2019 calls for modest and realistic expectations

July 28th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Pete Carroll is leading his 10th Seahawks training camp

The Seahawks will be competitive this year, just as they were in 2018.

However, there’s a difference between being competitive and a genuine contender. And currently, the Seahawks are probably a year away from being considered a top-level threat in the NFC.

There’s also nothing wrong with that.

This team started a refresh a year ago that was never going to be resolved within 12-18 months. So many big names and key contributors have departed including three star pass rushers, an entire legendary secondary and now the teams’ best receiver.

On top of that the Seahawks have had to cope with cap restrictions and limited draft stock. As a franchise they’ve had a lot on their plate.

To remain competitive and make the playoffs while having to endure all of this is no small achievement. Several other franchises have gone through minor rebuilds and suffered as a consequence. The Baltimore Ravens won 54 regular season games between 2008 and 2012 — culminating in a Super Bowl victory. In the following six seasons they’ve only made the playoffs twice, had a five-win season and two 8-8 seasons. They’re still rebuilding.

It’s extremely difficult to evolve and remain a viable post-season threat. The Seahawks have pulled it off — mainly by returning to their philosophical roots and building around their quarterback (supporting him with a much more experienced offensive line and a productive running game).

There needs to be a sense of realism and perspective going into the upcoming season though.

This is still a team going through a form of transition. Nobody within the franchise will use those words. Their aim, understandably, will be to be as good as they can be this year. Making the playoffs again is very possible.

Indeed a season similar to 2018 — ten wins and a playoff berth — shouldn’t be seen as a failure or treading water. The current roster warrants that level of faith and no more.

The truth is they’re lacking in several areas. They need another off-season to try and complete the refresh before anyone can realistically ‘expect’ the Seahawks to be a genuine Super Bowl contender.

In 2020 they’ll have a slew of draft picks — including five in the first three rounds. They’ll have money to spend — OTC is currently projecting $74m (although this likely doesn’t include Bobby Wagner’s new contract).

There’s a real opportunity next year to have the kind of Championship off-season they had in 2013 that pushed Seattle towards its first Super Bowl. That’s about the time you’d realistically expect things to come together. Another haul of young talent and the potential to add some veteran quality to a blossoming group.

The future is bright — but to appreciate and enjoy that fact it’ll take some honesty about 2019.

The pass rush has serious question marks. Jarran Reed’s suspension doesn’t help. Losing Frank Clark is a big deal even if the compensation was satisfactory. The secondary remains a work in progress and aside from Bradley McDougald — there isn’t really a sure-thing in any of the other four starting positions (including nickel corner).

That’s not to say young players won’t emerge or that Ziggy Ansah won’t be able to pick up some of the slack. Yet the Seahawks were at their most dynamic on defense when they had a pass-rushing trio of Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and one or more of Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin and Frank Clark. Now they’re left relying on Ansah and a collection of unproven unknowns and emerging prospects.

In the secondary, there’s more hope than expectation that the young group will produce long term solutions.

Doug Baldwin will also be difficult to replace. That’s no knock on Tyler Lockett (who’s outstanding) or the potential of D.K. Metcalf and the rest of the younger wide outs. Yet Seattle has always been such a streaky team on third down in the Russell Wilson era. Losing their clear top receiver for the key downs is undoubtedly a concern.

That’s not to say the sky is falling. Far from it. The Seahawks are an extremely well run and well coached outfit. So much so that a portion of fans have begun to take it for granted in a big way. They have a sensational quarterback and proven quality and leadership in the likes of Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks and Duane Brown.

A similar season to a year ago is distinctly possible. There’ll probably be some exciting, close wins and some annoying defeats. Sometimes you have to ride things out and play the long game. The Seahawks are still settling into their latest incarnation. The 2020 off-season stands out as a big opportunity to take the next step. Continuing to grow and develop in 2019 — while remaining competitive — is the order of the day.

Any greater expectation might be asking too much.

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113 Responses to “2019 calls for modest and realistic expectations”

  1. MyChestIsBeastmode says:

    Rob, you are the highlight of my day!

  2. Murphy says:

    The Seahawks may be a year away but it feels like a championship season for this blog. The combination our draft capital, along with possessing a young competitive roster leaves the door wide open. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited for a college football season! Thanks for the great work Rob!

  3. King_Rajesh says:

    Been saying for awhile that 2020 is the start of our next contending window. This is why I want the Seahawks to cut players who probably won’t be here to contend with like Jaron Brown and Barkevious Mingo, maybe even David Moore. Give the young WRs and LBs more chances to shine.

    The Eagles, Rams, Texans, and Cowboys won’t be able to cheat with their cheap QBs anymore during that time either.

    Hopefully we can draft and buy some pass rush next season and be off to the #1 seed.

    • Rob Staton says:

      They’re talking up Jaron Brown and with Baldwin gone — he might have a surprisingly key role in 2019. I wouldn’t be so quick to write him off — or David Moore for that matter. Moore is the kind of player we need to see take the next step in 2019, not one to be discarded after showing plenty of potential (if a lack of consistency).

      Mingo is a different case altogether but he’ll be competing for a roster spot in pre-season. Although his ability on special teams, apparently, is of tremendous value.

      • King_Rajesh says:

        David Moore doesn’t have much cheap club control left. If he breaks out, we’re going to have to pay him. Jaron Brown has no club control left, he’s an free agent next season.

        Why not just give those slots to Jennings and Ursua, who we control for the next 4-5 years? Now that we signed Russell, we need to give him weapons that he can mold around him. Now that we all agree that this isn’t a year that we’re going to push for the title, investing in our youth that we control for the length of Wilson’s contract becomes paramount.

        • Rob Staton says:

          You don’t just get rid of players because they don’t have club control next season.

