First of all friends and die hard fans, don't be mad and above all, hold your head high. The Seahawks had a spectacular season for a team in the first year of a total re-build where we set records for player transactions with somewhere around 275 as Pete Carroll and John Schneider looked at every possibility for improving the talent level of the team. They set a goal of winning the division at the first of the year and although getting there was on a different path than any of us envisioned at the beginning of the season, they attained that goal and then exceeded it by beating the world champion New Orleans Saints in the wild card round in a game no one believed they could win. Today, I want to talk more about where we're at and how bright the future is and I'll let someone else break down the game in detail.
The inexperience of our rookies plus the very nature of such a massive re-build and it's effects finally caught up with us in multiple places but especially at the interior line positions where we've struggled all season long to be consistent. It was a fun ride but just too much for our team at this stage of the re-build to overcome in terms of holes still existing at some positions where talent upgrades are desperately needed and depth issues almost everywhere.
It certainly factored into the equation that it was another 10 am start on the East coast and history tells us that in itself is a huge problem for Seattle and other West coast teams. Chicago had an axe to grind and you know that a team's home field especially that field in January is a tough place to win. Not really an excuse because the Seahawks refuse to use any of those factors to explain the defeat. They put the blame on themselves and are holding tight to all the lessons they learned from going through a do or die last game of the season followed by two playoff games, one on as hostile a field as they are likely to encounter ever again in post season play.
How many of you in their wildest dreams really thought we would be playing in the divisional round for the right to host the NFC championship when the season started? If anyone answered yes, I don't believe you. The Seahawks far exceeded what Pete Carroll needed to have accomplished to have his inaugural season declared a resounding success. Although we are drafting at the end of the rounds instead of the first, we have a very nice young nucleus to continue building around and they're playoff seasoned with a good understanding of where the real prize lies and what it takes to get there. That in itself is a valuable asset to be taking into future competition especially against similar young teams being built in San Francisco and St. Louis as well as matching Arizona's playoff experience. That playoff experience could be what separates Seattle from it's divisional competition next season.
Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Ben Obomanu, Marshawn Lynch, and Big Mike Williams are five of the most important cornerstones of this rebuilding franchise who should be farther ahead of where they would have expected to be in terms of personal development had they not gotten a hands on look at what post season play is all about and the price tag to get there and excel. There are many other Seahawk players who just had their first look at post season play and those who make the team next year should show similar gains in personal development and should give the Seahawks a young but seasoned team to continue the makeover with next season. John Carson, Cameron Morrah, Kentwan Balmer, Kam Chancellor, Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne, Tyler Polumbus, Michael Robinson, Golden Tate, and Walter Thurmond most likely figure into future Seahawk plans too and all got their first taste of post season play in the last two weeks. Even Red Bryant, Max Unger, Anthony McCoy, and Roy Lewis on injured reserve should have gotten a good look at playoff intensity and had their expectations for the future expanded by the experience even though they couldn't directly participate.
I think that everyone pretty much knows where the franchise most needs to upgrade this off-season. Acquiring a quarterback of the future to be grooming and working on both lines would go a long ways towards making this team into a more legitimate contender. Getting Bryant back on defense will be huge but finding a better replacement if he becomes injured again should be a high priority so our defense doesn't go into a huge tailspin if he's absent again for any reason. While we could always use more competition at the defensive back, linebacker, running back, and wide receiver positions, all of those playmaking positions will be naturally upgraded with better lines playing up front. Young players at all the skill positions should bring this playoff experience to bear during off-season workouts and show progress next season.
Acquiring a starting offensive guard and tackle as well as a big defensive tackle and defensive end that can compete with Cole and Bryant for starting positions with the losers providing legitimate backups for both positions will improve both sides of the ball immensely. Add an additional pass rusher in the Leo mold and I think using the rest of our picks and free agent acquisitions to give us better backups would give us a much better squad to field next season. Although every position on the team could be upgraded, fielding good lines on both sides of the ball will be the single most effective thing that one could do to improve both offense and defense. If Pete and John do what they did last off-season, there could be considerable change once again.
