Wednesday, May 23, 2018

National Anthem Rule Changes

Keeping in the tradition of handling this situation poorly, the NFL owners approved changes to the national anthem policy for 2018.

From NFL.com

"The NFL will enact a national anthem policy for 2018 that requires players and league personnel on the sideline to stand but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they don't want to stand, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday.Under the change approved by team owners at the Spring League Meeting, individual clubs will have the power to set their own policies to ensure the anthem is being respected during any on-field action. If a player chooses to protest on the sideline, the NFL will fine the team. The player also could be fined by his team, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Judy Battista reported."
For those of you that possess the ability to act civilly enough to hear all sides of this issue, you may recall that these protests originated as a means for players-- specifically, Colin Kaepernick-- to express their frustration with the undeniable and alarming rate at which young men of color are killed by members of United States law enforcement.

It was never about the men and women that serve in our military.

It was never anti-America.

It was never even about the anthem itself.

It was a peaceful demonstration intended to call attention to a very serious issue facing our country.

In many ways, it did just that.  As more players joined Kaepernick in protest, more and more Americans were forced to discuss this sensitive issue. Unfortunately, the NFL's inaction gave way to the ignorant and willfully misinformed to commandeer the spotlight.

The discussion became about how players have no right to 'politicize' the game of football.

"Shut up and play!" became a rallying cry for the contingent of the NFL's fan base that believe that, ostensibly, the players are just slaves for their entertainment.

The ironic thing about that is prior to 2009, the players were kept in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem.  Sometime after that, the Department of Defense began paying for patriotism and it was reported that "the Department of Defense paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million from 2011 to 2014 for patriotic propaganda during NFL games."

Essentially, the NFL 'politicized' itself for financial gain.

Use of unnecessary, excessive force, particularly against young men of color, is an extremely troubling issue that should not be swept under the rug. Especially if the lyrics we sing during the national anthem hold any meaning to you.

The NFL failed miserably when it came to acknowledging the premise of these protests. I do not purport having the answers as to how we solve, move on and grow from this complicated issue, but I know enough to understand that you don't just ignore these types of issues, assuming they'll sort themselves out.

My lone criticism of Kaepernick and the protesting base is that they have tied this issue directly to the national anthem.  I believe it was a great vehicle for getting the message out, but once the discussion began, I would've liked to see the protests grow and mature into other forms.

There is a large contingent of those who are against these protests who are just too stupid too look past the protest action to the source of the protests. No matter how eloquently it is explained to them, they simply do not possess the wherewithal to differentiate between the issue of racial inequality and the flag & anthem.

The only way to get through to those people, or at the very least, remove them from the discussion and solution going forward, is to move on from the anthem and advance the protests and discussions to the next platform.

Again, I don't know what that is, but I trust there are greater minds than mine working towards the solution.

I love this country dearly, just as I love my Seahawks. Just as I am critical of ill-advised decisions made by the Seahawks organization, I will be critical of my country when I feel its actions aren't held to the highest standards.

That's pretty much the definition of greatness-- holding to the highest standards.

The things you love-- your country, your sports teams, your family, your children-- should not be above reproach. That is not how you get the best out of people.

If your child got caught stealing, would you hold them accountable for their actions or would you stomp your feet, scream and chastise anyone that criticized your child and their actions?

I believe America is still the best nation on Earth, but we are living in uncertain times where facts seemingly have lost their gravitas, intelligence and compassion are denigrated and considered weaknesses, and somehow, songs and symbols are more relevant and sacred than the ideals they represent.

These rule changes might quiet the conversation this upcoming season, but they do not effectively solve anything. That doesn't make America any better and it sure doesn't make the NFL look any better.

I know there will be a considerable portion of Seahawks fans that do not agree with me on this-- and that's perfectly fine-- but I hope that, if you do love this country as you claim to, you'll take a moment to consider Pete Carroll's  'Always Compete' philosophy and apply it to your patriotism.

We can be better. We need to be better.

But we first need to listen to those in our country that perhaps don't share the same positive experience that you do as an American.  Try to put yourself in their shoes before casting your judgement on their beliefs and actions and lets help make this country somewhere that all people are proud to voluntarily stand up and solute.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Seahawks 2018 Draft Class


The 2018 draft has concluded and Seahawks fans should be thrilled with their team's latest additions. Having more needs than the past several drafts, the Seahawks had their work cut out for them. Especially considering their relative lack of pick depth.

