McMullen: Seahawks are preparing for life without the Legion Of Boom
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Nothing can destroy a business faster than complacency, and the NFL is certainly no exception to that rule.
If anything, the cyclical nature of life is sped up in a sport where injury rates are astronomical and career life spans are but a blip on the radar.
So, no matter how good you are today, tomorrow is always looming, and while the average fan is worried about September, the really good organizations in this league are thinking about the next three Septembers and how the franchise is set up moving forward.
All dominant teams have an identity and as good as Russell Wilson has become or as exciting as some of those Marshawn Lynch “Beastquake” runs were at CenturyLink Field, Pete Carroll’s Seahawks have also been defined by the “Legion of Boom” (LOB), the game’s best defensive backfield with the charter members being lockdown cornerback Richard Sherman and Pro Bowl-level safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
Some junior members have come and gone, such as Byron Maxwell, but the core of the group has been the central nervous system of a Seahawks team that was one play away from winning back-to-back Super Bowls.
Time never stands still, however, and this was the first offseason in which you could envision the Seahawks completely tearing things down on the back end.
First Thomas intimated retirement after breaking his tibia in Week 13 against Carolina last season, and Sherman seemed to be pushing for an exit after a campaign spent vocalizing his disagreements with his boss, Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard, as well as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Nothing ever materialized on the trade front for Sherman, and Thomas’ talk of walking away was likely born out of frustration from the injury, which means the two standouts will be back. However, they are another year closer to their football mortalities.
You can stick your head in the sand and pretend the good times will keep on rolling, but Carroll and general manager John Schneider saw what everyone else saw when they looked at this year’s draft, an extraordinarily deep secondary class.
That fueled two things: three defensive backs being selected over the third and fourth rounds, and the ensuing speculation that the LOB era is approaching its expiration date.
Carroll appeared on ESPN Radio in Seattle this week to pump the breaks on the latter.
“This was a very strong draft in the defensive back section so it just kind of happened that we had opportunities to get guys,” Carroll said when discussing the additions of UCF cornerback ShaquillGriffin as well as safeties Delano Hill of Michigan and Tedric Thompson of Colorado.
“We may put together one of the great backup groups you’ve ever seen and that may be what this is for the future,” the coach continued. “That would be a great thing that happens. We love the guys that we play with. But meanwhile we are going to allow these guys to compete to start and that pushes Earl and pushes Kam and pushes Sherman and that’s how it goes. They know that this whole program is built on competition.”
It’s also built on the idea that to bridge one successful era in the NFL with the next, reaction is not the prudent strategy.
Thomas will turn 28 this Sunday while Sherman and Chancellor are already a year older than that.
The future is relentless whether you like it or not, and Carroll plans to be prepared for it.