Seahawks GM John Schneider gave a press conference Thursday afternoon and then joined NFL Live and the Bob and Groz show for interviews. Those are below, listen in for some insights into the Combine.
Building a championship team
Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider discusses the impact the Combine has on Draft day decisions and what it takes to build a championship team.
How much of an advantage has it been to have Russell Wilson at a low cap number?
"The rules are what they are, the CBA and the way it was negotiated. It's a big deal for us. We've been able to acquire
other players, and they were definitely players we were able to acquire that helped us get over the top this year."
With the defensive line, you talked about the flexibility of those guys, how important is it to keep that together this offseason?
"I think that's very important. I think every team would tell you they're looking for defensive ends they can jump off the ball and defensive linemen who are quick with their hands. I just think it's important for us. It's a huge goal for us to try to keep this team together for as long as we possibly can. There are tough decisions to be made along the way. We don't look forward to those decision, but it's more long-term. We've talked about trying to be a consistent championship-caliber football team and not just one that cruises in for a year and cruises out. We have to work through those issues."
How did the defense come together?
"Between coach Carroll and Gus Bradley and Dan Quinn, those guys are extremely good defensive coaches. The one thing with our staff is they're very good teachers. They have a true investment in the players and spending extra time with them. We have a guys that spend extra time on their technique and then if you're able to acquire players who run fast and are big and good looking, you've got a shot. I think the guys really respond to our coaching staff."
Was it a priority when Gus Bradley left to have a guy who knew the players like Dan Quinn?
"It was immensely important because Dan knew a bunch of the players and was there when we acquired some of the players that first year. From a scheme standpoint, obviously very similar to what Gus was doing. But all of those guys are different with calling plays and calling defenses. Every coach has their little niche. But it was extremely important."
This time of year a lot of people talk about smoke screens and misinformation. You guys seem to be doing a good job of keeping things under your hat. What's your philosophy?
"I appreciate you saying that. I take that as a compliment. I really do. Just our culture we try to create. It's a fun culture and we work our tails off. It's 24/7 and we just ask that you don't take advantage of it. Loose lips sink ships. I think our people do a very good job of keeping things in house."
How has that be helpful?
"You just don't have misinformation out there or leaks and lose the opportunity to either redo a player or acquire a player."
How big a priority is it to bring Golden Tate back?
"It's a big priority. We have a number of unrestricted free agents that we're kind of getting a lay of the land. This is the weekend it kind of starts. People start hearing from other teams and how well they're liked and appreciated. Golden knows where we stand and how much we love him and how much we want to have him back on our team."
Khalil Mack, what's your assessment of him?
"All I would say about that is he's an extremely explosive athlete. Very fast. Very instinctive. He could probably play three or four different positions for you."
How does the fact he's in the MAC factor into the evaluation process?
"It factors in. But he's a dominant football player at that level. There's been some very, very good football players he's played against too. You can watch him play against good people."
(Couldn't hear the question, but it was about the defense and the blueprint of it):
"I think it's just about trying to improve every single day in every aspect of acquisition. I think our staff is open minded so they're able to adjust on the fly. We moved Red Bryant when we got here. We knew he was a big powerful man so they wanted to put him in a specific position to accentuate his strengths. I think coach Carroll and his staff are very good at listening and being open minded about players, whether it's a converging player. Blueprint wise? I'd love to say this is exactly how you do it, but really it's about getting up every day and trying to improve in every aspect that you can."
What's the key to keeping the fun culture and preventing something that happened in Miami?
"I'm not really sure about any other place, but what we focus on is trying to help people be the best they can possibly be, whether it's our trainers or players and try to give everybody the ability to be as good as they can possibly be. You guys know, everybody puts pressure on themselves. We've tried to create a culture that's outgoing, fun, aggressive. Life's too short to stress yourself out and stress other people out. Not that I don't stress people out."
Comparision of Manziel to Russell Wilson?
"I could see why people say that. His ability to find passing lanes, quickness, foot quickness, the way he moves and backs out of the pocket."
It's more than just an undersized quarterback thing?
"The thing you would say is his ability to find passing lanes. That's the first thing that would stand out about Russell and Johnny. I would see why people would say that."