Seattle hit on several major areas of need while executing the trademark trading back to accumulate additional draft picks.

My favorite pick was our very first.  After trading back a few spots to pick up an extra 3rd and 6th pick, the Seahawks pulled the trigger on San Diego State running back, Rashaad Penny.

This pick didn't win over all Seahawks fans.  There were many who thought they made the pick too early, something John Schneider promptly refuted, suggesting that there was a team that contacted him immediately after the selection in an attempt to pry Penny away from Schneider.

Others complained that our rushing woes were no fault of the current stable of Seahawks backs, but rather the offensive line to blame. I simply don't agree with this line of thinking.  Over the past few seasons, Seattle has invested in their offensive line considerably while relying on undrafted and unproven running backs.

It hasn't worked and it was looking like they were doomed to repeat themselves.  We all like Chris Carson, but turning the backfield keys directly over to him, coming off a serious injury with a small but impressive body of work would have been uncomfortably similar to what we did with Thomas Rawls in his second season.  You might remember-- that didn't work.

Penny lead all of college football in total yardage.  He figures to work in conjunction with Carson, McKissic, Davis and Prosise (if he can stay healthy) to form an impressive backfield group.

Seattle didn't neglect its line, either.  They added the best blocking tight end in the draft, local kid Will Dissly out of Washington, and took a long-armed Ohio State tackle, Jamarco Jones, late in the 5th round.

The undeniably most touching moment of the draft was when the Seahawks selected Shaquem Griffin in the fifth round, reuniting the Griffin twins in Seattle. Shaquem, whose brother was a rookie cornerback for the Seahawks last year, lost his left hand at 4 years old but went on to be the player of the year last season.  He figures to contribute heavily in special teams as a rookie.

The Seahawks hope they got their Michael Bennett of the future in 3rd round choice, Rasheem Green out of USC. Evidently, fifth round choice Tre Flowers is physically identical to Richard Sherman.  We will all be thrilled if these two come anywhere close to the production of their predecessors.

The most interesting draft choice made by the Seahawks this weekend was when they traded up with the Denver Broncos to draft Michael Dixon, a punter from Texas.  This move allegedly caused the Broncos war room to erupt with laughter.

What does this mean for Jon Ryan?  Likely, it spells the end of his long career in Seattle.  Ryan, the Ginja Ninja, is beloved by the fan base and is the longest tenured player on the team, but noticeably declined last season.  Ryan is still an extremely competent punter, so I hope that the Seahawks might be able to recoup a draft pick through a trade rather than outright cutting him.

With their last pick, the Seahawks drafted quarterback Alex McGough. I wasn't aware of McGough prior to his selection, but after watching his tape, I'm just as comfortable with him backing up Wilson this season as I am with Austin Davis or the other no-name guy on the team's depth chart.

Here's a list of undrafted free agents scooped up once the draft concluded.


TCU WR Taj Williams
Missouri DE Marcell Frazier
Idaho State OL Skyler Phillips
Texas DT Poona Ford
Purdue DT Eddy Wilson
Oregon LS Tanner Carew
Oklahoma State C Brad Lundblade
Slippery Rock DE/FB Marcus Martin
Utah QB Troy Williams
Florida State LB Jacob Pugh
USC OL Viane Talamaivao
Eastern Washington DL Albert Havili
Vanderbilt WR Caleb Scott
USC S Chris Hawkins
FAU WR John Franklin III
West Virginia WR Ka’Raun White
Texas S Jason Hall
Oklahoma LB Emmanuel Beal
Michigan FB Khalid Hill


Mini Camp Invite: Texas Tech RB Justin Stockton
Mini Camp Invite: Tennessee State OL Ty Allen
Mini Camp Invite: ECU CB DaShaun Amos
Mini Camp Invite: NW Missouri State CB Marcus Jones
Mini Camp Invite: Texas State LB Easy Anyama


Friday, April 27, 2018

Worth Every Penny



San Diego State's Rashaad Penny, the NCAA's leading rusher last season, was the Seahawks selection with the 27th pick in the 2018 Draft. This marks only the third time in franchise history that the Seahawks took a running back in the first round of the draft.

His predecessors-- Curt Warner and Shaun Alexander.

