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Pete Carroll and John Schneider's first year with the Seahawks, told through transactions and old Field Gulls articles

Seattle didn't really improve much in 2010, but the roster churn helped them gain 15 players that year who would go on to win a Super Bowl with the franchise four years later.

Jeff Zelevansky

"Synchronicity" isn't just a rather good-looking word, it's also one of the better words I could think of to describe how Pete Carroll and John Schneider turned this duckboat into the speedboat from Thunder in Paradise, starring actor Hulk Hogan. Pete and John never attack a problem with only one solution in mind, and they never seem to make a move that doesn't already have the next three moves laid out ahead of it.

But most importantly, the synchronicity of "out with the old (bad) and in with the new (good)" was in full swing in 2010, as Pete and John were tasked with taking over possibly the worst team in the NFL and still managed to find an answer for almost every hole that was created when they had to get rid of past mistakes.

And as most of you remember, 2009 was a pretty rough season. It was so rough, that the Mariners were actually the gold standard for sports franchise in Seattle.

Oh how times have changed:


Mariners good, Seahawks bad, Seahawks good, Mariners mariners. Synchronicity.

When the Seahawks needed to add a veteran receiver to try and compete for a roster spot, they didn't just sign one Williams', they signed two.

When that Williams showed in the preseason that he could actually play, they didn't hesitate to cut the team's leading receiver from 2009.

When they traded for a former first round bust at defensive end, they traded away a former first round bust at defensive end two days later.

When they were able to trade for a former first round pick at running back that ran out of opportunities with his old team, they released the leading rusher from 2009.

And when that running back they acquired had the biggest run in playoff history the following January, it was exactly one year to the day after the franchise had fired one of the men that was responsible for letting things get as bad as they did.

Now that's definitely what I call....


Here is a look back at the first calendar year under Pete Carroll and John Schneider, with all of the memorable transactions they made, how many of those players ended up being a part of the 2014 Super Bowl champions, and a link to the Field Gulls article that was posted on that day (when I was able to find it.)

As you know, Pete and John don't rest much.

January 8, 2010 - Jim Mora fired

True enough, Mora did do something right. Right?

As Head Coach, Mora brought in some interesting coaching talent in guys like Dan Quinn and Gus Bradley. Do we credit Mora for seeing some bright young minds or do we debit him for bringing in coordinators running a zone defensive scheme that was ill-suited for his on-field talent?

Pete's first brilliant move was the changes he didn't make. Bradley was retained as defensive coordinator, Quinn as assistant head coach, and then Jeremy Bates was hired as offensive coordinator. Though Bates didn't work out, the team didn't let it mellow for long. When the front office has to make a decision, they make it.

I think it's fair to say that Bradley had a successful first season with Jacksonville, considering how little he had to work with. And Quinn is everyone's favorite to either succeed Carroll or be the next coach from Seattle to get a promotion elsewhere.

(Just a note. Ruston Weber was the acting GM after Tim Ruskell was fired and he made one notable move: Signing a punter to a six-year deal.

And we loooove him for it!)

January 11, 2010 - Pete Carroll HIRED!

From John Morgan's post "Pete Carroll Bores Me":

Seattle would not win a Super Bowl if it hired Bill Cowher. It wouldn't draft a great quarterback if it hired Mike Shanahan. It didn't reach the NFC Championship under Mora. It won't become a dynasty because of Pete Carroll.

To be fair, Morgan simply had no idea what to make of Carroll. He hadn't coached in the NFL for a decade and his success at USC really didn't give us any hint as to whether or not he could win at the pro level.

January 19, 2010 - John Schneider HIRED!

In retrospect, was Schneider really as much of a "whipping boy" as we thought when he was hired? After it was announced that Carroll wouldn't get to have GM duties in addition to being a coach, many figured that whoever was GM, he'd still have to get the okay from Carroll on all moves.

Whether Carroll is nominally Seattle's general manager or not, it is once again clear that he is the man in charge. Hiring Schneider merely clarifies that. It's better to have a general manager than to burden a head coach with two jobs, but Schneider is not and likely will never be a big shot executive like Smith, Ruskell or Bill Polian. He's a team player, for good or ill, and his value within the organization is helping Carroll find the best talent and make the best decisions possible. So, give him good counsel, Mr. Schneider. The future of the Seattle Seahawks depends on it. Kind of.

