As the fifth-seeded Seahawks prepare for Sunday's first-round playoff game against the NFC East champion Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, they are a far more solid enterprise than the upstart outfit that rocked Seattle two years ago. These Seahawks are bigger, stronger, faster, tougher and more versed in Pete Carroll's system than their 2010 counterparts, and over the final month of the regular season they looked as formidable as any team in the NFL.
Yet there is very little that is orthodox about the way Carroll and Seattle general manager John Schneider have constructed their roster, evident by the reggae music that fills their "war room" during the draft to allowing a 5-10½, third-round draft pick to compete for the starting quarterback job with a high-priced free-agent signee.
Now Russell Wilson is in a three-way race with top overall picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III for offensive rookie of the year honors. He's also the poster child for Carroll's coaching style, which melds an upbeat, collegiate atmosphere with an edgy lack of entitlement, along with a sense that conventional wisdom is fragile and that every position must be earned.