There’s No Magic Bullet for the Seahawks

December 26th, 2017 | Written by Brandon Adams

There may be no one solution for the Seahawks except the long, hard slog of slowly getting better.

That is not a statement you want to read.

It’s disheartening.

Frustrating.

Ambiguous and without a fruition date.

And it feels like letting the coaching staff off the hook – something nobody wanted to hear as Seattle was shellacked by the Rams, their playoff hopes (and the credibility of some idiot’s Super Bowl predictions) diminished to a sliver.

But it may be true.

I have a rule: our willingness to accept an explanation for our team’s problems varies directly with the perceived ease of fixing it. In other words, the simpler a perceived fix, the more interested we’ll be in pointing fingers there.

At the top of our popular “blame list”, therefore, usually sits Seattle’s coaching staff and offensive line. Perhaps that’s not entirely for no reason. The narrative of late is that Pete Carroll has lost the team, and the Jaguars and Rams losses have done little to stem the tide. Pete’s philosophies have downsides, like any philosophy does, and they are on full display at the moment. Yet the fact that Seattle’s coaching staff and offensive line are perceived by fans as being easiest to replace, doubtless plays a role in their status as Least Popular Elements of the Seahawks.

At the bottom of the blame list, typically, are injuries, execution, and Russell Wilson.

Not because they haven’t played a role, but because they’re harder to do anything about.

Nobody wants to hear the idea, especially, that Russell Wilson is partially responsible for the team’s struggles. That leads inevitably to the question of whether Wilson might need to be replaced (even though he doesn’t), and even the hint of going back to the awful, dark, years-long stagger of searching for a new franchise quarterback is repellent. Even in an ice-cold objective, by-the-numbers breakdown of Wilson’s play, all some folks hear is “Wilson will not lead us to another Super Bowl”, even if that’s the opposite of what’s being said. So we stick to the “easier” ideas, like switching out coaches (even though doing so isn’t necessarily easier).

I’m talking, of course, about scapegoat mentality. It plays a great role in subconsciously guiding our pointed fingers.

But it isn’t productive to ignore the myriad of factors that have played into Seattle’s almost-failed season.

1. Drops

How many drives have ended with brutal third-down drops by Seattle receivers? Jimmy Graham, touchdown machine that he became for a while, is responsible for seven or eight this year. C.J. Prosise and Tanner McEvoy shared two each in the loss to the Packers. Paul Richardson had three in a game. It doesn’t seem so bad until you learn to equate a drop with a stalled drive. When you do that, our offensive struggles this year take on a different character.

2. Injuries

Old? Overpaid? Over-the-hill?

How about injured?

It’s amazing the amount of talk about how the game has passed by a Legion of Boom that isn’t even on the field. People say Kam Chancellor has lost a step, but watch them pine for his return when he’s out for a few weeks. People jaw about how Richard Sherman has been giving up more in-breaking routes. Bet they want him back after watching quarterbacks no longer afraid to throw at Byron Maxwell and Shaquill Griffin (decent as they’ve been).

Injury also robbed Seattle of the most potent piece of Pete Carroll’s philosophy – the running game. Chris Carson won a 7-way starting competition in the preseason the same way Wilson won his back in 2012 – decisively. He was dynamic, complete, and the first sign of a true workhorse since Beastmode left town. 4.2 YPC before his injury. If anything was supposed to break this offense open, it was him.

And nobody talks about his injury as the top contributor that it is. Given the comical flop of our running game this year, could there have been a bigger contributor? How can you win winter games, or close, brutal, official-sabotaged contests, with no running game at all?

It isn’t satisfying, promising, or heartening to describe 2017 as an injury year. But there’s a very good case that that’s exactly what it is. Add K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner to that equation against the Rams. You cannot overestimate the impact of these injuries piling on.

3. Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson is still a fantastic and special player, still holds the potential to win more Super Bowls, and should not be challenged as the franchise quarterback.

I’m getting that out into the open because, again, Wilson cannot be criticized without some people inevitably and instinctively worrying that his head is being called for. It’s not.

But Wilson absolutely deserves some criticism for his play since his master-class against the Eagles. Pete Carroll said as much today to Mike Salk, and Wilson himself has never been one to shy away from his culpability.

Slowly emerging into the blogosphere – very slowly, though a few national commentators have been on this point for years – is discussion of Wilson’s play against man coverage and Cover-4 schemes. It really shouldn’t be news that Wilson doesn’t consistently throw near coverage. Jacksonville and Los Angeles ran Cover-4 schemes against Wilson. Washington also played heavy man. So did Tampa last year. While the popular narrative is that these were all “comedown” losses for Seattle following exhausting emotional victories, they have one other thing in common: those opponents had the speed and quality at DB to discourage the conservative Wilson from a lot of passes and win the contested throws he did attempt. Those discouraged passes end up in the pressures-allowed and sacks-allowed column. It’s going to be worth examining (and I hope to get to it in the offseason) whether teams are actually regarding their secondary, not their front seven, as the key to defeating Wilson – especially a Wilson without a running game.

Again…none of this is satisfying right now.

Nobody wants to read that drops, injuries, Wilson, the offensive line, the lack of a running game, Pete Carroll’s philosophy, miscalculated trades, and simple on-field errors have all played a role in Seattle’s dropoff from their 2014 xenith.

Because there’s no fixing all that in one game.

There may be no one solution for the Seahawks except the long, hard slog of slowly getting better.

And while it’s a slog for us as well, it might be the truest explanation for the current state of the Seahawks.

112 Responses to “There’s No Magic Bullet for the Seahawks”

  1. Rob Staton says:

    Great to have you writing on the blog Brandon! Nice piece!

    • C-Dog says:

      +1

      This is a really good read.

    • Trevor says:

      +1 Great write up and an thought provoking take on things.

    • Daniel Bryan says:

      Rob,

      Landon Collins called Eli Apple a ‘cancer.’ To me watching from afar there’s some friction between Eli Apple and his teammates and the coaching staff. Although active he didn’t get to play in their most recent game. I know how high you were on him a couple years ago. Is there any possibility that Seattle can pry him away from NY and if they do can he change his approach to his teammates and coaches?