And nobody would dispute that Schneider and Carroll have formed a total partnership in building this robust, sexy team.

March 3, 2010 - Seneca Wallace traded to Cleveland Browns for conditional 2011 sixth or seventh round pick

The Seahawks ended up receiving a seventh round pick, and they used it as part of a seven-pick trade with the Detroit Lions. Seattle moved down from the second round to the third and selected John Moffitt, moved up from the fifth to the fourth and selected Kris Durham, moved up a few spots in the seventh and took Pep Levingston, and also added a fifth round pick.

They used that on Richard Sherman.

(Of course you could argue that they actually "added" the fourth round pick and "moved up" in the fifth, but that's far less fun than what I just said.)

March 15, 2010 - Darryl Tapp signed to one-year RFA contract

March 16, 2010 - Darryl Tapp traded to Philadelphia Eagles for Chris Clemons, 2010 fourth round

You could certainly argue that given Clemons track record, it certainly seemed like an odd move.

If Curry replaced Darryl Tapp, it wouldn't matter, but if Tapp was replaced by Clemons, we would have a problem. Clemons-Cole-Mebane-Jackson is perhaps the worst starting defensive line in the NFL. Substituting Tapp for Clemons does not make it good, but it does replace a situational pass rusher with a legitimate defensive end. Tapp can hold the edge. Tapp can close the hole. Tapp was a defensive end, complete, tested, not a journeyman situational pass rusher with three career starts. Plainly put, if a team starts a 240 pound right defensive end, its opponent will run at him and will not stop until it fails. That is why it doesn't happen. That is why, in part, Clemons has only started three games in his six-year NFL career.

Jackson would never play for Carroll. Red Bryant actually became a 320-pound defensive end, and it worked out okay. Tapp had seven sacks for the Seahawks in 2007, and he has seven sacks in the four years since being traded.

I'm not sure where to place this, but John Morgan wrote something really good about "the road back" in 2010.

March 17, 2010 - Seahawks trade 40th and 89th overall picks to San Diego Chargers for Charlie Whitehurst, 60th overall pick. Sign Whitehurst to two-year, $10M deal.

The post to announce the Whitehurst trade has 666 comments.

Your move, God.

April 1, 2010 - Rob Sims signed to one-year RFA contract

April 5, 2010 - Sims and 217th overall pick traded to Detroit Lions for Robert Henderson and 133rd overall pick

It's amazing to see how people valued fifth round draft picks before we found out how good this front office was with fifth round draft picks. Imagine trading (note: I'm trying to think of a player currently on the roster to trade, and I'm having a devil of a time doing so. Can't say I'd want to deal many of 'em) ummm.... JR Sweezy, for a fifth round draft pick.

Now imagine that the fifth round draft pick is white.

In retrospect, Seattle traded Sims and a low pick for some guy named Henderson and a pick that turned out to be Kam fucking Chancellor. The Seahawks traded a guard for arguably the MVP of the playoffs. We couldn't have known that at the time, obviously, and we didn't have the same opinion about picks after the first round as we do now, but holy crap.

The team hasn't just changed immensely over the last four years, but our views on football and football operations have changed as least as much. That's crazy.

April 15, 2010 - Mike Williams signed to one-year contract

April 16, 2010 - Reggie Williams signed to one-year contract

I thought it was important to note that Seattle signed both Williamses within a day of each other in 2010, and we couldn't have possibly known which, if either, would stick.

It's funny to think about how much these two guys mirrored each other in their careers. People debated who the best young receiver in the Pac-10 was: Reggie or Mike? Reggie was the ninth pick in 2004, Mike was the 10th pick in 2005. They both signed with the Seahawks in 2010, and they both signed with the Toronto Argonauts in 2013.

And you're probably thinking to yourself, "But Mike had a better career."

Actually, Reggie had 796 more career yards than Mike, had more seasons where he was useful, and had 13 more touchdowns. As much as we remember BMW, he didn't even have 1,000 yards in his entire Seattle career.

Our expectations for receivers are super low.

April 22, 2010 - First round of the 2010 NFL draft

-- Drafted Russell Okung (6th)

-- Drafted Earl Thomas (14th)

Huh, Earl Thomas is one player I did not scout extensively. Everyone wants to be happy on draft day, so listen to whatever Mike Mayock says. He loves Thomas.

