Posted by Kip Earlywine
John Schneider was recently interviewed on 950 am on the Mitch in the Morning program. If you haven’t heard it, you can listen by following this link.
I don’t know if this was on purpose, but in several ways, John Schneider’s regime has been the polar opposite his predecessor’s. No issues with drafting from small schools. Character concerns are given relatively little consideration. Size, speed, and athleticism are generally considered above intangibles and college production. He brings a massive emphasis on the offensive line and the running game. And he hasn’t been a regular player for big name free agents the way Tim Ruskell always seemed to be.
But maybe the biggest difference of all could be how the two play their cards. Tim Ruskell, despite having drafts that often felt very predictable, would almost never go into gritty details even after the fact, like a professional poker player who won’t show the hand he just folded. Not so for John Schneider.
I won’t rehash the whole interview, but there were a few portions that really grabbed my attention.
- Schneider said that James Carpenter was the teams #2 overall tackle prospect, ahead of USC’s Tyron Smith. That speaks volumes of how highly they thought of Carpenter, since Carroll knew as well as anyone about Smith’s abilities. With this in mind, it’s looking more and more that Seattle went BPA at #25, at least in their own minds, rather than reaching for a need.
- I like the way this front office evaluates talent, but every now and then, I’m left scratching my head. The #1 tackle on their board was Nate Solder. I need to send Bill Belichick a thank you card.
- I still don’t like the KJ Wright pick, but its neat that Minnesota called Seattle to make a deal to move up in the 4th, and after Seattle picked Wright instead, Minnesota let Seattle know they were targeting the same guy.
- He also hinted at Seattle making big changes on the defensive line in free agency. But given Ted Thompson’s and John Schneider’s combined background, its safe to say it probably won’t be overly splashy.
- He talked about undrafted free agents like they were major signings. He didn’t name names, but I thought it was interesting that every single player he hinted at played defense. I think its kind of funny that Schneider is so jazzed about signing UDFA’s. Of the 15 he signed last year, only Josh Pinkard is still on the roster.
- He didn’t talk about Chris Spencer, but talked about Unger and Moffitt in a way that would indicate that Unger has already been anointed the future at center.
- In maybe the most profound moment of the interview, Schneider casually asserted his philosophy that a team needs to build an offensive line first before getting its quarterback. I know this subject is hotly debated but here we see clearly which side of the debate Schneider falls on.
- Finally, he said Charlie Whitehurst has a “50-50″ chance of being the starter next year, but in a rare case of evasiveness, probably only gave that answer not to be truthful but to be as vague as possible. I think its pretty clear that Seattle is going to only start Whitehurst after a dozen other options for veterans fall through.
Anyway, regardless of whether I agree with everything John Schneider says, its very refreshing to have a GM that will give us an inside look and help scratch some of those curiosities we’ve had lingering. As far as being a better poker player, I’m not going to say that guarding information isn’t important, but it didn’t help Tim Ruskell much and it hasn’t really hurt John Schneider. When it comes to the most important things, Schneider is good enough at keeping things on the down low, and he’s been wise about choosing which topics to share with the public later. And that’s something I appreciate quite a bit as a fan, since we watch sports to be entertained, and that includes the offseason as well.