RENTON – You know the press-conference drill. The principal parties stand together for photos, assuming a standard pose with some kind of a prop (a team jersey or helmet), etc.
Lots of enamel.
In the case of the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday, the trio of the day was CEO Tod Leiweke, coach Pete Carroll, and the newly announced general manager John Schneider, who apparently looked too serious for the occasion.
“Smile, John,” Carroll said as the three faced the cameras.
Schneider complied immediately. Big grin.
Leiweke was standing between them, so we may assume that Carroll didn’t actually have his hand up the back of Schneider’s jacket so that he could somehow operate controls to make his lips move.
But you pretty much get the point.
Schneider has the title of general manager, but Pete Carroll is in charge of when it’s time to smile.
That doesn’t mean this coach/GM relationship won’t be successful. Not at all. It merely reaffirms what Carroll made clear in his press meeting last week, that anybody looking for the man in charge need only knock on his door.
Leiweke laid this out, ideally, as a shoulder-to-shoulder relationship. Hmmmm, doesn’t seem like it, exactly. Carroll was in on the GM interviews and obviously had a strong hand in Schneider’s selection. That process alone stands out as abnormal yet illustrative ... having the coach help hire the GM.
So, we can abandon any notion that Schneider will hold front-office dominion, with Leiweke further clarifying the relationship by saying that Carroll wins any “coin flip” on decisions.
To be skeptical, we might say that the shoulder-to-shoulder relationship might be something akin to Tiger Woods and Stevie Williams working shoulder-to-shoulder; it’s just that one is the caddy and the other guy is the one making the shots.
But that is unfairly dismissive of Schneider. Although he’s just 38, he’s been in the NFL for 17 seasons. Being young is not a flaw.
I offered the theory last week that veteran administrator Floyd Reese would be the best candidate for the Hawks because of his experience. I still think so.
But that doesn’t mean that the Schneider/Carroll pairing won’t pan out.
Schneider has played an important role in building the Green Bay Packers roster that is not only successful, but also the youngest in the NFL.
These two are of like minds and lexicon. Carroll announced that “something special happened between John and I.” Carroll praised his “creative, active, energetic approach.”
Schneider has worked with some of the top names in the game. And to look at some of Green Bay’s recent drafts is to be impressed.
And that leads to one of three points that came through as the most positive reflections on this guy in the press conference.
When asked to pinpoint a few of Green Bay’s better acquisitions that were primarily his responsibility, Schneider quickly said he “wasn’t going there.” The meaning? No individual deserved specific credit for the decisions that came out of that front office. All moves, good and bad, were team efforts.
It was the perfect answer.
Two, when asked if he had a blueprint for the type of player he wanted, he listed tough, smart, fast and passionate.
He did not list any preconceptions that would cause them to take a talented player off their draft board. That’s exactly the approach the Seahawks need right now.
The third point that reflected well on him is one that may have nothing to do with his skills at talent-identification.
He spent a few moments thanking his parents for their efforts in raising him and teaching him to be a hard worker. Maybe it’s just me, but I tend see promise in somebody who so openly is compelled to live up to his parents’ standards and expectations.
Schneider could be the next great general manager, who knows?
It’s clear, though, that if there comes a point where Carroll needs a strong, independent voice to lean on him to see the other side of an agenda, there may be nobody in the building who is going to have the juice.
But if Schneider can quickly upgrade the Seahawks’ talent level, everybody around the team will be smiling without having to be told.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440