I think you have to give Bradley and Bates the benefit of the doubt and conclude they didn't have the personnel to run their schemes as drawn up. At times, their squads were unstoppable and at others clumsy and unable to function. I think they need another draft and free agency period to acquire more players in their mold and hopefully, their respective schemes will look better and run much more efficiently next season.
All in all, it might take Pete Carroll and John Schneider another couple of years to really put all the pieces together and get adequate backups in place but I think next year we'll be a more consistent team and one who will be capable of coming from behind to win games. I anticipate that next years Seahawks won't get blown out by so many points in their losses either. I doubt their goal will simply be to win the division again either. I would wager they'll set their sights a bit higher like making the NFC championship game they missed out on this year.
One thing we can be certain of is that Pete Carroll has endeared himself to his players and they would fight through brick walls for him. I think we've got ourselves a coach again and we just have to give him some slack to put the pieces in place and find his field general to lead the Seahawks into battle during the next decade. That's still going to take some time but I have a good feeling about the chances that Pete Carroll will eventually succeed and get us back to the championship game.
Look how he started.
Nice article and agree with most of what you write. Our first two rounds should be focused on obtaining a quarterback and a defensive tackle. After that 4-7 picks should be interesting. What free agents do you see out there that the Seahawks should pursue and could provide an immediate impact?
I think if we fixed the defensive line and were able to surmount a consistent pass rush, we could live with our current CB's for another year as opposed to concentrating on positions like CB at the further expense of our offensive and defensive lines not being adequately upgraded. Right now we need trench warfare people more than more playmakers.
The reality of it is that we're only going to get a couple of starters at best out of the draft and if we scored three free agent starters, that would probably be a record for John Schneider who likes to build through the draft. That's five starters at absolute best. I figure that parcels out to be two or three offensive linemen and two or three defensive linemen. Losing Red Bryant without an adequate replacement considering we built our defense around him was more costly than any mistakes made by our cornerbacks. We need to have another big run stuffer like Cole as a backup/rotation player too. Ditto that for the Leo position where Clemons is just about it. Have him go down and our pass rush comes to a screeching halt. I concur with this articel that if we can only get 4 or 5 new starters, we need to concentrate on our offensive and defensive lines and hope improved play there will bolster other positions of need until we can address them. Drafting or securing through free agency a cornerback at the expense of one of those line upgrades will set us back further. I don't disagree if we can find a corner (or any other position) we can sign without impacting the upgrades on the lines, we should do it and I hope we can.
I may have missed it Bill, but CORNER is also a need. Jennings seems consistantly late to cover and suspect at best when trying to tackle. Simply not aggressive or big enough. Trufant, while a very good corner is NOT an elite corner. His production has also fallen off the last two years. Last year due to back injury that kept him out most of the year, and again this year with two concussions, back spasms, etc.. Marcus is currently the better corner we have and when he goes out, it hurts the deep cover.
I LOVE the Nate Davis signing, he was one player I kinda wanted the Hawks to draft that year. Now they get him for peanuts. He has the arm and mobility that would seem to fit Bates' offense. I would feel better about resigning Matt knowing they had a young guy they were developing. That would allow them to focus on other needs in the draft.
If I had a preference in the 1st round it would be an OT, for a variety of reasons. There aren't any "can't miss" LTs this year which should push them down. Getting someone in the Bryan Bulaga mold, who plays RT but can slide to LT in a pinch if Okung gets injured, while keeping Polumbus around would solidify the tackle spots. Improving the line is going to do more for the entire team than any spot but QB, and interior linemen are rarely worth a 1st rounder. And with the exception of CB, I think most of the starters on D are plenty adequate, it's more a matter of acquiring depth. The RB and WR positions can always use more talent, but I think improving the line will elevate everyone's play. This of course is assuming the team believes enough in Davis to give him a legit shot. But to me, he's no more of a project than Newton or Locker would be.
first off, wow... the freaking add spammers are still hereso tht sucks lol. On to business: i had forgotten about a HUGE second chance prospect that I think Carroll could give a shot this offseason and it'saplayer that could have a huge impact if he putshisstupidity behind him and wants to play. Plaxico Burress! he was agreat receiver at one time and could be a good piece for us to acquire if he's willing to work hard and compete for Carroll. I say if he'll buy in we take a shot, it gives us a dual threat so Williams isnt blanketed every down and opens up the draft more.
