Are the 2020 Seahawks better?

A lot hinges on the future of this man

Since 2015 the Seahawks have been in a position of being good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to make the Super Bowl. They’ve only won the NFC West once in the last five years — in 2016. In that same five year period the Niners and Rams have both competed for the Super Bowl and the Cardinals have played in the NFC Championship game.

For the last couple of seasons being ‘good not great’ hasn’t been much of an issue. They were clearly going through a reset. Making the playoffs during this period was a bonus — a credit to the team and staff and a real achievement all considered.

Eventually though you have to take a step forward. This year provided an opportunity with ample cap space and a decent collection of draft picks.

So have they achieved it?

Let’s start with the defense and note the defensive statistics from 2019:

— The Seahawks finished with 28 sacks, second fewest in the league behind only Miami (23)

— Their sack percentage was 4.5% — third worst overall

— The Seahawks produced a sack or quarterback hit on just 14.4% of opponents’ pass plays — worst in the NFL

— They had only 126 pressures, sixth fewest in the league behind Detroit (125), Oakland (117), Houston (117), Atlanta (115) and Miami (96)

— Seattle’s pressure percentage was the fourth worst in the league (19.3%) behind Detroit (18.9%), Houston (18.1%) and Miami (16.7%)

— Seattle hit the quarterback 68 times — fourth fewest

— They had 52 TFL’s — fourth fewest

— They gave up 55 explosive running plays on defense, seventh most in the NFL

— Their explosive run play percentage (14%) was the third worst overall behind only Carolina (16%) and Cleveland (15%)

— They gave up 4.9 YPC — fourth most overall

— They had 131 missed tackles during the regular season — fourth most.

Have they done enough to avoid a repeat in 2020?

(Note — the units below are optimal groups — I’m not including players who were on the periphery or injured for most of last season)

2019 Defensive line

2020 Defensive line

2019 Linebackers

2020 Linebackers

2019 Cornerbacks

2020 Cornerbacks

2019 Safeties

2020 Safeties

The defensive line looks inadequate for a title push. Their best player (Clowney) remains unsigned and they’re yet to replace Al Woods. They’ve added two veteran journeymen and two rookies to the defensive end rotation. At the moment their starting five technique would be the underwhelming Rasheem Green or L.J. Collier.

Carroll and Schneider have talked up Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa combining for 15.5 sacks last season but the year before they combined for only 7.5. It’s a stretch to imagine this group creating any level of consistent pressure, which could expose the secondary. They’re also still lacking a dynamic interior rusher — something they’ve seemingly been searching for since 2010 and haven’t been able to find. They hope Jarran Reed can provide pressure but it would’ve been nice to see him playing alongside a threatening partner.

The depth is clearly improved, however. Instead of rotating in the likes of Branden Jackson they’ll be able to move in Irvin, Mayowa, Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson. That’s an improvement. They’re still missing a star though. Depth without top-level talent isn’t a fix. The Seahawks across the board are arguably more depth-rich than talent-rich at this point. You need someone you can rely on to create consistent pressure and help you win key games. There’s a Clowney-shaped hole in the rotation.

The current line also doesn’t appear capable of protecting the linebackers, which impacts your ability to defend the perimeter effectively or max out the major investment Seattle has made at the position ($25m on Wagner & Wright alone in 2020, plus a first round draft pick).

The significant additions compared to last year are Jordyn Brooks (replacing Mychal Kendricks) and Quinton Dunbar. There’s a lot of hope for Dunbar because he was rated highly by PFF in 2019. He does have to learn a new system/scheme though and he missed 14 games in the last two seasons through injury. Brooks could ultimately replace Wright (who in turn would replace Kendricks).

If the aim this off-season was for the defense to take a big step forward, it’s hard to argue that has happened so far. Where are the difference makers? They weren’t active enough in free agency to add bodies to the group. They appear to have prioritised retaining Reed and Clowney — and then by being stuck in stalemate with Clowney, they’ve not been able to work around his salary already being on the books.

Even now, they have cap space available but seem to be in a holding position waiting for a resolution to the stalemate. They’re not signing a backup QB, a defensive tackle, a nickel or filling any other remaining needs. They could sign Geno Smith and a defensive tackle tomorrow if they wanted. Presumably they aren’t because they have to keep the available cap space free for Clowney. Having taken it this far, they more or less have to see it through to a conclusion now. He’s the only genuine impact player out there who remains available. There’s nobody else who can do what he does (Everson Griffen is good but he doesn’t wreck games).

The ability of the defense to take a step forward might rest solely on their ability to get Clowney back. They seemingly know that too — which is why whenever they’re asked about the situation they always talk about ‘moving on’ then couch everything with ‘the door remains open’. Of course it is. It’s going to remain open — and they’re going to protect their cap space — until a resolution is met.

It’s also possible they simply played the hand they were dealt. If they didn’t see the value in Robert Quinn and Dante Fowler, or didn’t like the trade market for Matt Judon or Yannick Ngakoue, that’s understandable. That said, Baltimore were able to add Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe to their already talented defense. Failing to come to a conclusion with Clowney — regardless of circumstances — has to impact the assessment of the off-season. They wanted him and called him a priority — but as of yet he’s not a Seahawk. Not sealing a deal there — or bringing in a replacement — is a black mark.

On offense they finished the 2019 season with the fifth ranked unit per DVOA. Russell Wilson had a MVP caliber season while D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett were superb. The team fumbled too often, though, and the offense collapsed at the end of the season when Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny were injured.

2019 quarterbacks

2020 quarterbacks

2019 running backs

2020 running backs

2019 tight ends

2020 tight ends

2019 receivers

2020 receivers

2019 O-line

2020 O-line

There are two big moves on offense. One is the addition of Greg Olsen at tight end. The other is the significant change to the offensive line.

Olsen provides some stability given Will Dissly’s injury history and they have depth at the tight end position now. He might be older and he might’ve been close to retiring and taking his place in a broadcast booth — but Olsen has always been a class act. He’ll provide a safety net and be vital on key third downs and in the red zone. The young developmental depth in Colby Parkinson and Stephen Sullivan provides hope for the future too. It’s an intriguing unit that makes up for the lack of a significant receiver addition. Even so — the way this team improves in 2020 will come down to the availability of Olsen and Dissly rather than the young talent emerging.

It remains to be seen what the changes to the O-line will provide. Damien Lewis is a very talented rookie but unproven. B.J. Finney has limited starts at center and is far from a proven commodity. Brandon Shell was benched by the Jets in 2019.

Whatever your views on Britt, Fluker and Ifedi — they haven’t been replaced with proven upgrades. They’ve been replaced with players who themselves are question marks. The Seahawks have 18 offensive linemen on the roster but a good 5-6 are camp bodies. They hope for strong competition but it seems pretty obvious who the starting five will be with only one question mark at left guard.

At running back — Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny both suffered somewhat serious injuries at the end of last season. The only change from 2019 is Deejay Dallas has replaced C.J. Prosise. There’s already talk of Penny starting the season on the PUP list. That would put tremendous pressure on Carson to stay healthy, otherwise the running game could collapse the offense much like it did at the end of 2019.

It’s inevitable, therefore, that they bring in at least one more veteran runner. That could be Isaiah Crowell, Devonta Freeman, Carlos Hyde or Marshawn Lynch. Again though — the Clowney stalemate means they can’t plan at other positions until that issue is resolved. They’re stuck in a waiting pattern. Once a decision is finally made with Clowney — they can sign a new running back, backup quarterback, defensive tackle and maybe even bring back Josh Gordon. For what it’s worth, I think Lynch will be the choice and they can wait that out until pre-season. It’s strange though how they’ve added major depth at two positions (TE, OL) and yet the running back group — an area which really held them back at the end of last year — hasn’t been significantly bolstered yet.

Finally at receiver — they will hope that David Moore and John Ursua take a step forward. It’s hard to say either will though. Philip Dorsett is an upgrade from Jaron Brown. Yet they could really do with a proper third wheel to compliment Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Re-signing Josh Gordon would produce that — but it’s unclear whether the Seahawks have any interest in him after last seasons suspension (plus he’s yet to be reinstated).

Writing down the roster in this way makes you realise how much is still to be done. It also makes you realise how important Jadeveon Clowney still is. Add him to the D-line rotation — and bring in a defensive tackle — and you’ve got the makings of a slightly improved group. Without him, the whole thing looks inadequate. Meanwhile there are question marks about the O-line and further depth is definitely required at running back.

Depth is important in the NFL. The healthiest teams with enough quality often last the distance. Seattle has some of the ingredients but arguably not enough proven or developed star power. Not hitting on early draft picks in recent years has been costly.

The Seahawks are a good football team. The current group can make the playoffs again — mainly due to the sheer quality of the quarterback. They haven’t made a stride forward this off-season however and unless Clowney re-signs, they run the risk of failing to properly address their struggling D-line in terms of 2020 impact.

The frustrating thing for fans and the Seahawks as an organisation is for any further moves to be made, we’re seemingly going to have to wait for Clowney to make a decision. And nothing appears imminent.

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  1. Darnell

    Offensively, I think they have taken a step forward with their #3 WR target with Dorsett being an upgrade over Moore, Turner or whoever at any given time. The TE depth is better overall, and could be a real strength even, health dependent of course. Moving on from your worst offensive player, Ifedi, is at minimum, addition by subtraction.

    Defensively, right now, the run defense is seriously downgraded without Clowney and Woods. Interior disruption has taken a step back in the loss of Jefferson and some of the A and B gap stuff that Clowney does. The edge rush has taken a clear step forward. After Jacob Martin was traded they were left without anyone who really had the speed and juice to threaten and bend the edge. Irvin, Mayowa, Taylor and Robinson are clear upgrades from the listless edge speed of 2019.

    Safety is better with a full season of Diggs. CB2 has been massively upgraded with Dunbar. The 2nd level is faster and more athletic with Brooks.

    • Rob Staton

      But how do you know Shell is any better than Ifedi?

      The depth at edge rush is better. They don’t have a proven, threatening edge rusher though. And Clowney is still an edge rusher who, so far, has not been retained.

      People assume CB2 has been ‘massively upgraded’. The reality is nobody knows. He’s missed 14 games in two seasons. Do people seriously think he’s the second best cornerback in the NFL just because PFF says so?

      Kendricks runs a 4.4. It’s not faster by swapping him for Brooks.

      • Ralphy

        You’re right Rob. A lot of people had never heard off Dunbar, then they saw the PFF ranking and were certain that he would be a massive upgrade for the defense and that his coverage will help the D line situation.

        The entire offseason hinges on Clowney.

      • McZ

        Shell is less prone to penalties, but has the same problems with his feet and hands. He seems to be no upgrade over Fant, who played a lot of heavy sets. No upgrade, by a fair margin.

        You forgot to mention Chad Wheeler, who already played under Solari. He will be in the mix to earn Ifedis position.

        Adding experience on CB2 by adding a good-if-healthy player, while always being able to fall back on 2019s player is an upgrade, to me. Being able to shut the backfield and keep the LBs invested in the run game has the potential to solve our lazy tackling, which in turn could elevate our lack of DL pressure a bit.

        • Rob Staton

          I see Wheeler as a camp body.

      • Coug1990

        Kendricks ran a 4.4 eight years ago. I doubt he runs a 4.4 now.

        • Rob Staton

          And yet the Head Coach spent a year talking about his 4.4 speed…

          • pdway

            Yes, but Brooks clearly looks faster to the eye on the college videos we’ve seen, than Kendricks did last year.

            I’m also hoping we contributions from Blair and Collier. Blair flashed plenty – so it’s not irrational to think he’ll take a step. And with Collier? Who knows. I”m relying on his 1st round status – b/c he didn’t show us much – but maybe w more oppty comes improvement.

            You’re dead right about Clowney though – no argument there. He remains such a key to feeling decent about our defense.

      • Darnell

        If you’re arguing that Dunbar isn’t better than Flowers and that Brooks isn’t currently faster than Kendricks then it will be pretty difficult to have any objective debate on the subject matter.

        • Rob Staton

          That’s right.

          No proper counter argument to the valid points I made, so just make a snarky remark.

          • Wallahawka

            It seems you’re being a little defensive here Rob, I don’t detect any snark in the parent comments.

            Kendricks could still have his 4.4 speed, or he could have lost a little and Brooks could be faster. Dunbar could play up to his PFF grade and be a significant upgrade, or he could totally flounder.

            Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t see how you can say your points are valid, yet there is no proper counter argument. It’s all speculation at this moment.

            • Rob Staton

              Sure, asserting two things I didn’t say and then adding “ it will be pretty difficult to have any objective debate on the subject matter“ isn’t snarky at all… 🤷‍♂️

              All in response to some valid points.

      • dan daly

        Rob like your breakdown and not to change the subject – I wonder if you will be doing any kind of analaysis of our UDFA group. Seattle always gives these players a legit shot.

        • Rob Staton

          I always hold back on that. They give these guys a shot but some get cut before camp even starts. I did Poona Ford back in the day because it felt like he had a legit shot. I’m not sure any of this years crop stand out like that.

          • Kenny Sloth

            Maybe Ant Gordon for the PS but does a PS candidate really deserve a write-up in May?

    • Derek

      I think Poona is going to play as well or better than Al Woods as a starter, he continues to get better every year. There is NO depth behind Poona and Reed, though. Also, i agree with Rob that there is a glaring hole at 5 tech with Collier and Green. Are they really counting on either of those two to rush from inside on passing downs?

      Seems like we had opposite issue last year.. too many 5 tech guys like Clowney, Jefferson, Green, Collier.. and really hurting at edge rusher with: Ansah, Brandon Jackson, and Clowney again.

      This year we only have Collier and Green at 5 tech but are deeper at edge rusher with Mayowa, Irvin, Taylor, Robinson, and Brandon Jackson as veteran.

  2. ElPasoHawk

    Yeah, it certainly doesn’t look like much of an improvement with their roster. There is always hope that young players grow and the older guys don’t regress much, but they have to get Clowney back. He, as you have stated, is a game wrecker. If they resign him and have some good luck with health and winning close games, they have a shot at the Super Bowl next year. If our RBs, Clowney, Diggs, and Brown were healthy we may have gotten it done last year. I know Brown, Diggs, and Clowney played against GB, but they were gutting it out and they were so painfully close to completing the comeback. I wish our chances next year weren’t so conditioned on these things but at least there is some hope if they sign Clowney, which I think they will.

  3. millhouse-serbia

    If we are compering 2019 and 2020 I think we are better.

    At the moment their starting five technique would be the underwhelming Rasheem Green or L.J. Collier.

    Last year starting 5T were QJeff and Green.

    So if we are compering 2019 with 2020:

    NT and 3T- we need to add one more veteran DT who will replace Woods so it depends a lot of quality of that player but I think we will be better there because Reed is the best and most important player there and he will be there from the begining and I really expect much better season from him.

    5T-I hope 3rd year Green + 2nd year LJ can and will be at least same as QJeff + 2nd year Green.

    LEO- Clowney is 5T but in 2019 he played more than 95% snaps as LEO so if we are compering 2019 with 2020 I really think Mayowa , Irvin and Taylor can and will be much more productive from that position (sacks and pressure %) than Clowney and Ansah.

    LB- Not sure, because BWagz and KJ are one more year older…so its really projection how much will Barton improve or how.much will Brooks bring in year one…lets say we will be the same at LB..