Imagine a scenario in which Mora isn't just bad, but he's the worst. In that case, the Seahawks are sitting at first overall, not the St. Louis Rams. That year, the Rams did what a lot of teams probably would have done, and they took quarterback Sam Bradford. If Seattle was sitting there with a new coach, new GM, and an old Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback, what would they have done?

Where would they be now?

The 2010 draft turned out to be a loaded one, but Bradford is the only player in the top seven to have not made a Pro Bowl. (He was the Offensive Rookie of the Year, however.) Ndamukong Suh, Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Gerald McCoy, Okung, Joe Haden.

Would you rather have Bradford, or any of those players?

The book on Bradford is far from closed, but what would Seattle have done to protect him when they couldn't protect Hasselbeck, hence the selection of Okung? Hence hence hence, why Bradford's career has been disappointing since his rookie season.

The Seahawks took a tackle first, passing on Haden, C.J. Spiller, Tyson Alualu, Rolando McClain, and others. They had other plans for certain positions, and as has been their motto from the beginning: Don't force it. They've never taken a QB just because it seemed like they had to. They weren't going to take Spiller (as many had suspected they would) just because they needed talented playmakers on offense. Okung "fell" to the sixth pick and made it very easy. Had the Kansas City Chiefs taken Okung instead of Berry, who knows what the future would have held.

If the Hawks had taken Berry, then they wouldn't have taken Thomas at 14. Instead, they may have looked at Bryan Bulaga, Jason Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan, Demaryius Thomas, or... Tim Tebow? (No.)

April 23, 2010 - Second round of the NFL draft

-- Drafted Golden Tate (60th)

Morgan was a fan of Tate as the "new possession receiver" and apparently Doug Farrar used to comment here?

Hey Doug, whattya think we are now? Losers?!

April 24, 2010 -- Day three of the NFL draft

-- Drafted Walter Thurmond (111th)

-- Drafted E.J. Wilson (127th)

-- Drafted Kam Chancellor (133rd)

-- Drafted Anthony McCoy (185th)

-- Drafted Dexter Davis (236th)

-- Drafted Jameson Konz (245th)

April 24, 2010 -- Draft trades

-- Traded 104th pick, 176th pick to Tennessee Titans for LenDale White, Kevin Vickerson, 111th pick, 185th pick

-- Traded 139th pick to New York Jets for Leon Washington, 236th pick

In order to acquire Washington, all Seattle had to do was move down about 100 picks. The Seahawks essentially made the playoffs because of Washington in 2010, and he scored three touchdowns on kickoff returns that year. In fairness, you should also ask yourself if Seattle passed on anyone great by moving down 100 picks, but actually only one player from the fifth round that year has turned into a star:

Kam fucking Chancellor.

Just like with the Williamses though, you have to remember that the Seahawks didn't take one shot at something. They doubled down. White was not a return man in any universe, but as far as backup running backs go, some might have though that White was a far better choice than Washington, who was coming off of a compound fracture in his leg.

Washington played three seasons for Seattle, White didn't even make it to June.

April 29, 2010 - Walter Jones retires

We still have a long ways to go before Russell Wilson, Thomas, Richard Sherman, or anyone else takes the throne from Jones as the Greatest Seahawk of All Time.

April 30, 2010 - Lawyer Milloy re-signs for one year

He was somehow old enough to have played for Carroll the last time he was an NFL head coach, in New England. Though his great years were long gone, Milloy was still one of the best players on the team in 2010.

The team still sucked in 2010.

May 18, 2010 - JP Losman signed to one-year contract

Not everything that Pete and John does is magic. A lot of the moves actually don't work out at all. That's why they make so many moves. The 2010 Hawks needed a quarterback but they didn't feel any in the draft were worth a pick. They thought Charlie Whitehurst had more potential than most of them. They got rid of Seneca Wallace because they knew that wasn't ever going to work. But they also waived Mike Teel and signed Losman.

Losman wasn't good and he's never been good, but if you look closer you'll see he compares quite favorably to Tarvaris Jackson: 6'2 ~ 6'3, 220 lbs, 40-yard dash ~4.70.

They were looking for something like that, they gave Losman a shot with no risk, it didn't work out, they lost nothing.

July 29, 2010 - Chester Pitts signed to one-year contract

It can't all be interesting.

I've passed over a lot of waivings, signings, UDFAs (there weren't any interesting ones for Seattle in 2010), and smaller moves that didn't have much of an effect on the Seahawks. Pitts barely did. He started five games at guard in 2010 and never played again.