          Jennings and Usua are both rookies. One is a seventh round rookie. It would be preposterous to cut two veterans (both of which were productive at times last season) based on their lack of 2020 club control.

          • King_Rajesh says:

            It’s not preposterous to cut two veterans who will take valuable learning snaps away from rookies with large amounts of club control when we aren’t planning to really push this season. Russell can get us to 8-10 wins even if he’s only throwing to rookie WRs and Tyler Lockett. That’s what ELITE QBs do. They elevate the talent around them.

            We’re still in the middle of a rebuild, we should focus on giving snaps and seasoning the talent who are going to be here in 2020/2021. Russell doesn’t need to build chemistry with Brown and Moore, they’re probably gone by the time we’re pushing for the Super Bowl. He needs chemistry with DK Metcalf and Gary Jennings. He needs more chemistry with Tyler Lockett as the primary read. He needs chemistry with the weapons he’ll have for the length of his contract.

            I don’t understand why this is such a “preposterous take” – we’re not trying to win this year! Even if we only win 8 games this year, that means all of our 2020 draft picks are that much earlier in the draft!

            • GoHawksDani says:

              I agree to some extent. I wouldn’t cut them…but if Jennings/Ursua/Metcalf/Reynolds/others are not a ton behind them I’d feature those guys instead of Brown or Moore. But also we can probably re-sign either ot those guys for pretty cheap. I’d doubt they’ll be Antonio or OBJ all of the sudden. And I don’t think Ursua will stay on active roster. I think Metcalf will play, but I also have doubts against Jennings. But if neither Barton, BBK, Jennings, Ursua, Blair, Amadi, Haynes, Christmas will see much of the field in the next 2-3 years (left out Collier and Metcalf, I think they’ll have at least some decent opportunities), I’ll be pissed. That would be just poor draft. You can draft for depth and for “potential in the future maybe”, if your roster is pretty solid. We have some leaks, some major leaks. I love Bobby, KJ, Kendricks, but also a bit mad that Barton and BBK will only see ST action (unless some of these guys gets hurt, but I’d also hate to see that). I’m really pumped about Barton (also about BBK, but Barton is much better imo), it’ll suck to see him only in the preseason

            • Rob Staton says:

              It is preposterous dude. There’s absolutely no reason to cut two receivers who produced last year in the vain hope that two rookies will make up the production.

              There’s simply no need.

            • LouieLouie says:

              Hey King:
              You are under valuing the fact that young players can develop better when they aren’t thrown to the wolves. They can watch and learn from the vets, and be brought into the game at a pace that works best for them. A young player can loose confidence if they are brought along too quickly. Carroll is a coach who understands that.

              • In my fantasy version of events some of the new receivers (other than DK) show star potential which makes the conversation interesting. In fact that is not likely. Receiver is a very difficult position to master in the NFL. Keep in mind that winning teams do not tank in the NFL in order to develop players. You want to win now. You never want to bet on tomorrow. The Seahawks have the potential for a powerful swarming defence (albeit with some questins in the secondary) and a dangerous and balanced offense. As much as I love and root for the rookies you have to go with the best 53. Those intriguing players whowho do not make the cut will likely find a home on the practise squad.

        • charlietheunicorn says:

          Package some of these players up and trade to the Giants. They need WRs in the worst way now, with FA losses and critical injuries now piling up.

    • TatupuTime says:

      I don’t have a huge issue with Mingo, Ed Dickson and Brown starting the season with pretty big roles. Ideally you’d see them play as consistent high floor veterans to start the season and have some of the young pups overtake them in the second half. You still need some guys that know the scheme well and won’t make rookie mistakes in the first 6 weeks.

      I’ve seen the calls to cut bait on David Moore from a few Seahawks fans and I don’t understand it at all. He came into the league crazy raw. He’s still just 24. He’s clearly a fast, strong and talented. He was never going to go from East Central College to starting role. Golden Tate did almost nothing his first year, had 382 yards in year two and then really came into his own in year 3. I’m cautiously optimistic that Moore becomes the clear number 2 option this year. Metcalfe is fun and a great fit for this team, but I’d be surprised if he was more than a 4/5 receiver that has a low number of huge plays this year.

      • King_Rajesh says:

        David Moore is an investment that’s taken too long to bear fruit. It’s time to cut bait and focus on guys that will be here for the entirety of Wilson’s contract. That’s DK Metcalf, Lockett, Ursua, Jennings, and maybe another draft pick next year. If Moore breaks out now then we have to pay him or flip him or let him walk for a comp pick. Either way, those snaps could be used to develop young, cheap players that will be here for the long term future.

        Tate is the perfect example of how a player that takes too long to develop can come back to bite you, because we essentially trained him up and trained him up and then we ran out of cheap club control on him and he walked away elsewhere to be good for Detroit.

        • Henry Taylor says:

          “David Moore is an investment that’s taken too long to bear fruit” he’s a 7th round pick coming into his 3rd year, who has already flashed significant upside…

          Most 7th round picks never see regular season snaps. I’m fairly shocked someone would take that position on him.

          • Rob Staton says:

            An absolute barmy suggestion from King_Rajesh for sure. David Moore has been an absolute steal. Now it’s time to see if he can take the next step and be more consistent. There’s massive potential there.

            • King_Rajesh says:

              If he takes the next step, he walks next year to sign a big contract or we’re paying him. Why not save that money to buy pass rush next year?

              I’d rather our rookies take the next step and give Wilson a WR corps that will grow with him. Look at what the Packers are doing with Rodgers, it’s all young guys after Davante Adams that Rodgers is molding. That’s what I want.

              • cha says:

                “If he takes the next step, he walks next year to sign a big contract or we’re paying him.”

                Spot on. David Moore having a terrific year would be a disaster for the Hawks.

                • Ben Ft. Worth says:

                  If he nets a big paycheck, then won’t get a nice draft pick compensation for him?

