Much Change Since Seattle Glory Days

You wouldn't know the Seahawks played in a Super Bowl six years ago by looking at their roster. Pete Carroll's revamped Seattle Seahawks still two-touchdown underdogs to the Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2005 season and have done their best – through two additional Super Bowl appearances – to keep their team together.

The Steelers still have 15 players from that team.

But that may be too many, if we are to believe Warren Sapp, who called the Steelers "old, slow and it's over" after the Steelers were beaten last Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens, 35-7.

Yet, old, slow and finished is apparently much better than young, fast and just getting started because the Steelers are favored to beat the Seahawks by 14 points Sunday in the Steelers' home opener.

A look inside the Seahawks' roster explains part of it:

* Only two players remain from their Super Bowl appearance (Marcus Trufant, Leroy Hill).

* Second-youngest roster in the NFL (26.0).

* Last Sunday's offensive line was the most inexperienced to start an NFL game in 16 years.

* Five new starters on defense since last season.

* Ten new starters on offense since 2009.

Coach Pete Carroll is responsible for the turnover. Carroll came in last season and made 284 roster moves in 2010 as the Seahawks fell from 5-11 under Mike Holmgren to …

… division champs and playoff conqueror of the defending champion New Orleans Saints?

How can that be?

Well, for starters, Carroll proved himself to be a terrific motivator during a glorious nine-year run at the University of Southern California that started in 2001.

Not that he stepped into winning situation there, either. Carroll replaced the deposed Paul Hackett and opened with a 2-5 record. Carroll said an interception return for a touchdown against Arizona turned USC's – and his – fortunes around.

"In the locker room after that game I told the guys that we don't have to lose anymore," Carroll said.

But it wasn't Carroll's strong safety – Troy Polamalu – who made the pivotal interception. Polamalu was the central chess piece in Carroll's defense that year, a year in which he named the junior safety the team's defensive captain.

"We put him all over the place," said Carroll, "everywhere we could, and gave him special freedoms that we didn't give other players because we could trust him and he could take advantage of it, and he is still doing it."

Polamalu pointed to Carroll's results last season when asked whether his former coach's rah-rah, college-type enthusiasm could work in the NFL.

"No matter if we were losing or winning, we always had a winning attitude," Polamalu said. "Coach Carroll was so enthusiastic you couldn't help but feel good no matter what the situation is, personally as well as what your team is going through. That's one great thing that I've taken from him."

Carroll currently has a Polamalu-type on his defense in Earl Thomas to help continue his attempts to revive the Seahawks. But Carroll doesn't have a Carson Palmer playing quarterback as he did at USC.

Carroll was clearly not fooled by last season's 7-9 divisional championship and continued his housecleaning by replacing veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck with Tarvaris Jackson, releasing defensive captain Lofa Totupu, and putting two rookies on an already young starting offensive line.

In last Sunday's opener, the Seahawks' starting line consisted of Russell Okung, James Carpenter, Max Unger, John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini. Out with an injury was veteran Robert Gallery, who returns this week to give Seattle its only starting lineman with more than 18 career starts.

In less than two complete seasons, Carroll has turned over all but 10 players on Seattle's 53-man roster. While Las Vegas clearly doesn't believe the Seahawks can play with the Steelers, those who've played for Carroll respect his abilities. Polamalu talked about how and when he bought in to Carroll's approach 10 years ago.

"We have such a redundant life as an athlete," Polamalu said. "Everything's scheduled out. And when there's just a little bit of change it really throws you off, whether it's from coach [Bill] Cowher to coach [Mike] Tomlin or from coach Hackett to coach Carroll, so obviously you're a little hesitant and you're not very comfortable just because things are different. But once we met him and saw him and talked to him on a one-on-one level, we were all really excited. I've got some awesome life-experience stories that he's taught me."

"It's exciting to come to work every day," said Jackson, the new Seattle quarterback. "I like that, the upbeat tempo, the positive things he shows. It helps me. I know it helps me as a quarterback just to know the guy has confidence in me."

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