July 31, 2010 - Clint Gresham claimed off waivers from Saints

You can't really expect there to be a post on this...

August 1, 2010 - Earl Thomas signs 5-year contract

I know you expect to sign all your rookies, but it's weird to think about the lack of excitement on Field Gulls when this happened compared to the excitement on Field Gulls when he signed an extension. Sure, he's the best safety in the NFL now, but back then he was replacing Brian Russell, which is an even bigger deal.

August 6, 2010 - Russell Okung signs 6-year contract

I'm not sure what kind of grade I'd give Okung four years later. He's played well. In 2012, he was arguably great. He's also never played 16 games, and has missed 19 possible regular season games in his career. It's easy to forget now, but Okung was placed on injured reserve in 2013.

Remember that!?

August 16, 2010 - Seahawks trade 2011 sixth round pick to San Francisco 49ers for Kentwan Balmer

August 18, 2010 - Seahawks trade Lawrence Jackson to Detroit Lions for 2011 sixth round pick (Byron Maxwell)

The current Legion of Boom, Thomas, Chancellor, Sherman, and Maxwell, were all acquired or the picks to acquire them were acquired, by August of 2010. Jackson for Maxwell and Sims for Chancellor is bananas with extra Nilla wafers.

As a matter of fact, the entire L.O.B. were acquired with picks not originally owned by Seattle:

Sherman as part of that bigger dealing of picks, and Thomas due to the fact that the Denver Broncos signed Alphonso Smith.

Browner, of course, was signed as a FA from the CFL in 2011.

In that screenshot above, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik was described as a "Jedi Ninja Magician." Which I guess would make Pete and John sort of like an "Obi-Wan-Miyagi-Houdini." That deal of picks with Detroit that landed Sherman also included the following move made at the end of August:

August 31, 2010 - Seahawks trade Josh Wilson to Washington Redskins Baltimore Ravens for conditional fourth or fifth round pick  (157th overall selection, used in conjunction with pick acquired for Wallace in seven-pick swap with Lions)

Seattle continues to systematically dismember nearly every memory of the former regime.

August 31, 2010 - Seahawks trade 2012 seventh round pick to Lions for Tyler Polumbus

The offensive line was a major issue going into 2010 and Pete knew that. In addition to drafting Okung, the team continued to take stabs at anything that lumbered and hoped one of them would stick. Polumbus was one of those stabs. He made a handful of starts in 2010 but he wasn't the stab that stuck.

Maybe one of these guys though...

September 4, 2010 - Seahawks waive 21 players, including T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Losman, and Nick Reed

I would liken Houshmandzadeh's tenure with Seattle to Rich Aurilia, or Jeff Cirillo, or Scott Spezio's time with the Mariners. It was supposed to be better than it was, it sucked, we hate you, you seem to hate us, goodbye.

("Hate" is probably a strong word.)

Housh's signing was a big deal, he honestly performed as well as should have been expected, but Pete and John knew what they wanted. And the new franchise doesn't even know what "name recognition" means. What you did last season doesn't matter. Yes, they'll give a tryout to Terrell Owens. They might even sign those players sometimes. But you perform or you go home. It seemed like a lot of favors were being done by the old regime for players that did something in the past, guys that were supposed to be better than they were performing. You'd stick 'em out there and hope that today was the day that Julius Jones lived up to the hype!

T.J. Houshmandzadeh was arguably still the best receiver on this team in 2010, but he was released. Why? Because Mike Williams was seven years younger, cheaper, and could probably do the same. And neither of them were gonna be the reason that the Seahawks would go onto win a Super Bowl. Pete wants his players to compete, but being the best of a bad bunch (no offense Ben Obomanu, Deon Butler, Deion Branch) wasn't going to be enough. You had either be good or young.

Being decent and old wasn't going to be enough to play for the Seahawks anymore, and I'm pretty sure that was probably painted on the walls of the locker room in 2008.

"Decent and Old: Good enough for us!"

Houshmandzadeh's release wasn't just a roster move, I'd say it was a pretty powerful and important statement.

September 4, 2010 - Seahawks trade 2011 seventh round pick to Philadelphia Eagles for Stacy Andrews

Offensive line churn....

September 6, 2010 - Lemeul Jeanpierre signed to practice squad

Offensive line churn...

