Is NFL Network’s Charlie Casserly right in his assessment of the Seahawks’ success and should the 49ers emulate it?
Here is Casserly’s assessment of why the Seahawks are successful. Fellow commentator Charles Davis follows up by saying that Seattle owner Paul Allen supports his head coach, even if it mean that high-salaried starters get beat out by lowly-paid rookies.
Former 49er Curtis Conway supported this point during his part in the segment.
Here are Casserly’s reasons for the Seahawks’ recent achievements, which I don’t agree with wholeheartedly.
1. On defense, emphasize speed over size. Casserly is obviously not talking about the Seattle secondary, which might be the biggest and slowest in the league. Cornerback Richard Sherman ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the combine, safety Kam Chancellor clocked a 4.62 and former cornerback Brandon Browner was 6-3, 221 pounds and ran a 4.63 in the 40.
2. Seattle emphasizes production over measurables. They want players who are productive right now, rather than projecting how a player might do based on his “potential.” The strategy used to be the hallmark of the 49ers in the 80’s and 90’s.
3. Constant movement on the roster. Seattle has made more transactions than any other team over the last two years. For example, of the team’s 22 starters from last year, 14 were drafted (seven were taken in the fourth round or later), two came in trades, four were unrestricted free agents and one was a restricted free agent, which is quite a diversity of acquisitions.
4. The entire staff, including scouts, watches film on all draftable players. The process takes weeks, however, it results in full staff agreements on players and it holds the scouts accountable. If a scout proposal player is draftable and is clearly not, the scout looks bad, so they take their jobs more seriously.
The 49ers, like the Seahawks, hunt for players through trades, signings, the waiver wire and undrafted free agents. I don’t know if the entire staff watches every potential draft choice. However, Seattle has the advantage of being a coach-driven team, which is a rarity.
Only the Seahawks, Patriots and Eagles allow their coaches to have final say over roster moves and player acquisition, including the draft.
Coach-driven teams develop the players the coaches have a huge say in acquiring, while coaches in scout-driven teams typically develop players the scouting department picks for them. Generally, coaches are more invested in players they have chosen.
Also, if a player in a coach-driven team fails, they can’t blame the scouts, which can make for a more harmonious organization.
No one can argue with what the 49ers have done over the last four or five seasons. In fact, the 49ers might be more talented than Seattle.
Nevertheless, should the 49ers adopt any of Seattle’s practices?