Warner went on to be the rookie of the year while being selected to three Pro Bowls before injuries prematurely ended his career. Alexander made three Pro Bowls and was named the 2005 MVP.  Both were home run draft picks.


That's a lot to live up to. Big shoes to fill, but Penny seems up for the challenge. There are many who think Seattle reached here, echoing the same concerns I remember hearing when Seattle took Bruce Irvin with the 15th pick in the 2012 Draft. 

Perhaps the Seahawks could have traded down, acquired extra picks, and still ended up with Penny, but John Schneider would have us believe that one team tried to coerce him to trade Penny to them. 

Just like the 2012 Draft, I'm thankful Seattle took their guy when they had the chance. Don't forget, they were able to pick up an additional 3rd and 6th round selections in the process. Penny looks to be incredibly versatile-- catching passes out of the backfield, running physically through the middle, and has tremendous lateral shiftiness in space. 

The only knock on him seems to be with his abilities in pass protection. Penny himself has admitted this, but every indication is that he is a fast and willing learner. 

I think the Seahawks had a tremendous first day of the draft. They accumulated much needed draft depth and addressed a major area of concern. Seattle has been deficient in there run game ever since Marshawn Lynch departed, largely in part to neglecting the position in previous drafts. 

Below is a fascinating vignette that compares Penny against the second overall selection, Saquon Barkley. I think Barkley might be slightly faster and a little more explosive, but Penny appears more well-rounded and otherwise identical. All indcations are that he's a great kid off the field and a potential futre leader. 

Meet your newest Seahawk, Rashaad Penny.



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

2018 Seahawks Draft Preview


The long wait is nearly over.  Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2018 NFL Draft, ending months of speculation.

Recently, I was able to catch up with our pal and resident draft expert, Adam Householder.  He's so important now (his words), I was only permitted to ask him three questions pertaining to tomorrow's draft. 

Enjoy!
1. The Seahawks have traded out of the first round 4 of the previous 5 drafts. Given their lack of mid-round picks, it seems an inevitability that they trade out of the first round again. What player, if available to them at 18, would merit the Seahawks making a pick rather than trading it? I think there are only a few players Seattle considers staying put for, but I’ll also qualify that and say I think it is highly unlikely Seattle does not trade back, if not multiple times.


University of Washington DT Vita Vea would be one of those players. Yes, he is an incredible—perhaps generational—talent, but one of the main considerations that would justify staying put would be the value in his versatility. Losing Michael Bennett, and accepting the likelihood that last year’s first selection Malik McDowell may never play in a Seahawks uniform, there is a lot of room for an impactful player of Vea’s caliber. Another player the Seahawks consider staying put for is Leighton Vander Esch. Vander Esch has versatility as a pass rusher and versatile linebacker capable of any spot, but his ceiling is exceptional, and may be too tempting to pass on. 2. Seattle has more needs heading into this draft than anytime in recent memory. What do you see as their most pressing need? Who do you think can satisfy that need and what pick will Seattle take him?
The way I see it, Pete and John both want to win in the trenches and have a dominating run game. Seattle thrived on being the more physical team for years, and I believe they will look to get back to that with this draft. Possibly OG/C Billy Price or OT Kolton Miller.
A guy I’m personally not super high on but fits their profile could also be OG/C Austin Corbett. That being said, I don’t think the first pick will necessarily address Seattle’s biggest need—which I personally see as being a 5Tech DT/DE—but instead have exceptional upside and a path to opportunity.
Ultimately, I predict the Seahawks will end up with a handful of picks spreading between rounds 2 and 3.



