Monday, October 25, 2010

Hawks Flyin’ High

This is an article I wrote for the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. In the interest of keeping readers up to date with themes that I have developed before the launch of this journal, I plan to periodically post previously written entries. Look for a post on the Seahawks' victory over the Cardinals in the next day or two.

Written 9/11/10

Approximately one year after Jim Mora led the Seahawks into one of the least successful seasons in recent Seattle sports memory, and that's saying something, the 2010 Seahawks look to take flight on a new path. Mora's firing, an unborn blessing at the time, yielded perhaps one of the NFL's most dynamic General Manager/Vice President/Coach tandems, who happen to parallel the recent movie I love You, Man; Pete Carroll and John Schneider have began to completely, and successfully, rebuild a cooked organization. Furthermore, the grand plan that was Pete Carroll's desire to run his own pro program, after 10 years of dominating the collegiate ranks, are now the 2010 Seattle Seahawks, team "buy in."

The un-official team leader of program "buy in" is none other than General Matt Hasselbeck. As important as it is to acknowledge that The Hass MUST stay healthy this season for this team to succeed, it is possibly more important to note Pete endorsed him from day one, and Hasselbeck returned the enthusiasm buying in to every bit of this new regime. To me, the Charlie Whitehurst acquisition was simple; 2 years, 8 million dollars to a 3 year veteran who has learned under a good QB coach (Norv Turner). Whitehurst was a third rounder coming out, so trading a late 2nd equivalent makes sense. It's an audition. Whitehurst is not ready to be a starting QB. Anyone who thought that Hasselbeck was going to give away the QB job is not fully aware of how competitive The Hass truly is. On Jim Rome is Burning, The Hass stated, "I'm trying to have the best offseason of my life, trying to be pushed, buy in, go for it. That's the mindset everyone on this team has to have." He even stressed the importance of buying in on Chris Mortonsen's ESPN camp tour, basically hinting at the team attitude of buy in or get out; and his sentiments seem to be spot on.

To grab a seat on team "buy in," you have to compete like hell. We have all learned this simple principle. And by buying in, one must believe Carroll & Schneider are one step, maybe four, ahead. Progressing, changing and adapting are qualities of the most innovative people. The most aware and informed people are willing to change on the fly because they understand adaptation breeds survival, and eventually success. "The most exciting part of it is if you have a coach and a coaching staff that is willing to move forward and teach and put in the extra time to get new players ready, it can be an extremely exciting period to add players," the Seahawks general manager said last week. "This is not something we're trying to patch. We're trying to build. It's not like a rebuilding thing; it's not like a patching thing. It's a continuously building this thing as we go." The awareness is shown in the roster moves made when approximately 700 new players became available after final cuts, creating an opening day roster that has only half of last year's roster. It has become clear the merry go round will spin with 53 guys who buy in, and if someone wants to buy out, there is another punched ticket waiting. Just ask T.J. Houshmanzadeh.

81, 95, and 30.You should know those numbers as the amount of receptions Mike Williams had in his 2 seasons at USC, and his total TD catches. Fast forward nearly 7 years and to most, those numbers are irrelevant. Williams has admitted he's changed a lot of bad habits replacing them with an infatuation with results. As he told Pete Carroll, 'I want to see how far I can take it'; I tell the truth when I say I truly believed Mike Williams would have a spot on the opening day roster over the hometown Reggie Williams, and that he was more fit to be the guy in this offense over Houshmanzadeh. Better size, similar speed, suction cup hands and a quiet work ethic; a man who wants to prove the "something" hanging on his back. Realize how important this organization believes the success of Mike Williams is to this Seahawks team. Given his body of work this offseason, I think he realizes how important he is, too.

When the Seahawks take the field Sunday in one of the most monumental season openers in Seattle sports lore, expect to see a connection blossom that is exemplary of this team, this organization. In comparing Hasselbeck to Williams, you find two players buying in for seemingly different reasons; one trying to get back to the big game and another simply trying to have one big game. As different as these motives may seem, they are in line with the same cause; Competing for this team. One is simply trying to lead the other down the field, towards the same goal. The veteran leader of team "buy in" and the wasted talent that was USC's Mike Williams look to ignite something unexpected, and fuel the flight of the Hawks on a new path.


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