As the richest owner in pro sports, Paul Allen has spared no expense in trying to bring a championship team to Seattle. He's rebuilt the front office by adding a general manager (Bob Ferguson) and a CEO (Tod Leiweke).
He's been patient with head coach Mike Holmgren, who might have been canned by other owners after the Hawks' 7-9 season. Instead, Holmgren only relinquished his administrative duties and will place his entire focus toward the on-field product.
Holmgren had to sacrifice his defensive staff ... but that was a small sacrifice, as the unit was 28th in the league in overall rankings and last against the rush.
At least four new starters were brought in through free agency or trades, as defensive tackle Norman Hand, defensive Chike Okeafor, middle linebacker Randall Godfrey and free safety Damien Robinson should step right into the lineup. As importantly, the Hawks stepped up and re-signed top free-agent linebacker Anthony Simmons, who seemed to be a likely candidate to bolt Seattle when his contract expired.
Offensively, the signing of right tackle Chris Terry, another free agent who was free to leave the Hawks, was a crucial bit of business. The mid-season acquisition of Terry solidified the line and allowed the Seahawk offense to finish the season as one of the more potent attacks in the NFC.
What could be the most important addition as the Hawks head into training camp, though, is defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes.
Rhodes' impact already has been felt. His arrival was significant in the re-signing of Simmons and the wooing of Godfrey and Robinson. Cornerback Shawn Springs hit minicamps at full speed and eager to compete ... perhaps as a result of Rhodes' challenge.
Rhodes has preached toughness and accountability from the moment he landed in Seattle. His no-nonsense, no-excuses approach is needed by a group that has been among the least productive in the game in recent seasons.
"I ain't buying excuses," Rhodes said. "I've heard enough over the years that I don't want to hear more excuses. If I'm wrong, I'll fess up. If you make a mistake, okay, but if it's a continuous thing, something is wrong. I'm going to get these guys in the best position to let them be the athletes they are.
"I want guys to understand the accountability of this game and the importance of going out and pushing yourself to go out and be the best."
So much of the off-season focus has been on the defense, as it should be, because, offensively, the Hawks finished very impressively last season and have everybody back. Guard Steve Hutchinson is healed from the leg fracture that sidelined him most of the season.
In terms of skilled positions, the simultaneous maturation of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck with receivers Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson, and running back Shaun Alexander, gave the Seahawks a varied attack that allowed it to average 29 points a game down the stretch in 2002.
The lone offensive concern, again, is the contract status of Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones. As he was last season, Jones has been "franchised" and likely will hold out during training camp. His absence early in the 2002 season contributed to the team's slow start. Once he returned, however, he quickly resumed Pro Bowl-caliber play.
July 23: Rookies and quarterbacks report.
July 25: Veterans report
July 26: First practice
Aug. 2: Intrasquad scrimmage.
Aug. 21: Camp breaks.
Seattle Seahawks: Team Report
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