    DB- with Diggs from the start, with Dunbar, with Shaquill and Tre with one more year under their belt we are definitely better than last year…

    So I think we will be better than last year…but its not hard to have better DL than last year so not so sure will that “better” be good enough for something big…

    My opinion is that Clowneys impact on last year Seahawks result is highly overrated…SF away is only game we won where he had high impact on final result…

    But I dont want to be wrongly understood…my opinion is also that if he can stay healthy, with one year under his belt in seahawks sistem, and with change of position (to play 5T and not LEO) he could have much much better 2020 than 2019 season and Seahawks would be much better team if they sign him for the upcoming season…

    • Rob Staton

      Last years starting 5T was Jadeveon Clowney. Not Green or Jefferson.

      • ElPasoHawk

        Rob, don’t you think that Clowney could be even better this year as a 5T? He spent years as an OLB at Houston and his weight was, I think, down from his college days. Given an off-season to put some weight back on and with a year under his belt at 5T I think he will be a much better 5T.

        • Rob Staton

          Of course. But he isn’t signed.

      • millhouse-serbia

        Clowney’s snaps by alignment in 2019, playoffs included:

        LEO/REO – 514
        OLB – 143
        DE (5T) – 32
        Interior – 23

        • Rob Staton

          Clowney is not a LEO.

          He’s a dynamic inside/out rusher, which in Seattle’s scheme is the ‘five technique’.

          But if you want we can waste time on this instead of talking about the actual article.

          • Scot04

            I know every game i saw him play as a Seahawks was as 5Tech.
            While I see Seattle improving their overall depth on both sides of the ball; i definitely didn’t see any upgrades other than Dunbar. Oline could have 4 new starters and can’t honestly say any are an upgrade. Only can hope. Our Dline was where we really needed upgrade. While we definitely improved our depth. We’ve regressed as of now. No upgrades at all. Would not want to go into the season relying on depth players and Rookies.
            Yes in a perfect world everyone would step up and improve, plus all our rookies would have a huge impact. Not very realistic though.

            Great write up Rob. Very thorough and insightful.
            Without Clowney I feel this would be a very disappointing offseason. I don’t know why some still only point out the 49rs game as his only impact game. What i saw was a key piece other teams had to plan for. Something Seattle definitely needs.

            • Jhams

              I’d say either Irvin or Mayowa are huge upgrades over Ansah.

          • HAWKTALKER#1


          • Tom Page

            That is not what I saw, that’s what is skill set is, yes I agree, but he played mostly Leo

            • Rob Staton

              Again, they lined him up all over the place last season because he was their only threat to rush the passer. He was not a LEO. He is not a LEO.

              We’re wasting time discussing this.

              • David

                I don’t think its a waist of time if the actual snap counts are correct. It indicates that he was being misused. I don’t know if the numbers are true though. Saying someone lined up all over the place vs charting it vastly different.

                • Rob Staton

                  He wasn’t being misused. He was being constantly moved around the formation to try and find ways to create pressure because he was literally the only player capable of doing anything.

                  He wasn’t a LEO. He isn’t a LEO.

                  We’re still wasting time.

                  • Kenny Sloth

                    During this Covid spring, time is all we got

  4. DC

    Right now we’re following a similar path to the Brees Saints & the Rodgers Packers. Single title HOF caliber QBs looking for their second.

    • GerryG

      Sort of, I would argue the Saints have put together much more competent drafting and off season plans and have been a play or two from the NFC Championships/Super Bowls the past 4-5 seasons

  5. Tony

    better? We probably mostly agree they are not. But if they are throwing out a big splash signing and going all in on there ability to scout unproven players and trusting the young guys with more snaps, im for it. While I hope for 1 good DL player to be added, I like switching up a mostly bad oline the past few years. I like the youth movement in the secondary. And i can see the small moves on offense helping with solid fits. If we face a rash of injuries like last year, I don’t see the depth yet. But as for starters if they remain mostly healthy, I like most of there moves. The dline is the only spot we can all point to as a concern. But IF this offseason moves to be more aggressive on play calling, maybe thats there plan b if signings like clowney or deals for a calais hurt there plan a.

  6. Tom Page

    One thing I have been thinking about is Clowney played the Leo position last season and he is really a 5-technique in our scheme. I think if Clowney signs he will play 5-tech and Darrell Taylor will start at Leo. I think Clowney playing the Leo had a negative impact on the defensive line play because he is not someone who is going to fly around the corner. So replacing Clowney at Leo with Darrell Taylor will be an improvement because Taylor’s skill set more closely aligns with the desired traits of a Leo.

    • Rob Staton

      Clowney is a five technique in Seattle.

      There’s no replacing him at LEO.

      They lined him up all over the place last season because he was their only threat to rush the passer. He was not a LEO.

  7. Greg Haugsven

    This is a very interesting and fun write up. For me I think the defense has taken a step forward but I’m not sure if it will be enough at this point. If they were 26th ranked last year they may have enough to be 20th ranked in 2020. You add Clowney and maybe they sneak into the top 15. On offense I think they added to the offense by adding to the TE group but have also created uncertainty along the OLine. I think we do have enough to possibly get to the NFC championship game but not to the Super Bowl (with Clowney maybe). Some of this can also change with how certain guys grow. Can Green and Collier take the next step? Can Diggs and Dunbar stay healthy to affect the whole season? Will we have enough depth at RB to make it through the season. Some of this stuff we dont know, so at this point its all paper thoughts.

  8. mishima

    Opposing teams will bully Wright, Mayowa and Irvin, so I hope they re-sign Clowney (5T), find a slot corner and commit to Brooks (WILL), Taylor (LEO), Blair (SS), Diggs (FS) from the jump.

    If they can’t be ‘better,’ they can at least be fun.

    • Rob Staton

      The only one I’d disagree with is Blair. He has to prove he can handle the defensive scheme. We can’t just throw him out there for hits.

      • mishima

        Totally agree: Blair would be a mess out there.

        IMO, not enough talent on defense to be competitive, so might as well get the 1st and 2nd year players some experience, see what you have going forward.

        • Scot04

          If they bring back Clowney and sign a DT they have enough talent on D to be competitive

          • Kenny Sloth

            They’ll always be competitive with Russ and Pete, but Rob is very much talking about building a super bowl favorite/legit contender.

            Itd take a minor miracle to drag this roster through the playoffs

  9. Strategicdust

    Nice article.Rob. Yes, this is what it keeps coming back to. A marginal, at best, improvement that does little to move the dial. It does appear that the offseason was predicated on signing Clowney but at their number. When that didn’t happen, it feels like the rest of the plan has floundered. If you have someone that important to your plan, that should have been resolved long ago. Instead, they’re left signing aged role players, unproven line help and a bunch of rookies. That does not feel like the step forward this team needed. The RB and WR groups feel the most vulnerable to injury risks Manx could easily derail the season without better quality depth. Waiting the weeks or months it may take Vlowney to decide, feels misguided but that’s the path they’ve chosen.

  10. EranUngar

    We are not in September, we are just starting May. Last year at this date we did not have Clowney or Al Woods so we are evaluating a job half done.

    Another question is what is the base line of our evaluation? The cut and paste of the defensive horrors paints a very damning picture that should have allowed us to pick Chase with our first round pick. However, this was still the top ranked NFC team after 12 weeks and then they faced some roster issues – Brown, Iupati, Woods, clowney, Griffin, Penny, Procise and Lockett was playing injured. No team can lose this amount of key starters in addition to Kendriks, Britt, Dissly and Dickson lost earlier and keep up winning in the playoffs. The fact that they were not totally blown in their last 3 game against SF, PHI and GB is why JS smiles a lot. Yes, RW and the offense carried this team but without his RB1, RB2. RB3. TE1. TE2 and injuries on the OL – it was too much to ask.

    As for potential improvements not mentioned:

    1. Reed playing from week one rather than week 7 without 6 weeks of training.

    2. Diggs starting week one with a full training camp with his teammates. The defense looked different with him playing healthy.

    3. In the first 4 games of 2019, rookie sensation DK Metcalf shocked us all with 10 catches in 4 games for over 200 yards combined. 2020 Metcalf is a whole different animal…

    4. When SF visited us in week 17 they had almost every one of their starters back on the field, we lost a third of the starting lineup. Health is not something you can count on as an improvement but it cant be that bad again, right?

    There are other young players on the roster expected to take a step forwards due to age and/or growing curve (Flowers, Green, Barton, LJ etc.). Some will, some won’t. Those who do will benefit the team.

    But, the big question remains open – The DL. I think it safe to say we have not yet seen the full 2020 DL roster.
    The key issue on the 2019 DL was the absence of a twitch/speed/bend player opposite Clowney at 5T. We now have 4 players with that profile – Irvin, Mayowa, Taylor, Robinson. Green and LJ are physically more suited to the 5T position. Can this bunch get it done with a Clowney, I am not sure. Did NE manage to field a fantastic defense without a Clowney level of talent on the DL – they sure did. I hope we will not have to find out if we can too. Life would be just perfect for this roster with Clowney.

    DL aside, I see a better team. Is it much better? I don’t know. How much better should they be to take a team that led the NFC after 12 weeks all the way? we’ll find out in about 8 months.

    • Rob Staton

      Eran it doesn’t matter that it’s May and not September. The point of the piece is to look at the comparison now. I even said numerous times that they have lots of work to do.

      As for “The cut and paste of the defensive horrors paints a very damning picture that should have allowed us to pick Chase with our first round pick. However, this was still the top ranked NFC team after 12 weeks..”

      I feel like I end up repeating myself all the time. But here we go.

      Here’s why they weren’t picking at #2…

      1. Russell Wilson

      That’s it.

      And they were not the top team in the NFC. As I’ve said time and time again, we all knew the reality. Some of us were willing to embrace it and discuss it and be honest about it.

      • EranUngar

        I will try to write it again and be honest about it:

        RW was the only reason we picked at 27 rather then 2nd in the draft. FACT.

        He is the sole reason we won 11 games rather the 5.

        He is still on the roster with a better assortment of weapons at his disposal.

        If the rest of team is worth 6 wins rather than 5, with RW we end up 12-4.

        We need to be real and honest, a football team is the sum of all they can do good&bad, RW and the DL combined. We have no argument regarding how poorly the DL played or how great RW was. Together they were ranked 1st in the NFC after 12 weeks, ended 11-5 and lost in the divisional round.

        The DL needs a lot of work to erase those shameful stats and become a good unit. The whole Seahawks team, RW&DL needs much less to make it a step or two further in the playoffs.

        Mahones had to lead a comeback in each of the chiefs playoff games. Their defense allowed 31, 24. 20 points in those games 25 points average. Mahones is the only reason they won. I am ok if the same will be said about RW in a year.

        • Rob Staton

          The Chiefs didn’t have this…

          — The Seahawks finished with 28 sacks, second fewest in the league behind only Miami (23)

          — Their sack percentage was 4.5% — third worst overall

          — The Seahawks produced a sack or quarterback hit on just 14.4% of opponents’ pass plays — worst in the NFL

          — They had only 126 pressures, sixth fewest in the league behind Detroit (125), Oakland (117), Houston (117), Atlanta (115) and Miami (96)

          — Seattle’s pressure percentage was the fourth worst in the league (19.3%) behind Detroit (18.9%), Houston (18.1%) and Miami (16.7%)

          — Seattle hit the quarterback 68 times — fourth fewest

          — They had 52 TFL’s — fourth fewest

          — They gave up 55 explosive running plays on defense, seventh most in the NFL

          — Their explosive run play percentage (14%) was the third worst overall behind only Carolina (16%) and Cleveland (15%)

          — They gave up 4.9 YPC — fourth most overall

          — They had 131 missed tackles during the regular season — fourth most.

          It’s too simplistic to say, ‘well they were behind early in a couple of playoff games and came back so it’s fine if Seattle has a crap pass rush’. No.

          And eventually you will accept that ‘being #1 in the NFC’ for a couple of weeks, when in reality none of us really believed they were even the second best team in the NFC, means diddly squat too. It was obvious to anyone willing to be honest about the situation.

          • Kenny Sloth

            But were they not clearly top 4 team in NFC? If we dont lose all our RBs I think we could’ve held onto the 2 seed

            • Rob Staton

              If you’re fourth in the NFC you might be 7th or 8th in the league.

              That’s very unlikely to mean a Super Bowl.

              • Kenny Sloth

                Fair points. It’s a distinct tier two in which Seattle currently resides.

                This team needs superstars. We’ve always been good at plugging holes, but nailing it on a few guys is paramount to getting iver the hump imo. Too many rentals and not enough development when we do get club control on players.

            • McZ

              Imo, 2019 was a window of opportunity that is about to close.

              We had a a good chunk of close games, some vs crap teams, and you can easily see us starting 1-2, if Big Ben stays healthy. We were one Zuerlein-FG away from missing the playoffs.

              Obviously, any NFC team has had problems, to some degree. The Saints played a lot of games under Bridgewater, the Eags had the nasty injury bug and no WR to notice, and the Rams were too late to the party laboring on their SB loss.

              2020, we talk about a resurgent Rams, a better Cards, a TB team with ambition and the right mix, and the Saints won’t go anywhere. The NFC North is open as always, but one thing you can bet is the winner is a very capable team. The Cowboys just had a premium draft, and the Eagles closed their few holes. I wouldn’t even write off the Bears.

              Even with Clowney, this is an optimistic and close call.

        • mishima

          Wilson has more weapons?

          New interior OL and RT, RBs and TEs coming off injuries, Lockett and Metcalf. That’s it. If healthy, I think they take a step back. Injuries to any one unit and they’re done.

          • king.

            Wilson (and Lockett) were spectacular last year. If Jackson didn’t erupt the way he did, Wilson would likely have been a deserving MVP. I’d argue he should have been anyway, but Jackson’s numbers were too difficult to ignore.

            Rob does a great job here asking whether or not the roster surrounding Wilson is any better than it was last year and I agree with his conclusion that it doesn’t appear they have made a significant step forward.

            Rob repeatedly mentions, in the article, in the comments, that Wilson is mostly the difference maker on this team between good and bad. This is borderline sacrilegious in some circles, but I appreciate the honesty.

            We tend to look at potential improvement from the point of view of an 11 win team that was driving for a place in the NFC Championship Game but that is overstating the quality of the roster and the performance of the team.

            By most statistical measures, as a whole, including the contributions of near MVP Wilson, Seattle was little better than an average football team last year that won more than the usual share of close football games. Having a great quarterback was a huge part of the reason for winning those close games.

            Nonetheless, even if Metcalf and Lockett stay healthy, and Carson and Penny get healthy, and the line suffers no drop from last year’s performance, whatever that level was, this offense is still a prime candidate for regression.

            Wilson very well might come out and light it up again next year, but Seattle is asking too much of its superstar and I believe we are taking his performance too much for granted.

            If Carson’s injuries linger into the season, or Lockett or Metcalf get hurt, it won’t matter how good Wilson is.

            Thinking Seattle is going to take a leap into true Super Bowl contention next year relies on several assumptions:

            1. Wilson will continue to be otherworldly.
            2. The offense will sustain above statistical expectation efficiency.
            3. The defense will improve significantly.
            4. Last year’s results were predicated mostly on the sum total of the team’s performance on the field and the win total was not significantly influenced by randomness.

            At this point, despite my respect for Wilson’s game, I don’t think any one of those statements are or will be true.

  11. Justin Mullikin

    You bring up a fair point, but we are not done yet. Are we better yet? I here you, it is probably a no.

    We are not far away though.
    Sign Clowney (or whoever)
    Sign Marshawn (or whoever)
    Sign Gordon (or whoever)

    Add these pieces and I say we are better. Yes, there is more work to do, but it is attainable.

