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Four things we learned from GM John Schneider on 710 ESPN Seattle

Key takeaways from Seattle GM John Schneider's Wednesday conversation with 710 ESPN Seattle on newly-acquired tight end Jimmy Graham and the Seahawks' offseason.

On Wednesday morning, Executive VP/General Manager John Schneider sat down for a conversation with the team's flagship radio station 710 ESPN Seattle. 

The interview came less than 24 hours after the Seahawks confirmed a trade that will send New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round draft pick to Seattle in exchange for center Max Unger and a first-round pick, pending physicals by both players.

Here are four things we learned from Schneider's 20-minute segment with 710:

1. Jimmy Graham Was Shocked, But Excited, Too

The first call Schneider made after the deal between the Seahawks and Saints went down was to Unger, who Schneider said New Orleans had "strong interest" in. The Seahawks GM said he didn't want Unger to hear the news from anyone else.

Schneider's next call was to Graham, who had received a similar heads up from Saints head coach Sean Payton. Graham, a private pilot, had flown his plane to the west coast of Florida where he was "just hanging out on the beach" when Schneider's call came.

"He was shocked, but he was really excited, too," said Schneider. "I think people look at Seattle as a cool city and the fans and the stadium and coach Carroll and the fun atmosphere to play in."

2. Jimmy Graham Isn't A Dominant Run Blocker

Graham isn't known for his ability as a blocker. Schneider acknowledged as much, noting Graham's strengths lie with his speed, athleticism, and ability to post-up defenders - an area that allows him to work in his collegiate basketball background.

"Is he a dominant run blocker? No," said Schneider. "He's not. But he's a dominant pass catcher and he's a difference-maker in the passing game."

Schneider said he's looking forward to how Graham will help open up the rest of the offense as opposing defenses are forced to game-plan around one of the League's most productive tight ends.

"I just think that he makes all of our receivers better," said Schneider. "He makes our tight ends better. He's a competitor. Just in practice even, I think there's a lot of cool things that are going to happen the way we practice, the tempo that we practice with. So I'm excited about it."

3. What's Left Of The Offensive Line?

With Unger off to New Orleans and left guard James Carpenter agreeing to terms on a free-agent deal with the New York Jets, two-fifths of Seattle's starting offensive line from last season are on the move.

Asked if the team intends to shore up the position this offseason, Schneider said the club's energy "always starts up front" and also called out up-and-coming players that could fill holes for the Seahawks next season.

"I will say that there's several players on this team that people don't know about yet on the offensive line that we're really excited about, especially at center and tackle in [Garry] Gilliam and Keavon Milton and Patrick Lewis. So there are some guys here that we feel real good about playing with."

If the team were to line up and play a game tomorrow, Schneider said Alvin Bailey would be the starter at left guard.

"You always ask coaches along the way, 'Hey, if we we're going to play tomorrow, how would we line up?'" said Schneider. "Then we just keep moving forward all the way through the process like that. But it's not just the offseason, it goes through the whole season because there's guys that are cut during the season and you're like, 'Hey, is this player going to help us at say left guard? Would he be able to compete with Carp?' You're constantly doing that."

4. There's No Finish Line

Schneider was asked to elaborate on the meaning behind one of his favorite phrases: "There's no finish line," a nod to the Seahawks' unwillingness to rest on their laurels, even after appearances in back-to-back Super Bowls.

"You're just constantly pushing the envelope in every aspect of the organization," said Schneider. "Obviously, everybody sees the acquisition part of it. That's the number one thing that everybody sees on the outside. But I think what happens is it's every department. For us it's coaching. It's what are we doing in the player performance department - how can we figure out guys' sleep patterns, whatever we can do to help the players out. However we can help out with our technology and moving us forward, we're pushing that.

"It just never stops," he added. "That was one of the things that Pete and I talked about right when we got here was that we were going to try to be out front and doing it better than anybody's done before - I know you've heard Pete say that a lot, but it's real. It's about competition and it's about not ever being complacent. We actually talked about it right after the Super Bowl last year. Nothing ends, especially in this business. If you're complacent in this business, you'll lose your job."


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