Instead of using the No. 25 pick on a player unlikely to be a starter right away, the Seahawks landed someone who in their eyes is one of the 10 best offensive players in the league, quarterbacks excluded.
He played six quarters in Seattle's first 18 games for a total of 33 snaps, yet here he is at the Super Bowl with five more years left on what was a long-term investment.
"I feel bad for him, the way that this has gone," Schneider said. "I'm sure it's been tough for him. I'm very happy for him now. I think this is incredibly exciting for Percy and his family and his teammates and the staff and our fans that he has an opportunity to play in the biggest game of the year.
"But I feel bad for him that this has gone the way it's gone. But the best thing about it is that it's a six-year contract and he's a young man."
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