    My only worry on offense is the RT position.

    Defensively it will always be the D line until they can get it done again. They added some interesting pieces, we just are missing the star piece.

    • Rob Staton

      Sure but I did say a few times in the piece that there was more work to do and that they are clearly waiting on the Clowney situation to finally resolve itself. But even then it’s debatable whether they’ve taken a clear step forward.

  12. cha

    Carroll and Schneider have talked up Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa combining for 15.5 sacks last season but the year before they combined for only 7.5

    Thank you. I cringe every time JS or PC say this and/or fans say this as a justification that the pass rush is significantly better.

    Irvin got his 8.5 sacks playing with Butler, Poe, McCoy, Addison, and Burns. Even Eric Reid had 4 sacks.
    Mayowa got his 7 sacks playing with Ferrell, Hankins, Hurst and Crosby.

    They won’t have near that depth of support in Seattle.

    • EranUngar

      A very good point. They had very talented players around them. Very talented.

      However, you may be pleased to know that out of all those talented player they played with they ended 2nd in sacks on each of their respected teams. Addison had 1 sack more then Irvin in CAR and Crosby had 3 more then Mayowa.

      The rest of those highly talented players ended behind Irvin and Mayowa in sacks.

      Personally I believe they are worth 8-10 sacks anywere.

      • Rob Staton

        And the two previous years Mayowa had five total sacks combined. He has three seasons in his career that are one sack seasons.

        But he’s a legit 8-10 sack player anywhere….

        • EranUngar

          We were talking about both player combined in relationship with JS quoting 15.5.

          On his own, Mayowa averaged 4 sacks over the last 3 seasons and close to 3 sacks average on his career.

          Bruce averaged almost 8 sacks in the past 3 years and 6.5 on his career.

          Together, 8-10 is pretty much the floor.

          • Rob Staton

            And that’s not enough for your starting DE’s.

            As backups and rotational cogs, fine.

            Not as starters.

            • EranUngar

              On that we agree. Great rotational parts but not top starters.

      • cha

        My point wasn’t about stats and numbers. It’s about support and getting isolated 1on1. They had it with Carolina and Oakland. And the numbers they produced with that support are being talked up as evidence they’ll do the same in Seattle without the same level of support, which is a pretty big logic leap.

        The Hawks have shown they will not rely on blitzing and scheming guys open. Therefore if they want pressure they need to get it in base.

        The Seahawks rush with 4. There’s 5 OL, and either a TE or RB to chip or full on block. That means their only pass rush threats can get double teamed on nearly every play, because Poona, Green, Collier, Jackson, etc haven’t shown they can consistently get pressure 1on1 and the rookies are rookies.

        Check the all-22. I’d be willing to wager neither Bruce nor Mayowa were doubled on any of their sacks. Or even chipped.

  13. KennyBadger

    Preacher meet choir, but what can really be done other than what they’re doing? Particularly given the other roster needs that you mentioned. I completely agree that the offseason hasn’t been what we hoped, however it seems that the vast majority of the deals made for difference making players were too high (?). I guess what I’m getting at is, everything they’ve done in the offseason looks like crahp in the absence of clowney and nothing can really be done until that changes- so is that his negotiating foothold and how much should they offer to get it done now?

  14. Pickering

    Another comparison is how Seattle look when matched up against SF and Arizona; both seem to have upgraded this year.

  15. WALL UP

    While it is appropriate to assess the 2020 team after the draft, it may be well to note the stage in which the team has been developed. Their age old manta is, “It’s not how you start but how you f…….”

    It is obvious that this team is still not the completed product, with unfinished business @ the DL/DE, RB, NB (not completely sold on Amadi’s man skills as yet, perhaps FS behind Diggs is best, we’ll see), & WR positions to be filled. I think everyone can see that, including JS & Co. What is reassuring to note is that those variables are still obtainable with the available cap space, and the availability of players to fill those roles.

    It’s hard to be confident in a world of uncertainty. But, there is this underlining feel of confidence to the approach to this off season that JS & PC are exuding, despite the apparent lack of urgency, that we all feel should be prevalent.

    We have to admit though, we really don’t know what cards JS & Co are holding. I do know that you don’t want to play him in poker. While we’re sweating bullets, he’s sitting there saying, “I got this brother.” How so?

    Well, he has maneuvered cap space to be in a position to pay more for Clowney, than his other suitor TENN, who already has put resources at the LB position that Clowney would be playing. So, it is unlikely that TENN would break the bank to sign him.

    Whilst others might deem JS & Co as penny pinchers. I’d side on the side of their shrewd awareness of player acquisitions. More times than none, they often come on top of the negotiations that they engage in. I still believe the Clowney struggle will end with a successful result, with him being a part of the Hawk’s 2020 team.

    Whatever holes are to be filled for the other positions, I’m sure they will have an answer for those as well. It just won’t be according to our timetable.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s nothing to do with anyone’s timetable.

      It’s about being good enough to win a Super Bowl.

      I read a lot of this type of thing. ‘Well PC & JS know best’.

      Eventually they need to prove that by doing what the Rams and Niners have done the last two years and reach a Super Bowl.

      • DC

        “If you’re not first, you’re last!”

        Let’s win a Super Bowl. The Rams & Niners blew it.

      • Kenny Sloth

        It really feels like a put up or shut up kind of season. Miss the playoffs and you’ve lost my faith PCJS

        • Rob Staton

          They’ll make the playoffs.

          My worry is it’ll be a repeat of the last five years. First or second round exit then a load of talk about it ‘being 2012’. We’ve been ‘2012’ for so long now. When’s 2013 happening? And this wasn’t a 2013 off-season.

          • DC

            “When’s 2013 happening?”

            Honestly? Never again. Compare that roster to this one and the disparity is incredible. That was one of the All-Time great teams in the NFL though imo. Doesn’t mean we can’t win another championship but it’s going to require a lot to go right across the board. As we were saying last year, we need more talent & that’s still true. The one thing I can say about the RW Seahawks is that in any single game they have a chance.

            • Rob Staton

              I don’t mean ‘when are they going to create a historically good roster’.

              I just mean getting back to the Super Bowl.

          • Kenny Sloth

            Too much talent to bungle it that badly, probably, but there is a distinct lack of developmental success with our draft picks

      • WALL UP

        They were inches away from having home field advantage, in a year where everyone thought they would not make the playoffs. Their depth caught up with them thru out the roster. But, particularly @ RB, TE, OL.

        Injuries plague all teams, that’s a part of the game. But, injuries to their top three RBs is an anomaly that will not occur again. I like what they have done, thus far, to address these issues.

        Not signing their OL FAs, and substituting them with less money spent, but not much a lesser talent gained, is a wise move. Less money spent on the OL would enable them to spend more on the DL, which is a greater need. Thru out the years less has been spent of the OL in favor of the Def. This is to be expected.

        The TE position should be competitive. Parkinson & Sullivan will provide length and speed to the TE group, as well as ST. My sleeper of the UDFAs is Maybry, a move HB/TF/FB, who does a great job in blocking in space.

        WR acquisitions will give competition for the #3WR. Like you, I think there may be an outside chance for Flash to reappear some time during the season.

        Are any of these the super stars, that Russ was calling for? No, probably not. But, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brooks and Lewis reach the Pro Bowl in a few years. I wouldn’t sleep on Taylor as well. Those (3) could help them reach the SB, even if it doesn’t occur this year, which may just surprise us, as they did last year.

        • Rob Staton

          No, they weren’t inches away from homefield advantage. They were inches away from winning the NFC West and being the #3 seed. The Seahawks couldn’t win the #1 seed in that week 17 game. Only San Francisco could.

          They were also clearly second best in that game and it took a near miraculous, perfect comeback from Wilson to make it a game. They also won many games in similarly close fashion. So if we’re going to say ‘they were inches away from the #3 seed’ we can also say they were two botched kicks away from being 9-7 and potentially missing the playoffs.

        • WALL UP

          Home field advantage is not implying No. 1 seed. They had no home field thru out the playoffs, due to the lost to SF, by inches. When does Russ not try to pull something out of the hat to win close games?
          For them being in the position to pull it out, was due to them being at home. SF had outmanned them thru out the game. And yes, SF did have a significant injury with their TE. SEA lost all their first (3) RBs.

          But, with the acquisitions that they’ve obtained thus far, I think their getting closer to winning the west again, and not playing (2) games on the road.

          • Rob Staton

            So when you say they were inches away from homefield advantage, you actually meant they were inches away from hosting one playoff game at home? And then playing the two on the road you claim they need to avoid?

            It’s OK to just admit you called it wrong, you know.

  16. Henry Taylor

    I really like this exercise, it’s a little concerning when its laid out like that. I think it’s pretty clear theyve not had an offseason to push them back into contention. But that being said, there are other players with upside on this roster that could take a step forward to elevate this team.

    Marquise Blair flashed some of the playmaking ability this secondary needs, he struggled to figure it out in year 1 and coaches didnt trust him to be out there over some pretty terrible alternatives, which is a concern but he was a rookie so you hope for better. If he wins the SS job that’ll be a good sign.

    Green is still very young, younger than Taylor, his progression from year 1 to 2 was substantial so that could be something. This is a big year for him.

    I still think Poona has some upside as a pass rusher, his leverage and his ability to knife through the defence makes me hopeful with him. Reed had a breakout in his third year.

    DK is a budding superstar, I’m expecting big things from him, by far the most hope I have for the guys listed.

    I get that these are all fingers crossed, hope for the best, like suggestions. But development is part of how you build winning teams, and it’s all I’ve got right now for how this side can be better. That and health, staying reasonably healthy for once would be great.

  17. Kenny Sloth

    So you’re saying they’ll be better if they add Clowney and Fournette copy that!! /s

  18. Denver Hawker

    Young players improve- this is the hardest thing to know as a fan. I agree with your overall assessment here Rob and understand we have to assume similar play from all players.

    But I can’t discount to zero that at least one of Collier, Green, Blair, Barton can improve and be an average or above starter. This is I think where the well intentioned “in PCJS we trust” mantra comes from.

    On the other side there’s also regression to factor against with Wagner, Brown, KJ, and possibly Reed or Griffin (who’ve been up and down).

    • Rob Staton

      You’ve seen this dance before though Denver.

      We waited for Tedric and Lano to come good. Never happened.

      This’ll be year three for Green now and he’s shown practically nothing.

      When’s the last time a player did very little early in his career in Seattle then suddenly blossomed into a key contributor? Golden Tate? People say Frank but Frank looked good as a rookie and was simply buried behind Avril, Bennett and Bruce.

      • Denver Hawker

        Those are fair points. Perhaps this is a whole separate article/topic, but when is it appropriate to question the teams’ ability to draft quality players? Seems as though they were more lucky in 2011-13 than good at this point in drafting. They’ve been spurned by top FA in the past, wonder if Fowler was one this year or perhaps Campbell has no interest.

        • Rob Staton

          They were good. There’s no need to wash away the success they had as luck.

          For whatever reason, they haven’t been able to re-create that magic.

          • McZ

            We have become a go-to franchise, and players are thinking, RW will nicely hand them a SB, which they can turn into FA gold.

            Never again will we be the no-name-pissed-for-greatness franchise, with players reflecting that attitude.

            The problem is, the FO still thinks, it can get those players and lead them to greatness by creating a culture. Not gonna happen, apart from players bound to make it anyway (Clark, Metcalf).

            We need to switch to a more conservative, adult approach to teambuilding.

            • Rob Staton

              I think you’ve gone a bit over the top.

              But I do fear somewhat that the Seahawks are placing too strong an emphasis on how players interview and backstory. Anyone who has done a few interviews in their career will know you have good ones and bad ones. I’ve had a couple of stinkers. I’ve also had some really good ones. If a player interviews with the Seahawks at the combine 20th out of 20 on a particular day and is tired and weary going into that conversation — and they don’t put their best foot forward — does it impact their willingness to select him? I don’t know. I’m just asking the question.

              I know they don’t place sole emphasis on this. It’s about a complete profile — tape, athleticism, interview/character. But sometimes that interview could be the difference between two players and maybe it shouldn’t always be the deciding factor?

      • Henry Taylor

        Jarren Reed and Justin Britt both made major year 3 leaps. Penny looked better before his injury last year. George Fant went from absolutely clueless as a rookie to an excellent backup/role player who got $30m in FA. There are players on this team right now that have shown bits but need to do it more consistently.

        I’m not really disagreeing with the main point, they haven’t really drafted and developed that well the last few years, but I don’t think its as bad as stated here.

        • Rob Staton

          Reed played consistently well throughout his time in Seattle, starting as a rookie. He didn’t suddenly emerge in year three.

          Justin Britt played a full season at right tackle as a rookie in a Super Bowl season. He didn’t emerge in year three. He simply was moved to center and it was his best fit.

          • Henry Taylor

            Sure, I’m not saying they came out of nowhere. My point is that, for whatever reason, they played noticeably better later in year 3.

            I think you could look at guys like Ford and Green, who have played roles and contributed, could take a similarly noticeable step in year 3.

            • Rob Staton

              I just don’t think these are good comparisons Henry.

              And to be honest, I don’t expect much more from either player. Ford is a decent, rotational DT. Not really much more. Green has shown nothing to me. We all get excited when he made his 2-4 plays last season because we’re all desperate to see something. He hasn’t got any fire.

              • Greg Haugsven

                But for young players it’s about growing. Did he grown from year 1 to year 2? Yes he did. There is no reason to suggest he wont continue to grow from year 2 to year 3. Im not saying he is going to make the Pro Bowl but will he be better in 2020 than he was in 2019? I would bet 100% yes.

                • Rob Staton

                  It was marginal growth if any.

          • GerryG

            By this logic/rationale (Reed and Britt) to me P Ford is the most likely candidate to make a substantial jump forward in year 3. He played a decent amount in Y1, and a lot last year. Of all the young players on the DL, he has shown the most. So maybe he become an anchor in the middle who can keep the LBs a little cleaner.

            I agree on Green, the made some flashy plays that stick out, but he was invisible the other 90% of the time. He does grade out well vs the run, so that’s a plus at least.

            But, our achilles heal is the pass rush, Ford is not making a difference there, and Green is not the answer.

            Collier is a bit of a wildcard, in that I just dont think we can honestly evaluate his season due the injury, and late start. But at no point was he ever projected a speed guy, so he’s not going to help the pass rush much.

            As far as the EDGE depth they have added, I just dont see it doing much. Bruce Irvin was on an equally awful DL in 2018 with the Raiders and did nothing, he was let go. That is the type of pass rush he is teamed up with on this DL. The rookies have upside, but arent going to do much in year 1. Mayawa isnt going to strike fear into any team.

  19. Bankhawk

    Thank you as always, Rob. This post-along with discussion in the comments column is the exact sort of ‘post-mortem on the offseason-to-date’ that I was wanting, but felt the pertinent questions to be a bit of a downer.

    This at least clears the air some and lays out the issues at hand cogently. I guess now, I go back to trying to stay centered as ‘the waiting game’ drags on and try not to fall into the ‘vilify Clowney-trap, as I get that the man is just seeking what he sees as his due.

    Once again, you’về read my mind and come across with exactly what I was hoping for. You are the best!

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks — I think we needed this conversation.

      We need to be realistic and honest about where they are at.

      I don’t seek out negativity. Never been my style. Plenty of people on other websites call me a stan for PCJS (which is clearly bollocks). I call it how I see it — and the way I see it is usually based upon time spent considering, contemplating and crafting an article — and going the way the evidence leads me.

