BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Second-year Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor saw a rise in efficiency along with the rest of a young Seahawks defense in 2011, and he's very excited to be going forward with the team's very different uniforms. Most NFL teams saw their Nike redesigns in more of a cosmetic sense, with the Seahawks as the only team with a drastic change in design.
"I'm ready to play right now," Chancellor said from Tuesday's uniform launch at Steiner Studios in New York City. When asked if the "look good, feel good, play good" meme applied to him, Chancellor responded in the affirmative. Even Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, seated down the way from Chancellor in a series of group media sessions, opined that the Seahawks' unis were "mind-boggling."
"It was about getting to know and trust one another," Chancellor said of the progress shown by Seattle's secondary in the 2011 season. "That's what happens when you get next to each other, you have a training camp and OTAs. Over time, our bond got stronger on and off the field. We got that communication going as the bond got stronger. Confidence was up, and the results were good."
Like Chancellor, rookie cornerback Richard Sherman was a mid-round draft pick who exceeded expectations. With the 2012 draft coming up, Add in other Seattle defenders, and it seems to be a common theme in the Seahawks' rebuilding process. I asked Chancellor about the science of playing beyond one's draft position.
"I feel like there are people you would go into combat with, and people you'd play football with," Chancellor said. "You don't get both often. And I feel that it really doesn't matter where you were drafted as long as when you get on that field, you gove 100 percent every time and do what you need to do for the team."
Chancellor had no trouble bring effusive about battery mate Earl Thomas, who was taken in the first round of the 2010 draft, and has developed onto one of the NFL's best young defensive players. "Man, Earl is an amazing athlete -- just pure speed and heart," Chancellor said. "He'll take on the biggest guy full-speed, and that's what I like about him. Our communication back there is just clicking now."
In Chancellor's case, there was the matter of learning to be a real hitter -- his reputation in college -- while matching up with the NFL's increased standards of discipline. Not so much in the sense of fines for hits outside the league's boundaries, but making sure that when you do go for the "kill shot," you're not just wasting effort on a flashy play that doesn't really get the job done.
"When you're laying your body out for that big hit, and you have to make that key tackle, it's just one thing you've got to learn. Sometimes, you might have to be made an example of -- if you miss that tackle, you'd better make it the next time."
It's all part of the process, and if the new unis help, all the better.