      • Rob Staton says:

        Possibly — they like a reclamation project. And Eli Apple’s best trait in college was his ability to stick to the scheme and not get beaten over the top. So basically the same thing the Seahawks would ask of him.

  2. tony says:

    another Wilson issue is his deep dropbacks that put a ton of pressure on the tackles. but I agree that while Wilson may have some issues, there is absolutely no way you replace him without drafting the next Brady or Rodgers. while he may never be the greatest qb ever and play with some difficulties to scheme an offense around, he still is a great qb with ball of fame talent.

    I would like to.see a new oline scheme. I’m just not sold on cables zbs. I do agree that replacing coaches is difficult and could fix nothing. but can it get worst than this last month? at some point a change is made either in scheme, or playcallkng or even some new blood on offense.

    and injuries are typically a fluke thing. sherm played every game until his injury. plus the surprising rams, and a few other teams this year have been injury free. look at green bay, Houston, seattle IR. some years teams get ravaged by injuries. it happens, and each team has a depth issue at some point. we are basically at ours and treading water. so I’m not worried about this team next year. we will be a playoff caliber team next year just based on the talent showing up.

    • This is largely where I land.

      • Austin says:

        I watched every passing attempt that Nathan was nice enough to throw up on twitter from the coaching tape and I still argue its more a schematic issue then it is Wilson. Bevell just isn’t doing enough to help the passing game and the route concepts don’t make sense for what we’re seeing. It feels like we are still trying to force an identity instead of changing the game plan to match what apposing defenses are giving us. On almost every pass play there was very little for Wilson to take advantage of. Wilson can still play better and he’s in a funk but I still think more of the blame is on our schematic approach. I don’t know if that’s Bevell, Cable, Pete or a combination of the 3 but it looks obvious when you watch on tape from the coaching tape.

  3. Kenny Sloth says:

    What rebuild?

    If the injuries were the problem, then we should have a complete squad to start next year.

    Dude I dont even see it as a slog. We’re in the middle of a 10 year dynasty.

    We’re not gonna miss the playoffs many times with Wilson at QB.

    • Matt says:

      My concern is that the Rams and 49ers are accumulating serious, young talent; and we (the Seahawks) are not. Kam, Cliff, and Bennett of old, are gone. They are not the same players and this dramatically changes our defense.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        You’re not wrong, but this team is structured in such a way that we aren’t ever going to be hamstrung for the future.

        It’s possible to build depth without jettisoning talent like the Patriots have done.

        I don’t think we have a single player signed after 2020 in preperation for the new CBA.

        I’m far more interested in that timetable as a rebuild than the idea of tanking a season or whatever fans are suggesting now.

        Trade Earl and watch your season tank. Noone can replace him right now. Not one guy in the league does what he does.
        Bennett is undoubtedly aging and has lost a step, but still has racked up 6.5 sacks while clearly playing through injury.

        You don’t have to trade Earl or Kam or Sherm or Mike B and you still can draft guys.

        We didn’t have to trade away Lynch to be able to draft Sherman?

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Picking in the top 5 for a half decade will do that for ya

      • cha says:

        “are accumulating serious, young talent; and we (the Seahawks) are not.”

        You’re kidding, right?

        Griffin, Reed, Lockett, Clark, Britt, Carson, P Rich through the draft.

        Sheldon, Coleman, McDougald through shrewd acquisitions.

        The Hawks have done that while sustaining annual deep playoff runs. The Rams & Niners have done it while slumming it in the bottom quarter of the NFL.

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          Plus the Rams have that golden rookie QB contract! That is worth two excellent free agents in price.

  4. Matt says:

    Indeed there is no magic bullet. It has been a perfect storm of injuries and talent showing their age. IMO, there are 2 ways to go here.

    Option 1: We commit to the idea that nothing is wrong with the Seahawks except bad luck via injuries. We make minimal changes understanding how bad of a cap situation we are in, in addition to horrible draft capital. We commit to a 2 year window of all or nothing (an extension of this year) in hopes that our team is still actually talented enough to win a Super Bowl, not just eek into the playoffs.

    Option 2: We commit to the idea that something is very wrong, if not broken and that we exploited an easy schedule to eek into 9-10 wins, with really only 2 good wins on our belt. We face difficult decisions with aging stars who are fan favorites and decide that nostalgia is no way to run a football team. We also commit to the idea that the coaching staff is broken as a whole. All the coaches are talented, but it’s not working as a whole, which is really all that matters. It’s gotta be Cable or Bevell, it can’t be both. And quite frankly, I think it should be neither. If we decide that we want to be the 2012-2013 Seahawks, then the talks of “trading RW” actually need to be taken seriously. Our defense is getting old and slow. It needs an infusion of talent. Additionally, we need a killer running game which will require another above average OL and a premiere RB. None of this can be had with our current draft stock.

    Unfortunately, I think both options are bound to be the wrong options. You put your head down and proceed forward with business as usual; and you risk a massive rebuild in the future. Now, think about this compared to the Rams and 49ers. Not a great thought. Additionally, it’s wrong to blow it up and deal a franchise QB. That really is about as risky as it gets.

    So, to be Debbie Downer, the Seahawks are in a crappy spot. I personally think massive changes need to be made. They are fielding a football team that is not good at the style of football they want to play. So either you change the style of play or start tinkering with the personnel. The last few years have really felt like square peg, round hole. And I think it’s obvious due to the wildly inconsistent nature of this football team.

    This is just a tangent on the article, which was a good one. I just find myself really frustrated with this team.

    • Matt says:

      I know the rebuttal will be “crappy spot? We are continually in the playoffs and might get in this year.” I totally acknowledge this. I’d also contend that making the playoffs doesn’t mean a whole lot when you really don’t have the quality of team to win the big one. I feel like the last 3 seasons have been the feeling of limping into the playoffs and hoping the stars align. I’d rather have a down season knowing we are coming back with a team who doesn’t need everything to go right to win the SB.