      • Bmseattle

        It truly feels like deja vu from a year ago.

        This is a team with very little young, home-grown talent, and too many holes at important positions.
        We are once again talking ourselves into the “upside” of a surprising draft class with some questionable picks.

        The pass rush has not been addressed, even though everyone knows it is the achilles heel of this team.
        Even with Clowney back, I wonder how effective our 4 man rush can reasonably be.

        We have to pray that the development of our younger (year 2 & 3) players makes a huge leap and that their top level talent is much higher than it so far appears.

        Russ wanted stars… I hope he has a good telescope.

        • Rob Staton

          The point on the four man rush is crucial and often overlooked.

          This entire defensive scheme relies on the four man rush. And when you had Bennett & Avril it was fine. You could also kick Bennett inside on third down and rush Clemons, Clark or Irvin off the edge too.

          As things stand, there’s simply not enough talent on the D-line to rush with four. They have a deep rotation but it’s a cluster of unproven younger players, underwhelming players and journeymen. You can’t go play San Fran, LA and Arizona in six games and expect Mayowa and Irvin to create consistent pressure rushing with four. And they don’t have any interior rush apart from Jarran Reed.

          I actually like the look of the draft class. The damage was done, unfortunately, in free agency. They were just too inactive because they couldn’t get Clowney done — yet weren’t prepared to move on. As you said — Wilson asked for stars and didn’t get any.

  20. Big Mike

    Loved the read Rob. Pretty much agree with all you said about the D. I am however, strangely content about the o-line. I have this feeling Lewis steps in and is close to a Pro Bowl level as a rook. Watching his tape is eye opening. I also think Solari is damned good at what he does and will get that unit run blocking well and better in pass pro. RT will be a weak spot again but if Shell is only at the same level as Ifedi without the penalties it’ll be an upgrade albeit a minor one.
    But yes to have any realistic chance at a Super Bowl, they must re-sign Clowney.

    Question: any chance Britt is re-signed at a lower number?

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s possible — but, like everything else, would have to come after the Clowney mess is resolved.

  21. hawks31


    I apologize if you have already commented on this. What are your thoughts on trading for Chris Jones to shore up the interior pass rush?

    • Rob Staton

      There’s no chance of it happening I’m afraid.

  22. Hawkmonkey

    First, love the blog, been reading for the better part of a decade. Second, wow, Rob has gone super negative and unable to take any counter views. Yeah Clowney is awesome. Why has nobody signed him? He played all over the field because the team traded away the guy who could allow him to consistently be 5t in the trade to get him. He wasn’t consistently a 5t last year, that critique should be heard. Personally, I think they’ve done a lot to make the run defense better (including Bruce), and have big upside on pass defense. Nobody’s a star until they are. One of the problems in past years has been the death of always compete. Young guys don’t get snaps on defense unless there is an injury or desperation at a position. It’s insane.

    Rob, this off-season has felt like you can’t be happy with anything except Super Bowl and Jadeveon Clowney. The Clowney rant is getting old. Why are we getting like the 30th rant about Clowney and offensive line instead of a full evaluation of the players they drafted, on Seahawks Draft Blog? We’ve heard enough about why you don’t like the signings, can we please move on to a full evaluation of the game tape of their drafted players?

    For the record, I hope they sign Clowney. That said, I also hope that they play their young players. Also, why has everyone forgotten that Poona Ford is here, and Bryan Mone can improve. The Seahawks almost always get good production out of that position from veterans that are undervalued. I trust them to handle it.

    • Rob Staton

      1. No Rob has not gone ‘super negative’. And quite frankly I’m a bit bored of being labelled ‘negative’ for being honest about the situation and not a cheerleader.

      2. I am open to any counter view that is valid. I’m yet to see one.

      3. How is the run defense better? They’ve so far not re-signed Clowney and lost Al Woods. Do you think Rasheem Green and Poona Ford are better run defenders? Seriously?

      4. If you don’t like what I’m writing, don’t read my articles. I talk about the issues that matter with the team. Not paper over the cracks and talk bollocks.

  23. Hojo

    One thing is clear. Rob is going to sleep better when they add a vet DT and DE to the roster.

    I think the Hawks will be better in 2020 due to: recent trades (Dunbar, Diggs), free agency (Olsen, Finney, Irvin, Mayowa), 2020 draft (Top 3 picks), progression of young players (DK, Blair, Barton, Collier, Poona, Haynes, Green, etc.).

    I think you can argue every group is improved vs. last year except the DL. I expect the FO to address that before the start of the season.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t know how anyone can say Finney is better than Britt. Based on what? We just don’t know.

      The hope for those younger players to progress is sheer blind faith until they show anything to warrant that faith.

      Irvin & Mayowa will not improve the D-line if the D-line loses its best player from 2019.

      • EranUngar

        There is one positive about Finney over what we had:

        In his 4 years in the NFL he was never graded less than 72 in pass protection by PFF. Last year Hunt got 55 and Britt 47.

        I hate PFF Oline grades but maybe he protects RW better…

        • GerryG

          If Iupati gets beat out (possibly) or is too broken down to play (strong possibility) this team will field an OL with 4 new starters, one of whom is a NYJ castoff who got benched.

          This is going to happen in a year with no OTAs, limited training camp, possibly no preseason games. Personally I see this as a recipe for an absolute dumpster fire crisis for the OL and the offense. The “talent” could be better, or even, but if they dont know what its like to play together, it wont matter

          • EranUngar

            That’s my biggest worry as well. They started with “continuity” and ended with rebuild.

            The first half of the season will not be easy behind this OL…

  24. Hojo

    I expect Finney to be an upgrade from the Britt/Hunt combo.

    I’d estimate about neutral or a slight downgrade from a full year of a healthy Britt.

    Most players improve from Y1 to Y2 and Y3. They might not leap, but they should improve. I think “blind faith” is thinking that your Y6 vet is going to improve in Y7.

    I agree on Irvin and Mayowa if we compare them to the starters. I don’t think the DL is complete yet though and by Sep, we should be comparing them to last year’s #2 and #3 options.

    • Rob Staton

      I think expecting Green, Collier, Barton, Blair etc to progress is blind faith to be honest. They are all players who don’t warrant any faith. They have to prove they belong in the league.

      • ElPasoHawk

        I agree to a point, but I think you have to look at whether a guy looks like he belongs when he’s given the opportunity. He doesn’t have to assignment correct early on, but needs to show the aggressive nature and athletic ability to compete at a high level. I have not seen that in Green and Collier, but I sure saw it with Blair. Barton had his moments but looks to me to be a quality backup. When Penny was in his first year, there were moments of explosion and it gave me great hope. Unfortunately we won’t know til 2021 if he was wasted talent. I think Blair busts out by the end of the year.

  25. Rob Staton

    One thing I’ve learnt tonight…

    There’s a lot of Seahawks fans who don’t want an honest debate about where this team is at.

    • Hojo

      If you feel that way, then you might be one of them Rob.

      People can have alternate views to your own. None of us really know until they start playing games.

      • Rob Staton

        Yes I’m running away from the real honest debate that the Seahawks are actually great and everything is fine.


        • Kenny Sloth

          Rob, you’re just afraid to admit Pete Carroll is the GOAT you coward /s

          • HAWKTALKER#1

            It appears momentum is moving more towards SHEEP than GOAT. LOL
            If it wasn’t true, I Might laugh a little harder . . . :/

            • Kenny Sloth

              Oof never that fam.

  26. Rob Staton

    I’m off to bed now.

    Can’t wait to read the comments section in seven hours… 👀


      Yep yep, ok where’d I put my rose-colored glasses, unicorn hat and rainbow excrement . . .
      Nothing a little more blind faith can’t fix!!!

      • Kenny Sloth

        Are you suggesting Pete has never made a mistake????

        Even divisional rivals having postseason success is all part of his grand plan

        • Kenny Sloth

          Hasnt never. Long day my double negatives arent on point yet

  27. pdway

    The offense was good last year — good enough to get to the SB in the absence of a dominating team – and I don’t see one in the NFC, not really. You’re not wrong that the new O-line personnel is not proven to be an improvement – but it’s also true that we didn’t lose stars there that are going to be sorely missed.

    And I think it’s reasonable to believe that Year 2 DK is going to be more productive, it’s reasonable to think that the TE position is upgrade; and I think/hope that we won’t lose our top-3 RB’s in weeks 13-15 (Penny may not be back for the start – but RB’s come back from ACL issues w regularity these days – he’s young, I don’t see why he won’t be back). So those are all reasons to believe a strong offense will stay strong.

    I fully agree w you that the defense is the issue. Hopefully they’ve added two starters via the draft (I’m combining taylor/robinson into one starter in terms of snap count) – and a 3rd in Dunbar – we’ll also have a full season of Diggs (who changed things for us when he played), and god willing, will get more this year out of Blair and Collier (acknowledge that’s not a certainty).

    Does feel like we’ll be a faster defense on the whole. Which was much needed.

    Nobody is disagreeing that we need to bring back Clowney. But when you say the Hawks have botched the off-season, I guess your main point is what, that they should have signed him by now? It’s just a little hard to know when we don’t really know what Clowney is asking for, or why he’s taking so long to decide.
    Does not seem like we’ve lowballed him. Would you prefer that we’d signed Quinn or Fowler, and made Clowney’s re-signing near impossible? I’m not sure that’s a better place to be.

  28. Bankhawk

    Rob; pursuant to my ‘thanks for the post-mortem’ post, I want to float a proposition while knowing many will see it as simply an exercise in ‘woulda; coulda; shoulda-style futility’.

    So if you, or any of the other posters were to be granted god-like power to replay recent history, going back to the beginning of free agency and running through the draft, how would you (any of you) have it unfold differently? I get that many will feel they covered this scenario sufficiently in the ongoing in-column discussions since the start of it all. I can appreciate that many will feel that ‘what is, is’ and that an exercise such as proposed is simply silliness.

    But hey; to look back, sum up and revise can have some value, if only as a referent to future discussion. Me? I’ll set the ‘expected status quo as baseline and say signing two marquee pass rushers (hopefully would have been Clowney +1, or E.G. +1), still signed Olsen as a hedge, gone easier on O-Line in F.A., and drafted O-Line where it looked advantageous (ie.Lewis +LT of the future, who could also start at RT initially.

    Realistic? Probably not, but I’ll hope to see interesting suggestion from the gang! Me? I’m probably way off, and making it sound too simple by half.

    • mishima

      Increase cap space and draft picks by cutting/trading Wagner, Wright, McDougald, Britt, Fluker, Reed.

      Use the increased cap space and picks to improve the front 7.

      Half measures to go from bad to average is boring and counterproductive.

      • drewdawg11

        You want to get rid of Wagner? Mmkay. That’s a solid plan. Lots of talk about him not being around past 2020 because of his cap hit. Careful what you wish for. It would be great to get a 2-gap DR to keep him clean so he can be even more effective.

      • Jhams

        You’d improve the defense by cutting our three best defensive players, including a huge dead cap hit on our team leading first ballot HoFer? So you can do what? Pay a guy with 3 sacks $8m a year more than anyone else in the league is willing to offer? Come on man.

        • mishima

          Instead of trading Wagner, I would have built a defense around him.

          The Seahawks haven’t done that. Instead, they’ve continued to surround an aging/expensive LB core with mediocrity, hoping for different, better results. It’s not happening.

          They need to add more talent through free agency and the draft which requires cap space and picks.

          I was answering the question, “What would you have done differently?” Having not improved the defense enough, I would have acted with a sense of urgency, been more aggressive, taken more risks.

          Glad Wagner is still a Seahawk. RoH / HoF.

  29. drewdawg11

    A completely healthy roster would have had a great impact on the team’s finish last year. Still, that doesn’t mean that they can reach greater heights without an improved roster. The steps they took in the draft are more for the future. If they don’t sign Clowney it’s a step back defensively and it’s a two year project to improve. The offense can take another step, but they’ll need to score 38-40 points per game.

  30. Jhams

    I’m not sure how anyone can look at Ansah’s play and conclude that Irvin and Mayowa aren’t a huge upgrade. If they regress to the year before last for a combined 7.5 (one with 4, one with 3.5), one would be tied for team lead in sacks and the other would be second and still have more than Clowney.

    If we assume they sign Clowney and bring in a fungible vet DT like they always do I’d say they’ve upgraded every level of the defense. And that’s not even counting on player development or the rookies.

    If we assume they lose Clowney, then also fail to sign Griffen, don’t trade for anyone else, their young guys don’t progress, and their rookies are busts then I’d say they’re about even or maybe slightly worse.

    I think it just comes down to PCJS are 1 looking at their Day 1 roster, not the roster in the middle of the offseason 2 are just way more risk tolerant. Saying “A lot of things have to go right to win the SB” is true of basically every team. Every year is a gamble betting on rookies to show up and young guys to develop and vets to outplay their contract and just a ton of luck in general.

    The Seahawks aren’t the best team in the league top to bottom, but I’d say they’re still well in the hunt if things go well.

    • Spencer

      It will be a lot harder for them to get consistent pressure without any big threats across from them. Without Clowney, all of the sudden Irvin and Mayowa are the ones being doubled.

      • Jhams

        I agree signing Clowney or trading for another difference makers is very important.

    • Rob Staton


      • Jhams

        Yes, assume. That’s what we’re doing, and that’s what they’re doing. We have to and they have to, given that none of us know the future.

        • Rob Staton

          We don’t have to assume anything.

          If it’s ok with you I prefer to write articles about what we know to be true, not take a position of positive assumption and speculate.

  31. cha

    Josh Schneider hinted at cap casualties from other teams being targets for Seahawks.

    Here are some: 1T, 3T, 5T, that meet these 3 criteria:
    * Cap Savings > 3M
    * Cap Savings > 50% of Cap Number (roots out high dead money)

    * Cap Savings > 15% of Team Cap Space (roots out teams with high cap space)

    CAVEAT #1: I’m not saying any of these are likely to be cut. Obviously if they’re an awesome player their team won’t want to cut them.

    CAVEAT #2: I just guesstimated 1/3/5T based off weight

    • cha

      Akiem Hicks, Bears, 8M savings with 3M dead.
      DaQuan Jones, Titans, 7M savings with 1.33M dead.
      Abry Jones, Jaguars, 4M savings with 0M dead.
      Corey Peters, Cardinals, 3.75M savings with 0.687M dead.
      Mike Purcell, Broncos, 3.26M savings with 0M dead.

      • Rob Staton

        The Bears are not cutting Akiem Hicks

    • cha

      Chris Jones, Chiefs, 16.13M savings with 0M dead.
      Jurrell Casey, Broncos, 6.34M savings with 5.45M dead.
      Lawrence Guy, Patriots, 4M savings with 1.37M dead.
      Adam Butler, Patriots, 3.26M savings with 0M dead.

      • Spencer

        Wish we grabbed Jurrell Casey… what a wasted opportunity.

      • Rob Staton

        The Chiefs are not trading Jones and Seattle aren’t paying him $23m a year.

    • cha

      Cameron Heyward, Steelers, 9.5M savings with 3.75M dead.
      Carlos Dunlap, Bengals, 6.49M savings with 4.5M dead.
      Denico Autry, Colts, 5.74M savings with 0M dead.

      William Gholston, Buccaneers, 4.75M savings with 0M dead.
      Angelo Blackson, Texans, 3.97M savings with 0M dead.
      Roy Robertson-Harris, Bears, 3.26M savings with 0M dead.

