The memory was still fresh in his mind, and it was made even
fresher when he saw Joey Galloway, his old Ohio State teammate,
at the Seahawks' practice complex. In Shawn Springs's early
workouts as a Buckeye, wideouts Terry Glenn, now with the New
England Patriots, and Galloway had blown past the young
defensive back with such ease that he wondered whether he was
really cut out for college football. Now, as a rookie with
Seattle, Springs was experiencing some painful flashbacks.
On the first morning of minicamp in April, Springs was beaten
twice, first by James McKnight, then by Mike Pritchard, neither
of whom is exactly Jerry Rice--nor, for that matter, Joey
Galloway. "Got to teach those kids something, right, Pritch?"
coach Dennis Erickson yelled from the sideline after Pritchard
curled in front of the No. 3 pick in the '97 draft. "We made him
miss a couple of times," says Galloway. "He'll be good once he
Springs is a fast learner. Later in that morning session he
intercepted a pass; in the afternoon he broke up another pass.
Then he stayed late to field punts.
Springs, who will start at cornerback, is not the only
first-rounder expected to help the Seahawks. Florida State's
Walter Jones, the sixth selection in the draft, is taking over
at left offensive tackle. Both Springs and Jones have worked
with the first team since day one of minicamp--Erickson does not
have time to break in his young stars slowly. After a 7-9 record
last season, he is counting on Springs and Jones to come through
"I thought we were going to be pretty good last year," says
Erickson. "We just didn't play like we needed to. I do think
we're better, but I am trying to be a little more guarded about
Erickson has reason to be hopeful. His team scored big in the
off-season, signing Pro Bowl linebacker Chad Brown, a free agent
from the Pittsburgh Steelers, for $24 million over six years.
And strong safety Bennie Blades has joined his brother Brian in
Seattle after nine years in Detroit. Bennie signed a three-year,
$3.3 million contract, $3,300 of which went directly to a
teammate. That was the price fourth-year running back Lamar
Smith demanded to surrender his jersey number, 36, to Blades,
who had worn the number since his college days in Miami.
With Willie Williams, a free-agent signee from the Steelers, at
right corner and either Phillip Daniels or Antonio Edwards at
right end, Seattle will have five new starters on defense. Left
end Michael Sinclair, whose 13 sacks last season earned him a
trip to the Pro Bowl, says, "Is our defense better? Yes. Can we
win some games with this defense? Yes. Do we have a chance to
win the AFC West? Yes. Not to take anything away from the guys
we had, but we're already much better than we were last year."
The story on defense is the players who arrived; the story on
offense is one player who left. Seattle traded Rick Mirer, who
started at quarterback for most of the past four years, to
Chicago for a first-round draft pick. The new quarterback is
30-year-old John Friesz, who has been more solid than
spectacular in his two years in Seattle. Warren Moon, a 13-year
NFL veteran, should provide stability and experience as Friesz's
With all these new faces in Seattle, Erickson is faced with the
task of unifying his team. After 11 years in Kirkland, just
outside Seattle, the Seahawks have moved their training camp to
Cheney, near Spokane, five hours from Seattle. Kirkland's
proximity to home presented too many distractions. "We'll be in
a real training camp now," says running back Chris Warren. "I
think we need that." The players have already demonstrated their
dedication. As many as 50 of them, by far the most in recent
years, showed up for optional workouts.
The Seahawks' schedule also holds promise. They open at home
against the lowly New York Jets and play four of their first six
games in the Kingdome. Four of last season's playoff teams have
been replaced on Seattle's slate by the four teams with the
worst records in the league last year (the Jets, Saints, Falcons
The Seahawks have not had a winning season since 1990 and
haven't made the playoffs since 1988. "We have to prove we're a
good team," says offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, who has
been with Seattle since 1992. "All this 'Well, we're way ahead.