    • Option 1 has largely been forced upon the FO in 2018 by their decision to go with Option 2. They went all in on the Duane Brown trade and – I’m just going to say it – it hasn’t paid the dividends they were hoping. It has, however, robbed us of enormous draft capital next year, to the point where we just don’t have enough picks to generate decent competition on our roster. That leaves a real possibility that we will have to content ourselves with Chris Carson as our prospective RB in 2018 and leave our first pick for more severe needs (WR).

      • Sea Mode says:

        WR? Really? We used a R3 and R5 pick last year. It’s one of the positions way low on my list. RB, Edge/OLB, LB, OL, TE all clearly higher for me.

        • Brandon Adams says:

          Those are all high, but I attribute part of our passing problems (and I realize this isn’t high on anyone’s radar yet) to having a lot of small receivers. Doug, P-Rich, and Lockett aren’t big, the latter has lost his speed, and Seattle is staking an enormous part of their passing success on Seattle being able to win on contested passes (the infamous “redline” throws). Having larger receivers would be a tremendous help in that area. If Graham and Richardson walk, the situation gets worse.

          We could see more of Amara Darboh and/or David Moore if that happens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle is tempted by a #1 WR prospect should one fall to #20.

  5. C-Dog says:

    It’s going to be probably the most interesting offseason this team has had in quite a while. I’m going to stay glass half full on this. I just don’t see the need to get too far down in the dumpsters, certainly don’t feel the need to panic and start dealing away core components.

    Fix the Run Game.

    IMO, it all starts here.

    Honk if you think after 10 plus weeks of NFL football, defenses pretty much know by now that to defend Seattle’s offense, you don’t have to respect the run game much, you can play against 2017 RW by dropping more into coverage and use a spy. In order for the offense to play well, it has to be patient, take what the defenses give, and minimize penalties.

    Honk if you think that the Rams game was just the absolute perfect storm for the Rams with an exhausted Seattle defense that has seen the field away too much this year because of offensive stall outs, coupled with their injuries, and Seattle’s early mistakes on the offense pretty much took what little wind was in the sails completely out.

    My hunch is that JS has been eying this 2017 class specifically for RB, and wanted to use the last couple drafts to go OL, DL, DB, etc. It would make sense looking at this class.

    I know a lot of folk want to blame the coaches and front offense for things like the Lacy signing, OL, etc.. but honestly; did anyone who closely follows this organization honestly foresee the regression of a healthy Thomas Rawls, non factor due to injury of CJ Prosise, the non factor of Eddie Lacy, the early season ending injury of promising Chris Carson, and that in the finals weeks of the season the reliance of Mike Davis and JD McKissic?

    If you foresaw that scenario, let me tip my hat to you. At the start of the season, I wouldn’t have imagined that.

    RW is been close to 90 % of the offense. I’m going to throw very minimal criticism his way.

    Has he been bailing out of the pocket too often, and running himself into sacks? YES. That third down sack he took in Dallas for a 23 yard loss was gross to watch. The backwards pass out of bounds against the Rams was unequally difficult to watch. He’s been force to do too much, and IMO, it’s been kind of impressive that he’s handled it as well as he has, but it’s caught up the last two or three games. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing with an injury. He took a vicious hit on a scramble play against the Eagles a few weeks ago that was pretty scary to watch from the stands.

    Whether or not they make the playoffs or not, it would just be really nice for this team to come out against the Cardinals fired up for the win, and for the offense to stay on schedule through the course of the game. Just end 2017 on a positive note with a feeling that what needs to be fixed in 2018 is fixable.

    Just. Fix. The. Run. Game.

    Six winning seasons in a row is a pretty solid run. As a life long Seahawks fan who started watching the team as a kid in 1976, trust me. It could be a lot worse. Panic is the one this I don’t want to see this front office do, and I kinda think that they are smart enough not to do that.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      If we win and don’t make the playoffs, we’ll be one of the best ever teams to miss the playoffs and a couple of teams will be breathing a big sigh of relief that they aren’t receiving the wildest of cards

      • C-Dog says:

        Exactly.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        More like the best half a team. The defense scored more points than offense last game.

      • peter says:

        Interesting to think that this “terrible, forgotten, once-run,” of a team could miss the playoffs on a 10-6 season and when the pundits begin 2018 prognosticating will most likely be throwing dirt on the grave that is Seattle when it’s been really down to a BRUTAL run of injuries and literally a league average running game that I think Seattle is honestly winning the division next year.

  6. Aaron says:

    Biggest needs on offense are a healthy and dependable great running back and probably one more solid o liner to either be acquired or rise from the current ranks. Biggest needs on defense are identifying the old core and moving on from them and adding young talent to the new core. It’s gonna be a 2-3 year thing but you gotta start right away.

    • Brandon Adams says:

      The fan base is giving far less credit than deserved for both Seattle’s progress in replacing that core and the quality of that core to begin with.

      Kam, Sherm, and Avril may have had people scrambling for the Trade Bait/Cut Someone for an OL Please God button, but again, watch everyone watch the injury list like a kid awaiting his dad from the front window when they’re injured. Bennett has 8.5 sacks on the season. Nobody really wants either Wagner nor Wright cut right now, despite the whole raarr-let’s-be-cutthroat-like-Belichick sentiment. They are all Top 5 at their positions, indisputably, with nobody behind them even approaching their level of quality (until Bradley McDougald). That has robbed the team of leverage, big contracts or no. If our OL wasn’t struggling, I guarantee you a lot fewer people want any of these defensive stars gone.

      Meanwhile, Seattle has procured Frank Clark, Shaquill Griffin, Jarran Reed, and a ton of interesting rotational talent on the DL and currently redshirting in the secondary. They’ve parted ways with Bruce Irvin, Chris Clemons, Byron Maxwell, Malcolm Smith, Brandon Browner, Tony McDaniel, Ahtya Rubin, and, for crying out loud, Brandon Mebane. It’s not as if Seattle has been desperately holding on to every incumbent. Far from it. But those things don’t get commonly acknowledged, because bias tends to focus more on what’s there than on what isn’t. Same reason Russell Okung could go eight games without a penalty, then commit one and have people react like he never stopped.

      Hope I’m not coming off as a jerk. It’s just frustrating to watch people generate narratives without doing any basic research.