                  Proverbs 26:4

                  • cha says:

                    Sorry sometimes I forget my dry sense of humor doesn’t translate.

                    Should’ve added the /s

                    Of course the argument for getting rid of Moore and Brown is rubbish.

                • Eburgz says:

                  I’m not as optimistic going into this season as I was last season. The losses of Earl, Frank,, Doug, Coleman and J reed suspension are they reasons why. Really worried about the pass rush and secondary. Lots of guys on the DL and secondary need to step up if we’re going to make playoffs. We need a receiver or two to step up and we need the OL to stay healthy. Super solid linebacker and running back groups though. Season is shot if Russ or Bobby gets
                  hurt.

                  Think we might get lit up early in the year by he Steelers and Saints then everyone will act like the sky is falling. My guess is 9 wins but possibly as few as 6 and as many as 11. But I still think we could win the Super Bowl but probably more likely we miss the playoffs. I’ll be at ravens, saints, Vikings and rams games to do my part raising hell and making noise.

              • Pran says:

                David Moore RFA 2020

                It may take few more years for him to be a true #1 WR. If he turns out to be AB you pay him if not you can sign him for a #2 WR contract else get a comp pick and move on.

              • TatupuTime says:

                Even if he balls out this year I have trouble believing the market will be that hot for a former 7th round pick in a low volume offence.

        • george says:

          David Moore had more yards in his second year than Golden Tate did, despite having only played in 1 game his rookie year and targeted 5 times less. Somehow I can’t see that it’s taken too long for the investment to bear fruit. Not all WR are going to be OBJ out of the gate, especially when they are drafted 214 spots lower. If we cut bait and focused on WR draft picks all of the time, we wouldn’t have squat for a receiver squad.

  4. adog says:

    they have good starting linebackers and good young depth behind them. i believe that a truth serum for linebackers is their ability to rush the qb on third down. yes special teams play a factor, but who can step up and make plays in the pass rush? while it seems logical that it will be a griffen or Michael k, i like the idea of kirven building and developing a pass rush. he has a nose for the ball. also my udfa pick to make the team is jazz Ferguson.

  5. Coleslaw says:

    Great piece Rob. Totally accurate. We’re moving in the right direction but we didnt do anything to take a big step from last year, however we will always be in contention with Wilson and Carroll.

    I still believe that Metcalf is gonna be a stud right outta the gate. I know theres been no contact yet today, but hes shown he can blow the top off a defense. Hes 6’3″ 230, hes not going to have a problem getting off press. If he can tighten up the drops, I think he becomes our #2 by the end of the season interchangeable with Jaron Brown. Hes going to at least be a deep threat and a big, fast target over the middle.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Metcalf worries me. Not him personally. But the expectation. I fear for how fans are going to react when inevitably his rookie year doesn’t live up to the increasingly wild expectations. And I fear how that will impact the player and that we’re going to see even more ridiculous Twitter nonsense if he isn’t dominating lots of games and getting a ton of targets.

      • Doug says:

        No point being worried until at least the preseason games start. 😀 We have a shiny new player to think about who has the potential to be a game-changer. All the caveats for first year receivers do apply, but it is hard not to be in love with the DK’s potential.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I think it’s absolutely right that people are excited about D.K. Metcalf. There’s a lot to like.

          But I worry how fans will react if/when he doesn’t live up to their increasingly wild expectations.

          The Seahawks are not a high-production passing offense. Never have been. There will be some games where Metcalf might not even get a target. I hope people understand why if/when it happens and are realistic.

          • kevin says:

            My “increasingly wild expectations” for DK Metcalf are that he gets activated somewhere in the first six or seven real games and he makes 20-30 catches for the year with hopefully good average yardage (400-600 yards total?) and some touchdown highlights.

            Something like a Martavis Bryant type WR rookie year.

            For the record I am a huge DK Metcalf fan and would be ecstatic if he goes beyond that or gets activated earlier, but it is tough to be a rookie wide receiver.

          • LouieLouie says:

            Hey Rob:
            People will understand winning. They’ll love Metcalf if the Hawks are winning.

            • Rob Staton says:

              The Seahawks won plenty of games with Jimmy Graham but still often complained about his usage.

              • Doug says:

                Graham was a bit different though in that he was brought in to be the Seahawks’ panacea to their red zone offense and his production was way below expectations (based on past performance) even in a lower-volume passing attack. Graham was a controversial addition because he was never known to be an enthusiastic blocker and his previous history with the LOB.

                DK doesn’t come with any baggage except the rep he is a “one-trick pony” (concerns about whether he can be effective on other than a go route). All of the anecdotal info about him coming from the Seahawks is that he is a bright guy, working hard, learning well, and capable/willing to do what is required in the running game also.

                I am REALLY looking forward to watching his snaps in the pre-season games.

      • Coleslaw says:

        I get that, he is probably more prone to a boom or bust season than most. I just have complete faith that he will at least be getting on the field at some point this year. In my eyes, if he’s rotating in as the #3 by the end of the year, it’s a success. I do have faith that he’ll be a playmaker straight away, though.

        People always have crazy expectations and overreact when they start slow, I just ignore it haha. I gotta trust the player to not let that stuff phase them, DK seems like it would just make him hungrier.

        1 thing that really makes me think Metcalf is going to see the field a lot is this. You put him and Lockett on the outside, who’s taking the #1 CB? Either one would be a mismatch vs most teams IMO.

      • New Guy says:

        T.O. first season:
        35 receptions/520 yds./4 TD

        Calvin Johnson first season:
        48 receptions/756 yds./4 TD

        Realistically shouldn’t we be expecting something along those lines at best?

        .

        • Rob Staton says:

          Have no expectations would be my message.

          Just enjoy whatever way he contributes.

