With so many key players returning from last year's NFC championship-winning team, it's easy to look at the 2015 Seahawks roster and start making predictions. This player will start at that spot, or these six players will make the team at this position, or this guy is just practice fodder and would be lucky to make the practice squad. Of course recent history tells us that making too many predictions this time of year can make you look silly in retrospect.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are, among many things, unpredictable, a trait that helped them turn the franchise around in very quick fashion. Not every bold move or unconventional decision has paid off, but Carroll and Schneider's outside-the-box thinking has led to some unexpected success stories.
With that in mind, we're taking a look this week at five surprises from past training camps under Carroll and Schneider that not only helped shape the Seahawks, but that also gave us insight into the way those two operate.
2010: Red Bryant and Chris Clemons solidify roles not just as starting ends, but as leaders of a young defense
When the 2009 season ended, Bryant was a defensive tackle who had yet to make much of his career, and Clemons was a backup who had gone from Washington to Oakland to Philadelphia, and who many figured was just a throw-in piece in the trade that sent Darryl Tapp to the Eagles in exchange for a draft pick.
Prior to offseason workouts, Carroll and Dan Quinn, then Seattle's defensive line coach, approached Bryant about a move from tackle to end, hardly a conventional switch for a player listed at 323 pounds. Bryant figured it was a precursor to being released; instead it was the move that helped him go from role player to key starter. Clemons, meanwhile, seemed likely to earn a starting job once camp got going, but no one could have predicted that he would go on to record 33.5 sacks over the next three seasons playing a "Leo" end position that highlighted his pass-rushing skills.
Over the next four seasons those two would not just be starters for what would become one of the best defenses in the NFL, but also strong veteran leaders in a young locker room. Both were released after the 2013 season in salary-cap related moves, but not before they made a huge impact on the franchise despite being unknowns heading into 2010 training camp.
What it told us about Carroll and Schneider:
Carroll and Schneider both like to talk about finding players with unique attributes, then putting those players in the best position to succeed, and Clemons and Bryant are both great examples of that.
Clemons was listed as a linebacker on Philadelphia's roster and was known for his speed, while Bryant was a defensive tackle who outweighed Clemons by about 70 pounds. On the Carroll-Schneider Seahawks, the two played the same position, at least according to the roster, yet they were asked to do very different things. In Bryant, the Seahawks saw a prototypical run-stuffing end who, while not much of a pass-rusher, could set an edge and wreck running plays. In Clemons, the Seahawks saw a pass-rusher who could disrupt opposing quarterbacks.
The Clemons trade is also a good example of Seattle's ability to scout players who fit in their system. Clemons wasn't a household name by any means, and the Seahawks actually got a fourth-round pick along with Clemons for Tapp, so clearly the Eagles weren't that high on his ability. But in Clemons the Seahawks saw a perfect pass-rusher who, while maybe not able to do everything a prototypical end does, was perfect for a specific role.