  7. Ground_Hawk says:

    Jimmy G has 10 Td’s right now, and could add more in the final regular season game, however he has less than 500 receiving yards, so far. That yardage doesn’t scream, “pay me the money!” Those 10 touchdowns do though, and that production actually has him tied for 3rd in receiving TDs this year. However, I don’t think Seattle should pay Jimmy top tight-end dollars after this season, because although he has 2 more td’s than both Gronk and T. Kelce, he also has 600+ yards less than either of those two players. Maximum amount I think he should be signed for would be around $8.5 mil/year. His performance, at least to this point, does not warrant $10 million/year, because even though he is #1 in TD’s amongst TE’s, Graham ranks 16th in total yards out of all TE’s. That drop is significant, and it is noticed on game days. Without his 3-yard TD catch on Sunday, Jimmy would have had -2 receiving yards with 0 Td’s throughout the last three games.

    • LouieLouie says:

      Hey Ground:
      With a solid running game, Graham will get less attention than he does now. First and goal, with a good running threat would mean more one on one coverage for Graham. I hope the Hawks can keep him.

      • Ground_Hawk says:

        It’s possible Louie, and things could work out that way in regards to the run game, but the first and goal scenario that you described is what Jimmy has already been doing this season: being a TD-machine. My point is that even though he has been a TD-machine this year, he is not doing nearly as well in between the 20 yard lines, and that should factor into how much he earns over the offseason. Currently, I do not think Seattle should offer him more than $8.5 mil/year, because compared to the overall production of other TE’s in the NFL that is the price range I think he has earned throughout the course of this season. The player I am seeing on gamedays does not warrant a $9+ mil/year contract, and it’s doubtful that the cause of his lack of production is strictly the fault of the poor running game. At $10 mil/year he needs to be making it his business to be fed the ball every down, or putting forth maximum effort when he executes his assignments. Too many times this year has he disappeared in games, dropped passes, or failed at blocking, especially for a man his size, to warrant being the highest earning TE in the NFL.

  8. Daniel Bryan says:

    Brandon, how do you feel about professional wrestling?

  9. Brett says:

    This is exactly what makes the hawks so dangerous even now. If they can just have a clean game they can absolutely beat anybody. What’s maddening is that they can also trip on their own feat and get beat by the Browns (not really hopefully).

  10. FuzzyLOgic says:

    Nice piece Brandon.

    I think half of us almost wanted the Hawks to lose against Dallas for a better draft pick. Now all of us want Atlanta to lose so we can get into the playoffs…..but if we miss the playoffs it won’t seem like so much of a loss because we all expect us to lose at some point. Is it better to make the playoffs and win a game and get the 22nd/23rd pick or miss the playoffs and get the 18th/19th pick. I say…..go panthers this Sunday.

    I will always want the Hawks to win no matter what. As long as RW is our QB do you ever see us picking in the top 5? Top 10? probably not. We had our window and won a Suber Bowl. Hell ya….it was one of the best days of my life. No other team is the Patriots, who get to play pretty easy schedules every year considering their division and playing in the AFC. It’s a lock for them to have home field advantage in the playoffs every year. We don’t have that luxury.

    I personally think priority #1 should be focusing on setting up our team to be able to take on the Rams for the next 5 years. If we can’t beat them out for the division I don’t like our chances in playoffs. We absolutely need a stud RB(Carson maybe…but probably not) and an Oline that can run block at least. Let RW do the rest. Our offense to me IS the real problem and we need to fix it fast or we will be left behind.

    • Brandon Adams says:

      Great post.

      • JimQ says:

        The Seahawks have to have a plan in the draft to get personnel to combat their new rival in the NFCW The Ram’s, specifically Gurley and Donald need to be -minimized- in future games. Exactly how can they do that? I don’t know, but they need to do something to keep those two in check in the coming years.

  11. 12th chuck says:

    Good perspective, but of any team capable of high turnover/rebuild along with new coaches, I would think the seahawks could do it faster than we think. They have already had a rebuild along with coaching/staff changes already.to miss the playoffs for one season is remarkable.Will they make the playoffs going 7-9? not a chance.I think of the rams are the team to beat. I am not sold on the 9ers yet.This should be the best div. in football again very soon. hopefully we can bully our way back to the top

  12. AlaskaHawk says:

    I really think we need some new offensive coaches. Frankly I would have fired one of them after the super bowl loss. The offense has only got worse since then. This extends to draft picks. Reasons for change include:
    1. Can’t draft or train an offensive lineman. Do you know the team is carrying 15 lineman? 3-4 of whom were tried and cut as starters this season. Training Sweezy was the high point of Cables life. Our best player Britt went through three positions. Ifedi onnhis second with calls to move him back to guard. I don’t know why they can’t just find a good offensive linemen the way they can on defense.

    2. Offense sucks at start of every season, regardless of how good they looked the year before.

    3. Stubborn adherence to same plays that aren’t working throughout the game and over entire seasons. I get it that they want to be a running team but when your blocking sucks and your running backs are injured you learn to adapt – except innSeattle.

    4. Penalties , penalties and more penalties. Add in some fighting and running their mouth off. Is anyone even in charge?

    I simply do not expect those things to change until the coaches and culture change.

    • peter says:

      you’re an oline draftnik but for me this year the team has to go get a running back. Carson? He’s already been injured pretty badly and we can all see how Rawls is (not) coming back from injury. Maybe Carson comes back in the playoffs and shuts me up. I’d love that. I just don’t see it.

      Seattle’s an odd one with regards to knowing that they aren’t successful at their Oline choices so they keep going back to the well.

      I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here but when Wilson was at Wisconsin that team had zero kind of ZBS scheme. It was just big ten, enormous midwestern dudes running a power man scheme with downhill, inline tight ends (which Seattle needs,) fullbacks….oh and a QB who just rocked out a 72 percent completion rate and had a QBR of 191.

      So, the way I see it is Seattle needs to have a sort of “come to jesus,” moment with its future identity. You want big plays? Great. Wilson averaged 1.5 yards per attempt better than Luck that year. You know what you need to do? Stand in front of your man and block him. Sounds hard, sure. But you know what isn’t working? Running a scheme that none of your draft picks except maybe Glowinski (sort of) ever ran in college and hoping that works out for you.