      • Rob Staton

        The Bengals aren’t cutting Dunlap

    • Steve Nelsen

      This is a comprehensive list cha. Thank you.

      I would add Judon and Ngakoue to this list. Both seem too expensive for their teams to keep for 1 year. Ngakoue seems to have trashed his relationship with Jax and reduced his cost. Jax will probably play chicken with Ngakoue as he holds out. The situation could be a repeat of Clowney with a trade/promise not to tag and Jax eating some of his 2020 salary.

      Judon isn’t worth $16M and I don’t know if he fits Seattle. But it doesn’t make sense for his team to overpay for 1 year. They were clearly hoping to tag and trade and are still looking for a deal. The later it goes, the better the price I think.

  32. Spencer

    You could argue a full year of Diggs and Reed will be exponentially helpful. Hopefully Dunbar can be the CB2 we all hope and expect.

    The last 2 drafts have some exciting talent that will have more opportunities for playing time, and the depth is bordering on as quality as it used to be when teams were raiding our final roster cuts.

    I think the Seahawks, despite all the one-score wins, were better than we are giving them credit for. Carson and Penny going down was catastrophic, and a team that prides themselves (and was top 3 in the league at rushing) completely losing their running game heading into the playoffs isn’t a recipe for success. A veteran hedge RB is necessary, and hopefully Homer takes a step or DeeJay Dallas shows to be a competent 3rd down back.

    his added depth and some quality players offer some great potential. Of course, without someone like Clowney demanding double teams and consistently penetrating the backfield, all of the upgrades and depth kind of falls apart.

    Get it done JS.

    • Spencer

      Of course, even if they are marginally better, the Cardinals looked to take a big step forward, 49ers made some shrewd moves, the Rams still have some pieces… the NFC West will be a dog fight. If those one score games go in the other direction then it could be a long season. Fingers crossed for 10+ wins.

      • cha

        Rams lost Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Cory Littleton, Dante Fowler, and Clay Matthews. They added Cam Akers, Ashawn Robinson and Leonard Floyd.

        Hard to see where they’ve improved even a little.

        They still haven’t negotiated a Jalen Ramsey extension and have had to rework Jared Goff’s contract extension (which technically hasn’t even started yet) just to make cap room.

        They won’t be a cream puff, but they’ve shot their shot. The arrow isn’t pointing up for them.

        • Rob Staton

          The arrow wasn’t pointing up last season but they still handled us in LA.

          We struggle vs their offensive scheme.

    • Bankhawk

      Spencer-I tend to agree; the loss of our Rb #1 and #2 going into the playoffs isn’t always acknowledged as a setback of the magnitude I reckon it should be.

    • Rob Staton

      They got all the credit they deserved last season.

      We were fair and honest about the situation.

    • mishima

      Losing Carson and Penny hurt, but over the last 4 games (1-3), the defense gave up 455 yards to LAR, 414 yards to CAR, 412 yards to AZ and 398 yards to SF.

      While ‘yards’ isn’t a great stat, it confirms the eye test, in this case: The defense couldn’t stop anyone.

      Injuries happen and should be expected and accepted. Fielding a defense without a pass rush is inexcusable, a non-starter. IMO, comparable to running this offense without a TE.

  33. BoiseSeahawk

    I hadn’t noticed this until today but for anyone else who was dissappointed that the Seahawks didn’t add a DT and instead added a TE in the draft, PCJS might have had a really rough time in the 4th round. The Cardinals selected not one but TWO DTs that round, the only players taken at that position in the 4th. Both players had been projected as potential targets for us:

    Leki Fotu (early 4th)
    Rashard Lawrence (late 4th)

    I like the Parkinson pick but have to wonder if they went to best player available after the Cardinals selected their 2nd DT that round just 2 picks before the Seahawks made their selection.

    Who are the best options at DT right now?
    Can we afford that player and Clowney without making drastic changes to our roster?

  34. Dutchenstein

    One underrated part of our secondary is every guy is going to be hungry. McD, Griffen and Dunbar on the last year of their deals. Blair and Amadi are in their 2nd year wanting playing time. Diggs will want a new contract. Tre will want his job back.
    Our secondary could actually be pretty good next year. McD, Diggs with Blair subbing in for McD or switching with Amadi in the slot based on math ups. Then Griffen and Dunbar on the outside with Tre backing them up.
    I agree Clowney still is the priority. If we can get the deal done and add a few pieces (DT, rb, wr- Richardson or Gordon), I think we could easily compete for the top seed in the NFC. Beating Balt or KC in the SB might be another story though.

  35. Adog

    At this point I think clowney is a symbol and not a solution. Green is not great, but he’s not a significant downgrade from clowney. Taking clowney’s injury in account, look at his first game against San Fran… dominant…compare it to his 2nd game against the niners…dominated. they basically saw that he was freelancing in that first game and ran zone read runs at him in the second game. He’s a name…he has splashes of brilliance, but he lacks the discipline/focus to play “team” defense consistently. Are we ever gonna have the lob at their hieght again? Impossible. However we can keep knocking on the door…and with better luck we could be in the Superbowl.

    • cha

      Green is not great, but he’s not a significant downgrade from clowney.

      Oh my goodness.


      I think it’s going to take a lot more than luck and Green to get there . . .

    • mishima

      Green is the Lano Hill of the DL.

      • DC

        That is some coooold biz-nass right there mish.

        I still think Green will become a contributor at some point. Probably in his contract year. He’s only like 17 years old now.

        • mishima

          LOL. Cold, cold heart and slight hyperbole.

    • Rob Staton

      ‘Green is not a significant downgrade from Clowney’

      I stopped reading after that line.


      • Adog

        Anybody got any stats that supports clowney being a better player than green last year? From my perspective clowney had two good games at San Fran…and at Phil. He was a liability in the run game the rest of the year due to his “free lancing.” Green looked to be good average against the run …and not to beat a dead horse…he more sacks. There is no beast mode about clowney…only hype mode.

        • Rob Staton

          Adog… I mean this in the nicest possible way.

          Stop now or I will stop this for you.

  36. Ishmael

    I have a half-baked theory that the Seahawks are moving towards a Patriots-style roster construction ideology. I haven’t put any real thought or research into it, but my thinking is that Wilson’s salary has fundamentally altered what they were able to do before with a massive stars and scrubs approach.

    Very broadly, what are the most expensive positions in the game. QBs and top-tier DL guys right? Edges in particular. NE got around this by contracting Brady’s snake oil businesses to get him to take a lower salary (can Seattle do this with Wilson please????), and by building the defence from back to front – never having to pay the insane cash top end D Linemen require while still being able to sit back and rush four.

    Diverting cash from the defensive line to the secondary, while adding in more bodies. Shoring up the ground game, not committing too much to WRs, going heavy on TEs, relying on the QB to drag everyone up… Don’t overcommit to any one position group, never dig yourself a hole, keep topping up with middle-tier veterans who are grown men who can do a job.

    I could be dead wrong, and probably am, but it might go some way to explaining why they were willing to let Clark go, and dug their heels in on Clowney’s money.


      Perhaps Russ should start his own snake oil business to keep his salary down as well as allow the Hawks to afford better FAs? LOL
      I’ve heard worse ideas!!

      • Ishmael

        Honestly, I have no idea why they haven’t done it yet. Just pay him 20 for a catering company or pilates studio or nanobubbles supplier and then watch the internet call him a selfless team player for taking only a 15 mill a year salary so the team can win. Everyone’s a winner.

        Am I missing something, or were the Pats only allowed to do it because they’re the Pats?

        • HAWKTALKER#1

          And they’re owner is obviously more comfortable playing in the gray area/massage parlor.

          • HAWKTALKER#1

            Their owner

            • Greg Haugsven

              They also had Brady who was married to a gazillionair as well.

  37. Rusty

    I think the secondary is upgraded more than you let on. The starting safety duo is the same – except last year TT played twice as many snaps as Diggs at FS. The Seahawks defense was 27th per DVOA going into week 10 (Diggs’ first start), and finished the year 18th, despite late season injuries/suspensions to Clowney, Woods, Griffin, and Kendricks (oh and Diggs at the very end…).

    But yeah … a lot relies on Clowney or what they do with their last $20M.

    • Rob Staton

      Diggs was there last season.

      That’s why he’s in last seasons list.

      • GerryG

        He only played like 3 games on two legs though. But he was there.

      • Rusty

        No shit but I think you understand my point. Dunbar isn’t the only improvement in the secondary over what we had last season, we’ll hopefully have Diggs for more than weeks 10-13 or whatever

        • Rob Staton

          But Diggs was there last season.

          I’m not counting him twice just because he starts the year in Seattle this time.

  38. Troy D

    Coming off last year, Im bullish that the D Line cant be worse than it was and I think it will be marginally to significantly better. Clowney being the key to the difference there.

    OLine sideways probably.

    I think the skill positions will be marginally better with a little more polish on a couple guys, and hopefully 16 games of pretty decent TE play between the guys. Running backs probably about the same with them. Good production.

    Linebackers I think will be better. I didnt really rate Kendricks as much as others did. I think the maturation of process of the 2nd year guys is massive though and this could slip a bit. I like the addition of Brooks so I like what I see from this group on paper.

    I think the secondary is markedly improved from last year. I think Diggs for a full season is a massive upgrade. I think Dunbar, if available, is an improvement and I expect Griffin and Flowers to continue to improve. The backups look alright and with Blair and Amadi, some game time under their belt.

    All in all, without Clowney I think the team is slightly better. Now that doesnt mean we will get the same results. I think we outplayed our actual level last year. So I could definitely see a step back.

    Personally with the likelihood of no fans or partial fans and all that jazz…. I would probably be in the minority if on draft day next year, we were picking top 10-15…I wouldnt be all that upset. Probably in the moment during the season I would be annoyed but it be nice to be able to target a top tier collegiate talent especially if its on the lines. Of course I would love a Super Bowl and all that but I think it would be reasonable, given what we know, to expect a repeat of last year at best based on things today.

  39. DC

    The funny thing about this off season is that my 2 favorite DL targets for Seattle could still be had. Clowney & YN. Imagine the mood swing that would happen here getting both of those guys aboard. Seattle would have to make further cuts (possibly K.J./McDougald/Hollister) at positions that were re-enforced during the last couple of drafts. That would free up another $13.7M & get the total around $35M.

    Seattle hasn’t traded away a first round pick in 5 years! That’s got to be driving John crazy, lol. Go get YN to play LEO. Sign him to a long term deal & keep his first year cap hit at $8M or so. Then give Clowney his one year $16-17M deal or whatever. Get super pumped for the Seahawks Super Bowl odds to jack waaay up. And then watch it all go down the toilet as the 2020 NFL season is cancelled…


  40. Jim Valvis

    “Since 2015 the Seahawks have been in a position of being good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to make the Super Bowl.”

    Great stuff, Rob. I only have one quibble. I disagree with the first part of this premise. We have not been good enough to make the playoffs. We have been lucky enough to make the playoffs. Especially last year. If Zuerlein hits a 44-yard-kick, a kick he’s hit over 98% of the time, the Seahawks miss the playoffs. And that’s hardly the only time the Seahawks lucked into a win. If SF’s kicker does not get hurt, they sweep the Hawks both games. You can point to other times too where if a single play goes the other way, the Seahawks lose. Including the playoffs against a QB-less Philly, the Hawks won 11 one-score games last year and lost only two, and one of those one-score losses was only made a one score loss on the last play of the game with meaningless TD, which means it really wasn’t. The idea we will again go 11-1 in one-score games again is absurd. Even if we beat the curve again on that, and go 8-4, we move from being 11-5 to 8-8 and out of the playoffs. Then we went and (probably) lost Clowney. Our RBs got season-ending injuries and who knows how they will look on opening day. KJ had surgery that may see him missing time, if not outright hanging up his cleats. Wagner took a step back last year, what if the decline if greater this year? If Russ takes even a small step back, we could be looking at a Top 10 pick.

    But even if he doesn’t, I don’t think this is a playoff team. I don’t think this is even a .500 team. With or without Clowney. For a long time now we have been in decline and have been getting by with smoke and mirrors, Wilson and Carroll. This is the season I think it catches up with us.

    People will probably beat me up for this post. But a year from now those same people will be saying the same things. We have a front office that is failing a HOF coach and QB– and has been since 2013. Their failure in the draft in that time has taken a potential dynasty and made it the Dan Marino and Don Shula Dolphins. A bad-to-mediocre team with a terrific HOF QB and HOF coach. There is no reason to think the snowball will reverse course and start rolling back uphill.

    Problem is you can’t get rid of Pete Carroll/John Schneider the GM without getting rid of Pete Carroll the coach.

    And so here we are.

    • Gavin

      If we resign clowney, what do think our defense will be ranked. If we add a veteran d lineman, then I would we would be a top 10 defense with the improved secondary

      • Rob Staton

        That’s a major stretch.

      • HAWKTALKER#1

        I actually think there will be a night and day difference with and without Clowney, contrary to what many believe. However top 10 defense, that’s more like California dreamin. That shouldn’t stop me and many others from hoping, but I’m not sure that that’s very likely.

  41. Duceyq

    Rob, you cited that Seattle hasn’t hit on its high draft picks in recent drafts? How far back is recent and what do you consider “high”?

    I think Seattle has had some success in its recent drafts between rounds 1-2 or even 3 for that matter. DK and Quill come to mind as successful recent high”ish” draft picks…Penny was showing big flashes right before his season ending injury too….We can also go as far back as Clark, Lockett and Reed too…

    Seattle’s success has put them at a fundamental disadvantage versus the two teams you cited, Rams and SF who poor play during Seattle’s run, provided them a chance to stockpile top 10 talent…the Cards are following the same script. I think Seattle’s front office has done remarkable job to churn out a playoff caliber roster year to year even when picking at the back of the 1st Rd which usually is 2nd Rd talent anyway…

    I think your overall assessment in this article has merit but that one statement stuck out to me so I just wanted to more elaborion from you on that point.

    • Rob Staton

      Seattle’s top two picks in the last three drafts:

      McDowell & Pocic
      Penny & Green
      Collier & Blair

      I think I made a perfectly fair point there

      • mishima

        Only significant contributors on defense from last 5 drafts: Reed and Griffin.

        Not enough.

      • Duceyq

        Thanks for elaborating and your point is well taken. I think the last two drafts are tough to scrutinize when you consider how slow PC brings in rookies on defense to start getting starter level snaps….Especially defensive lineman. So I do think judging the Collier, Blair and Green picks are a bit tough to evaluate now but to your larger point about the question marks surrounding them are right on the mark. Basically “what have they done”?

        Overall Seattle’s places 3rd among franchises in AV during the PC/JS era with pretty good scores on the last two drafts.

        I would be remiss though to not mention that when Seattle was 10-2, with the #1 seed in hand, the rash of injuries they endured were just not something a franchise can realistically prepare for. This team, as constructed last year, was a legit SB contender until that happened. Injuries to Clowney, Carson, Penny, Kendricks, Fluker, Diggs and suspensions to Woods and Gordon….etc were major losses and depleted what was a contender to a team just hanging on for dear life. Just the names mentioned are 8 players which major snaps…it’s almost half the team lost in a 2 week period.

        I would not dismiss that so easily in review of last season coming into this year. Sometimes “luck” has a weird way of playing it’s role too. Like having to compete in a division that has had SB representatives while NE has played in the worst division during the their numerous SB runs.