          This is a run-centric team that spreads the ball around to its receivers. If he performs superbly then we can all celebrate that. But I wouldn’t hold any expectations. Let’s just enjoy the buzz around him at the moment but stay open minded and understanding when the regular season starts.

  6. Largent80 says:

    Here’s to hoping they use Brown a LOT more to actually catch passes rather than so much “dirty work”. Out of 19 targets he caught 14 and 5 were TD’s.

    I would love to see him get more chances.

    Getting Shead back will certainly help the secondary if for nothing else than having a veteran that knows the system.

  7. Volume12 says:

    Right now, a few of my favorite DEs in this class (excluding Iowa’s AJ Epenesa and Florida’s Zabari Zuniga who I love) are…

    – ND’s Khalid Kareem (6’4, 260 lbs.) Last year was his first year starting and he didn’t disappoint. His main trait that jumps out at me is the ridiculous length. Very effective UOH. Primarily lined up in a wide 9. Tried watching ND’s other DE Julian Okwara, but Kareem ended up catching my eye.

    – Syracuse’s Alton Robinson (6’4, 255 lbs.) Led the ACC in pressure % last year along with 17 TFL, 10 QB sacks, 11 TFL. Former JUCO guy. Needs to improve at working back inside, but this dude consistently wins at the POA, has explosion, and has turned his life around big time.

    – Michigan St DE Kenny Willekes (6’4, 260 lbs.) 20.5 TFL in 2018. Brute strength. Not sure how athletic he is or if he has the length, but just a classic overachiever. Lunch pail type. Tough, gritty, infectious play style and one of the more fun guys in CFB to watch.

    – Michigan EDGE Josh Uche (6’3, 235-240 lbs.) Ceiling is sky high for this one. Similar frame to Brian Burns. A specialist, who uses more of finesse/speed than say a Willekes who is all power. So much bend and explosion to his game. Needs to get bigger. With Winovich and Gary gone, he’s got next.

    – Tennessee EDGE Darrell Taylor (6’4, 247 lbs). Might not be a pass rusher with more potential than Taylor. Could also be the best athlete amongst this year’s group too. When he’s consistent he dominates. That’s the issue though. One of the more inconsistent prospects. Has battled injuries seemingly every year.

    I posted this clip earlier this summer. So frustrating because the traits and talent jump off the screen when he puts it all together. Even with all that said, IMO he’s well worth a late 2nd-3rd.

    Darrell Taylor vs Kentucky (2018):
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5X5MGIDQqIw

    Still have quite a few names to get around too as well (Rector at USC, Chaisson at LSU, etc.)

    • Coleslaw says:

      Chaisson is the real deal to my eye. I’m also liking Javon Kinlaw quite a bit. Chaisson might be my favorite so far, though. Just an animal. Afraid hes going to go too early though.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Yetur Gross-Matos at Penn State is the one that’s caught my eye this summer. Great hand use, works through traffic. Very comfortable in space. Sets the edge vs the run. Love the agility he shows in the open-field and the motor he shows to work across the line to chase down ball-carriers from behind. Would like to see him win off the edge a bit more with speed this year but that’s the least important thing. He has the frame, length, hand-technique and ability to stay clean or disengage. He had 20 TFL’s last season.

      The other two players I didn’t study last season but have this summer and really like are Jordan Love the QB at Utah State (great range, completes a variety of throws at different angles and with different velocities — really looks the part) and Jeffrey Okudah the cornerback at Ohio State (insane SPARQ workout, ideal size and length and his footwork/agility plus tackling qualities are very intriguing).

      • Volume12 says:

        Big fan of Jordan Love. Theres some Mahomes to his game with the ability to throw frozen ropes off balance.

        Will check out Okudah. Still love Bryce Hall. Mouth watering traits.

        • Rob Staton says:

          It’s funny how since Mahomes two players (Murray & Love) have shared some of his qualities.

          • Volume12 says:

            It is interesting.

            Copycat league? Coaches at the collegiate level now empashing these QBs to accenuate their unique strengths since they’ve seen it can lead to success at the next level, whereas years ago those mightve been perceived as ‘bad habits’, or both?

    • Sea Mode says:

      Thanks for the list, as always.

      Willekes we will be coming back to for sure. Hope he bounces back stronger than ever from that broken leg.

      A JR to watch out for who caught my eye when trying to watch Jamel Dean last year: DE/Buck Nick Coe. Not a twitchy get-off guy, but I like his strength, athleticism in space, and hand fighting. 7 sacks, 13.5 TFL last year as a sophomore is good. Probably a late-round guy as it stands now, but let’s see if he can take the next step this season and develop a few pass rush moves.

      • Volume12 says:

        I like Coe. Marlon Davidson might end the best pro from this Auburn group when all is said and done and I think DT Derrick Brown is a top 12 talent. Davidson’s work ethic and love for the game is just second to none. Day 1 guy who will immediately boost your run D.

        And LT Prince Tega Wanogho is on my early/premature watchlist for the Hawks. Just a massive human being with a great backstory and has a really fun vibe about him. Will more than likely end up a RT at the next level.

  8. Jake says:

    Somewhat off topic but is anyone in the blog going to the Seahawks vs Browns game?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I was hoping to. There’s a band performing in Cleveland the same weekend that I listened to as a teenager. I was going to try and combine the two events.

      However — not sure I’ll be able to unless the pound recovers and there are some late deals. The cost to get out to Cleveland is pretty high. We’re talking £800 to stay in a Red Roof Inn for four days and flights that take 15 hours due to multiple stops. If I can make it happen I’ve circled that game.

    • Anthony says:

      Hey 12s
      First time poster longtime reader
      Just wanted to say the wifey and I will be going to the browns hawks game (Actually doing a whole week tour of the eastern states,we’re from Toronto area) but would love to hang out with some fellow 12s
      It’ll be my first game,can’t even express how excited I am

      Lastly wanted to say
      Rob, it goes without saying your the man!!!!!

