Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider talked to reporters here in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting combine, and he looked comfortable in his first opportunity to talk to national reporters at the podium.
Schneider said that the team and Matt Hasselbeck are continuing to negotiate, and the team would like to bring him back, but no agreement has been reached yet.
“It’s going good,” Schneider said. “We’re having great dialogue. Matt’s Mr. Seattle, and he’s done a ton of great things for the city, on and off the field. We’ve had good dialogue. I think you’ve heard me say it before, the head coach and the quarterback are the most important people in the building.”
Whether or not the two sides come to an agreement, Schneider said that situation will have no affect on if the team takes a quarterback in the draft or not.
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“It doesn’t,” he said. “You’ll see us looking at quarterbacks every year.”
And the same goes for defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. Schneider said he met with Mebane’s representation here in Indianapolis on Thursday, and said that the Cal product remains an important piece of Seattle’s defense moving forward.
“Brandon played well,” Schneider said. “I think Brandon’s a steady pro. Definitely, we hope we can have him back. We talked to his guys last night, and we’re having good discussions with them.”
Schneider also talked about Nate Davis, a potential developmental quarterback Seattle signed to a 2011 futures contract off of San Francisco’s practice squad.
“He had a great preseason with the Niners,” Schneider said. “So he’s just coming into this thing. He’s got his eyes wide open right now. But it was an opportunity to look at another guy.”
And reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst also will figure into the equation at quarterback moving forward as well.
“Charlie had the one game and he did a good job,” Schneider said. “He just hasn’t had the opportunities that other people have had. I think the St. Louis game was a perfect example. It was really the first week that they put a nice game plan together for him, and it was a huge game for us.
“You know, those two games at the end of the year, they don’t get any bigger than that. And that’s what Pete’s been preaching for a championship atmosphere, and Charlie stepped into a championship atmosphere that night.
“But we’re always going to be trying to find those guys to compete at that position. It’s the most important position on the team.” In terms of draft evaluations, offensive line remains an obvious need for Seattle. But how the team looks at prospects will change based on Tom Cable being the offensive line coach this season, instead of Alex Gibbs last year during this time.
“Coach Gibbs liked a little bit lighter player, and Tom is willing to play with a bigger man. So, as we’re putting our board together, that helps us.”
Schneider said that now that he has a year under his belt, the draft preparation process has been streamlined. Last year Schneider melded two grading systems because he did not want to change the way the scouting department evaluated players halfway through the process, but now Seattle is using one grading system.
He also had praise for last year’s seventh round pick, defensive end Dexter Davis.
“A guy like Dexter Davis, he’s been hearing that he’s an under-sized guy his whole career,” Schneider said. “And he just has a natural feel, God-given ability to rush the passer.”
Schneider also said offensive lineman Max Unger, who spent most of the season on the injured reserve list after having toe surgery, ideally would play center.
Seattle’s center last season Chris Spencer is a free agent and might be moving on to greener pastures, potentially leaving a spot open for Unger.
“I think Tom and Pete (Carroll) and Darrell (Bevell) are still evaluating that,” Schneider said. “But Ideally his spot I think probably will end up being center.”
Schneider also had an interesting response when asked if he sees himself in the middle between his mentors, former general manager Ron Wolf and current Green Bay head personnel man Ted Thompson.
“Going to Seattle was interesting, because when I was in Green Bay, I was the one that was kind of bringing things to Ted a lot in terms of trades,” Schneider said. “You know, maybe we should sign this guy, or this and that. And I was pretty active. And Ted was like, ‘All right, slow down there a little bit.’
“And then now working with Pete, he’s like 24-7, I’m not sure if he sleeps. He’s just a 100 miles per hour. So all of sudden I find myself going, ‘Ooh, slow down man.’ So it’s helped me. And Ted’s just such a patient man. It’s so easy to just feed off of that. And then when you were working for Ron, Ron was very aggressive. And he wasn’t afraid to make mistakes.”
Schneider said don’t expect the Seahawks to spin through the nearly 300 roster moves they went through last season.
“Last year when we cam into Seattle there were a lot of issues we had to deal with,” Schneider said. “And that’s why you saw so much activity, turning over the roster a bunch.
“Hopefully we’re not going to do that. I mean we’re still going to be competing, but we had a lot of stuff to do. So I think we’re kind of at a point where we can take a deep breath now and just kind of move forward.”