SAN FRANCISCO – Ready or not? That question will be answered all across the NFL this weekend after an unprecedented offseason.
Ready or not? It’s what we’re about to find out about these Seahawks in particular and whether all the roster changes were made with an eye toward a better tomorrow at the expense of today.
Will Seattle take a step back this year in anticipation of progress down the road?
“This doesn’t feel like we’re building for the future,” coach Pete Carroll said. “But we have definitely made our turn.”
Ready or not, the Seahawks are the defending NFC West champions, and they begin this season in San Francisco today, playing a division rival with just as many questions and logistical challenges.
Jim Harbaugh is San Francisco’s new coach, Vic Fangio its new defensive coordinator and the 49ers didn’t have the offseason of minicamps and film study. Instead, they had to shoehorn all that instruction into the past month and a half.
How much did that hurt the 49ers’ readiness in Harbaugh’s first season?
“I don’t know really before playing the season if it’s hurt or helped,” he said.
Hard to imagine how it helped for teams to conduct the past six weeks as if it were a 2-minute drill. Teams had six months of transactions and preparation condensed into six weeks, and the clock was running.
“That was unprecedented,” Harbaugh said.
Everyone is playing catch up. Even the Seahawks. Actually, especially the Seahawks. They added three new starting offensive linemen under a new line coach in Tom Cable with a new offensive coordinator in Darrell Bevell.
But Carroll has a history that’s relevant here. After years at USC he’s accustomed to incorporating new staff members and dealing with roster turnover, which he estimated at 30 percent a year.
He’s also got a track record that shows he’s ready more often than not when the season begins.
He is 4-1 in season openers as an NFL head coach, the lone loss coming with the Patriots in 1998. He was 9-0 in season openers at USC, and that was not because he loaded up on sweets early in the season. Sure, there were a couple cupcakes, but the Trojans also opened with Virginia Tech, Arkansas and Auburn (twice) under Carroll.
Carroll had his team ready.
“I’ve always attributed it to we have a good plan in camp,” Carroll said, “and we carry it through as we start the season.”
The challenge is even larger this season. Tarvaris Jackson is Seattle’s new quarterback, and three offensive linemen are expected to be starting their first NFL game: rookies James Carpenter at left guard and John Moffitt on the right and 25-year-old Breno Giacomini at right tackle.
Are the Seahawks ready to build on the momentum they gained with last season’s playoff victory or will this be a season in which Seattle takes a step back as its young roster acquires seasoning?
Ready or not? We’re about to find out.
“Nobody knows right now,” Carroll said. “You’ve got to find out what happens when you start playing the games.”
• The Seahawks signed former New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, adding depth to a depleted defensive line. To make room on the roster, the team released defensive tackle Landon Cohen, who was claimed off waivers Sept. 4.
Hargrove spent training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles before being released during final cuts. Hargrove played the last two seasons with the Saints, appearing in 30 games. He had one sack, 29 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles in 14 games last season.