      • Silkybrown says:

        If we could get someone like David Shaw from Stanford (or someone of his ilk, as we probably wouldn’t be offering the kind of salary it would take to pry him away) to be our O-coordinator, I’d be all for it. He knows how to run the ball effectively, and produces good o-linemen.

      • C-Dog says:

        Good points, Peter.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Not this again Alaska. Why do people keep saying they can’t train an offensive lineman? Or draft one? They literally trained a defensive lineman drafted in the 7th round to be a good guard who got paid big money in FA.

      • Smitty1547 says:

        Because we suck and cant move anyone off the ball for a run game or pass block to save are life!

          • AlaskaHawk says:

            I’m more interested in the overall offensive play and whether they will ever have a solid offensive line. A few successes in the past are great. Hopefully that will carry over to the present. But at this point they really only have one lineman Britt, that has been extended out of 15 lineman that are on the roster. There is a lot of wishful thinking about the rest. Maybe all we can expect is rookies playing out their contract with a few key free agents sprinkled in.

            As far as coaching – for every Sweezy there has also been a Harvin. Why didn’t they reach full potential out of a first round talent during that second year? Head case or not= there are ways to manage behavior.

      • peter says:

        obviously cable can coach. Britt, sweezy. I just wish they’d scheme for the strengths. cut blocks for the mountainous men of carpenter and ifedi?

        not a good idea. those two in particular should be viewed as roadgraders.

  13. LouieLouie says:

    Good article Brandon. Count me in with those who don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button yet. The key is the run game. I thought Rawls started to look OK in Dallas. I’d like to see more of him against AZ. A running back tandem of Carson, Rawls and Davis may work next season if a “stud” back is not available in the draft.

    The O-line didn’t play very well against the Rams, but not to many O-Lines do. The Hawks missed Wagner at full speed, and KJ too. The O-Line is beginning to look semi-adequate in pass pro, but still has a way to go with run blocking. With an improving O-Line, and healthy knees, ankles and Achilles all around, next year may be OK. Imagine how good Wilson could be with a decent O-Line and a solid running game.

    • Brandon Adams says:

      So few quality defenses get credit for what they do to us. It’s always assumed that we either are or aren’t doing something and that’s the only factor.

  14. Scampie says:

    I’ve been saying for a while that Wilson’s unwillingness to pass into man coverage kills the offense. Thanks for starting this conversation.

  15. millhouse-serbia says:

    Guys, what do you think, is Ifedi our RT of future? And if he isn’t, what we can get for trading him?

    • peter says:

      I think Ifedi still has one more year. Settle has been very generous with letting players get up to speed, Britt, Giaccominni, even keeping Sokoli on the roster for two years.

      Also, I think there is no trade value for a guy who leads the league in penalties.

      I don’t want to seem silly but let’s see where IFedi is next year before we start talking about getting rid of him.

    • C-Dog says:

      I think he’s going to be a really good player. I wonder if a switch back to guard after a season each at both spots will better serve him and the team, but it’s not something that I feel strongly about that it needs to happen.

    • Brandon Adams says:

      I’d agree with Walter Jones on moving him back to guard and seeing if he can be salvaged. It wouldn’t surprise me if Seattle tries that next year, given our lack of draft capital to replace anyone. Pocic’s mobility seems a better fit at tackle anyway.

  16. EQRoom says:

    I like the look at RW. I also notice that all the comments avoid criticizing him. He’s quite polarizing in that people seem unwilling to discuss his flaws much, maybe though just lately after the mmqb piece that seemed pretty awful and was taken to task.

    I would like RW to be the QB of the Hawks for another 10 years, without a doubt.

    But he has some flaws, and seems to be regressing a bit. The big question is would solid OL solve that or is it more than that. Most seem to think a RB and good OL play and all his problems go away. But he’s struggled with a few things this season that I think will take more effort by him to focus on fixing.

    1 – His accuracy has been pretty bad some games. “You try to throw with someone hitting you in the face!” come the replies always, aka it’s the OL fault. I don’t buy that for every throw. Some throws, yes, 100% it’s tough to throw when being hurried or hit, but some throws he just plain misses.

    2 – He doesn’t seem to be comfortable climbing the pocket. This was the source of the Aikman lazy comment, as RW tried to slide sideways instead of going forward, and he got sacked because of it. Again, many will blame the OL here. But it seems maybe his vision and/or his knowing the line often has problems up the middle cause him to not climb the pocket even when the blocking is good on that particular play.

    3 – Regarding your man and quarters comments, I am curious about this. I haven’t read commentary to this scheme vs RW. But I think sometimes with RW having some accuracy issues, and the drops, it leads to a lack of willingness to throw into tight windows because you are afraid if it isn’t pinpoint on the chest it could be a turnover. This happened a lot with ASmith in the past, as he has little confidence and got turned into a checkdown Qb by the media. He really has a good arm and you can see this year he’s much more willing to throw it deeper with his confidence in 87 and 10 there in KC. So to that end, how much do we see RW throwing the medium to deep routes that are not just bombs away? I feel like that is lacking, whether do to the first two issues, or this third one, or all of the above.

    • C-Dog says:

      Great points.

      I would say that RW recieves a fair amount of criticism.

      Just my opinion, but I feel some fans have an overinflated expectation that he needs to be accurate all the time, needs to climb the pocket in addition to his Houdini acts, needs to see all his receivers despite being 5-11.

      1. Most quarterbacks show inaccuracy from time to time. RW is no exception. Very, very few reach Joe Montana, Tom Brady, A-Rod, Drew Brees status. A healthy A-Rod is a freak of nature, and even he can be off. I am well aware of the throws RW can be off on, but he has always been a 60% + thrower. In the ebbs and flows of games and seasons, that is what you want.

      2. In terms of the pocket, RW has actually displayed pretty decent statistical results throwing there for a short QB, better than many taller QBs. If faced with premier inside rushers, though, he struggles. Ironically, he had a great game against the Eagles from the pocket considering the Eagles have one of the top DT duos in the league. If we go back and examine that game, we will see an offense that did a really nice job staying “on schedule” and keeping its short QB out of a barrage of third and longs.