        • Rob Staton

          I haven’t dismissed the injuries though to be fair. In fact I’ve regularly discussed them and referenced them. Even in this very piece I say losing all of the running backs collapsed the offense. I’ve made no bones about that being a major factor.

          But I also know that even when they were winning during the season, they never had a feel of a Super Bowl team. I’ve just gone back and looked at what I wrote after some of the games last season in the instant reaction pieces.

          “Seahawks beat themselves, lose to Saints”
          “Whether it was poor preparation, execution, decision making or play-calling — this was a terrible performance.”

          “Seahawks’ luck runs out, they drop to 5-2”
          “Nothing will ever top the 2017 beat down by the Rams. Yet these two games — against the Saints and now the Ravens — are extremely concerning. It pulls the curtain back on the reality with this team. You can get after them, even at Century Link Field.”

          “Seahawks struggle unnecessarily in Atlanta”
          “Today they faced an Atlanta team on its knees. They were 1-6 coming into today and without key players, including quarterback Matt Ryan. Seattle rolled to a 24-0 lead by half-time and the rout was on. Finish the game. Go back home. No stress, for once. Assert your will. Dominate. Show some teeth. Set the tone. The Seahawks lost the second half 20-3. They were less tiger and more kitten. Matt Schaub ended up throwing for 460 yards. Atlanta had thirty first downs.”

          “Russell Wilson saves the Seahawks”
          “In 2018 the Seahawks regained their identity. A year later, they’ve lost it again. The Seahawks are 7-2 and it’s 100% down to their MVP candidate playing quarterback. Russell Wilson is a genius. At the exact moment his team has needed him to take yet another step forward — he’s pulled it off.”

          “Seahawks flop in LA, drop to 10-3”
          In the last five games between these teams, the Rams have scored 42, 33, 36, 29 and 28. In other words, the Seahawks were either going to need to turn this into their type of game or they needed to score a lot of points. They did neither. They’ve now lost four of the last five games to LA with the solitary win coming off a missed field goal. The Seahawks aren’t chasing the Rams in the NFC West this year but they’re still chasing them on the field.”

          Before anyone accuses me of being negative all the time or any of that jazz — a quick reminder that a lot of people on other sites call me a ‘stan’ for Carroll and Schneider. They think I’m a cheerleader. And the main reason is because when the pitchforks and knives come out I’ve often tried to find perspective. I always do and always will do. But I’m also going to call things as I see it and be honest.

          Everything above that I wrote was legit and fair. It was obvious during the season that Wilson’s brilliance was carrying the team. The injuries were a factor for sure. But they didn’t prevent a Super Bowl caliber team reaching their destiny. They took away Wilson’s chance to somehow beat three teams on his own (and he likely wouldn’t have pulled it off).

          • Duceyq

            For one, in my statement I did not refer to your assessment as being a “negative Nancy”. I actually asked you to offer more context to one of the assessments you made regarding draft picks.

            Secondly, I stated that I agreed with most of your assessment in your piece. I only offered my thought in regards to Seattle being a legit SB contender at 10-2 following a victory against what many believed was the best team in football, SF. They were actually up by 10 in the 4th QT before the Seahawks went “whacky” like many of their games this past season. Seattle had plenty of costly turnovers that made many games closer than they should’ve been or cost them victories. Namely the Saints and Ravens come to mind with those losses. Minnesotta, SF…etc are games that ended up closer than necessary. Self inflicted nonetheless, which more correctable than being blown out of the water.

            I don’t think teams luck there way to 10-2 records in the toughest division in football. But the team they fielded after being 10-2 was entirely different from the roster that went 1-3 afterwards. Not to mention those 2 losses were against the AFC #1 seed and a Saints team that went 5-0 with Teddy B…forgivable losses in hindsight when you look at the scope of the season rather than when you wrote your statements with unknowns surrounding how good those teams would end up being. Nevertheless, those late season injuries makes it impossible to assess what they had down the stretch.

            Do we look at the larger body of evidence of the first 12 games or the latter 4 with an entirely different roster? I choose the larger metric in this case. But I respect your choice to weight those injuries less than me.

            You did make mention of the RB’s going down but I do think that, along with the other injuries and suspensions, were a bigger reason for Seattle not winning the division or even getting a top 2 seed than the conclusion you have drawn up. I think it’s fair for both point of views to exist.

            The Saints, by many, felt they had a SB roster and lost at home to the Vikes, a team Seattle beat themselves. Yet, the Saints beat Seattle at home with a back up QB…the Ravens lost to the Titans at home as #1 seed….what it tells me is that all a front office can do is get into the dance, which is the playoffs, and let the chips fall where they may. Health/Depth is usually the biggest factor in that result…Yet, Seattle has repeatedly gotten to the dance…year after year I might add…PC is the Coach of the decade so I think you’re in the right to defend him when you do…and still hold his feet to the fire too….things haven’t always fallen in their favor down the stretch in some of those playoff contests but look no further than the Saints, GB, and others in the NFC that have been jockeying for position for years and have still rolled snake eyes.

            I think Seattle took a step forward last year from a 10-6 team (and I’m not saying you don’t feel that way either) the previous season to 11-5 team with a playoff victory this past season. Not to mention an inch from winning the division with all that went against them. Yes, more can be done and I actually agree with the off-season needs of Seattle but I do think they are in the mix once again to compete for a title.

            • Rob Staton

              You haven’t weighted the injuries more than me.

              I just remember the season and how it planned out. I think a lot of people have forgotten just how poorly Seattle played at times and how easily it could’ve been a much less favourable record at the end.

              • Duceyq

                I hear ya Rob, all good!

  42. GoHawksDani

    The only issue is that PCJS wanna build 2012-2013 team again. No way they’ll have another Lynch-Baldwin-Kam-Earl-Bennett-Avril-Sherman-BWagz (prime)-KJ (prime). That roster was loaded with absolute talent.
    Until they change big time scheme-mentality-wise they won’t dominate games. Those guys were top5-10 in their positions league-wide. If you draft late 1st/early second, you have to be an absolute genious and lucky as hell to build a roster similar.
    Even if they re-sign Clowney, they’d be marginally better
    What if Carson goes down? We’ll have Dallas, Homer and maybe some vet?
    If Lockett or DK goes down? Ursua, Dorsett, Moore and one proven starter?
    If Olsen or Dissly go down? If Griffin goes down? If Reed goes down? If Brown would get hurt?
    We have the mirage of a depth. But the only position where I think we’d be almost fine losing a starter would be S. Or LEO, but not because we have so many 10/10 players, but because we have similar middle-class players there.
    This team could win an SB. But only if no injury hits them hard and a ton of players step up.
    Yeah…all teams would suffer if a quality starter goes down, but for us, it’d be a lot of “from OK/almost good to bad” and not “from really good/elite to OK”.
    I think this’ll be another 9-11 win season with a short playoff appearance. NFCW is just too tough and this roster is just too mediocre

    • john_s

      I think the problem with re-creating the 2012-2013 team is that when they drafted Kam, Sherm, KJ, BWagz, Maxwell, etc they were the only team drafting to their measurables type for what PC wanted in his defense.

      Now you’ve Atlanta, Jacksonville, San Diego and Dallas who are looking for the same measurable.

      If Kam and Sherm were in this years draft, you would not be able to draft them in the 5th round they would be picked higher.

      Even PCJS have admitted that in past years, they’ve included guys on their board who they may not have included during their first couple of draft.

  43. Rob Staton

    I find it funny when people say I talk too much about Clowney or when people suggest on here or on Twitter that Seattle has moved on.

    How can you not see what they’re doing? Do you think they haven’t used any of their $21m cap space on a DT, RB, backup QB, nickel, WR etc… because they’re catching up on Tiger King??

    It’s so obvious that they haven’t spent that money, or signed anyone else (including Everson Griffen) because they’re waiting for a resolution with Clowney.

    They’ll have moved on when that cap space has been used and/or Clowney signs somewhere else.

    Until then, a discussion about the state of the Seahawks without including Clowney is incomplete.

    • Bankhawk

      This! The current state of things makes me harken back to an old Jimmy Cliff song; “Sittnin’ Here In Limbo”.

  44. DriveByPoster

    For completeness sake, how about a breakdown on Special Teams? I’m not suggesting that ST alone will make the ‘hawks a Championship team, but they are not unimportant & shouldn’t be left out of the conversation.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ll happily do that here…

      Michael Dickson — great rookie season, no idea what happened in 2019, needs to show he can be good and consistent again in 2020.

      Jason Myers — in a league filled with bad kickers, we could do worse.

      Kick coverage — needs to be better and didn’t take the needed step forward last season.

      Kick returns — they haven’t added an obvious option for kick return/punt return duties. I wish they had. But they have some guys who can compete for the gig.

      • EranUngar

        I read that Dallas is very eager to return kicks….said it energizes him…

        • Rob Staton

          That’s the point though. A lot of willing kick returners but not a definitive ‘that’s the guy’.

          • JimQ

            Punt returner stats show DeeJay Dallas as the much better choice as a PUNT returner over Swain, however, they will likely both compete, perhaps with Moore, Fuller & others for that role.

            RB-DeeJay Dallas, Miami, 11/191/**17.36-yd avg.**/1-TD – (returned punts – only in 2018)
            WR-Freddie Swain, Florida, 14/56/** 4.00-yd-avg.** in 2019.

            • Rob Staton

              Yeah, they’ve got guys can do it. But Rashaad Penny was an awesome kick returner and college and they barely tried him there. Which I always found strange. I thought they might save a pick for a pure return guy. Look how how much Devin Hester helped them in 2016. They need someone who’s a threat on punts and they’ve not had that since early Lockett.

  45. Mac

    The issue I have is with blind optimism. We haven’t had real good luck with a lot of our high draft picks lately. I also worry that our defensive line is going to regress without adding “star power”, our offensive line is down in proven talent. I just thought that the Seahawks would be far more aggressive this offseason. We desperately need talent at edge, defensive tackle, wide receiver and running back. I can’t help but think that we are not significantly better all around after our draft.

    • Rob Staton

      I agree. And that’s a perfectly logical and fair representation of a view a lot of us have.

  46. M1ka

    This is my first comment here, so i want to thank you for the great seahawks content you are providing.

    My thoughts on pete and his love for depth is this:
    Maybe PC and JS think if they gather enough hungry players, which are good but not great and let them compete for the starting positions, one or two of them on every side of the ball will eventually become stars.
    Thats why they also like to be the underdog. And, i dont know this for sure because i dont follow the hawks long enough, but i think it already worked out one time. With chancellor, sherman, bennett and avril.
    Personaly i like this approach, even though it takes a lot of trust from the fans to believe in the coaching staff and the “unknown” players.
    But if they groom another batch of stars by themselfs, these “homegrown” stars are way more likeable then some highprized signing.

    Either way, i just hope it works out this year!

    • Rob Staton

      I have no problem with the plan. But you actually have to develop those players. And for the last few years, they haven’t been able to do that.

      • M1ka

        Thats true.

        Maybe they needed some years to build a really competetive roster again.
        Thats my hope at the moment.

        • Spencer

          Interesting perspective. I haven’t heard that take. I remember questioning a lot of PC/JS moves when they first got here as well… Hopefully it works out as it did before.

          However, no level of depth will make up for a lack of impact talent at DE. They were already one of the worst in the league and without Clowney, Irvin and Mayowa are the ones getting doubled. People may think “nowhere to go but up”, but they can certainly get worse and without Clowney are likely to be worse.

          With Clowney, I personally think theyve made some key upgrades, remained with the status quo, and have had no real downgrades anywhere.

          • M1ka

            Yeah i think getting clowney back was and is the plan anyway.
            And i agree, with clowney and the speedy additions on the other side they should be way better in the pass rush department.

            Even though taylor will propably need one or two seasons to lern the proper technique, his speed has to be respected right away. That should open up space for clowney and reed.

  47. EranUngar

    Another interesting nugget:

    “He’s a whiz with the playbook, having learned every position on the field his freshmen year”

    Isn’t that exactly the type of mind and attitude you want on a 6.7 rookie TE analyzing film with Greg Olsen?

  48. Michigan 12th

    I am not saying the Seahawks are a better team or worse team, but I really don’t see how adding Clowney is the difference between this team winning a Superbowl or not. We had him last year and except for the San Fran game I was not impressed. Clemons came here when there was no one else and got sacks. Clowney did not. I don’t see how someone is a game changer if he needs other people around him to be better. Yes I have seen and read the stats about all the double teams, but do we think that when other players are the best rusher on their team they don’t get double teamed as well? Clowney may still be better then what we currently have on the roster, but I am hoping beyond all hope at this point that one of the new edge rushers we got in the draft hits, because Clowney is not as special in my eyes as he seems to be with some of you guys. Hopefully you guys are all right and I am wrong. I am not saying that Rob has made this argument, I have not read that, just responding as a whole to a lot of the comments on the thread.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think anyone has said Clowney is the difference between SB and no SB.

      I think the point is that the DL isn’t up to scratch if they essentially lose their best component of it from 2019 and only replace him with journeymen and rookies.

  49. Georgia Hawk

    Wow, take a weekend away, come back to catch up Monday with some coffee, read through a well written article drawn up with thought and consideration of all angles, get to the comments….

    Im not a doom and gloom above all else kind of guy, I genuinely thought the draft turned out really well especially given the news that KJ had surgery and has no idea when he will return.

    Some of you have some really out there ideas of what an old journeyman Irvin on his third team in as many years and an unproven Mayowa with 4 years of nothing to show can do for the pass rush. Teams don’t let quality pass rushers go for no reason. If either Irvin or Mayowa was worth a starting spot, any of their former teams would’ve kept them. Mayowa had half his sacks come in 2 games last year and did jack squat elsewhere. Rotational depth is all they are.

    The faith in Green, Collier, Blair and others to “turn the corner” this year just because its another year under their belts…you realize this year is likely to be the year with the LEAST amount of improvement season to season for young players, right? Quarantine is going to wreck traditional development cycles. Not only that but what in the last 3-4 years has given you the confidence that the Hawks can even develop players the same way they did 6-7 years ago? Last year was supposed to be the year T2 turned the corner and really developed into a quality player. That went well.

    Im all for having differing opinions, but “faith in Pete” is not a tangible thing that can be measured and analyzed. Adding a year to a players stat line does not automatically make them better. Assuming a player can’t do anything but improve is how you get T2 out there giving Ross 20% of his career yardage in one game. I would love to eat crow in 8 months if Green is in the middle of a 10 sack year and Blair is starting SS and blowing plays up like Kam used to….but thats a FAR bigger leap of faith than Im willing to give right now.

    • Big Mike

      VERY well said. Drafting has been poor overall. Not sure player development is or is not the problem when the players drafted simply lack in the necessary talent to be quality NFL starters to begin with. Of all the recent draft choices listed that have been marginal at best, Blair is the only one I think has a chance to make an impact IF he can oh I don’t know, actually learn the freaking defense! (SMDH)

    • Henry Taylor

      Just speaking for myself, I’m not saying those players will definitely be better. In the interest of discussing whether this team could be better next year, I was raising the suggestion of certain players that COULD take a step forwards.

      I don’t really understand why that’s such a controversial point? Or why it even contradicts the points of the article?

  50. bv eburg

    I agree this team at best is marginally better.
    The defense is a huge question mark.
    The offense is very thin at “star” positions. An injury to Carson, Lockett or Metcalf would be devastating.
    Assuming the best case that they are marginally better they will compete because of Russ. But the goal is winning the Super Bowl. I would say no way are they better than KC or Baltimore. And the NFC is going to be a dogfight. Minnesota, New Orleans are quality teams and Tampa could be interesting. And our division will be problematic.
    Just because of Russ I see playoffs with early exit and another year not winning the Super Bowl.