Well, we're much better'--that's all talk until we prove we can
be a good team. We haven't done that around here in a long
COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT ROGERS Sinclair and the Seattle D will get added muscle from an influx of new talent. [Natrone Means and Michael Sinclair in game]
BY THE NUMBERS
1996 Yards per Game (NFL rank)
1996 Record: 7-9 (fifth in AFC West)
Rushing Passing Total
OFFENSE 124.8 (5) 189.2 (24) 314.0 (19)
DEFENSE 131.1 (28) 208.7 (17) 339.8 (24)
Beware the Pair
Some crafty predraft trading landed the Seahawks the third and
sixth selections in the 1997 draft, choices they used to secure
cornerback Shawn Springs and offensive tackle Walter Jones. This
was only the fifth instance since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger in
which a team exercised two of the top six selections in the
draft. If history is any indicator, the Seahawks shouldn't count
on both picks to pan out.
NFL Teams That Had Two of the Top Six Picks in the Draft, 1970-96
Team Selection no. Player Pro performance
1994 Colts 2 Marshall Faulk Two Pro Bowl selections
in three years
5 Trev Alberts Seven career starts in
1992 Colts 1 Steve Emtman Played three years for
Colts; 14 starts
2 Quentin Coryatt Entering sixth year as
1982 Colts 2 Johnie Cooks Six-year starter for Colts
4 Art Schlichter Threw three TD passes in
entire NFL career
1973 Eagles 3 Jerry Sisemore 11-year starter for
Eagles; two Pro Bowls
6 Charle Young Three Pro Bowls in four
years with Eagles
PLAYER TO WATCH
Before the Seahawks selected Joey Galloway with the eighth
choice in the 1995 draft, they had never taken a receiver with
their first pick. Have they regretted it? As a rookie he caught
67 passes for 1,039 yards, and last year he led Seattle in
receptions and yards receiving. Still, offensive coordinator Bob
Bratkowski thinks Galloway has only just begun. "It's hard to
put a number on him," he says. "Joey could catch 80. He could
PROJECTED LINEUP WITH 1996 STATISTICS
Head Coach: Dennis Erickson
Offensive Backs PVR*
QB John Friesz 83[*] 211 att. 120 comp. 56.9% 1,629 yds.
8 TDs 4 int. 86.4 rtg.
RB Chris Warren 52[*] 203 att. 855 yds. 4.2 avg.
40 rec. 273 yds. 6.8 avg. 5 TDs
FB Mack Strong 395[*] 5 att. 8 yds. 1.6 avg. 9 rec.
78 yds. 8.7 avg. 0 TDs
Receivers, Specialists, Offensive Linemen
WR Joey Galloway 16[*] 57 rec. 987 yds. 7 TDs
WR Mike Pritchard 185[*] 21 rec. 328 yds. 1 TD
WR Brian Blades 195[*] 43 rec. 556 yds. 2 TDs
TE Christian Fauria 272[*] 18 rec. 214 yds. 1 TD
PK Todd Peterson 237[*] 27/27 XPs 28/34 FGs 111 pts.
KR Steve Broussard 390[*] 43 ret. 22.8 avg. 0 TDs
PR Joey Galloway 16[*] 15 ret. 10.5 avg. 1 TD
LT Walter Jones(R)[A] 6'4" 301 lbs. 12 games 12 starts
LG Pete Kendall 6'5" 292 lbs. 12 games 11 starts
C Kevin Mawae 6'4" 296 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
RG James Atkins 6'6" 303 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
RT Howard Ballard 6'6" 325 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
LE Michael Sinclair 47 tackles 13 sacks
LT Sam Adams 40 tackles 5 1/2 sacks
RT Cortez Kennedy 69 tackles 8 sacks
RE Phillip Daniels 11 tackles 2 sacks
OLB Winston Moss 106 tackles 1 sack
MLB Dean Wells 107 tackles 1 sack
OLB Chad Brown[A] 81 tackles 13 sacks
CB Shawn Springs (R)[A] 34 tackles 0 int.
SS Bennie Blades[A] 106 tackles 2 int.
FS Darryl Williams 80 tackles 5 int.
CB Willie Williams[A] 76 tackles 1 int.
P Rick Tuten 85 punts 44.1 avg.
[A] New Acquisition (R) Rookie (college statistics)
[*] *PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 165)