Just as many new faces for Seahawks in '11
RENTON, Wash. (AP)
In just two seasons, Pete Carroll has redefined NFL shelf life, at least when it comes to the Seattle Seahawks.
When Seattle takes the field on Sunday for its season opener at San Francisco, the Seahawks will feature only 10 players on the active roster who were playing for Seattle just two seasons ago.
Seattle's roster shuffle has included another 24 new additions since the Seahawks won a division title in Carroll's first season back in the NFL, albeit with just a 7-9 record last year.
''If you got here last year you're used to it - if you got here last year and are still here. You kind of get used to it,'' said Seahawks receiver Mike Williams, one of the additions who came on board in Carroll's first season. ''The guys that come in and make an impact, they stick. I can't speak on anybody's situation and why things work out the way they do but you're just fortunate you're one of the guys to make it and then you circle the wagons around the guys that are here and move forward.''
It's no secret that Carroll and general manager John Schneider inherited an aging roster that needed an influx of youth and size. Their overhaul has taken less than two full seasons to create an opening day roster that features just one player - defensive end Raheem Brock - born in the 1970s.
Among Seattle's expected starting lineup is a 22-year-old offensive lineman, 22- and 23-year-old starting safeties and eight players in their first, second or third years in the league.
Youth typically means growing pains. Throw in unfamiliarity with another 24 new additions to the roster just from the end of last season and undoubtedly 2011 could be a struggle for a team in transition.
And most of Seattle's changes this offseason came on the offensive side. There were the big name additions of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, offensive lineman Robert Gallery, wide receiver Sidney Rice and tight end Zach Miller, but also the drafting of offensive linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt.
Plus there was the addition of Tom Cable as the new offensive line coach in charge of Seattle's run game, and Darrell Bevell as the Seahawks offensive coordinator.
Even with a division title, the status quo is not the way the Seahawks are operating. If all of Carroll's options are healthy enough to play Sunday, Seattle's offense could have just two players who started the season opener a year ago.
''Just to come in and start with the team, it gives you a little better presence. That first meeting is where they lay down the foundation of what you're going to be looking for for the rest of the season,'' said running back Marshawn Lynch, who came over in a midseason trade last year. ''Coming in this year and actually being able to be a part of that first meeting where they did lay down the foundation, I got a better sense of where they're coming from and what's going on.''
Carroll showed in Year 1 he was willing to part with anyone, perhaps most notably when he gave running back LenDale White - who played for Carroll with the Trojans - an opportunity during an offseason minicamp, only to cut him a short time later. This offseason, however abbreviated because of the NFL lockout, saw Seattle part with two of its captains from a year ago, Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu, and decide not to bring back veteran safety Lawyer Milloy, or three of Seattle's starting offensive linemen from a season ago.
Between Hasselbeck, Tatupu and Milloy alone, the Seahawks lost a combined 33 years of NFL experience. That's led to countless questions about where Seattle will get any leadership and just how much Carroll's persona needs to guide such a young team.
But Carroll said he's done having to sell his philosophy and believes the ''buy-in'' has already taken place and that now it's on this roster to carry it forward.
''We put so much emphasis on how we prepare and how we practice and on how fast we practice and our guys don't have to say anything - when they do that, then I know that they get it,'' Carroll said. ''That's probably why I'm so excited about this group that we have and I hope to keep it together as much as we can. We don't want a lot of changes now. We don't need a lot of changes. We just need to get better and grow up. We're young and we need to grow with it.''
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