What's the first thing you're looking for when evaluating a quarterback and why is that so hard to get right?
"There's a number of different things. First and foremost, he has to be a guy. He has to have the locker room. He has to walk into the meeting room and make the players know, Hey, this guy's got us. He's got it. That character aspect. Ron Wolff would tell you it's how they tip the field, and you can see it during a game. Russell's very much like that .Very confident guy. But I'm not going to go down the list of specifics."
AS far as the rookie contract rules, you have a QB who's won a Super Bowl but literally can't get paid like a Super Bowl QB. Is there a tricky dynamic to address there?
"I don't think so because it really is what it is. Those are the rules that are set up and we have to abide by them. I think everybody understands that if you have the ability to pay a quarterback, you would do that. Especially somebody with the character of Russell Wilson."
Were there aspects of BJ Daniels that reminded you of Wilson last year?
"His ability to find passing lanes. He's got very good eyes. Guys that are undersized they've got to be able to move so that stand out right away with those guys. Similar traits (to Russell)."
Chris Matthews, the CFL receiver you just signed, how long has he been on your radar and are you looking at that league more than other teams are?
"A bunch of people worked him out. We just were one of the teams that worked him out and hit it off. He liked the environment. He's from Los Angeles. He's a big man. It worked out."
You guys have hit on a lot of late-round picks. Talk about the synergy between personnel department and coaching staffs when it comes to getting young players on the field.
"We're very open with our communication. The coaches have buy-in to that player so if it's a Kam Chancellor or Richard Sherman, however they feel they can accentuate those guys' strengths, they're going to do it. When we pick a player, we just have a cool buy in. That's the best way I can describe it. They know ideally that we're not going to be pick somebody that looks like me."
A lot of people will take players late but are scared to put them in on game day. You guys put those guys in the game. Is that something with your coaches just believe?
"That stems from coach Carroll. He's just coming from college ball a couple years ago. He talked about competition all the time. He gets up in front of the team every day and talks about it. We had a three-person quarterback competition a couple years ago so it's the real deal. When he was recruiting somebody in college, he was recruiting a high school player and he could tell them, If you bust your tail, you're going to have a shot to play."
With the draft being pushed back, how does that impact you?
"I don't think it really impacts it. There are some guys who we'll work out later. If anything it will help some players who have been injured who maybe in the past haven't been able to work out. Maybe it might impact it that way. In terms of our preparation, it's more of the same. My wife's not too fired up about it."
Is the franchise tag a possibility for Michael Bennett?
"I don't anticipate that, no."
Is there a possible change in the way teams can be built? Players are ready more out of college now seemingly than ever before and you can build a team pretty inexpsensively like you've done.
"I don't know if that's necessarily true. I don't really see it that way. This year you have 98 juniors or something coming out. To say that those guys are more ready to play than in years past...I just think if you're willing to play young players, then let it rip. It's just different philosophies. If you want to send veterans that know what they're doing and are safer guys right away then that's your preference. But I wouldn't say that players now are more ready to play than in the past."
BONUS: John Idzik
A lot's transpired since the end of our season. We've had the ability to solidify our coaching staff first and foremost in the aftermathof our final game which was very important to us. Then we jumped right into free agency prep and 2013 season review of our coaches and our pro scouts. Then in tandem with that, of course, prep for the draft. Taking it up a notch and here we are in Indy, the next phase of that evaluation. So we're all excited to be together. In the interim, our region, our stadium got to host the Super Bowl. Our facility in particular got to host the Denver Broncos, that was quite an experience, so it's been an eventful month and a half since our end of the season. We're excited to be here and get all the staff together under one roof and ride it out through the combine. So with that I'll open it up to any questions.
On evaluating wide receivers:
I don't know if it's just wide receivers, just in general we go by the moniker ‘Play like a Jet, Act like a Jet.' We want passionate players. We want smart players that they're not only instinctive but they know their position. You can see that in their play. You want aggressive, physical play. And of course you look at their production in different circumstances: big games, inclement weather. And part of the puzzle here is we get to sit down with them for one of the first times as a staff and try to get to know the person, too, which is very important. So all that goes into the evaluation of not only wideouts but any position.