  51. WALL UP

    When you build a roster, it takes time to develop. SF has had the luxury of high 1st Rd draft picks to construct their nucleus of players after the Jim Harbaugh years. During those down years, they were able to tap into a higher pool of talent.

    LA had their rise during that process. We’re seeing this now with ARI. The NFL is designed whereby well run franchises will have the opportunity to build a SB winning organization if the pieces are assembled correctly, and have the good fortune of acquiring great players.

    Lets not forget that SEA has consistently done well in this past decade at maintaining a high level playing as a winning organization, even during this retooling period.

    One thing that is hard to obtain is a franchise winning QB, that KC & BAL are now experiencing, that SEA has fortunately had the past 8yrs, not mention that of NE, which time may have passed.

    With the retooling that’s being done before our eyes, and if the right pieces fall into place, there is a very good chance they do compete for a championship again. It could very well be this season, if the final pieces fall into place. Here’s hoping for success in the final part of the off season acquisitions.

    • Rob Staton

      Time has been had to develop

      • WALL UP

        Can we wait on this assessment until they complete this off season, and they have a few games under their belt. Only then will you really have a clear picture on whether their time has past for retooling.

        Personally, I think that they’ve done a good job, with the constraints that they’ve had to deal with. It’s a difficult task to reach the SB. They are one of the few teams, out of 32, that have been there twice in this past decade.

        I’m glad that we are all entitled to have an opinion. This forum is great in that respect.

        • Rob Staton

          No I don’t think we have to wait. It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about the roster now in the way I did in this article.

  52. Aaron

    Don Shula has passed away…

    • Big Mike


  53. Bigten

    I hope this comment thread doesn’t deter you, Rob, from continuing to bless us with content and insight. I cant tell you enough how appreciative I am for this blog and the content you provide.

    That being said-

    If we assume that this team is not SB caliber, even with Clowney, what do you think should be the driving force moving forward? I could see us going 8-8 this year ( I guess 9-8 since we have 17 games?), with the likelihood of us losing the close games unlike last year. We could then get lucky with a top 20 pick. Sadly, next year we don’t have the luxury of having any comp picks or extra picks. Even sadder though, is that I agree with the assessment that the Hawks haven’t been drafting well with high picks, though it does seem that this year changed a little in that they drafted BPA. Maybe they drafted with the intention of having a down year? Replacing two positions that take time to develop in LB and TE, assuming their mistakes with Barton the year before, and taking TALENT in Taylor and Robinson instead of reaching for players like Barton and Blair who they THINK they can develop. Personally, I don’t see Blair showing anymore than Barton or the rest of the class. Im starting to believe outside Metcalf, the whole 2019 class is a bust, and yes that is soon to say, but just my honest feeling. And as much as the 2020 class is growing on me, just cant shake the feeling of what if. What if that trade doesn’t fall through, Brooks gets drafted by Ravens, then we take Taylor even, but we then have an extra 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to work with. How could that one move changed our draft? No point in dwelling on it, just cant stop thinking about it.

    Anyways, really hope that you can look past the comments and continue providing content. First think I look at when I get up in the morning is this site.

  54. EranUngar


    “Carroll and Schneider have talked up Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa combining for 15.5 sacks last season but the year before they combined for only 7.5” is a mistake.

    The year before they combined for 10.5 sacks.

    Everybody keeps using this quote. Can you please fix it?

    • Rob Staton


      But the point still stands. Five sacks each for your two starting DE’s isn’t going to cut it.


      Grain of salt. I hope we have learned by now not to take as fact everything Pete and John pump up. There’s not much they’re not fired up about, which includes the recent first round draft picks and we know how those have gone.

  55. Tree

    I am in the minority but I think we have improved and I don’t think the 49ers have (Kinlaw will not be better than Buckner and how big of impact should we expect from a small rookie receiver with ok speed with a shortened offseason v Sanders?). We have the best QB in the NFC and more depth and diversity (vet stud TE, speedy third receiver, 6’7” move TE, etc) in terms of our offensive weapons. And I think our line (Brown/Haynes/BJ/Lewis/Shell) will have more athleticism and pass protection (with less penalties) than last year’s. In terms of the defense, having a full year of Reed and Diggs should not be overlooked. Nor should a playmaking CB like Dunbar which we simply did not have last year. We brought in 4 sudden edge players between FA and the draft and all are better options than the Ziggy/Jackson disaster which was a huge weaknesses as was the lack of speed and power at LB. But to me if we are going to win a SB, it is about the Hawks getting back to letting their young guys play and take their lumps so they can hit their stride as the season progresses. And not paying players like KJ or Bradley (or yes even Clowney) contracts that not a single team in the league would pay. Let’s instead make shrewd signings at RB, DT, DE, NCB, and safety or an impact player (Clowney) what’s he’s worth.

    • WALL UP

      There’s nothing wrong with being a Minority.

  56. Saxon

    Maybe it’s because I’m an avid fantasy football player but, to me, Seattle’s overall talent level has been in the bottom third of the league for at least three years when comparing position groups. Nevertheless, Pete and Russ find a way. The last two years I expected 6-10 type seasons yet they overachieved. They might have been half as talented as the Niners last year but they were competitive, despite key injuries. Obviously we need more talent. Schneider has been average to below average for half a dozen years now. That needs to be addressed soon. Still, I won’t bet against them. They’ve proven that more than just pure talent wins games, as Rob’s stats should demonstrate.

  57. mishima

    I don’t think Schneider is the problem.

    • mishima

      Meant as reply to Saxon.

    • Big Mike

      I’ve never understood laying all the draft issues at John’s feel. It’s first and foremost Pete’s show and John answers to him.

  58. Trevor

    Really liked this write up Rob as it was kind of a reality check for Hawks fans I think.

    Pretty clear to me that the Hawks on paper at least are clearly not a better team and I would argue worse given that their glaring weakness last year (DL) arguably lost their top 2 players and is worse than last year.

    To compound this issue the rest of the division has improved. You could argue the Rams have maintained status quo but SF and ARizona clearly have better rosters than last year.

    The comparison between GB after Rodgers won his first SB and got his big contract followed by years of an average roster and 10-6 type seasons to the Hawks last 4 years is uncanny. They are in limbo where they can’t compete for an SB but their QB makes them a perennial playoff contender so they can never get signifcant draft capital to truly rebuild.

    Really sucks and I don’t see an easy way out. Instead of “win forever” the last 3-4 year feel like “don’t loose forever” there is a huge difference and until something drastic changes to makeover the roster particularly on defense I don’t see much changing.

    Clowney is a start but even with his signing and a Veteran DT the roster seems more like a 10-6 /11-5 squad with an early playoff exit. Particularly in the NFC West.

    • Rob Staton

      Based on the comments it’s a reality check that clearly a lot of fans don’t want to consider.

    • Big Mike

      Serious question: did GB whiff on their top several picks at a rate of like 60-70% (or more) after giving Rodgers the big contract? This Seahawks team would look a lot different without drafting guys like Collier, McDowell et. al. and instead choosing a TJ Watt or several of the other players that have been mentioned that the Hawks passed on. And look I totally get it’s an inexact science, but missing on your top 2 or 3 picks at the rate Seattle has to me has more to do with the lower talent level on this team that Wilson’s large contract.

      • Trevor

        When you are drafting as a playoff team in the mid 20s or later the odds are far greater in drafting a bust than if you are drafting in the top 10-15.

        • Big Mike

          Of course but imo not at the rate of 60%-70% misses on the top 3 picks each year. 40% range, sure.

        • Gohawks5151

          Please explain this to the people comparing the Seahawks draft picks the past few years to the Cards and Niners

          • mishima

            If it helps, just think of our first as a very high second. Still failing.

            Contributors / Las 5 drafts:

            OL: Ifedi

            DL: Reed

            Random hits: Carson, Metcalf, Dissly, Griffin.

            That’s it. 5 years. Not good by any metric regardless of draft position.

      • Frank
        This is a pretty good reference for round by round picks and likelihood of a successful career.
        I think you’ll enjoy it Mike. The first thing that jumps out is a 63% success rate based on being a starter over half your career, and by round 2 drops to 27%, round 3 all the way down to 17%.
        Id have a hard time trying to prove it, but would suspect the success rate between the first half of the first round and the second is even more disparaging. The Hawks never pick in the top of the first round in the PC/JS era.

    • mishima

      IMO, fear of losing has crept in.

      Won’t risk ‘success’ for a shot at greatness.

  59. Frank

    I don’t believe there’s any objective way to say the rooster substantially improved over the offseason.
    I’ve been rewatching the season this week, and without Clowney in the fold it’s near impossible to see a way this could be a stronger rooster. I like the fact that they have more young developing players in position that have been an Achilles heal like O-line and D-line, and created avenues for those players to get on the field to have a chance to develop.
    My only complaint about PC/JS is that they continually hedge their draft picks with older middling veterans that are just good enough to keep the 1st or 2nd year players from having a shot at developing, and bye the time they finally get into the game, it’s a contract year and are to expensive to resign. Blair, Flowers, Penny, Green are all good players with the potential to be more, but JS/PC have lacked the confidence in there picks to really get the most out of draft capital, and given Wilson’s contract that’s realistically the only way this team is going to add superstars in their prime. I really hope we resign Clowney and believe in our picks this year enough to give them a real chance this year. No risk it, no biscuit as they say.

  60. Gohawks5151

    “This year provided an opportunity with ample cap space and a decent collection of draft picks.”

    What is the cap space situation next year? I thought a while back it was stated around here that they should have cap space for the next 3 years. I know Russ and Bobby’s deals start up so it may not be as high as this year but 1 impact guy over the next 2 years would be big (Though admittedly this was an above average pass rush FA class).

    I’ve read this blog long enough to know that Rob is a “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” guy. But i personally put more stock in progression of players. There is enough team success to believe that guys like Green, Poona and Flowers will take a 3rd year leap like many before. I think Poona can replace Al Woods. I’d throw Amadi and Blair in there too. Also Diggs playing a whole season will be big. He was still learning the system and had an up and down GB game. Clowney will also be in this group when he signs. I’m on the side of the team will be net improved with player progression (and signing Clowney).

    • Rob Staton

      I simply don’t agree.

      There’s no evidence recently that guys like Flowers, Green and Ford are suddenly going to reach a new level.

      To me it’s just wishful thinking.

      A lot of these players have to prove they deserve any faith in their ability. Until then, they deserve to be talked about in the way I have.

      • dcd2

        That’s not to mention that literally every other NFL team also has guys who are going from year 1 to 2 or 2 to 3.

        If it’s reasonable to expect our guys to improve than it’s reasonable to expect theirs to as well. Which puts us back at square one.

      • Gohawks5151

        I get why you don’t agree. Wishful thinking, blind faith and all. But Seahawks do have a great history of development. Not just superstars (like Earl who was out of control and Kam who took a redshirt) but just starters (Tate, Maxwell, Richardson) or role players (M. Smith, Thurmond). Part of my day job is projection of future production and failure rate so admittedly this is part of my world view. That’ why I’m more inclined to believe a guy like Green will follow in Reed’s footsteps (Similar year 2 snap counts, tackles, sacks etc between the two). Hopefully they earn that faith.

        • Rob Staton

          They have a great history of development but we haven’t seen much evidence of it recently.

          • Alex Higgins

            Rob, that’s absolutely fair. But can’t a guy dream??

            • Rob Staton

              Sure, if people want to dream I’m not going to stop you.

              But I also want to be honest about the situation.

    • cha

      COVID could really affect the cap next year. So rough numbers…I took overthecap’s 2021 number and added the 2020 draft class to it…

      If you keep the cap flat, the Hawks have roughly $144m committed to 41 contracted players. So approx. $70m cap room.

      Add the 2021 draft class, call it 10 players at around $12m and you’ve got $156m committed to 51 players. $58m cap room.

      Figure $5m for injury protection and some incentive bonus $ and you’ve got $53m cap room.

      Figure a couple million more for low level veteran salaries over baseline rookie salaries and you’ve got $51m cap room with 51 contracted players.

      2021 free agents: Carson, Wright, Mayowa, McDougald, Dunbar, Shaquill Griffin, Greg Olsen (prob retiring), Dorsett, David Moore, Hollister (I might have missed a couple but those are the primaries I think)

      You might figure some $ to Clowney, Griffen or the DT they’ll inevitably sign.

      • cha

        Oh, and OTC hasn’t posted Bruce Irvin’s numbers yet.

  61. cha

    No games in the UK this year. Sorry Rob. Probably inevitable but doesn’t mean it isn’t disappointing.

    Ian Rapoport
    Officially, no international games in 2020: “We believe the decision to play all our games domestically this season is the right one for our players, our clubs, and all our fans in the US, Mexico and UK.”

  62. Jordan

    Really enjoyed this write-up Rob. Thanks again for all the content.

    Yes, you are right. This really highlights the need for Clowney or another real difference maker on the D-line. Our depth appears to definitely have really improved. Perhaps now we can rotate players more often. We need that star on the line though. Wish we could have more information on the contract offered for Clowney. Reports have varied from 13m-17.5m for his contract… If we can get him back and hes still motivated that would be the best. Plus it would show that the Hawks reward their own guys plus we would keep the extra draft picks required for a trade!

    I know its still very unlikely but I am still holding out hope that Chris Jones could become available. The Chiefs are in cap hell. There is no way they can extend Mahomes this offseason without making some serious trades or cuts. I believe any extension for Mahomes would come at a significant increase to this years cap hit since he is paid so little right now.

    Rob what are your thoughts of the best plan B situation where we cannot resign Clowney?

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think there is a like-for-like Plan B.

      It’s probably Everson Griffen but they’re different players.

      As for Jones —- it’s not just KC to consider. You need to ask yourself how likely it is Seattle spends a first round pick plus to have the right to pay him $23m a year. Because to me that is highly, highly unlikely (and that’s before the unlikely nature of KC trading away one of their best players when they can find room elsewhere).

      • Logan Lynch

        I really think Clowney is the only plan and they’ll see it through to the end. The gap between Clowney and Griffen is larger than the gap between Griffen and someone else…maybe a cap casualty.

        I’m actually starting to wonder if the fact that Black Santa is still out there is making this wait easier for them? If Lynch can come back, why not Moses? The need for a 5T is greater than a LEO…that’s what Clowney would be too. Bennett can play outside on early downs and then kick inside. He could rotate with Green and Collier and hopefully coach them up a bit. Avril said on the radio that Bennett wants to come back and play for SEA. I think he could still be a productive role player and might actually prefer him to Griffen at this point. Obviously Clowney is option #1.

        • Rob Staton

          I doubt Bennett is an option. They paid for him to go away. I know he did that one interview where he said he’d be open for a return. I’ve not seen anything to suggest the Seahawks are interested though.

      • Jordan

        Yeah its wishful thinking at best. It’d be shocking if they did this (in the already unlikely situation he is available). The Hawks like to reward their own guys too and C. Jones would want a fat contract.

        Gotcha for plan B. And I agree about Bennett comment. Unlike Lynch he doesn’t appear as close with the coaching staff or as well regarded as a leader. He’d be good on paper or Madden but may harm the special culture Hawks have.

  63. Edgar

    I hope they have an agreement with Lynch that come week 9, he’s on the team. His presence alone is worth 2 million.