      It’s true that RW escapes clean pockets often. We see that almost every game. It’s something he has to continue to grow to get better at. IMO, this could be mitigated some when defenses know Seattle has a formidable run game again and interior defenders aren’t entirely pinning their ears back.

      3. Again, just my opinion, but I think a lot of RW vs coverage issues are that he is conservative with the ball. He plays for a conservative non-QB guru old school defensive minded coach that preaches protect the football. His words to RW are almost always, “if you don’t trust it, don’t throw it.” In games where Carroll is complementary to RW when maybe RW didn’t have a great statistical game, I’m pretty sure it’s because RW followed his golden rules. I think if RW was quarterbacking for a Mike Holmgren, Holmgren would have coached him to “let it rip” and would have been more inclined to live with INTs so that his young QB can grow. That all said, does man coverage destroy RW? No, but if I were a defensive coordinator with the talent to play man, I would against RW.

      I would say lastly, as the broken record on the subject that I am, a run game fixes everything. If there is a run game to contend with, medium routes and deeper routes open up, and you probably have a QB attacking them with much more confidence.

      Again, really good post.

      • drewdawg11 says:

        He’s not had a solid interior pocket to step up into for so long, he’s not proficient at doing so. There was one play against Dallas where he could have stepped up, but he was slow to do so. That’s from years of being denied when he wanted to because of a poor interior line. If we had better play at guard, he might feel safer in doing so. I feel like the height excuse is overplayed.

    • Brandon Adams says:

      “The big question is would solid OL solve that or is it more than that.”

      Duane Brown hasn’t made a dent in his struggles. Just calling it like I see it. I don’t think there’s any serious arguing on that point after the last three games. I consider Wilson far more influential in Wilson’s issues than anything else. It’s all about the QB in the modern NFL.

      The run game, however, is easily the #1 issue. It’s a miracle and a sign of Wilson’s competence that we’ve gone 5-6 since Carson went down.

  17. Ulsterman says:

    I think Carson’s success is being exaggerated here. His last two games he had 76 yards on 23 carries – about 3.5 per carry. His average is boosted by the packers game when he had 6 for 39, but 30 of that came on one run. He did look better than the others but it’s not as if the seahawks looked like a good running team with him in there, other than the 49ers game.
    It’s blatantly obvious that the offensive line is just bad, just watch the number of times backs are getting hit in the backfield and how quickly opponents pressure Wilson. Whether it’s personnel, scheme or coaching something has been badly wrong for years now and at some point cable has to be held responsible.

    • Brandon Adams says:

      If the OL is bad, then Carson getting 3.7 YPC without that 30-yard run is a miracle right alongside Wilson’s better performances, and shows him to be a promising prospect, not a bad one. Given his ace grades in pass protection (something this front office highly values), I’m expecting Carson to be the guy going forward unless Seattle uses their first pick on a RB.

  18. swisshawk says:

    Last mock draft for this year:
    Seahawks somehow get 1 and 3 (trade down the 1 for a 2 and 3)
    1. LB Edmunds; the D looked completly different with two stud LB in the game, Edmunds could be the third (and hedging KJ), he could help to defend the run better in base and could be an asset for blitzing (I really liked how Richard brought the heat from different angles, would prefer doing it more)
    2. HB Harris; can really fire up his teammates, homerun threat, good pass protector, good/great compliment to Davis and Carson
    3. DE/CB; best available talent for hedging Benett or Sherman leaving after next year
    3. WR Ateman; 6’4 target that knows how to win jump balls in endzone, replacement for Jimmys TD
    4. RT; no depth whatsoever on the rigth side of the line, pushes Ifedi
    5. TE; somebody who can block please
    5. HB; added competition for Rawls, Prosise, Carson (injury)
    5. DT; big dude who can help defend the run, because somebody has to free up sheldon (if extended) and naz some on early downs, else they are already tired when their rush is most importnant
    7. LB; cheap depth
    7. K; we need someone and so we can choose one
    7. P; Cutting Ryan saves 2 mill and he wasn’t that good (neither really bad) this year

    • Sea Mode says:

      Like this draft a lot if it were somehow possible. Edmunds and Harris are my favorite prospects so far, with Rashaan Evans and Ronald Jones II as possible fallback options.

      Like Ateman too, though I’m not sure we would need to use a R3 pick to get him. Get the OL in R3, FB/TE Jaylen Samuels in R4, then Ateman and two CB projects in R5.

  19. drewdawg11 says:

    https://t.co/gEMo89kqQU

    MMQB article and Davenport is front and center in scouts’ minds. They think he doesn’t escape the top 15.

    • C-Dog says:

      That’s a bummer, he was a guy that I was hoping Seattle was trade back for and pick up a day two pick to still get a RB.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Not convinced on that just yet. Would need to test very well and have a great Senior Bowl. Which is possible. We’ll see.

      • drewdawg11 says:

        Rob, I watched the film and thought “second round pick with a chance to rise”. Very I consistent from play to play, between splash plays. I don’t think he’s perfect by any means, but you can see the talent flash big time on some plays. If he was playing against better competition you’d feel better about him. I like the kid from Va Tech, Edmunds better as a safer pick. He was also referenced in the article. Man, a lot will be decided on whether or not we win this week and make the playoffs. The difference could be several slots difference in the first round.

  20. Mark says:

    All of this and no mention of the biggest problem by FAR for this offense…the OL and running game.

  21. KingRajesh says:

    RE: 3. Russell Wilson

    Do we forget that Russell Wilson is this offense right now? To me, he should get all of the credit and none of the blame – nobody besides Jimmy Graham in the redzone and Paul Richardson have stepped up this year and excelled beyond what they were a year before. Sure, some players are a bit better (e.g., Ifedi), but I am absolutely fed up with criticism of Wilson when he is literally carrying this team on his back.

    Russell Wilson has 35 of the 36 Seahawks offensive touchdowns. 32 passing, 3 rushing.
    Russell Wilson is second in the league in passing touchdowns.
    Russell Wilson is third in the league in passing attempts to touchdowns thrown.
    Russell Wilson is the Seahawks leading rusher in Yards, Yards per Attempt, AND Touchdowns.

