Firstly, if you missed the recent podcast don’t forget to check it out:
1. The Seahawks fix the run
It’s popular these days to try and diminish the importance of the running game. Regular readers will know I’m not convinced by the statistical arguments that suggest the run is overrated. Clearly you can create a somewhat convincing case based on situational stats and recent league trends. I just happen to believe there are certain things you can’t measure. Including the complete importance of a truly threatening running game.
I think this Tweet sums it up:
Seahawks faced Rodgers, Ryan, Wentz, Watson, Dak, Cousins, Goff x2. Highest passer rating against last season though: Blake Bortles, 123.7.
— Field Gulls (@FieldGulls) June 22, 2018
The Seahawks sold out to stop the run in this game, focusing almost their entire attention on Leonard Fournette. They were willing to challenge Blake Bortles to beat them. And he took the opportunity in what was undoubtedly his cleanest game of the season (and possibly his career).
I suspect many teams were willing to risk Russell Wilson beating them in 2012-14. They knew stopping Marshawn Lynch was the key. And even when they succeeded, as was occasionally the case, the attention Lynch drew often made life so much easier for the quarterback.
It’s probably one of the reasons they were a lot more successful ‘getting by’ on the O-line. Paul McQuistan was their starting left tackle for eight games in 2013. You’d barely notice aside from that one game in St. Louis.
If you can force teams to dedicate their focus to stopping the run, undoubtedly there are benefits to be felt. It might be difficult to quantify this but should you really even need to? Does everything need a number these days?
There’s also the cultural benefits of being a tough, physical running team. Lynch clearly inspired the LOB. The two key sections of Seattle’s team worked off each other, sharing the same attitude and intensity. It’s no coincidence that Seattle has lost the fear factor they once had since the running game collapsed.
2. Less politics please (don’t judge)
I’m not the type of person to write the words ‘stick to sports’ in a Tweet. I’m also not the type of person who wants players, fans or media to bury their heads in the sand and ignore big issues that need to be discussed.
That said, I think there’s too much politics in everyday life at the moment. You can’t escape it. Nearly everything is politicised. I appreciate why. This is a politically charged time around the world. Social media has become a hotspot for political views.
However, sometimes it’s nice to not have to think about politics. That doesn’t mean you’re ignorant to the issues facing the world. It doesn’t mean you don’t care.
Increasingly it’s harder to separate the NFL from politics. Every press conference Pete Carroll faces is always a mix of social ills and football. Every game there seems to be some kind of political strand attached. A lot of articles in the NFL media talk about politics, not football.
I’m not blaming anyone for that. I just wish that, occasionally, the NFL could go back to being a fun release.
3. A satisfactory resolution to the Earl Thomas saga
Richard Sherman wasn’t supposed to get cut. Cliff Avril wasn’t supposed to retire this way. Michael Bennett wasn’t supposed to be traded for peanuts.
Who could’ve predicted any of that back in 2013?
It seems, sadly, that the Earl Thomas saga is going to end in a similarly unsatisfactory manner.
It’ll be difficult to witness a dramatic holdout stretching into the season. The negative vibe of the Kam Chancellor holdout hurt the team. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that with Earl.
Either way a parting appears inevitable. Possibly via free agency next year.
What constitutes a satisfactory outcome? A fair deal via trade or an extension of sorts. Just something that doesn’t have the fans wringing their hands for weeks on end. Either draw a line on the situation and allow people to move on, or come to a compromise. And for either scenario to come true, it can’t be the Seahawks conceding alone. Earl Thomas has to be willing to compromise too.
4. Fresh start
The 2017 season wasn’t much fun. The Seahawks were in contention in the win column but most people knew they weren’t a genuine challenger. The injuries mounted, the run game collapsed and the defense started to toil. It was a far cry from the unbeatable excitement witnessed from the 2012 season right through to the end of that Super Bowl.
The Seahawks may never be able to recapture that magic. It’s perhaps unrealistic to think it’s even vaguely possible. However, they still have the ultimate playmaker at quarterback. They’re trying to get the running game back. They have some new, young pieces on defense supported by some exceptional veterans.
If nothing else, it’d be pleasing to witness a fresh start. A new energy. A reason to believe again.
5. A pass rusher emerges
The Seahawks’ biggest question mark on the roster is the pass rush. They have some young pieces but not a lot of proven quality outside of Frank Clark. Dion Jordan showed flashed in 2017 but has to prove he can stay healthy. The rest have to show they belong.
It’s possible we’ll spend most of the 2018 college season looking at pass rushers. That’s not a problem, the 2019 draft promises to be loaded on the defensive line. However, it would be a huge bonus if Jordan, Rasheem Green, Barkevious Mingo, Marcus Smith, Jacob Martin, Shaquem Griffin or another name really stood out and showed they can be part of the long term future. Especially with Clark set to be a free agent at the end of the season.
You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.