  9. A, Chris says:

    I appreciate the measured response, Rob, as always. But I will respectfully disagree. I can’t think of a better year for putting my heart on the line and expecting greatness. Can’t explain it. This years squad has me feeling things.

    Welcome back
    Cheers

    • Rob Staton says:

      I wouldn’t attempt to try and dissuade anyone from feeling optimistic about the team.

      I just hope that those who do get their hopes up will understand if this isn’t the year they expected.

  10. Madmark says:

    Welcome back Rob. I knew you show back up after Bobby signed his new contract. I hope you enjoyed your time away to spend with your family. Now I have some questions on the Seahawks reset the last 2 years to this point.
    Am I excited about this team going forward from now into the future?
    Hell ya I am.
    Do I think this is a super bowl Team?
    Not at all.
    Do I think this is a play off Team?
    Absolutey!
    Did the Special Teams get better this year?
    It got way better with an all pro punter and the adding of an all pro Kicker.
    Did the Offense get better?
    I believe it did get better even though we lost Baldwin.
    Did the Defense get better?
    I’m leaning more towards no they didn’t. With Reed’s 6 game suspension, The loss of Clark, the Line has some questions. The linebacker’s Definitely got an upgrade and the Secondary is still a work in progress.
    How do I feel about their moves in the last 2 years looking to the Seahawk’s Future?
    I’m extremely excited about the last 2 years and where we sit going in this year. The 3 coach’s that came should be more comfortable going into there second year. The roster, this year, is as young, deep, and fast as ever. The team and what it did to secure the draft picks next year and the financial trimming of money to sign Russel and Bobby and still have money next year was brilliant.
    Again I ask do I think this is a playoff?
    You bet I do It feel’s a lot like the 2012 team. I’m looking at the schedule and I’d go so far as to say the go 11-5.
    Bengals W They’ve been in a slide from what I’ve seen.
    @Steelers L This is a close one to pick. I really believe it could go either way.
    Saints L Reed being on suspension Drew will just tear it up
    @Cardinals W I think their quarterback is overhyped.
    Rams W Post superbowl blues and we now have a pro bowl kicker for this close game.
    @Browns L They really got better but they been so bad for so long.
    Ravens W They in a reset like we were 3 years ago.
    @Falcons W For some reason I just get the feeling this team secretly got old.
    Buccaneers W I haven’t seen much to make me believe they gotten better.
    @49ers W same reason as above but we will have reed back.
    @Eagles L Not that I think they are better but it just hard to play in philly.
    Vikings W Their defense has lost a step and QB has a lot to prove.
    @Rams L A close one again but Seattle blinks out.
    @Panthers W Always it a super close game and our new Pro Bowl Kicker wins it.
    Cardinals W They just not ready yet.
    49ers W At this time Seattle is rolling along into the play offs.
    Definitely a bold prediction. I do Know if ya make to the playoffs anything can happen. All ya have to do is look at what the New York Giants did the year they won the super bowl. I like to think we could do the same this year. My fingers are crossed. Again welcome back Rob I absolutely knew you come back
    GO HAWKS!

    • GoHawksDani says:

      Nice prediction. I feel like this could happen, but I think there might be +1-2 lose.

      I’ll take this as a bit-optimistic-but-mostly-realistic scenario.

      A bit pessimistic would be the same, just lose the first Rams game too (and maybe lose against the Vikings or Ravens. Spotty offenses, but the defense is pretty solid on both teams).

      Really optimistic would be the same you wrote, just win 2 games between the Steelers or Eagles or Browns.

      I feel it’ll depend on 4 things:
      1, How healthy the starters can stay?
      2, How well younger/newer WRs and TEs can step up (DK, Jennings, Brown, Moore and Vannett, Dissly, Hollister)
      3, How many guys can step forward on the DL (Collier? Green? Ford?) and how well new vets gel with the unit (Ansah? Marsh? Mitchell? Woods?)
      4, What happens with the secondary and how good/painful it will be? (Flowers+Griffin stepping up their game? Who’ll play next to McDougald? Who’ll be the nCB?)

      If the answers are positive, I can even see a 13-3 season. If the answers are negative I can see a 9-7 or even 8-8. The truth probably lies inbetween those two.

  11. Coleslaw says:

    Nice predictions. Only things I would change is we’ll beat Pittsburgh, and lose to Atlanta and possibly vikings. Vikings are gonna be looking to get us back. And Falcons are still legit. Matt Ryan has been lights out for a while and I feel Freeman is gonna have a killer year. Plus they’re getting a bunch of guys back from injury.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’d feel more confident playing Pittsburgh later in the season. Their home opener and no time for Big Ben to have one of his ‘can’t be arsed weeks’ isn’t ideal. Play them in week 10 and I’d fancy us big time. I think the Falcons are a tough team to project. They were beat up last year and struggled. If they stay relatively healthy they are talented. But they’re also an ‘any given week’ type of team. You never quite know what you’re going to get from them.

      • charlietheunicorn says:

        The later in the season the Seahawks get to face a team, the more the defense gets to gel and be at full strength. The Steelers this year are not as high flying as past few years… losing a top WR and RB will do that to a team.

        The Falcons are a tough team, I believe the HC is coaching for his job. They have too much talent to be middling like they have the last few seasons.

      • Coleslaw says:

        I’m not high on the Steelers at all this year. No AB, Juju has to be the #1. Ben and Washington still dont have a very good connection. And their CBs are still suspect. All they’ve added is Devin Bush. I think we can outmatch Pittsburgh whether it’s a ground and pound, defensive game or a shootout.

