During the Seahawks prolific championship run last year, much was said about their roster full of “overachievers”, given the remarkable number of late round draft picks and undrafted free agents that were key contributors to their success.
Examples include their poised, far beyond his age golden boy, quarterback Russell Wilson (3rd round pick), the always outspoken and, at times, polarizing shutdown cornerback Richard Sherman (5th round pick), the bone-jarring safety Kam Chancellor (5th round pick), the very un-”pedestrian” wideout Doug Baldwin (undrafted) and Super Bowl MVP linebacker Malcolm Smith (7th round pick).
Naturally, many fans and analysts alike are quick to simply attribute this phenomenon to “luck”.
However, if you think about Coach Pete Carroll’s philosophy, as supported by GM John Schneider’s personnel management, you will see that it is far less about “luck” (though, there obviously is some) than his blueprint for success.
He doesn’t believe in rewarding success by pampering his star players, but, instead, believes in promoting an environment of constant competition for the purpose of drawing maximum effort and performance out of each and every one of his players each and every day (including the off-season).
When evaluating draft picks and potential acquisitions, Carroll and Schneider focus on the player’s inherent competitive nature. Carroll’s program requires, and rewards, players who don’t rest on their laurel. Accordingly, players continue to compete for the purpose of continuously getting better — not to mention, for the purpose of keeping their jobs.
Though many of the players they bring into camp year in and year out aren’t at the top of their respective position draft boards (or on them at all) they most definitely share this one intangible attribute.
Accordingly, you get a roster full of players that are said to have an “incredible motor” and/or have “a chip on their shoulder”.
Another unique aspect of Coach Carroll’s philosophy is that he doesn’t expect his players to fill a predetermined role.
Instead, he identifies their individual strengths and puts them in roles that allow for those strengths to be utilized to the greatest extent possible. Furthermore, he constantly customizes and changes up his practice regiments in order to further develop those strengths.
Accordingly, instead of focusing on his players weaknesses, he tries to focus on putting them in situations where they are able to comfortably contribute to the overall success of the team by doing what they individually do best.
The result, of course, is a roster rich in players that are not only ready to play, but hungry for the opportunity.
As such, Coach Carroll is able to maximize player rotations and, in doing so, always have fresh legs on the field with little to no drop in effectiveness. That being the case, it is hard not to be excited about next season, and the foreseeable future.