posted by Joe Anaya on May 11th, 2015

The Seahawks held rookie minicamp this weekend sorting through newly drafted and just-signed college players looking for that next man up who can help them get back to the Superbowl. They’ll apply their usual divining method to roster moves. The Seahawks have a clear philosophy that has built a championship roster. Their approach to acquiring players seems simple enough but takes a commitment to each phase of the plan to actually work. The tenets the Seahawks front office seem to run by are:

Confidence in Teaching
Pete Carroll and John Schneider have the ultimate confidence in the coaching staff’s ability to teach their players. Whether teaching young players what to do, teaching veteran players new positions, or teaching problem players how to do it “the Seahawk way,” if a player has the athletic ability they’re looking for, the coaches believe they can bring out the best in that player. They were confident they could take Red Bryant, a defensive tackle, and teach him to excel at defensive end and he did.

Take Chances
Having confidence in their ability to get the most out of a player allows the team to take calculated risks. If the cost isn’t too high, the team is willing to swing for the fences. Trading a fourth round pick and a possible fifth rounder next year for a discontent Pro-bowl running back named Marshawn? Done. The last pick in the first round and a bucket load of cash for a field-tilting returner/wide-receiver with personality issues named Percy? Sure, why not. This gamble didn’t pay off, which leads to…

Accepting Mistakes As Part Of The Process
We’re not talking about the lackadaisical, “That’s okay if it’s not perfect” mistakes but more in the “young guys are going to make mistakes, we’ll keep them on the field and they’ll get better” type of mistake. Earl Thomas and J.R. Sweezy are prime examples of learn on the fly with room to make mistakes.

And equally important if not more so in their front office, they’ll take a chance on a previously injured player or a player with off-field baggage but if it doesn’t work out, the front office accepts the mistake and minimizes the damage by moving on immediately. Owner Paul Allen pays to remove bad decisions, John Schneider gives up on players he’s drafted and free agent signings, Coach Carroll cuts players that don’t fit in. Yeah, I’m looking at you Lendale White and Mike Williams.

Let The Competition Win
“Always Compete” is Pete Carroll’s mantra and he actually lives by it. And to top it off, he respects the results. Off-season acquisition, Antoine Winfield, a perennial All Pro near the end of his career, couldn’t beat out Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell or even Jeremy Lane. Windfield’s name recognition and past accolades didn’t help him compete and the Seahawks moved on without him.

These four tenants of talent acquisition have stocked the Seahawks’ roster with more talent than most of the other teams in the league and most of the past Seahawk teams. Marshawn Lynch was a player with a reputation and is now the heart of the team. Richard Sherman was a college receiver with limited experience at cornerback and is now an All Pro.

And the best example of the Seahawks’ philosophy was a college quarterback with everything you want in an NFL QB except three more inches, competing with a newly signed, hotly pursued, now rich, free agent QB, Matt Flynn.  Take chances on a “too short” quarterback, check. Let the competition win when the rookie beats out the veteran with a big contract, check. Confidence teaching the rookie to make it through a 16 game regular season, check. Accept mistakes from the rookie on the field and the front office’s mistake of signing Matt Flynn, so they traded him to Oakland, check. Of course, I’m speaking of Russell Wilson, the Probowl-selected, Superbowl-winning, record-setting quarterback.

The Seahawks wouldn’t have found their franchise quarterback without embracing the philosophy. Let’s hope they keep it up.

File Under Weekend Warrior