May 27, 2014; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll watches during organized team activities at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks recipe for success includes capitalizing on intangibles

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.

“The result…is a roster rich in players that are not only ready to play, but hungry for the opportunity.”

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.


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Tags: Pete Carroll Seattle Seahawks

  • Peter Smith

    Well said Demian! Its been great watching the evolution of this team under Carroll and Schneider, not only because it brought us a long awaited Lombardi, but also because this philosophy and system they have in place is sustainable. The constant open competition will always keep the best players on the field the most, but also should keep the team rather young over the years. Since we aren’t simply looking for experienced veteran players, but rather the hungriest players, it should keep a lot of younger guys in the mix. That’s not to say that a guy can’t have a long career here, its just that such a player will have to earn their keep every year, or find themselves playing second fiddle to a younger guy with more to prove, more fire, and more desire to get the job done. You won’t find any, or at least many, players on this roster who get a big payday and then become a prima dona who thinks they can relax with an untouchable job.

    The focus on rotating players at certain positions will both keep legs fresh, but also give more experience to the next wave of future starters.

    And Carroll and Schneider have more or less found a way to play Moneyball in the NFL, finding talent where other GMs are overlooking. And the way our depth keeps growing and thickening, we may find ourselves in the rare seat in a few years of having draft picks we don’t really need, which sounds weird to say, especially the way Carroll and Schneider covet having more draft picks than not right now. In a few years we may have the luxury of being able to trade up in the earlier rounds of drafts to grab players that fit our mold of being highly motivated, but also stud talents. Which again will only add top notch depth to what should already be very deep rosters.

    I love the way this team is moving! And on top of all that, we are creating a team that is full of respectable guys… guys that are hard not to like… :)

  • johntheonly

    The viewpoint they have relied upon is not unlike Green Bay of years past, or the USC Trojans when Pete Carroll had his greatest success in coaching. This should be expected and embraced by all Seahawks’ fans. Instead of giving in to the suggestions of draft boards and outside commentaries, this team, built on competition on every plane, mentally as well as physically, has captured the essence of sports competition and why it is so intriguing and inspiring for fans. The staff certainly is on the same page, but looking at the team through different eyes and outlooks, so that they keep the pot stirring and “every day is a new day” with the team. Brilliant.