    • Rob Staton

      I suspect he’ll be there week two.

  64. Pran

    Who is going to be the STAR in upcoming camp (if it happens) from rookie class.

    in the past:

    Dickson / Griffin

    • Big Mike

      Not LJ Collier

      • Cameron

        Well, you’re not wrong (he’s not a rookie).

        • Big Mike

          yeah I know but I couldn’t resist :-0

      • Derek

        Who I think will emerge as the biggest contributor in order of likelihood (IMHO):

        Darrell Taylor
        Damien Lewis
        Jordyn Brooks
        Alton Robinson
        Freddie Swain
        Colby Parkinson
        DeeJay Dallas
        Stephen Sullivan

        • Greg Haugsven

          Taylor was one of my favorite players in the draft and I was very excited to hear his name but for some reason I think he has the biggest bust potential of the group. Hopefully I am dead wrong but just a feeling.

  65. Logan Lynch

    I enjoy messing around on MockDraftable just to see the comparisons for players. It really doesn’t say anything outside of the type of athlete they are, but I think it’s fun anyway. Since there weren’t many testing numbers on Brooks or Taylor, those aren’t based on much besides height, weight, etc. so I didn’t bother. I won’t go through every pick, but here ere are some interesting ones I found for the new draft class.

    Dallas – 98.5% Spencer Ware

    Robinson – 87.3% Yannick Ngakoue or Unique Nagookway if you prefer

    Swain – 87.6% Golden Tate

    Sullivan – 79.1% Clive Walford

  66. Greg Haugsven

    What if we look at this differently and look at it py the eight position groups as ask, is this position group better, worse or the same. This would be my opinion.

    RB…Worse (Carson should be OK but Penny likely to start on the PUP and we dont know about Dallas)
    WR…Better (Metcalf will continue to get better and I believe Dorsett is an upgrade over Brown)
    OL…Worse (it could be the same it could be better but on paper I would say worse)

    In all the offense kind of is a wash so the offense would be the same as a whole.

    DLine…Same (to me right now its about the same but different, you add Clowney and I say its better)
    DB…Better (having Diggs the whole season and adding Dunbar should make us better on the back end)

    I would say the defense got slight better making the team slightly better. I would love to hear peoples thoughts whether they agree or disagree.

    • millhouse-serbia

      I dont agree with OL…I think its question mark and you really cant see anything about that part of team…

      And about DL,at the moment we are short of one DT so it depends a lot of that player to make final assessment…it that player is Woods quality I would sat we are slightly better there…

      • Greg Haugsven

        So you think the OL is the same or better?

        • millhouse-serbia

          I dont think any of that…I think its impossible to say anything because we have 3 new starters, and none of them have a lot of game as starters under their belt…

          Its really huuuge question mark…

          • Greg Haugsven

            Of course its impossible but we are just debating for fun whether you think a position group is better, worse, or the same on paper

        • GerryG

          I’m putting OL as worse, as I posted above: 3 maybe 4 new starters in a year with minimal to no off season is a recipe for disaster even if the talent is a little better

    • Logan Lynch

      I’d say I disagree about DL. As it is today, I think it’s worse. The potential is better than last year there. Add Clowney and a vet DT and we have a conversation.

      Also can’t say LB will be better for sure. Bobby and KJ are a year older and Kendricks is gone. Lots of young pups need to step up there.

      • Greg Haugsven

        I said LB is the same, not better though.

        • Logan Lynch

          True, and I’m saying that I personally can’t make that leap. Kendricks was a very good player and as much as I hope Brooks is a stud, I can’t confidently say that he or any of the other young guys will fill Kendricks’ shoes.

          • mishima

            And if they play Brooks at WILL and move Wright to SAM, who knows how they will perform.

            Plus, Wright and Wagner are both a year older, recovering from injuries.

            IMO, worse.

  67. millhouse-serbia

    Wow I must say I am more.than surprise…until few minutes ago.I thought roster is expending at 55…but its not true…roster is stil 53 and ps is 12 …just on game day you can call 2 players from ps to make 55 and now its 48 players for game…so dont count to add 2 more players on 53 roster…

  68. RWIII

    Agreed. Everything pretty much depends on if Clowney resigns with the Seahawks. John Clayton believes the best offer on the table for Clowney is coming from John Schneider. For a while Clowney had to be in denial. Tennessee is much closer to his home town than Seattle. However, I think Clowney still has options(although not that appealing). He could retire as Rob mentioned earlier Clowney has already made 50 mil+. He also might be waiting for an injury. Where a pass rusher from another team goes down with an injury. Also when Clowney got his initial offer from Seattle he was probably both stunned and angered. But because of the lack of offers from other teams he probably has gotten over it.

    Question: Would you offer a 7th round pick for Leonard Fournette?

    • Derek

      I’d go as high as 4th rounder. He really could be the next Marshawn (not same playstyle) but he’s big, fast, physical, makes great subtle cuts, and could take over the identity of our running game.

      What I don’t know is how motivated he is and/or his attitude.

      • Robert Las Vegasn

        Rob i was just thinking that the lost Quinton Jefferson is a pretty underrated Lost .for the most part he was the most consistent pass rusher throughout the season especially from the inside or DT position

        • Rob Staton

          I thought he ended up being a bit overrated in the end. But he’s better than some of the players left on the roster.

  69. J

    You gotta analyze this as “where did we get better”.

    The biggest flaw on our defense last year was not pass rush.

    Teams could run at will on us. 4.9 YPC. And it wasn’t our DL. It was our outside linebackers. KJ doesn’t have the speed to defend the edge. Kendricks may or may not still run a 4.4 but realistically it wouldn’t matter if he could teleport. He can’t tackle for anything. If someone was running at his grandma with machete he couldn’t stop him. If you don’t actually tackle the guy, getting in position doesn’t matter. Outside runs killed us. Run defense is overrated but when teams can run at will it becomes a problen.Brooks is an instant upgrade there.

    The second biggest flaw was not the pass rush. It was nickle corner. Now maybe PC still runs base regardless of down. But we at least have the personell to fix it. It isn’t that Dunbar is an upgrade at our second corner, it’s that he is an upgrade to nickle corner.

    Pass rush, Mayowa and Irvin are rotational guys. Really good rotational guys but not starters. You know who our subpackage pass rush was last year? Shaqueem Griffin and not much else. Going from zero to at least something is an upgrade. Room for improvement though.

    On offense, we needed the middle of the field possession guy. Losing Dissly was a big blow. Olsen, hopefully a healthy Dissly and Parkinson add depth there and make it more likely Wilson will have that guy.

    Not sexy moves but we are better, especially on defense. I think we’ve solved 1.5 of our three needs and improved on the third, depending on how PC runs things.

    • Rob Staton

      1. It is preposterous to suggest the pass rush was not even the second biggest problem. Come on. Let’s be sensible here. Look at the statistics in the article.

      2. The run defense suffered because they couldn’t defend the perimeter run. To lay that solely at the feet of KJ Wright is incredibly unfair and wrong. They often had Wagner and Kendricks/Barton on the field too.

      3. The main issue with the perimeter run is not KJ Wright’s lack of speed. It’s the complete inability of the front four to protect the LB’s and keep them clean. If you can’t do that, it doesn’t matter how fast your LB’s are. I don’t believe they have a line capable of protecting their LB’s currently.

  70. Malc from PO

    Hello, Rob, I greatly appreciate your work this year and every year.
    The frustrating, and also awesome, thing about following the Seahawks is that the team is designed to be in a position to narrowly win every game, regardless of the opponent. We never blow people out, we rarely get blown out, and the margin for error is razor thin. The difference between the Patriots’ unbelievable success and our consistent excellence is that the Patriots could figure out many routes to victory: passing, running, defence, push early, hang in there until late, whatever it takes; we only have the one route: keep it tight, win it at the end.
    So to get it back to the question at hand – we are not going to play differently, so have we put together a team that is better equipped to keep it tight for three quarters and manage a victory late than last year’s squad? I don’t see any moves that push the needle much either way: improvement at TE, concerns about running backs, OL no reason to expect worse or better; Defence mainly hoping on existing player improvement, but no new confidence that this D can go out and win a game for you if the offense has a bad day. We haven’t increased that margin for error or given ourselves new ways to win so it’s hard to predict taking a step forward from the last few seasons.

    • Rob Staton

      I think you make some good points Malc

    • Dregur

      I would also point out that the Patriots are also in the worst division in the NFL…

  71. Kenny Sloth

    I say “And I like Mike Davis. I. Like. Mike. Davis.” in Rob’s voice at least 6 times a day

    • dcd2

      Kenny, are you really Bill Walton?

  72. Aaron

    John & Pete UDFA class this year a good blend of measurables and aggressive attitude. I like the potential of Miller and Heslop. This year could see a larger number of UDFAs succeeding like everything else we will have to wait and see how it all works out.

    S Chris Miller- 4.61 40; 4.12 shuttle; 7.09 three-cone; 35.5-in vertical’; 11-1 broad jump; 12 reps bench

    CB Gavin Heslop- 4.58 40; 4.18 shuttle; 6.88 three-cone; 35.5 in vertical; 10-7 broad jump; 12 reps bench

    OLB/DE Eli Mencer 4.54 40; 4.22 shuttle; 7.13 three-cone; 34 in vertical; 10-2 broad jump; 18 reps bench

    DT Josh Avery 5.14 40; 4.65 shuttle; 7.50 three-cone; 34.5 in vertical; 9-4 broad jump; 31 reps bench

    DT/DE Marcus Webb 4.63 40; 5.18 shuttle; 35 in vertical; 20 reps bench

    TE Tyler Mabry 4.82 40; 4.16 shuttle; 7.08 three-cone; 34 in vertical; 9.5 broad jump; 22 reps bench

    RB Anthony Jones 4.69 40; 9-3 broad jump

    • WALL UP

      Keep an eye on Mabry. Apparently, the Hawks do see something in him as well, as they worked to get him. I have him as their sleeper HB/FB/TE. He loves to block and play ST. He could very well supplant Bellore for that role, which could help create more cap space.

      • WALL UP

        His 7.08 3-cone is better than S Miller that weights more than 50lbs less than he does.

        • WALL UP

          Kyle Juszczyk had similar measures, 40 time (4.71 secs), 20yd shuttle (4.19 secs) and BP (24 reps).

          What’s impressive with Mabry is his 34inch arms pumping 22 reps, and his 20yd shuttle was (4.16 secs) carrying a slightly bigger frame than Juszczyk. That short area quickness in pulling while reaching the second level is what he could excel at when lead blocking, along with his reach.

          I’ve been hoping for someone to push that HB/FB position. It wasn’t utilized much in 2019 as with former years.

  73. dcd2

    Wish we would have landed Bronson Rechsteiner for that same role. Ironically he landed in Baltimore.

    Other UDFA that I was hoping for:

    Benito Jones, DT (Ole Miss) – Dolphins
    Bryce Sterk DE (Montana St) – Dolphins
    Javelin Guidry DB (Utah) – Jets
    Jake Breeland TE (Oregon) – Ravens
    Chris Williams DT (Wagner) – Colts
    James Robinson RB (Illinois St) – Jags
    Madre Harper DB (S. Illinois) – Raiders
    Sewo Oloniula, RB, (TCU) – Cowboys
    Calvin Throckmorton, OL (UO) – Saints

    Trying a top 10 UDFA this year to see if any of them pan out. If they don’t, it was probably poor coaching.

  74. Rashi

    For me, the grade I have for this offseason is not good or bad. Its simply incomplete.

    This offseason has not ended yet, so we really cannot conclude how it will turn out. Sure, they have not made all their moves so far, and as fans we get impatient. But that does not mean that it will not get done.

    The way some people have attacked JS/PC over the offseason is ridiculous. If you have an employee doing a project for you, you don’t judge the quality of the project by their progress 4 months before the due date. If we are sitting here in September with no answers to the pass rush, then I will gladly raise my pitchforks with everyone else. But until then we don’t know how it will play out. There very well could be a good reason why things have been delayed.

    • Rob Staton

      The article doesn’t offer a grade or suggest anything is complete. It’s a review of where we’re at and makes reference to what else they need to get done.

      As for attacking PCJS. Come on. Where? Who’s attacking anyone here? It’s perfectly reasonable to debate what they’ve achieved after free agency and the draft. Do you realise how limited the available options are after the draft? Do you realise that about 26 of the NFL’s teams are now basically switching the off button until whenever camp happens?

      The fact Seattle has work left to do is worthy of a discussion alone.

      Accusing people of ‘attacking’ anyone for debating where they are at is silly.

      • Rashi

        I was not talking about you at all. I was talking about just general nega-seahawks fans that think JS/PC are terrible at their jobs. Sorry if it came off that way but I genuinely wasn’t talking about you.

        And agree there is a lot to do. But yes I realize that the option dwindle over time. But im sure the Hawks have a good reason for waiting.. they cleared up their cap space for a reason.

        • Rashi

          You also have no idea how the Seahawks perceived the pass rushers that were on the market. If they did not like Quinn and the other options out there, you can’t fault them for not making a move. Maybe they thought Clowney was realistically the only elite option out there, and as a result are willing to wait. Just because you think that guys like Quinn/Fowler are worth the money, does not mean the Seahawks agree. Its really hard to guess how they internally evaluate these guys. Once again the only appropriate analysis is that this is an incomplete offseason, especially when the Seahawks are sitting on a bunch of cap.

          • Aaron

            Seahawks have what maybe $15 mil in cap space? without a roster move or restructure. I think adding anything to next years cap should be avoided if possible, at least until we get a better idea of what the future is going to look like. Dont kill me if that number is wrong lol its probably lower.

  75. Ashish

    After looking back on Seahawk’s draft history, i feel McDowell first pick (2nd round) was a big turning point. He was good/great player but had a character issue. Hawks thought they got a steal (which might have been proved true) but his reckless decision caused changed in plan for Hawks. They went and trade for Sheldon Richardson for 2nd round (if i remember correct).
    That was sort of time we started mortgage our future picks for current wins nothing wrong in it. Our draft pick is not turning out stud (Back office fault) and team is showing lack of blue chip players.

  76. Wade

    Love the analysis, and completely agree with the comparisons between this year and last. Also really appreciate Rob’s level-headedness in season projections. The reason this site is so great is Rob and the community as a whole doesn’t just say, before a season, “the Hawks have improved slightly, so they’ll tally more wins.” You’ve got to start from the ground up in your analysis.

    I do wonder if we should translate some of that attitude over to position groups. I come from the world of baseball sabermetrics, where this kind of thing is *much* easier to measure. But hear me out. First: what are we trying to measure? True talent level across a season? Or entering the postseason? Both are valid for projections, and I’d argue that both are important for a bubble playoff team like the Hawks. If it’s the former, you’d want to only include Diggs’s value for 4 games, as some readers have suggested. If it’s the latter, you’d want to exclude Dissly. If it’s some hybrid, still I’d argue for a weighting system–while acknowledging that full health from a man like Dissly is unlikely in 2020.

    More importantly (for I recognize that what you’re going for, Rob, is not a precise wins-level projection, simply a benchmark for how the team’s done with additions and subtractions), I wonder if we’re overselling and underselling certain position groups. If I were to give an over/under on the D line’s performance this next year relative to the league, I might put it somewhere around 25 percentile. To me it’s kind of like projecting who will receive the #1 pick next year. It’s hard, because positive regression is a powerful force. Similarly, I’m gearing up for a downgrade on offense in 2020 due to downgrades from QB and perhaps WR. Just my 2 cents…

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