DENVER - Late Saturday night after their 23-20 loss to the Broncos, Seahawks players stood at their lockers defeated, with pained looks on their faces.
The setback in Denver might’ve been merely a preseason game, but the Seahawks sure weren’t reacting like it was.
And that news alone should bode well for the Seahawks in 2011.
You can fix mechanics and hone fundamentals, but heart and desire are either there or they’re not. And in the Seahawks’ case, they’re there — as especially evidenced on Saturday night in the team’s second-half comeback that fell just short on the Broncos’ game-winning field goal at the gun.
Coach Pete Carroll’s theme all weekend was advancing closer to finding his squad’s identity. On Friday night in the final team meeting before kickoff, Carroll spoke about how he thought the 2010 Seahawks didn’t truly discover their identity until the 16th game of the season, when they shut down the Rams at home to capture the NFC West crown.
He’s hoping the identity-discovery process will happen significantly sooner this fall, and he wanted Saturday’s preseason game to be a major progression in that process.
“Each game gives us a chance to find ourselves,” Carroll told his team on Friday night. “We are on this course as a football team to discover who we are. Now let’s take a step closer to discovering our identity.”
But the first half of the game on Saturday might’ve been a step backwards, if anything. The Seahawks managed only 39 yards and two first downs, but fortunately, they were down just 10-3 at intermission. As frustratingly stuck as the offense played, the Seahawks were primed for a comeback.
“We’ve been handed a gift,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said to the offensive players during halftime. “We’ve got a great lesson to learn. We’ve got to find out who we are.”
Instead of finding their identity, though, the Seahawks found themselves down 17-3 fairly soon into the third quarter. Their identity would be wrapped up in a large batch of heart and desire that would be on display during the remainder of the game. From
It added up to a 20-20 tie that would only be broken by a Denver field goal with no time remaining — but not before Seattle’s field goal block unit turned in phenomenal drive to nearly block the kick.
Carroll’s “Always compete” mantra had never been truer for the 2011 Seahawks.
So as the players and coaches shuffled into the locker room after the loss, the lessons, steps and identity-forming moments were obvious. While they have much work to do and many areas to improve, the Seahawks are moving closer to finding who they truly are. The mechanics can and will be repaired, the fundamentals can and will be mended — but the deep convictions that are visibly present portend great promise for the 2011 season.
“It’s real clear we’ve got a lot to work on,” Carroll told the players in the locker room after the game. “But your determination was awesome and you finished the game with fantastic attitude.”
Heart, desire, passion, commitment — cornerstones for a foundation to a promising team heading toward something special.