By CASEY MABBOTT | OREGON SPORTS NEWS
Your Seattle Seahawks are entering their 47th season and are looking to get back to the Super Bowl for the fourth time while also looking for their second championship. They have split their history between the AFC and NFC, only made it to one AFC championship game, and have appeared in three NFC championship games – their most recent one taking place following the 2014 season nine years ago.
While the goal is to make the playoffs and get past the divisional round, the ultimate goal should be to get back to the Super Bowl – and win it. And this team has everything it needs to get the job done if they want it badly enough.
The Case For Seattle To Miss The Playoffs
We’re just in year two of the rebuild, and while things went well last year, there were some glaring red flags. Seattle played San Francisco three times, losing all three games, with two of them by double digits, including their loss in the wild-card round. They had no depth at RB, and the front office fixed that by drafting two rookies and adding an undrafted player. Swell. They needed more help at receiver, so they took a guy in the first round that barely played last season and may need extra time to get up to speed in a new scheme while fighting for catches against two of the best receivers in the business. The offensive line is anchored by two tackles with just one season of reps, and they have a revolving door at TE due to injuries.
The offense is the good news. The defense had no one at the nose tackle spot to slow the run, and they didn’t add anyone of note to the mix going into this season. They signed a defensive lineman from Denver who can play nose tackle or the edge, but he doesn’t have the size to be a powerful run stuffer or collapse the pocket on passing downs. Because they believe in their new stud so much, they took a shot at a potential reserve in the 4th round. Draft analysts compared him to Abry Jones. I won’t spoil things for you; I’ll just let you Google Mr. Jones and see if you think he’s an alias for Warren Sapp (spoilers – he’s not).
The team passed on a potential stud at NT with the 5th overall pick to draft another corner after watching two middle-round rookies exceed expectations last season. They spent a 4th rounder on a NT who may one day be confused with an important person and a sixth-rounder on a safety most people will probably forget about by next year. This isn’t the XFL, but the roster might be confused for it if Seattle isn’t careful.
Even if this team manages to stay healthy, at some point, one of their middle-of-the-road players will have to do something, and guess what? They are all unproven rookies or castoffs from other teams who were just brought here to fill out the roster. Pete Carroll is a great cheerleader, but sometimes I wonder if he really knows how to construct a winning team or if he just got lucky the last time. This team will struggle to prove last year wasn’t a fluke, and their schedule isn’t exactly easy; they get a bye week four games into the season and then play thirteen consecutive games to finish the regular season.
Even if they somehow fight their way into a playoff spot, I’m not sure they will have anyone with enough juice left in the tank to fight through a postseason battle and win it. This team has plenty of one-and-done playoff appearances; they need to make it to the second level and beyond.
The Case For Seattle To Return As NFL Champions In 2023
Seattle has had a defense problem pretty much since they won their title in 2013, and that problem got so bad after the Legion Of Boom was dismantled that they became one of the worst pass defenses in league history. Those days finally appear to be over, and the defense hit bottom last year and can only go up this year. I expect them to do much more than just beat those expectations.
They cleaned up their act last year by getting help in the secondary and improving the pass rush. Still, their run defense took a big step backward with the departure of inside linebacker Bobby Wagner and a revolving door along the defensive line. By the end of the season, most teams were running against them as much as possible, knowing they couldn’t stop it.
Things will be different this season. With Wagner returning, as well as defensive lineman Jarran Reed and free agent Dre’Mont Jones joining the rotation with pass rushers Darrell Taylor, Boye Mafe, and Uchenna Nwosu, this front seven could be really special. Maybe not 2013/2014 scary special, but they don’t need to be one of the best defenses of all time to be special.
The secondary welcomes back star safety Jamal Adams and will get to add rookie stud corner Devon Witherspoon to the mix that already had breakout second-year corners Tariq Woolen and Cobe Bryant, not to mention star safety, Quandre Diggs. Just because this squad isn’t the LOB doesn’t mean they can’t be great in their own right. Two great safeties and two up-and-coming corners with the speed and length to battle the best receivers in the game? That sounds like the LOB to me, and the LOB had to rotate their second corner, which won’t be a problem this time. Just imagine how scary that defense could have been if they had Brandon Browner and Byron Maxwell in the rotation together. This could be even better.
With the defense making offenses earn it and their own offense returning most of their starters from last season while making small but crucial upgrades at offensive line and receiver, this team will probably come out of the gates guns blazing, and why not? They have the weapons, they know they have a proven QB in Geno Smith, and their wideout rotation should be top of the NFL or very close with the addition of one of the most talented rookie receivers in recent memory. He may not have played last year, but he’s a stud and will find his path quickly, and the time lost was in college, anyway. He’s not rusty; he’s low, low miles.
They added depth at RB and TE and are now in year three of Shane Waldron’s system, which means any confusion is long gone. Teams usually need a year to learn a new system while weeding out players that don’t work with it, another year to master the scheme, and in the third year, you really start to see big things happen. Big things are definitely on the horizon for this offense after they took a huge step forward last year. Who knows what kind of offensive firepower we’ll see this season?
A team loaded at all the right spots with a deep bench and everyone involved all in, and what do you get? A team that is talented enough to win it all and hungry enough to pull it off. Add in a coach in Pete Carroll and a list of celebrated assistants, and you have the perfect recipe for a return to the Super Bowl and a trip home with the best trophy in all sports.
The only team stopping this group is themselves. While the situation is going to come up where a role player has to step up big time in a “have to have it” situation, I don’t doubt for a second that the player will be ready to shine when the moment is upon them.
No one, and I mean NO one, makes crazy magic happen with a mixture of misfits quite like Carroll does, and I sense a big batch of Seahawks magic coming our way this season.
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