Well put Bill!
First priority HAS to be.....SIGN MANKINS!
I seriously get chills imaging Mankins and
Okung on the Left side.
Just one comment on the Bears game.
Peppers name wasn't called much......Again?
Two tackles........Sound familiar?
Looking to see PC whoop Nate Davis back into shape.
I was high on this kid when he came out "Golden Arm"
is correct. That 65-yard pass was outside of the pocket
after scrambling for his life, he quick set and BAM 65-yard
Oh yeah, also I think corner is in need of an upgrade. I've never been sold on Jennings and I'm not sure I ever will be. Trufant, hope he's ok, is getting up in age and seems to have lost some steps.
I watched all of Nate's pre-season throws (2 games, I think) and here was my (non-expert) scounting report:
I loved everything I saw, but a couple of things especially: his pocket presense and quick release. He would slide away from pressure and never take his eyes off his receivers. Remember the Rams game where CW took one look downfield and then spent the rest of the down avoiding the rush. Nate just stepped one way or another, sometimes on a roll-out, but always watching downfield. He never took a sack, from what I saw, but threw several balls away to avoid one.
He threw one ball 65 yards IN THE AIR for a completion. He made several touch passes that were beautiful. I don't recall seeing one errant pass other than the ones he intended to miss everyone.
I hope he still has some of that in him.
Not sure what happen when I submitted the first time, so this might be posted twice.
I agree with everything you said. Both lines have to be priority #1 this offseason. It doesn't matter who you put back there at QB, you still need to keep them upright. Also getting consistant pressure on the opposing QB is huge for us. People can bring up all the sacks, but I'd rather we get consistant pressure than rack up sacks. Plus we seem to get sacks in bunches.
One comment I have is, I think the jury is still out on Curry. I was pretty hyped when he fell to us and we drafted him. Two years in, I'm really unimpressed. In college he was put in a position to make plays on the QB and wreak havoc in the backfield. So I'm not sure now if it's the position we put him in, in our scheme or if he's just playing to his potential, if he hasn't reached it yet.
did some digging, Davis' "disorder" is that he is a visual learner. Because he learns better from doing and from experiencing situations he is labeled as having a "learning disorder" but in the NFL this could be a strength. If he learns from his experiencesin the NFL he would continue to improve and get exponentially better while, theoretically, not making the same mistakes all that often. He's had success in the preseason so we'll see. If we keep Hass O-line, D-line, and secondary are our 3 major needs. Lucky enough that 2 HUGE F/As will be available in Nnamdi and Logan. Hope we get both ; )
The Hawks didn't play Chicago any worse than Atlanta played The Packers. The wheels came off a few times during the game, but the wheels came off with the Falcons too.
I also noticed that the playoff gods were not very kind to teams named after birds. Atlanta, the Ravens and the Seahawks all lost.
I'm with ya gnarly, I was speculating on rumor I suppose. I was just trying to relate that even for a smart and quick learner, QB is a tOugh position to play due to the mental aspects of an ever changing field of play.
I do NOT have the intimate knowledge of the young man to Place him in any box, otherthan his dynamic arm strength, along with his uncanny accuracy. So I suppose I am hoping he doesn't have any mental flaws at learning the deeper complexities of the game. Cuz I sure would love to see his physical skill sets on the field for us.
In many ways the Hawks were not that far from being very competitive in this game. There were 3 dropped balls that would have made a significant change in the game in the first half when the game was still within reach. Big-Play-Babs dropped an interception in or near the end zone, and Morah and Obo dropped drive sustaining first down catches. Chicago consistantly made those catches.