        • Henry Taylor says:

          I view Pittsburg as being in a similar spot to where Seattle was last year. Everyone is overlooking them because of the star players they lost and a more exciting, young team is stealing all the headlines in that division. Yet people are forgetting they’ve still got the best (at least most proven) QB and HC combo in that division, they improved the health of their locker room at the cost of some superior talent and they have a track record in developing good players at the spots they lost guys (I will 100% be drafting James Washington in fantasy this year).

          I think Cleveland wins that division still but the Steelers aren’t going anywhere and I’m not at all confident in playing them in a home opener.

  12. JimQ says:

    I’m expecting that the Seahawks defense will likely give up more points than previous years versions, maybe as many a 3 to 5 points per game more. (Likely making the next draft “defensive” in nature.) I’m hoping the offense can score enough points to more than cover that by being even more effective in the running game + lots & lots of long bombs to multiple fast WR’s – that should be a lot of fun to watch. Hopefully, they start out games “balls out” for a change and “finish” on those close scoring games. I think 10 or 11 wins & a playoff spot are possible and probable. As we all know, once in the playoffs, anything can happen, however advancing in the playoffs would be very difficult at best.

    If nothing else, this season should make for good experience for all the new guys and get them set up for a strong push for the SB in 2020, AFTER, just a few key players are added in the draft to plug all the remaining holes. Win the NFC-West and get those playoff games at home, that’s the ticket.

  13. charlietheunicorn says:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/mcdowells-nfl-dreams-crashed-on-his-atv-hes-not-the-same-person/ar-AAEYygI?ocid=spartandhp

    This is a hell of an article discussing McDowell. I know it is old news, but they talk about how the crash may have altered his personality and “mind” on a physical level. Very scary stuff.

    It eerily reminds me of the old story about Phineas Gage. Check that story out, it is a more traumatic injury, but is a very good read about how Doctors started to understand brain trauma and how it is linked to personality.

    • King_Rajesh says:

      We don’t know shit about the brain, and the roids and other drugs that these kids are using in college in addition to taking multiple hits to the brain probably isn’t good either.

      Either way, how dumb do you have to be to ride an ATV on streets without a helmet?

  14. Trevor says:

    Great piece Rob and I agree completely.

    I think the Hawks are in a great position going forward and should be competitive this year. I just dont see them having enough pass rush to be an SB contender this year. Still think it is going to be a really fun year and I love the vibe around this team.

  15. Duceyq says:

    Welcome back Rob!

    This season has a 2012 ring to it. I agree with your take.

  16. Sea Mode says:

    Hate to see anybody get injured, but this is a nice break for us, especially since we will be missing pressure from Reed up the middle:

    Adam Schefter
    @AdamSchefter

    An MRI revealed that Bengals’ WR A.J. Green has torn ligaments in his left ankle that is likely to sideline him six to eight weeks, source tells ESPN. Green is not expected to be ready for the regular-season opener at Seattle.

    9:23 PM · Jul 28, 2019

  17. GoHawksDani says:

    I agree completely. I feel they need a couple of position fixed, and we have a couple of questionmarks for the future.

    Position needs to be fixed (by either someone stepping up big time, or from FA/draft):
    – Nickel CB. I trust/hope Griffin and Flowers will continue to develop and be great contributors. But nCB is a huge question mark.

    – iDL…Apart from hopefully Reed, who do we have? Potentially Ford. Maybe Collier? Some new guys (from FA/UDFA/draft), but I don’t think they’ll likely to dominate.It won’t suck totally, but will need improvement most likely.

    – DE/EDGE. I think (and hope), we might be better than most would give credit for. Obviously no proven guys there, but I’m intrigued about Green, Martin, Collier, Ansah. And we have some depth. Big question marks, but I really hope we’ll at least 1 great and 2-3 solid guys there.

    – Safety is also not totally set, but there might already be someone in the building to step up. McDougald is really good. And hopefully between Blair, T2 and Hill one of them will be also good.

    – OL. We’re good. Probably the best in the last 4-5 years. BUT Brown starts to get older. Ifedi’s contract is soon over. We’ll see how Fluker’s and Iupati’s health will hold up. We have depth and the situation is good right now, but I think the FO needs to think about the next step already

    – TE. Vannett’s contract will be over next year. Dissly didn’t prove much (he has potential, but we need more tape on him). Dickson is old. I hope they’ll adress the TE position more next year (either from FA or draft). I think there is a huge untapped potentially with that group (not Graham-type of gameplan, but a Miller-type of TE, who is more of a blocker, but can also be a great safety blanket and can run some routes)

    – WR: We have Lockett. But (god please no) what if he goes down? And apart from Tyler who do we have? I feel we need another nifty-quick-smart guy who can get open and great in scrambling situations. I feel that is Russell’s go to guy. Kearse had some of that in him, Baldwin was the prototype. Tate was also kind of that dude. Lockett is between that guy and Harvin. We could use a big bodied WR, but I feel we’re really solid in that department (Metcalf, Jennings, Brown, Moore). I hope someone will step up…they have potential, but currently feels like we have a ton of quality backup, but not clear #2 and #3s

    These positions are golden: LB (wow, so many talent and depth…only concern is that the younger guys will have hard time to get playing time which will stop their progress), QB, RB (Carson is a superhuman…Penny will be much better, McKissic underrated, Homer has potential), ST (Dickson, Myers seem pretty good, rest of the ST is much improved)

    • cha says:

      “– Nickel CB. I trust/hope Griffin and Flowers will continue to develop and be great contributors. But nCB is a huge question mark.”

      I don’t disagree, but have faith. PC turned Justin Coleman from an afterthought worth a late round pick into a $9m/year priority free agent. There’s lots of guys on the roster who have been in the program and I’m confident one will step up. (Akeem King is my bet).