    • Brandon Adams says:

      Wilson’s outstanding accomplishments this year do not mean that he never makes boneheaded plays. Both can be true. It’s really just another compliment to Wilson that I say he could be even better.

  22. Hawk Eye says:

    nice article. I agree about Russell being a franchise QB, but also with flaws. It just seems that certain teams can shut him down, and he and Bevel have no answers. GB, Dallas, Rams. Even Az, most of the time. 4 weeks ago I thought the offense was improving, the O line was improving and other than a good RB, the whole draft would be focused on the D. Now, I am not so sure.

    for everyone who thinks a rebuild or reboot will take a long time, look at the Eagles. Kelly left them in a mess and in cap hell only 2 years ago. But I think the secret to a fast rebuild is to keep as much of your blue chip talent as possible and you need some luck in the draft and with cheap vet FA’s. Letting Thomas, Bennett, KJ go will not lead to a quick rebuild. Overpaying JG, PRich and Sheldon would also be a mistake. If Kam, Sherm and McDowell can play next year, I think a good rookie LB and Cb would make the D elite again. I think what you will not see for the next few years is JS trading away high picks for vets anymore.

    Cannot worry about the Rams and 49’rs. I would bet the Rams regress a bit next year. They have played great, but very lucky with health and they got a 1 year bounce from new coaching (and getting rid of Fisher). Let’s see them do it 2 or 3 years in a row. As for the unbeatable Jimmy JQ, I would think the 49’rs will be better, but not yet a powerhouse, long way for them to go to get there. But not an automatic 2 wins every year either. And Az may take a step back as they take a step forward. And the Hawks have a lot of young guys drafted in first 4 rounds from the last 2 years who could step up next year

    and I have to agree with C-Dog, that fixing the run game would solve a lot of issues. And still very possible that Prosise can play next year and be a difference maker. There is a long list of guys with talent and injury plagued first couple of years. B-Max, P Rich, Lane, W Thurmond on the Hawks, Clowney in Houston. I would not count on it, but I would also not count him out.

  23. SheHawk says:

    Spot on points about RW. Is strange we all seem so grateful to have a legit franchise QB that we don’t often critique his play.
    Here is great news = Russ #1 asset is his brain….He is probably. 2x 3x smarter than say for example Cam Newton. He had to be to make up for his height… his dad was an educator and he really seems to be a lifetime learner type = be constantly learning, striving for improvement. So he will fix most of this. Would be great to have him train with a QB guru over off season..Also when the run game gets fixed and we’re back to being a balanced offense these issues will clear up quickly.

    • vrtkolman says:

      Great points on Russell. While Bevell gets criticism a lot, we have to remember that he has to work with a lot of unconventional traits. There is a lot of chatter about wanting more timing based, quick strike plays but you can’t design an offense around that with a QB who won’t make those throws a lot of the time.

      Along with fixing the running game, I think a big, physical receiver who can get down field would be Russ’ best friend. Yeah I know, every team wants that, but Hopkins for example was a later first round pick.

  24. SheHawk says:

    Spot on points about RW. Is strange we all seem so grateful to have a legit franchise QB that we don’t often critique his play.
    Great news = Russ #1 asset is his brain….He is 2x 3x smarter than ..say for example Cam Newton. Had to be to make up for his height… His dad was an educator and he seems to be a lifetime learner type =constantly studying, learning, striving for improvement. So he will fix most of this. Would be great for RW to train with a QB guru over off season.. Also when the run game gets fixed and we’re back to hsvinh a balanced offense these issues will clear up. The real slog will be getting back to that balance on offense.

    I believe our defense is in midst of transition to younger version and will be quite formidable for years to come. Malik was a disaster pick but JS hit paydirt with Clark, Reed, Griffin and Naz. All are studs. Can’t wait to see more of them as well as Hill. FA too Coleman and Jordan! JS is finding great talent. My hope for draft is RB OL and LB. Secret wish is we grab both a husky (k. Bieria) and a coug (Hercules – cuz I really want that on my next jersey despite it being his first name) but more likely OL.

    Arians says the cards are going to kick our assets ??! Not on my birthday. Prediction Seahawks win + falcons loose and we start 2018 heading to play offs once again. Go Hawks!

  25. drewdawg11 says:

    At this point, if Malik does anything it will be a bonus. The kid needs to get his head straight and make sure he’s healthy and ready to go next season. I still can’t believe that we took tbt guy. Sooooo many red flags. His entire final season was a mess. He’s obviously very immature. Still, he can grow up. I hope that he gets it sooner rather than later.

    • Trevor says:

      His health and attitude are a key to this off season! Hated the pick but my fingers are crossed that he can turn it around.

  26. Trevor says:

    A huge unknown and critical piece of the off season puzzle is the health of Mcdowell. If he is healthy I dont think JS trades for Richardson. So basically the Hawks spent their 1st pick in 2017 and 2nd rounder in 2018 on his spot.

    If he comes back healthy and be the dominant presence they expected we are setup nicely on the DL and dont need to sign Richardson. A vet run stuffer would be fine. If not then re-signing Richardson or an interior DL like Vea, Settle or Christian Wilkins has to be a consideration in Rd #1.

    2018 DL Bennett, Naz Jones, Reed, Clark, Dion Jordan, Braden Jackson
    + Mcdowell and Vet Run Stuffer / or Richardson/ or 1st Rd DT

    Sounds like a solid group to me.

    • Brandon Adams says:

      I am assuming, at this point, that Malik McDowell never plays a down for the Seahawks. If he does, that’s a bonus.

  27. Peanut says:

    Any way we can steal the Cowboys O-line coach? Seems to always get something great out of players. I know they have been picking higher for abit, but that won´t always translate to star player ( just look at our LG)

    • Brandon Adams says:

      >Any way we can steal the Cowboys O-line coach? Seems to always get something great out of players.

      Except for any Super Bowls.

  28. Trevor says:

    The more I think about it the more I hope the Hawks focus on Defense and RB in the draft. Then focus on offense in free agency.