As much as I have been beating up on Hassellbeck lately, I thought he outplayed the rest of the Seahawk team in Chicago. With a decent O-Line and running game, he may have a couple of good years left.
Not intending to pick knits w/ you specifically, Sluggo...
I really don't like all the talk about Nate having a "learning disorder"; perpetuating something no one really knows. I searched on this and the only reference articles I could find, were articles referring to him stating he was a visual learner. Nothin specific or factually stating any sort of clinicaly defined "disorder". Talking about it as if it were some fact, has merit or worse, an inhibitor seems wrong.
Perhaps I missed something, but until I see real data from a reputable source about it and/or the team addresses it officially, its a negative rumor IMO.
I like the kid too. I recall reading up on him, he has a huge fan in Jason Whitlock (for whatever thhats worth). :)
I'm real interested in this Nate Davis kid. Apparently he has a learing disorder, which could ultimately not allow him to face the realities of an NFL defense, as he might not be able to adjust at game-speed. But from what I've read, this kid has the "Golden Arm", with the ability to make every NFL throw, and then some!
Wouldn't that be a cruel twist of fate to have that skill, but the lack of smarts to use it... **sigh**
C-dub under center next year is what I see happening. Mattie goes to Cleveland or AZ...
I see massive movement at acquiring O-Line in free agency. How obvious is it that we can't move anybody? How many rushing yards did we get yesterday? 5?
Watching Cutler stand around and have a cigarette while waiting for his WR's to get open clearly demonstrated how a decent line can give a QB some time. I think if mattie had that kind of time that his numbers would be crazy!
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we would have a shot at the NFC title game, it's been an amazing year. Hard to accept it's over, but it is. Time to look ahead! Let's start with the coaching staff. We have lost a couple of coaches already (Jed Fisch and Dan Quinn), it won't surprise me to see some more change there. OC Jeremy Bates and DC Gus Bradley both got predictable about midseason and except for the past couple weeks, the team seemed to regress. I believe that is the fault of the system and position coaches not coaching up the players. Sure we had a lot of injuries, but these are NFL players and through coaching, should show improvement. I expect a few changes... Here is who I think will be the returning players. I expect another huge turnover but earlier in the year. Offense O-line - Okung and Unger will be the only returning lineman Tightends - Morrah and McCoy will return (Carlson will never be the same after his concussion, (see Shaun Alexander) Wide Receivers - Williams, Obomanu and Tate (Draft a #1 and move BMW to #2) Backs - Lynch and Washington will return, draft will replace J-force Qback - Hass will return for 2 more years, we will Draft/trade for a future starter. CW and JP will be gone Defense D-line - Mebane, Red, Cole Clemmons, and Brock return ( we draft a stud DE) Linebackers - Curry, Hawthorn and Herring return (Tatupu Concussion...see Carlson above) Corners - Thurmand, Lewis and Cox (Trufant Concussion...see Carlson and Tatupu) Safety - Thomas and Chancellor
@teruski cant agree with your assesment of Tatupu and Carlson. A concussion is nothing. Many players have had many and continued to play at high levels for years. A concussion is not like broken bones or spines! I've had a few over the years and it sucksbut it's not the end of the world. If they can get knocked out of the game after their first concussion, no matter the severity, they obviously dont deserve to be in the league and trust me, Tats andCarlson deserve to play in the NFL. You also seem to think we'll simply fill all our needs from this draft. That would be nice but it's unlikely. I'd say another year or 2 before we are going to be VERY good and consistantly in the playoffs for another decade.
Well put, Bill. Improving line play will be key to making us more competitive next season and I am hopeful that the FO will make good decisions in free agency (when/if there is one) and the draft. There were a lot of short term fixes among the 250+ transactions, in my opinion, and I would not mind taking a step back by trying to develop youth. There are no good solutions at the QB position, barring an unforeseen opportunity, so we might still be a few years away from establishing continuity on offense. But I feel more confident that the leadership is capable of making us a top 5 team again.