3. Give us the name of a sleeper pick that you expect to go on day 2 or 3 who could have an immediate impact on this roster? Perhaps someone you think that could be a starter right away. One of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft as late pick but still be able to have an early impact is University of Michigan FB Khalid Hill. Hill originally went to Michigan as a TE before converting to a FB. Hill was used regularly and successfully as a short yardage back, in addition to his valuable skill set as an able receiver. Hill fits the Seahawks H-Back role perfectly and has the pedigree of coming out of a Harbaugh system—one both Pete and John have incredible respect for. My predictions for this draft will be multiple trades back, collecting a bevvy of picks between the second and third rounds, and then going after specific targets rather than wade through the clusters. In short, Schneider is about to go bananas. For the sake of ease, I have a few trade scenario predictions, but I think it’s possible Schneider makes more than five trades this draft.
- Trade back from 18 with New England in exchange for picks 23 (1st), 95 (3rd), and a 2019 4th rd. pick. - Trade back from 23 with Minnesota in exchange for picks 30 (1st), 94 (3rd), and a 2019 5th rd. - Trade back from 30 with Miami in exchange for pick 42 and a 2019 2nd rd. - Trade Earl Thomas to Dallas in exchange for pick 50 and a 2019 1st rd. - Picks 42(2nd), 50(2nd), 94(3rd), 95(3rd), 120 (4th), 141 (5th), 146 (5th), 156 (5th), 168 (5th), 226 (7th), 248 (7th) 2nd: OG/C Billy Price 2nd: TE Dallas Goedert 3rd: OLB/S Shaquem Griffin 3rd: RB Kalen Ballage/RB Jaylen Samuels/LEO Josh Sweat 4th: CB Holton Hill 5th: DE/DT Andrew Brown 5th: CB Tony Brown 5th: FB Khalid Hill 5th: OT Cole Madison 7th: DT Poona Ford 7th: QB Kyle Allen







Adam Householder is a freelance reporter for the Snohomish Tribune and frequent contributor to SeahawksFTW.com

www.AdamHouseholder.com

Friday, April 20, 2018

Seahawks 2018 Schedule



There you have it-- the Seahawks 2018 schedule is now official.

Altogether, it's a relatively favorable schedule.  Rough start with 5 of the first 7 games taking the team on the road, including the Seahawks first trip across the pond to London. However, they get a mid-season bye and a bevy of home games in the latter portion of the season.

Both games against the 49ers occur in the first half of December, almost guaranteeing that Richard Sherman will be active to face his former team. Seattle also reignites the rivalry against Aaron Rodgers on a Thursday Night game. The Fail Mary game was a prime time match up as well-- so brace yourselves for plenty of throwback references. 

I like to stick by my idea that, if the team can start the season 4-2 or better, the playoffs are a reasonable expectation.  There's plenty of evidence suggesting they might just do that this year.  Denver is in a bit of a rebuild, Chicago is still unproven. Dallas comes in for the home opener with the momentum of the 12s in Seattle's corner. We don't yet know what to expect from Arizona, but I'm certainly not threatened by Sam Bradford. Hell, Carson Palmer had been healthier than him recently.

Rams will be the cream of the crop in the NFC West, at least until proven otherwise. I'll surrender that game to them, despite being at home. Oakland should rebound under Jon Gruden, but even if we lose the game in the UK-- Seattle should have a winning record heading into the bye.

It should be an exciting year we're looking forward to. With the draft coming up next Thursday, we'll be sure to call upon our resident draft expert, Adam Householder.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Predraft Presumptions

Welcome to the worst part of the NFL calendar year.

Free agency has cooled down and the draft is still weeks away. We've just come out of March Madness and baseball is underway.  Meaningful football games are still months away.

The only news that typically comes out of this period is of the unfortunate variety.  Off-field issues, mostly.  Nothing really good ever comes out during this limbo-like time frame.

This is when speculation dominates the headlines and bad ideas are rampant.  So, in the spirit of the (off) season, let's make some absurd, unfounded guesses for the coming year.


Pete Carroll wins his first 'Coach of the Year' award.

Let's face it-- it should've already happened. There were at least two seasons wherein Pete deserved this accolade, but instead saw it given to another of his peers.  With all of the roster turnover, many could argue that this season feels the least likely period of Carroll's career to snare this award.  However, that is precisely why I think he's (unintentionally) set up to win this year.

You could chalk up Pete's first roster overhaul to dumb luck.  As I've pointed out before, one excellent and one really good draft set this team up for long-term success.  By every account, this reboot felt at least premature and at best unnecessary.

If Carroll's team can overcome their personnel losses, the tremendous improvements made across their division, and still make the playoffs-- it will be extremely hard to deny him that accolade a third time.


Seahawks will fail to produce a 1,000 rusher for the 4th consecutive season.

The last Seahawk to finish the season with 1,000 rushing yards was Marshawn Lynch in 2014. Once again, it seems the Seahawks are content with placing the burden of the run game on another 2nd year back coming off of a serious injury.  It didn't work last time when Thomas Rawls was in that position-- and it would be foolish to assume that Chris Carson will have better luck.