September 6, 2010 - Michael Robinson signed

September 6, 2010 - Raheem Brock signed

Seattle's roster was almost complete with those last round of cuts, but there's almost always a little more work to be done after seeing which other players around the league get released. It turns out that Pete and John were quite fond of at least these two, and both turned out pretty good.

Brock had nine sacks in 2010, a career high, and then played one more year before retiring.

Robinson was brought in to play special teams (he only had 29 carries in four years, though he had 32 catches and three receiving touchdowns) and he didn't just continue to lead the ST unit (honestly, they were the only thing that kept Seattle from a three or four win season in 2010) but he also managed to play his way...

Into our hearts.

September 28, 2010 - Brandon Stokley signed

September 28, 2010 - Breno Giacomini signed off Packers practice squad

So THAT'S why you keep churning.

They also signed Allen Barbre that day, and you'll see in the comments of the article, it seems he may have been considered the better addition. Giacomini did a fine enough job at right tackle. Honestly, if you're a right tackle, it usually means that you aren't that great. It's just the nature of the position. That of course isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but it's still a pretty common notion. Teams are beefing up more and more on the right side, assessing even more value to having two high-quality tackles and two high-quality guards, but as we just saw, you can also win a Super Bowl with Giacomini and Sweezy and James Carpenter.

Getting him for nothing off of the practice squad and potentially replacing him with a seventh round pick or UDFA when he hits free agency? That's good football sense, my man.

October 5, 2010 - Seahawks trade 2011 fourth round pick, 2012 conditional fifth to Buffalo Bills for Marshawn Lynch

October 5, 2010 - Julius Jones waived

Now, there are still some things that fans could get excited about in 2010.

As evidenced by Morgan that July, there were rumors that Seattle was interested in Lynch. It later was reported that Schneider wanted the Green Bay Packers to draft him back in 2007, too. It's unfortunate that Lynch wasn't that great in 2010, and that Morgan didn't get much of a chance to write about him. He was understandably harsh.

(And Morgan left in early 2011.)

Lynch's last three seasons resemble what kind of a runner he was over his first four years in the league, but that's as far as it goes really. It's like two different running backs otherwise, and though some people started to question if he was worth those picks back then (probably rightfully so) it's an unbelievable bargain right now. And always will be one considered one of the biggest "steals" in franchise history. Lynch was really the first major acquisition by Seattle, and it was fitting that he put the final touches on Carroll's first calendar year.

October 11, 2010 - Seahawks trade Deion Branch to New England Patriots for 2011 fourth round pick

Seattle traded a first round pick for Branch after losing Super Bowl XL and pretty much everyone is disappointed with that move by Ruskell and Mike Holmgren. Four-ish years later, they manage to recoup a fourth round pick from the same team that they originally acquired him from.

The Patriots selected safety Brandon Meriweather with that pick. The Seahawks chose K.J. Wright with the pick they got back for Branch.

I am perfectly okay with that.

January 3, 2011 - Mike Williams signed to 3-year contract extension

Believe it or not, this is probably the "worst" move of Pete and John's first year. And it's not like it's a bad deal by any means, since Williams was still the best receiver on the team and wasn't overly expensive, but they could have probably also gotten away with not rewarding him at all. Williams could've fallen apart at any moment... and he did.

I looked hard for moves during their first season that were really poor and this was honestly the worst I could come up with.

January 8, 2011 - Seahawks beat New Orleans Saints 41-36 on Beastquake

And so it is that one year after Mora was fired, Lynch ran hope, excitement, and faith in the "Pete/John system" right into our hearts.

Players acquired in 2010 that were also on 2014 Super Bowl team:

Marshawn Lynch, Michael Robinson, Breno Giacomini, Golden Tate, Russell Okung, Clint Gresham, Anthony McCoy, Earl Thomas, Chris Clemons, Walter Thurmond, Kam Chancellor, plus draft picks that would later be used to acquire Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, and K.J. Wright.

Though the team was still bad in 2010, a significant portion of the Super Bowl team was acquired that year. And when they did win the title, Lynch, Thomas, Chancellor, Okung, Tate, Red, Clemons, Mebane basically had four seasons to indoctrinate themselves into Carroll's system. With players like Wilson, you can see how he'd be good at "catching up" in that regard.

I love it when a plan synchronizes.

Related reading: Pete Carroll's improbable turnaround of the Seahawks