Since 2010, the Seahawks have made 1,304 player transactions.
That’s not some fabricated gazillion-bazillion kind of number pulled out of the air because it sounds big. It’s an actual figure from the team’s PR department.
At least as of Wednesday morning. The number might climb this week, and one of the newly minted Seahawks might end up in the box score as the team opens the playoffs Sunday at Minnesota.
Several examples arose as recently as last weekend at Arizona, when the Seahawks scored a 36-6 win against the Cardinals in part on the strength of touchdowns by running back Bryce Brown and tight end Chase Coffman — two recently added players.
Before being activated by the Hawks in late December, Brown hadn’t played since last season (Buffalo), and Coffman had played one game this season with Tennessee. Both players have been on and off several rosters with mixed success in their careers.
But in a big game against a division rival, the Seahawks put them to work to positive effect.
On Wednesday, coach Pete Carroll credited general manager John Schneider with a knack for procuring the right player to fill a specific Seahawks niche.
But if Schneider is the puzzle master, Carroll and his staff are the ones who find ways to fit new players into the big picture. And they’re somehow able to do it in a hurry.
Last season, veteran tight end Tony Moeaki was brought in off the street late in the season, and center Patrick Lewis was a late addition picked up off Cleveland’s practice squad.
In Moeaki’s first game, he caught a touchdown pass against Kansas City. And Lewis came on to replace injured center Max Unger and eventually earned a starting job.
“I think the job that John (Schneider) does, knowing the kind of guys we want to bring into the program, speaks exactly to that,” Carroll said. “Decisions you make to choose who over who on your roster are based on those kinds of guys who learn quickly, who come through, who fit in and adapt and seize the opportunity.”
Through the years, as the Seahawks have boosted the income of local real estate agents and moving companies, Schneider has said that the goal is to keep upgrading talent, even if it’s the 53rd man on the roster. Except the strategy goes deeper, including the practice squad, too.
There have been misfires, and some of those have been expensive.
But there have been some interesting bounce-backs, too. At Arizona last weekend, running back Christine Michael rushed for 102 yards on 17 carries. He was traded from Seattle to the Cowboys in September, passed through Dallas and Washington before coming back to the Hawks as a free agent on Dec. 16.
The Hawks picked up a draft pick from Dallas, and eventually were reunited with a humbled and motivated Michael.
“They go out and get guys they believe in and trust,” Brown said. “And once you’re here, they make you feel you’re a part of it all. That makes you want to do well so they’ll feel they made the right decision bringing you in.”
The schemes, Brown said, are simple enough to learn quickly. “Mostly, they preach the basics, doing things that are simple, but doing them very well. We focus on ourselves rather than the opponents, and that allows players to play free and do the job.”
Although last weekend was Coffman’s first game action, he’d been with the team, learning its system for a few weeks. And he enjoyed the help of other tight ends with the acclimatization process.
“When you come to a team, you always want to help them win,” Coffman said. “This is a great team and a great organization, so I’m on a team that has a chance to do something special. The playoffs are the chance to play for the biggest goal in the game.”
Safety Kelcie McCray was picked up in a trade in September, having spent time with four teams in three seasons. Getting his chance to start in place of the injured Kam Chancellor, McCray has made 21 tackles in the past three games.
“It’s definitely a welcoming atmosphere here,” McCray said of the Seahawks. “The older guys got me acclimated with the defense and with the calls and terminology.”
McCray said he was told when he arrived that the Seahawks’ coaches liked his athleticism and his tackling ability — and his competitiveness and grit.
“Oh, yeah, everybody on the team has that,” McCray said. “That’s the first qualification. You’ve got to have that. And if you do, you fit in.”
The Hawks have prospered by discovering those guys, even if it takes a thousand or more transactions to get to them.