    If we agree that a big WR / Target to replace Graham and a LG to replace Joeckel are the priorities outside of RB what do you guys think about targeting

    Terrell Pryor as a big WR target and DJ Fluker as a big mauler at LG?

    Fluker was a bit of a bust at LT but seems like an ideal run blocking LG.In his first season with New York, Fluker hardly played in the opening three games of the season. But he was a regular in the next seven. The Giants averaged 48.7 rushing yards in the games without Fluker in the line and 110.6 in the games with him. With Fluker and Brown on the left side they would be enormous and should get lots of push in the run game. He is still only 27.

    2018 OL LT Brown, LG Fluker, C Britt, RG Pocic or Ifedi, RT Ifedi or Fant
    Reserves: Fant, Rees, Roos + Rookie

    Pryor has not worked out in Wash with injuries but might be the ideal big WR target to compliment Baldwin and Locket.
    2018 WR Baldwin Locket, Pryor, Moore, Darboh
    2018 TE Willson, Vannett, Swoopes or Rookie or Vet blocking TE

  29. Trevor says:

    Sam Darnold Says ‘I’d Be Honored to Play for Any Team’ When Asked About Browns

    This is a prime example of why the only 3 considerations for 1st overall in this draft should be Darnold, Barkley or Mayfeild.

    I would not have Rosen in my top 20. A franchise QB needs to be a leader of men first (Brady, Manning, Rodgers, Wilson ) successful new QB (Wentz, Watson) they lead by example and work ethic. I certainly dont know Rosen but everything I have read or heard from him sounds like an arrogant spoiled teen ager. Sounds like Jay Cutler, Jeff George material to me.

    Hope I am wrong and he has a great career and model citizen but I would not touch him in the draft same as Connor Cook or Hackenburg in recent years. Would love to see the Cards trade up to take him.

  30. Madmark says:

    This defense this year, even with the injuries, is still a playoff caliber defense and is pretty much responsible for how well we did this year. We might need a twitch here and there to replace a Kam and Cliff this year but I still feel good about the defensive side of the ball.
    The offense is my main concern going forward into the future and Mr. Adams you hit on 3 topics that really make a lot of since and they lean to offensive side of the ball where we lack the depth.
    Drops: I make no bones that I really pay attention to the TE spot. Zach Miller knew the ZBS so good we rarely got to see him as a receiver but when they did thrown to him he made them count with a catch. I’m hoping Nick Vannet will become one of those guys. I let him slide on some drops he had because this was his rookie year. Willson looked good to start the year but then he got injured and when he came back he just never looked 100%. Then theirs our Jimmy Graham, with 10 TD passes, and a lot of drops all thru the drive just to get to the end zone. After watching a play in Dallas of him trying to make a block and ending up on the ground its apparent that he isn’t here to block but to catch passes. The receivers on 1 hand made some spectacular grabs and then next play would drop a simple 3rd and 6 otr 7 yard 3rd down pass across the middle in there hands and drop it. I was hoping for more from Locket this year.
    Injuries: The offense suffered here cause of the lack of depth and talent. 1 player that I will really be excited for will be George Fants. I had high hopes to see him excel this year but it turn out different. If we keep Duane Brown, George Fants, and Ifedi we have 3 Tackles for camp. Eddie Lacey was not our answer to the pounding running back we like. He like Jimmy Graham seem to sluggishly lumber down the field. Thomas Rawls seem to have forget how to hit the holes and C.J. just couldn’t stay healthy to get on the field. Chris Carson was the hope and next year he’ll be talent coming back. We need to bring another talent I’m all in for Alabama’s RB Damien Harris.
    Russel Wilson: What can I say. There were the games he started so pumped up he would overshoot a receiver. He’s not going anywhere so I really have nothing more to say other than I know he will work to fix it. We should be thankful we weren’t Green Bay.
    This year isn’t over yet but the future isn’t as dark as it was in 2008. I hate to say it but I hope Kam and Cliff for there well being decided to quit playing and enjoy what they’ve done. I never thought I say it but come on Panther help us out.

  31. GoHawks5151 says:

    Agree with so.much of this. Injuries have decimated this team. There are no real shut down defenses this year in the playoffs. No 2013 Seahawks or 2015 broncos. Bend but don’t break can win it all. At full strength Seattle is just as good any defense in the playoffs. They will add and augment but I think the give it one more go as is next year.

    The run game and the O-line… As a Offensive line coach for my city’s High School team (not relevant) I have racked my brain about the best way to go about it. I think that Pete and Cable agree philosophically and that’s why he caters to him so much. They want to pound the ball. They want a simple scheme (zone is simpler concept, bigger on execution). They want to combat athleticism with athleticism. How well these are carried out is always the issue. Even during the beast mode era with Unger and Okung the run game would get stagnant. Athleticism and penetration kill all run plays but zones in particular. Reaching a whole gap over laterally against a 1.6-7 sec 10 yard split guy almost makes the concept obsolete. They then compound this by trying to cut block every DL at the point. This is not always necessary in a zone scheme. The thought is never to over power, but to stalemate. A body on a body is considered a win. So many times we have seen OL cut and miss. Again if they stayed up and made DL work to get off blocks it would give the RB options. It also makes no sense to draft all these TEF starts and not let them be athletes. A Man like Ifedi needs to be going forward not side to side. Power man concepts with pulling lineman can make better use of the speed. Power itself lends itself to the read option as well keeping that in the play book. I think Cable is a niche expert at this point. He is good at development in a tough scheme. But the scheme is rigid. Throw in the faults of the RBs ( run game coordinator) and the fact that he was never known for his pass blocking and is clear to see the realty of the offense going forward may have out he him. He has had successes and RW’s flaws exacerbate these weaknesses but these things have rung true for years now. With or without Cable they need to adapt to their personnel and make the game easier on the O line.

  32. vrtkolman says:

    I kind of like this Lewerke kid from MSU. He’s from Tacoma! He’s incredibly sloppy at the basics, but he’s a playmaker. Fairly mobile at QB and has dropped more than a few deep dimes against the WSU D. He throws from the run very well.