Seattle hasn't given any indication that they plan to draft a running back in the first round, but they should.  Behind Carson is a bunch of guys that proved they didn't have the chops last season. Oh yeah, did I mention the Rams have Suh and Donald on their defensive front?


Seattle will reunite the Griffin Brothers.

This felt a lot more realistic when Shaquem was snubbed from the combine. Once the younger brother was invited and proceeded to put on one hell of a display-- his draft stock rose dramatically.

Shaquem appears to have a 3rd round grade on him, for which the Seahawks do not have a selection. However, the Seahawks now find themselves without Richard Sherman and have a desperate need at cornerback. The Seahawks could conceivably trade into the third round to fill that role by selecting Griffin.

Shaquem could play linebacker, corner or possibly even free safety.  A Griffin brother reunion would be much more than a heartwarming story-- it would provide the Seahawks with much needed defensive depth.


Earl Thomas will be traded before the draft.

Haven't we gone through enough this offseason? The prospect of losing perhaps the biggest personality on the team is unsettling for most fans, but it might be in the best interest of the future of the team.

Earl could net the Seahawks a handful of picks, including a first round selection.  If Seattle believes that they could potentially land a serviceable rookie with a high developmental ceiling to replace Thomas through the draft, they could save themselves the headache of trying to squeeze a long-term extension for Earl into their salary cap next year.

It would be tough on all of us to see Earl's name added to the long list of beloved players that have departed this offseason.  Still, it might be easier to swallow now, when we could recoup some of the loss through a trade, then to wait until next year when we could lose him outright-- especially if we're coming off of a losing season.


In an unprecedented move, Seattle will actually trade up in the first round of the draft.

Perhaps Seattle has learned from the past few drafts that conventional wisdom is conventional for a reason. While there are always gems to be found in the later stages of the draft, the top 25 players are generally universally agreed upon and selected in the first round.

Seattle has too many important roles to address to be gambling on late draft selections to fill them. Irrespective of an Earl Thomas trade, it would not be a terrible idea for Seattle to get ahead of that situation by trading up to select safety Derwin James out of Florida State.  James could study under Thomas, like Thomas did with Lawyer Milloy before him, while providing high-quality insurance behind MacDougald.  If Thomas is traded, James had shown he has the tools to be a day one starter.

Additionally, a trade up for hometown stud Vita Vea could address a pressing need on the defensive line.  Naz Jones showed great promise last year and Jarran Reed has been a quality starter, but both of them have had bouts with injury. Adding Vea to that mix would create a dominant defensive line that would tremendously benefit a young defensive backfield. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

After a lot of subtraction, Seahawks move on to addition


Finally, after a whirlwind of personnel dismissals, the Seahawks are starting to add to their organization.

Curb your enthusiasm-- these moves aren't likely to excite you much.

Seattle's tight ends group was depleted and fans were revved up at the prospect of local kid, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, potentially joining the squad. However, that never actually transpired.  Instead, the Seahawks signed another relatively local player in Ed Dixon.  Dixon grew up in California, played college ball at Oregon and spent his entire career on the east coast. 

He looks to be the blocker that Jimmy Graham never was and flashed a bit of the athleticism we've seen from Luke Willson.  I'm not sure he'll adequately replace either of those guys.  Paired with Nick Vannett, Seattle may still need to look to the draft for additional stability.

Safety Maurice Alexander, who had previously spent time with the Rams, is the latest addition to the Seahawks defensive backfield. I believe he was more or less a special teams guy in Los Angeles, so his role might be taking over those tasks in Seattle while freeing up Tedrick Thompson and Delano Hill to compete with Brad MacDougald to fill the potential safety vacancies.

Additionally, Seattle brought on Jaron Brown from the Cardinals.  I think they could've found a player of similar production in the draft or as a UDFA, but it does give Seattle some receiver depth going forward. There's talk that Russell Wilson is actively trying to recruit Terrell Pryor back to Seattle, too.

While none of this signings should make your heart palpitate, they do give a little depth to a decimated roster that might make the draft a little easier.  The Seahawks have too many needs to expect the draft to solve all of their problems. 

We've seen too often the role attrition plays in the league year, so it helps to go into the draft with some wiggle room.  This has become a bit of a rebuilding year, but the Seahawks are still poised to be a good team moving ahead. 