On the possibility of giving Muhammad Wilkerson an extension:
Well we won't engage in any talk about contract matters or anything like that. I'd say in general, one, Mo's a Jet. He personifies what we're about both on the field and the way he handles himself, the way he prepares. We're just extremely happy to have him as a member of our team, but we won't get into any speculation or plans that way with respect to contracts.
On the philosophy of picking up options:
I don't think the overall philosophy is really hinged to the 2011 draft class since it's the first one to experience the new CBA structure. Options been an element to contracts since I've been in the league. I think it's really, there's a lot of factors that go into deciding when and if you extend a player. Status of that player in his career, status of your roster. Cash and cap budgets come into play. So there's a lot of factors that go into it. I don't know if this year is any different in that regard. We would evaluate it the same way, if you have an option in the contract, then there's a lot of things that go
into deciding whether or not to exercise and if so when to do it.
On Mark Sanchez's future:
We're not going to really comment on that. We tend to let things play out, so we still have some time there. I know one thing for sure, Mark's diligently handling his rehab and we know that he'll be ready. But we'll just let that take his course.
On the Jets' running backs:
Our running back position? Well we certainly had some production and we ran the ball pretty effectively. We always think that we can get better. We look at it with a discerning eye, a critical eye, to say how can we take it up a notch. I think in general when you have the production of backs, and one of them we lost to injury early in the season, we were pretty pleased with it but that said we realize that we need to get better.
On the possibilities of Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez being cap casualties:
Again, we're not going to get into what we may do in a couple of weeks. Suffice it to say that we take those decisions very seriously. Players that meant a lot to us, be it one season, two seasons, three seasons, whatever it is. They meant a lot to the Jets. And we take those decisions seriously, we'll pour everything into it. With that said, we like to wait and really have all the information that we feel is necessary in order to make a sound decision, and so we'll take advantage of time.
On Sanchez's shoulder:
We're assuming that Mark's going to be fine with his whole shoulder. And again, that's one thing that you have to see it through. We experienced it with him first hand early in the season that we had to take it through a few steps to see exactly where this was tracking. That's no different now, and it won't be any different once he starts to step up the pace and get into more traditional football activities. I think you just take it as it comes.
On Michael Sam:
He would be like any other player in the draft. We evaluate them and project them and how they can potentially help the New York Jets. As a football player, as a teammate. So that really is how we look at these players.
A year ago, there were a lot of questions were about Darrelle Revis:
Are you where you wanted to be after a year?
Where we are one year later is it's obviously much easier as a staff this year. I was barely a month into the job, and a lot of things, as you mentioned, a lot of bullets were flying then. We had a lot of things happening, much less people getting used to me. The staff really kind of coming together over a period of time. Now we've had an entire season, we've had an entire cycle together. So with that comes, there was obviously some free agent planning prior to the end of the season. There was obviously some draft planning as we visited campuses together and we got together as college staffs and then we started to incorporate the coaches. So I think a year later, we're much more ahead of the game, just because of familiarity with each other and what we want to accomplish. We're tracking. We're tracking. I don't think we're ever, we're not going to be content. We take a lot of positives from our 2013 experience, but realize that's in our rear-view mirror; now we've got to build on that. That's the attitude we're taking. We're tracking OK but we've got to continue to press forward.
On if the situation in Miami would result in changes to prevent that in Jets locker room:
I don't that it's one discreet incident, it's something that we do all the time, is to keep a pulse of our locker room, keep a pulse of our staff, keep a pulse of our building. Obviously, to us, work place environment is very important. That's how you nurture a true team concept, true togetherness, so that's always been a part of what we do. I think it's just added a little bit more national attention to that aspect of what clubs do, but it hasn't really changed our attention to it.
On if he would like to re-sign Austin Howard:
Again, I won't get into our free agents, other free agents, we'll let that kind of come. We'll take it over the next couple weeks.
Would you be OK with a Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith in training camp again?
We're not opposed to any kind of competition. That's what we thrive on. You guys, you've heard. We're going to try to build that competition. No matter who it comes from, we want it at every position on our roster, that's how we feel like we improve.