K.J. Wright has seen a lot as the Seahawks' longest-tenured player, so when the nine-year veteran says there's something special going on when it comes to the chemistry of this team, it's worth paying attention.
"The closer the team, the better they play together, the better they play for one another, and this team is definitely close," Wright said. "It's just good vibes in here."
Wright then paused to turn the tables on the reporters surround him who usually are the ones asking questions.
"I don't know if you can feel the energy—do y'all feel the energy in locker rooms?" Wright asked.
After some nods and affirmative answers, Wright continued, "The energy is good in here. It feels good, everybody's happy, everybody wants to win, there ain't nobody on no B.S., life is good around here, it's a good locker room."
There are a lot of very measurable reasons why the Seahawks are 10-2 this season and in first place in he NFC West. Quarterback Russell Wilson is playing at an MVP level, which combined with a strong running game has given the Seahawks one of the most productive offenses in the NFL; the Bobby Wagner and Wright-led defense has made a big turn over the past month, giving the Seahawks a dangerous, ball-hawking defense; and special teams play has been a big difference maker in several games, including last week's win over Minnesota.
Much more difficult to quantify, but imperative nonetheless if you ask players and coaches, is the team chemistry, which can fluctuate from season to season as players come and go. And this year's team, carrying over what started with a young, retooling team in 2018, has found something special. With that closeness comes not just off-field comradery between players, but a belief in what they're doing together on the field and a desire to do well for each other. That can't be measured on a stat sheet, but it's powerful and a real part of this team's success.
"This is the team that I think we'll look back on, there was this deep seeded, longstanding care for each other that comes about in terms of harmony that they really are together," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last month. "They're with us on everything and they're going along with it. They're pliable in a sense. They're growing into the belief that they can win football games. That's really powerful knowing when you get there. It's obvious with all of the close games that we've played. The ability to do that comes from the belief that they have for themselves, what they are capable of doing, what the guys around them are capable of doing. That's a very strongness in here. It's like, the force is strong in this room. It's pretty cool."
The chemistry this team has is particularly valuable, players say, when the Seahawks go on the road. The Seahawks are 6-0 on away from CenturyLink Field this season, matching the highest road win total in franchise history, and while that has a lot to do with the talent on the field and the coaching staff, there's also some intangibles in play.
That's why when Wagner was asked about his team's road success, the first thing he said was, "I just think it shows how close of a group we are. When we go on the road, everybody's connected, everybody's together, and I think that's what makes us a really good road team—the connection, the chemistry, especially on the defensive side because when the offense is up it's so quiet. We're able to communicate a lot better, we're able to talk to one another a lot better. You can only talk to other people if you have a chemistry with them."
The Seahawks have been a good road team for several years now, but one small change was made to their road routine this year that players say has helped strengthen their bond. In the past, players had the option of leaving the team hotel on game day on early or late busses that left an hour apart. This year, veteran leaders along with Carroll came up with the idea of every player leaving at the same time on the earlier busses.
"We had to do something a little bit different because we had a lot of newer guys and it was a younger team, so it was hard to educate everybody separately," Wagner said. "So, we got them together… The one bus thing was just for everybody to be more connected. Instead of separating the groups, having everybody come together, everybody preparing together, everybody coming out together, I feel like it speaks to that closeness. When you're around the guys so much it makes you learn who you're playing with and builds that comradery."
While the closeness of this team is showing up most obviously now with the team winning, it has been building for a lot longer than the 14 weeks of the regular season. Carroll has mentioned that there was carry over from lats year's team, and players say this year's group started bonding quickly in offseason workouts.
"I felt it was definitely in OTA's," Wagner said. "For us, it was coach (Ken) Norton coming up with different ideas to compete against each other, we created different teams to go against each other, the winner of the team got to take that team out to dinner. Doing dinners, doing different group activities, and everybody was showing up. Nobody was fighting on whether they could make it or not. Everybody would show up and from that, starting that, and then growing as a team on the field we just got closer and closer."
Said Wilson, "I think that I've noticed that since OTAs, at the beginning of this year. I just think that it's been really cool just seeing the transition. Obviously, last year, a lot of people didn't think we'd be very good. They said we were going to be 3-13 or 4-and-whatever. We were able to overcome all of those naysayers and stuff. I think the reality of that is it brings confidence, one. I think two, it brings fellowship. It brings community. It brings guys together in such a great way because it's really you against whatever everybody else is saying, it's really you against what everybody else is saying or what they may think."
And while most of the team has been building this chemistry over time, those who are new to it can sense that something different is happening in Seattle.
"It's unique," said safety Quandre Diggs, who was acquired in an October trade. "Just being in the locker room, everybody comes together, we all hang out, we're always talking football. It's unique, it's fun. It's not like this everywhere."
During week 14 of the NFL season our some of our players, coaches, front office staff, and legends will wear custom designed cleats and shoes supporting causes they feel passionate about.