      • GoHawksDani says:

        I have absolute faith…just weird that they don’t even really talk about that position, or who do they think as a frontrunner. I think King, Reed, Thorpe, Shead are all potential options.
        I like King, but to me he seems a bit stiff and might be better as an outside CB. He’s got good size and he’s fast, but to me he doesn’t see as quick, twichy, fluid as I’d like. I think Shead will win just because he played the position and played OK, and have a ton of experience. Kalan Reed could be an interesting guy, but maybe I just think that because Matty F. Brown hyped him up a bit previously on fieldgulls, and I respect him 🙂

  18. GoHawksDani says:

    I KNOW this won’t happen but as of now (with limited depth at DT and Reed out for 6 games), I feel like I’d be happier than 3-4 front with Ansah/Green/Collier on the Edge and Reed/Poona/Collier in the middle and KJ, Bobby, Barton, Kendricks for the LBs
    Too bad it’s not that easy to switch and would need totally different mentality and plays drawn… I think that LB group would be crazy strong

    • TomLPDX says:

      I can potentially see something like this…Norton has to think outside the box, especially for the first 6 games, so I would not be surprised to see a modified 3-4 D…I do believe he will be creative with the depth of talent in the LB corp…looking forward to see what he comes up with!

  19. SebA says:

    Rob, hope you had a great break – I am absolutely ecstatic that SDB is back!

  20. Darnell says:

    The cool thing about this league is that you never know where a contender is going to come from.

    I’m not sure that the Eagles Super Bowl team was considered a contender going into that season, nor the 2018 Chiefs being as good as they were, first year of McVay’s Rams etc etc. The margins are so thin that if you stay healthy, get hot and get some breaks a number of teams can be in the mix.

    If you have a competitive QB/HC combo you can get in the dance, and once you’re in the dance everything is on the table.

    • cha says:

      I do think some in the national media are expecting an “as is” performance for RW for 2019. But it will be the second year with Scott in the offense and he still has ceiling he hasn’t hit yet. There’s room for growth and improvement and he has shown the ability to take over games at will the Hawks to wins.

  21. cha says:

    Marshawn spotted at VMAC. Seahawks must have threatened to fine him.

    https://twitter.com/TomPelissero/status/1155921443378495489

  22. charlietheunicorn says:

    DK Metcalf prediction for 2019

    Realistic
    37 targets / 30 catches / 445 yards / 5 TDs

    Fantastical**
    57 targets / 50 catches / 950 yards / 10 TDs

    I’m pretty much convinced you get the realistic goals stated above,
    he will have had a very impressive season.

    • Coleslaw says:

      Those would be amazing catch rates for any WR. A bit unrealistic IMO.

      I see more like 50 targets 35 catches and the stat line you provided for the realistic outcome.

      Then I would say for the fantastical outcome, 75 targets 50 catches 950 yards 10 TDs

      • Coleslaw says:

        To get 50 targets in a 16 game season would be just over 3 targets per game. 75 targets would be 4.7 targets per game. I think those are attainable.

        That would be 19 yards per catch for him. I think the volume is there but I don’t know if he gets over 800 yards either.

        My best guess would be 60 targets 40 catches for 600 yards and 7 TDs. Thats where I’d set the line.

        • charlietheunicorn says:

          He is going to be the 2nd or 3rd WR, so I’m not sure how many total targets he is going to get.
          I think he will have 1x 100 yard game at least….

          I agree with Rob, he is going to have some games where he might only get 1 or 2 targets, but other games, he might see 10+ balls tossed his way.

          I also wonder if he might get involved in the rushing attack, fly sweeps… normally I would say no, but when you can do a 4.33, then all bets are off.

    • GoHawksDani says:

      I would love that, but I feel like a realistic would be more like 30 targets, 20 catches, 380 yards, 4 TDs
      A realistic higher usage could be something like 55 targets, 43 catches, 700 yards, 5 TDs
      A fantastic would be 50 targets, 40 catches, 830 yards, 6 TDs

      I doubt he’ll be #2 WR, I even doubt he’ll be #3 WR. I think nr2 and 3 WRs will come from this group: Brown, Moore, Reynolds. Metcalf probably will crawl into #3 spot middle of the season.
      He’ll be a rookie, he has some stiffness, and route running, and catching question marks. He’s better than the haters realize, but he still raw and need to learn a ton.
      Lockett was amazing in his first year (I think it’s unrealistic to expect most rookies do like him), and he still was underutilized. He had numbers like: 51 catches, 664 yards, 6 TDs

    • Thomas Wells says:

      Honestly I’m not expecting anything from metcalf. Any production has to be seen as a bonus. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he hardly saw the field. There’s not a lot of precedent for rookie receivers coming into a Russell Wilson led offense and putting up big numbers.

  23. no frickin clue says:

    Rob,

    Welcome back! Given that this is indeed a run-centric team, how are you feeling about the O-Line this year? Can Iupati do the job at LG? I really, really hope I do not see Pocic jogging onto the field at any point in 2019. Also hope Jamarco Jones can push Ifedi at RT.

    And what’s the over/under on George Fant’s longest reception this season? I say, 17.5 yards. 🙂

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m feeling very positive about the OL.

    • GoHawksDani says:

      Pocic won’t likely be on the field. Iupati will be fine hopefully, Fluker also. As depth, we have Simmons. I hope Haynes will pick up the things quick too. We also have Marcus Martin (another 6-3, 330 pound dude). Pocic might be a swing tackle-backup C-potential backup G, but he might also be traded/cut because they wanna keep Hunt instead

  24. charlietheunicorn says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p3cgn1WaNg

    I was re-watching this oldie but goodie highlight package…. SEA vs NE in 2012

    I think DK Metcalf could make the plays that Rice and Edwards were making during this game. The long double moves.. either going up the seams or out routes… the 20+ yard or so range. I had forgotten how many big plays Rice made during this game, but his body size and ability to make clutch catches remind me of DK. Edwards had on outstanding fade catch in the end-zone…. a big body target with phenomenal hands and more importantly.. feet.