Lots of free agency action lies ahead before next month's draft.  In the meantime, relax and enjoy the music player below.  As some of you may be aware, outside of football, music is one of my other great passions.  The player below is loaded with some of the songs I've written and performed on.  I'm currently working on a new album and a book that I hope will be ready to release this winter.



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Seahawks have problems-- and it ain't with the players

When Pete Carroll arrived on the scene shortly before this blog was created, people were amazed with his unique approach to running the organization.

Here was this guy, at the time the second oldest coach in the league, with this new, hip approach that seemingly went against every notion of the classic, hard-ass head coach archetype we had grown accustomed to. 

We were told repeatedly that Pete's philosophy was that every individual's uniqueness would be nurtured and embraced, so long as they bought into the Always Compete & Win Forever mantras that were established in Carroll's days at USC.

Wouldn't you know?  It appeared to have worked.

Marshawn Lynch, whose career was beginning to sputter out in Buffalo, saw a tremendous resurgence once he landed with Carroll's Seahawks. To think that we got him for a 5th round pick seems laughable today.

Lynch wasn't the only unconventional athlete that thrived under Carroll's system.  Guys like Frank Clark and Bruce Irvin were thought of as thugs too risky to risk a high draft choice, came to fruition in Seattle.

The Seahawks went on to win one Super Bowl and narrowly lose a second under Pete.  However, the past season or two have seen the Seahawks show signs of inner turmoil that haven't really been addressed by Seahawks leadership.

Fast forward to today-- the Seahawks have traded Michael Bennett to the Eagles and there are rumors that Richard Sherman may have played his last game for Seattle. 

Again, as of right now, no one in the Seahawks front office has offered any clarity on the issue, but it has been mentioned that these moves were at least partially motivated by these player's vocal stance on social issues.

If there is even a kernel of truth to that statement-- I have effectively lost faith in the Carroll/Schneider regime.

You can't tell your team to buy in to a philosophy that encourages them to be themselves, only to turn around and tell them to 'shut up and play' because they took a stance on a polarizing issue that affects their lives both on and off the field.

Not only is that astonishingly disingenuous-- but its foolish on a whole other level when you consider the current state of the roster.

By my count, Seattle has 8 selections in the upcoming draft.  Most off which fall on the last two days of the draft. When all is said and done, the Seahawks could very likely find themselves without Sherman, Chancellor, Thomas, Bennett, Richardson and Avril from their defense alone.

I would bet my life that they won't replace that groups production from the draft this year, even if they completely ignore the offensive issues.

Seattle is preparing to enter the 3rd season post-Marshawn and nobody knows who will start at running back to open the season.  Evidently, it's Chris Carson, who, like Thomas Rawls before him, shined his rookie season in a small sample of appearances and is returning from a difficult injury. Rawls was never the same after breaking his leg, but unless Seattle takes a running back in the first round of this upcoming draft-- I'm forced to believe that they feel that was a fluke, rather than learning from their past experiences.

The offensive line is still a major concern.  I suppose we're hoping a revamped coaching staff will get better results from the resources we've thrown at the offense the past few years.  Again, I wouldn't count on that, but what do I know?

It certainly feels like the Seahawks have attempted to kill a spider with a flame thrower.  Instead of reloading, it looks like we're rebuilding-- which shouldn't be the case for a team that has a proven franchise quarterback.

To blame any of this team's recent shortcomings on the off-field antics of any player not named Malik McDowell is nothing more than an excuse. Pete's vague optimism was charming when the team was having great success, but it's starting to get annoying.

If Seattle misses the playoffs next year outside of a serious injury to Russell Wilson, it will be past due for us to stop mindlessly chanting "In Pete & John we trust!" and start demanding that he be more transparent with explaining his actions.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Seahawks Year in Review

I suppose I should write an end-of-the-year summation.

I just can't bring myself to do it.

The 2017 season was not supposed to end this way. The Seahawks were not supposed to miss the playoffs-- even with the Rams' stellar year. It'd been five seasons since the Seahawks season ended after 16 games.

The Seahawks entered Week 17 with their destiny in the hands of others. They needed to not only win their home game against the Cardinals, but they needed the Panthers to eliminate the Falcons.

