It was during the video study last week for Saturday night's divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers that assistant special teams coach Nick Sorensen noticed how low snapper J.J. Jansen and guards Andrew Norwell and Fernando Velasco got during field-goal attempts.
It was prior to Thursday's practice that special teams coordinator Brian Schneider approached Kam Chancellor – All-Pro and Pro Bowl strong safety Kam Chancellor – about the possibility of using him to leap over the middle of the line during the game.
It was at the end of the first half on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field that detection, idea and implementation took off. Literally, as Chancellor bounded over the right side of the Panthers' line not once, but twice in a feat of athleticism by the 6-foot-3, 232-pounder that is hard to believe no matter how times you watch the play.
"There's a lot of stuff I can do that people don't know about," Chancellor said with a smile on Monday. "I'm very athletic."
As hunkered down as they were, Norwell is 6-6, 310 pounds; Velasco is 6-4, 310 pounds; and Jansen is 6-2, 240. But Chancellor made them look like so many candles in candlesticks as he did his Jack-be-nimble thing.
"You time it right and you jump them," Chancellor said, making it sound as easy as he made it look. "I got a good timing off the holder's head. When he turned back, I knew it was time to go. Then they snapped it, so perfect timing."
This was not the first time Chancellor had made such a leap of faith. He did it in 2012, but not as successfully and not before a national-TV audience in a playoff game.
"The first time I did it, I fell," he explained. "I hit the snapper in the helmet or something and tripped over him."
But that did not deter Schneider from going back to the deep well that is Chancellor's ability to do things that defy logic.
"I asked Kam on Thursday, 'Hey, we've got a leaper in, you want to do it?' " Schneider said. "And he was like, 'Yeah, I feel great this week.' "
That hasn't been the case every week for Chancellor, who missed two games at midseason because of a groin injury and has played through ankle and hip injuries. And Chancellor isn't always on the field-goal block unit. But with backup safety Jeron Johnson out with an elbow injury, that opened the opportunity for Chancellor for do his thing.
"It was amazing," Schneider said. "When you have a guy like that it makes it easier to go for things like that."
Did Schneider give Chancellor any special instructions before he took flight? "It's hard to trust it," Schneider said. "So I told him, 'Just go for it. Just totally trust it.' And that's exactly what he did. It was just amazing."
Chancellor did not get the block either time, as the Panthers were called for a false start on the first and he was called for running into the kicker on the second. But Chancellor did make other plays that helped make this day – or night – for the Seahawks. He returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown to ice the game in the fourth quarter. He had 10 tackles. He delivered a handful of his tempo-setting hits.
And it was fitting that what might have been Chancellor's most-impactful performance in a career filled with momentum-altering collisions came in a game when Ring of Honor strong safety Kenny Easley raised the 12 Flag above the south end zone prior to kickoff.
Unfortunately, Chancellor never had a chance to catch up with Easley on Saturday night.
"I was mad that I didn't get to have my picture taken with him," Chancellor said.
But they had met before, because Chancellor dated Easley's daughter while in high school. Easley is from Chesapeake, Va., but now lives in Norfolk, where Chancellor was a quarterback and safety at Maury High School before going to Virginia Tech.
If there is generational bridge between the success of those Easley-enhanced Seahawks teams of the mid-1980s and the success of this Chancellor-captained Seahawks team, it's the physical nature of those strong safeties whose performance always placed/place the emphasis on strong.
"I hear only good things about him, so why not look up to guy like that?" Chancellor said.
And look up at Easley is something Chancellor does every day on his way to practice and also on game days at CenturyLink Field. As a Ring of Honor member, a huge banner of Easley hangs above the hallway that separates the locker room and indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center and his name is one of 11 in the Ring of Honor along the East side of the stadium.
"He was a force to be reckoned with," Chancellor said. "So it's a big compliment to be compared to a player like him."