Into the darkness…
It’s easy to forget this — but quite a lot of Seahawks fans don’t remember life before Russell Wilson.
This includes some of the more, shall we say, ‘vocal’ members of Seahawks twitter.
Whether it’s due to your age or the rapid improvement of the team a decade ago carrying you along for the ride — there are quite a lot of people on the internet who haven’t experienced what might happen in 2022.
A really bad season.
For others, it might just be so long ago that we’ve forgotten what it’s really like.
I remember watching the film ‘Lost in Translation’. I saw it about a year after it came out. I was at University at the time. I thought it was great.
Re-watching it as an actual adult years later — it was nothing like I recalled. It was 102 minutes of absolute torture. I understood why a younger version of myself would give this arty-farty bilge the benefit of the doubt. Yet as a grown-up I just wanted to tell the two main characters (played by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson) to f-off.
Thankfully I’ve seen the light. I watched Top Gun Maverick in the cinema for a third time this weekend — a confession I’m prepared to make. I fear it might be the last great classic cinema experience.
The whole point of this digression is to point out that the 2022 season might create a similar feeling to that second viewing of Sofia Coppola’s pretentious borefest.
More than anyone I’ve been extolling the decision to have a clean break and ‘take some lumps’ this year. I think that short-term misery will present a quicker path to a return to success (through higher draft picks) than muddling along in no-man’s land.
That doesn’t mean ‘tanking’. People often lurch to deliberately losing for the #1 pick. It’s not about that. It’s critical the Seahawks try to build while they go through this process, as they did in 2011. I just think that can be achieved without spending resource on a minor quarterback improvement — which would’ve been the case with Baker Mayfield and will be with Jimmy Garoppolo — in order to win eight or nine games instead of five, six or seven.
The end result is no Super Bowl appearance either way.
Yet even as I promote this scenario, I accept it could be painful to witness. The 2011 season ended well as the team gained momentum through its defense and running game. But there were some awful moments too. Mainly because the quarterback play was horrific.
To be frank, this 2022 season could be worse. This time we don’t know if a Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas combo will emerge — or that any of these running backs can emulate Marshawn Lynch’s impact.
My memory of 2011 is also potentially clouded by what happened next — the successful addition of a brilliant franchise quarterback. Admittedly, it won’t be easy to do that again.
Thus, experiencing this coming season 11 years on might be a bit like that second viewing of ‘Lost in Translation’. It might not be as good as I remembered.
I’m sure some of the reaction to a bad season could be backlash to those who spoke positively about going through this. Having made the 2011 comparison to the current Seahawks and spent time saying what a jolly good idea this all is — it may be that I’m hoisted by my own petard if the losses begin to stack.
If/when we get to the point that things go bad — people need to get their act together and take it on the chin. I am prepared to do that but we’ll see how the noisy internet fanbase handles it — especially those who only know the Wilson era Seahawks.
This year needs to be about setting up the future. It needs to be about positioning to acquire a young quarterback of the future in 2023 while developing and shaping a better defense, O-line and running game to create the ideal environment from which to insert a young signal caller.
That is all we should demand or ask for.
As camp gets underway, that’s a message that probably bears repeating.
But it also could be difficult to watch. Some games could be really ugly. There might be little hope or enjoyment as the winter rolls in.
Still, it could be worse. You could be watching Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson playing two bored, rich people in Japan.
D.K. Metcalf’s contract situation
There was a slight glimmer of hope that the Seahawks’ top brass had an epiphany moment after the Wilson trade. Pete Carroll, for example, admitted they’d been ‘arrogant’ about the way they’d played defense over the last few years.
It was a welcome statement that suggested they were learning some lessons and moving on from some of the hubris that has dogged this team in recent years.
Yet since that press conference after the Wilson deal, they’ve since gone back to talking about ‘their way of doing things’ and have largely stuck to their guns.
In free agency they spent an absolute fortune to get not a lot in return. It means they’ve dramatically reduced their available cap space for 2023 already — as highlighted in this article. A lot of people are going to repeat over the next few months that the Seahawks have a lot of money to spend in 2023. They don’t. Not anymore.
They’ve also handled the Metcalf contract situation about as poorly as they could’ve done — allowing multiple top players to get deals done, driving up the market, following Christian Kirk’s league-changing contract in Jacksonville.
Short of Metcalf being unreasonable, which I suppose is at least possible, it’s unclear why they didn’t just agree to match or slightly better A.J. Brown’s contract with the Eagles right after the draft.
Now they go into another training camp with a contract question mark hanging over the franchise. It made a complete dog’s dinner of a situation with Jamal Adams a year ago — leaving the player undercooked, the defense ill-prepared and it was a media distraction for far too long.
They’re walking into the same thing again.
If they didn’t want to pay Metcalf a kings ransom they should’ve traded him — as the Titans did with A.J. Brown and as the Ravens did with Marquise Brown. By not dealing him, they indirectly committed to him. Now they need to do so financially by getting this done before camp begins.
They talk about their track-record of signing players as a positive but they’ve often paid too much, too late and created avoidable drama.
This needs to be sorted now.
I wouldn’t expect Jimmy G in Seattle
If the Seahawks were going to bring in another quarterback to compete in camp, you would imagine they would’ve been in the building by now.
You have to be able to lead. You have to be able to build relationships. You need to be the focal point.
It’s virtually impossible to insert a player into a position like that during a camp.
This is going to be a Geno Smith vs Drew Lock battle. A lot of fans won’t like it. I think it’s the right thing to do and I hope Lock wins the job. I want to see if there’s something there instead of watching a season of mediocre play from Smith. Yet Lock will have to grab the starting gig in camp and rightly so.
However — I’ll say it again. The key this season is to developing your young O-liners, creating a defense that actually functions properly and getting the running game going. Do that and regardless of wins or losses — it’ll be a successful season.
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