While Feb. 1 might not be a really significant date across the NFL, it marks a new era for the Seattle Seahawks.
Head coach Pete Carroll convened his staff together today for the first time, as Danny O'Neil reports. And even though things have barely gotten off the ground in Renton, there's a decidedly positive vibe circulating throughout.
"I am really excited about it," Carroll said of his staff while in Alabama last week. "I think we had an outstanding 'staff' season ... it's a great group, and I feel very fortunate that we put it together like we have.
"It's an excellent group of guys."
It's hard to think that all this upheavel began on Jan. 8, when the news broke of Jim Mora's abrupt firing, and then the resulting fallout that showed everyone that egos were truly the center of the organization under Tim Ruskell. Personally, I had been a supporter of Ruskell's after many wrote him off, but my support was largely garnered from the encouraging 2009 draft he managed. The group looked great on paper: Aaron Curry, best linebacker in the draft? Max Unger, the future of our offensive line? Deon Butler, a legitimate deep threat?
It all seemed too good to be true, especially when factoring in Jim Mora's energy from early press conferences. But we all know the story by now of how quickly that ship sank, and thanks to the infamous text message leak from Ruskell to Mora that came after both were no longer employed by the team, it was clearly time for both men to get out of town. The franchise would not have survived another year under that regime.
But while there is much reason for optimism at this point, there's still a lot of work to be done. We have yet to see anything, collectively speaking, from the brains of this new-look staff. Jim Mora brought his friends and fellow co-staffers from Atlanta and other places with him to Seattle, and while that approach seemed promising at first (and a good sign after a 4-12 season), it was doomed to failure from the start.
Pete Carroll has a proven success record as the mastermind of a football program, and he has assembled an excellent-looking staff. Names like Alex Gibbs and Jerry Gray are not exactly wallowing in the depths of mediocrity like Greg Knapp. They're respected names; ones whose ability might even make opposing teams think twice about calling the Seahawks "soft" next year.
Of course, I could be drinking the Kool-aid again.
Either way, Feb. 1, 2010 is the official dawn of the second new beginning in one year's time for the Seattle Seahawks. Hopefully, this new beginning is the glimpse of a soaring future, and not doomed to fail after one more season we'd all rather forget.