Much like the Seahawks, Carolina didn't look all that interested in making the playoffs.

As soon as the Panthers' lost-- the Seahawks season was over.

That wasn't the disappointing part. With the opportunity to still go out on a high note-- Seattle found
a way to lose to an Arizona team that trotted out their back up quarterback and a losing record.

Leading up to the game, Cardinals coach, Bruce Arians, made a comment in the locker room that was captured on camera where he suggested that CenturyLink Field is their home field.

Evidently, that bulletin board material and playoff hopes wasn't enough to motivate the Seahawks.

It was a fitting end to a season wrought with bad luck.  A season where nothing seemed to go as planned.  The problems started about this time last year.

The Seahawks ultimately decided that their solution to filling the hole left behind by Marshawn Lynch was signing Eddie Lacy to pair with Thomas Rawls, who was coming off of a broken ankle.

I said from the start that this was risky and insufficient. Lacy, when healthy, was declining in production.  Even behind Aaron Rodgers, who has made a career out of making mediocre backs look great.

Rawls looked great in 8 games his rookie season, but we had no reason to think that he'd produce at that level once healthy. Alex Collins hadn't shown any promise, despite making the Pro Bowl for the Ravens after getting cut.  Chris Carson was a 7th round pick-- who would've thought he'd end up the starter?

One of the teams I have been comparing the Seahawks against this year is the Minnesota Vikings.  Like Seattle, the Vikings had recently parted ways with a back that was legendary to their franchise. Minnesota's approach was much smarter than Seattle's.

The Vikings already had Jerrick McKinnon on their roster, likely drafted as an eventual replacement for Adrian Peterson. McKinnon never quite emerged as a starer, but like Rawls, showed flashes of promise.

They then brought in free agent Latavious Murray, but didn't stop there.  Early in the second round of the draft, they took the speedy Dalvin Cook. They covered all their bases in an attempt to replace a legend. 

Also like Seattle-- it didn't exactly work out as planned.  Dalvin Cook looked like he was a runaway candidate for Rookie of the Year before his season-ending injury. However, the Vikings had sufficient depth to overcome the loss.

The Vikings had every bit as much attrition as the Seahawks.  Arguably more.  Yet, they were a game away from the Super Bowl while the Seahawks stayed home.

Now, the Seahawks are riddled with question marks heading into the offseason. They've already cut a ton of staff, including key personnel Darrell Bevell, Tom Cable and Chris Richard.


Their replacements were anything but exciting to Seattle's disappointed fan base. This report from Rotoworld (left) hits it right on the head quite eloquently.

Schottenheimer hasn't had much success to stand behind.  Despite the clear nepotism in play, most of the people that have worked with Schottenheimer rave about his dedication to the game.

Bringing back Ken Norton, Jr. to run the defense is more exciting.  Norton struggled in Oakland after leaving the Seahawks, but the Seahawks defense was never better than when he was on staff.

Another promising hire was Tom Cable's replacement, Mike Solari.  Solari is a proven offensive line coach with 30 plus years of experience.  As well regarded as Cable was, I never saw significant development from any of the linemen in his tenure.  Hopefully, Solari can provide a fresh perspective and scheme that helps keep our franchise quarterback clean.

It's not just the coaching staff that will look vastly different from the previous season.  Seattle has some difficult roster decisions to make for the future.

It has been suggested that the Seahawks will look to move on from Richard Sherman in the wake of his Achilles injury and the fact that he's entering the final year of his contract.  I think it would be incredibly foolish of the Seahawks to do anything with Sherman this year. 

Let 2018 play out.  If he bounces back from injury anywhere close to where he was before-- try to resign him.  If not, let him test the free agent market next off season. Seattle has nothing to lose. Just don't handle his inevitable departure like the Giants did with Eli.

Similar tough calls will have to be made throughout the roster.  Should the Seahawks resign Paul Richardson or look to upgrade in the draft? Will the Seahawks be able to keep both Michael Bennett and Sheldon Richardson? Will Kam Chancellor or Cliff Avril ever play again?

Those questions will be easier to answer once the free agency period is underway and after the draft. The bottom line is that Seattle has a lot of work to do in order to get back to the playoffs. They will need to be active in free agency, trades and the draft to revamp this roster.  They have the most important piece of the puzzle-- but they have to do a better job building around him than they did last season.