  25. EranUngar says:

    Great to have you back rob. Missed you…

    As for your “realistic expectation”, I can see how it could make sense (losing Baldwin, Clark, Colman, certainly does not help) and it certainly protects us from disappointment but what’s the fun it that?

    I think this team is actually going to be better than last year. As for being a valid contender – Those are just good teams that avoided key injuries at positions they have no proper backups for.

    Why should the seahawks be better than last year:

    1. Coaching continuity. They started last year with a new OC, DC and OLC and it showed. It took them a while to get the proper strategy going and start gelling as a team. We saw the effects of that with the offense averaging over 30 points a game in the 2nd half of the season. This year they just pick up where they ended and it should have a major effect.

    2. The OL should benefit more than any other group from this continuity of player and coach. Remember the OL with 2 UDFA at Tackles, no experience at Guards and Brit moving to his 3rd position in 3 years? Guess what, Brit is a veteran 2nd round pick in the center, the rest of starters are all 1st round picks. They are huge, talented, well coached and god’s gift for a running team. They will set the tone for a top 5 offense.

    3. The QB, RB groups are superb and should just get better. The speed and size at WR will complete a very potent offense.

    4. Yes, we have to cross our fingers that Ansah, Martin, Green, Coullier and Marsh + scheme will provide some pass rush. One of the worse pass rushing teams last year (just 30 sacks compared to our 42) was….NEW ENGLAND…

    5. With Norton as DC we have the perfect guy to scheme a defense who’s core is excellent LB play and we actually have the best LB group in the NFL. Having a healthy K.J. and Kendricks with Barton etc. behind them would do wonders.

    6. The secondary is another question mark but all 4 starters from last year are on the team and most should improve with experience so that group should be better. If others take over some roles because they are better…that’s another plus.

    All things combined – I expect to see a top 5 offense and a top 10 scoring defense (aided by long T.O.P by the running offense).

    Can you win a SB with that, not likely but…a win away at PIT (not impossible) follows by a home win over NO and the SB hype train will start moving….

    • Doug says:

      Great post, Eran! I am all in for this scenario!

    • cha says:

      While we’re all sunshine and lollypops and rainbows, let’s tack on the special teams improvement everyone seems to be glossing over.

      * They now have several ST demons. Barton, BBK and Shaquem can fly. They have several options for returners.

      * Dickson Year 2 will get better with a year under his belt. As good as he was last year, he occasionally had a few bizarre punts. Those will get straightened out.

      * Meyers has the potential to be a whole game improvement over Janikowski. Literally swap those 2 in 2018 and the Hawks could’ve been 11-5.

    • Volume12 says:

      The Patriots were 7th in the league in terms of pressure %. Im not gonna argue that sacks aren’t important, a little overrated IMO though. And while sacks help kill drives and help play the battle of field position, I would argue that pressure leads to more big plays and TOs.

      Not coincidental in the slightest that BB and PC place an enphasis on those #’s.

      • EranUngar says:

        While I agree that that pressure % counts more than sacks….

        Should we therefor be happy we kept Martin over Clark since his % was better???

        I mentioned NE to illustrate that a defense can work without high number sack artists (Clark/Reed) and using your scheme to generate just enough pressure % to force the QB off his comfort zone…

  26. Volume12 says:

    Rob mentioned to me Ohio St. CB Jeffrey Okudah. He’s got some special abilities and is certainly one to monitor, but guys. The 2020 CB class is loaded! This position group is up there with the WR class and I can’t figure out why its not getting propped up more.

    It’s deep and has a ton of size. Then there’s guys like UCLA’s Darnay Holmes and W. Forests Essang Bassey (31 PBU combined the past seasons) who will get bumped inside to the nickel in the NFL due to them being 5’10 who can both flat-out play.

  27. Sam LeFebre says:

    Adam Schefter
    @AdamSchefter
    Seahawks’ first-round pick LJ Collier went down during 11-on-11 drill and was carted off with a right leg injury

  28. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    Crap Collier was just carted off the practice field with a right leg injury

  29. CaptainJack says:

    Reed suspended and Collier injured.

    I have no idea how we’re going to find solutions on the defensive line at this point.

  30. Aaron says:

    Per Adam Schefter, LJ Collier has a high ankle sprain.

    https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1156299581367435264?s=20

    I guess, depending on the severity, we won’t see him in preseason and possibly a couple weeks to a month of the regular season.

  31. Coleslaw says:

    Such a relief. We need all the DL help we can get. Who cares about preseason, we should just be happy that his season isn’t over.

  32. charlietheunicorn says:

    This ain’t good file

    “In addition to defensive end L.J. Collier’s apparent ankle sprain, the Seahawks are dealing with an injury of unknown severity to projected starting left guard Mike Iupati. He was seen wearing a walking boot on his left foot during Tuesday’s practice. Ethan Pocic took first-team reps in Iupati’s absence. Backup tight end Tyrone Swoopes was also in a walking boot. Pete Carroll did not speak to reporters Tuesday, so no updates were immediately available on either player.” – Brady Henderson ESPN

  33. Michael Matherne says:

    Welcome back Rob!! I hope you enjoyed the break! This is a great article. It highlights all the reasons SDB is the best football site on the internet. Just supremely well reasoned, realistic and still optimistic. For me this will probably be the most interesting season since we lost to the Pats. We will learn a lot. After our loss to the Falcons in the 2012 divisional round you could feel that we were going to be a force the following year. My greatest hope is that this season ends with a similar feeling.

  34. […] A few days ago I wrote a piece calling for modest expectations in 2019. […]