If you ask just about anyone, the vast majority will tell you the Seahawks are done, they’re rebuilding, they’re going to be irrelevant next season.
None of it is true. None of it.
The argument is this team has lost a lot of talent and while I don’t dispute that, that talent will be replaced as well as giving players the opportunity to emerge as the future star of tomorrow. Seriously, this team has been so full of top tier players at so many positions, rookies and outside free agents rarely got a look in, they didn’t really get a chance to show what they could do. The practice field rarely identifies future stars, I don’t know why but historically, stars have emerged by players ahead of them on the depth chart going down to injury forcing the teams hand to put them out on the field.
That is when you identify talent, in real game time, when the lights are on, the cameras are rolling, hundreds of thousands of eyes on them, that’s when stars are born. That simply cannot be emulated in practice. The adrenaline, the focus, the competition is all just that little bit more ‘real’.
I think it’s a case of momentum. Storylines and ‘news’ can travel like wildfire and I think that’s exactly what has happened with the 2018 Seahawks. People have said they’re rebuilding and not to expect much and people have just gone along with that notion. Nothing wrong with that at all, people believe what they’re told all the time. Just this week I read a Seahawks blogger had said that Shaquem Griffin got a 4-year rookie deal with a 5th year option, then the following day said that John Schneider gave him a ‘very rare’ 4 year deal as rookies usually get 3 year deals. Neither are true, at all. But people in the comments section took it as fact and were praising John Schneider for giving Griffin a 4-year deal as opposed to 3 to split his signing bonus over more years thus lowering his cap hits. It infuriates me when people misquote and simply ‘make stuff up’ for the reasons I’ve already highlighted, people read this stuff and believe it, why wouldn’t they? If I didn’t know anything about cats and someone who ran a cat website told me they only sleep for 8 minutes a day, I’d likely believe them. Shame on people misquoting and misguiding Seahawks fans who show a genuine interest in the team by reading their sites. These people don’t deserve the honour and certainly don’t deserve your time. Hawk Talk does, though…Obvs...
In years past it was pretty hard to get ‘too’ excited (relatively speaking) over training camp and preseason. Sure it was fantastic to see how the rookies perform but you knew the majority wouldn’t be able to outperform the core guys whose roster spots were as much of a sure thing as possible. If anything, I just welcomed football back into my life and felt reassuringly calm that I knew the ‘main’ guys would be starting and the camp battles were, for the most part, the depth and back up guys battling for a roster spot. And don’t get me wrong, that is exciting in its own right, but I find players genuinely battling for starting spots far more intriguing and exciting, maybe I’m alone in that but I suspect I’m probably not.
You’ve also got to appreciate the talent that was on this team last year and is still here. Last year this team was legitimately one kick away from a 10 win season. 10 wins. You ask the bottom half teams of the NFL if they’d be happy with 10 wins? They’d be ecstatic! I get it, though, this team is better than that, this team is bound for greatness and is held to a higher standard than most and I can say with the upmost confidence that the 2018 Seahawks will live up to that label and not the label that many are trying to stick on them that quotes “rebuilding, be back in 2019 or 2020”. Don’t believe them ladies and gentleman, don’t believe a word of it, seriously.
We still have Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Duane Brown, Frank Clark, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Shaquill Griffin and Earl Thomas to name but a few.
We still have players that are bound for fantastic seasons in Tyler Lockett, Dion Jordan, David Moore, Bradley McDougald, Justin Coleman and J.D. McKissic to name a few.
We have rookies that can and likely will have an immediate impact on the games in Rashaad Penny, Will Dissly, Shaquem Griffin and Michael Dickson.
And then you have the guys that everyone has counted out or aren’t aware of. The guys that were still finding their feet in seasons past and will finally grab the bull by the horns this season and put it all together. I obviously cannot predict who that will be as I am yet to be able to predict the future (yet), however at least a few of these names could really emerge as ‘tomorrows stars today’
Germain Ifedi (remember how Justin Britt looked after 2 seasons)
Marcus Smith II
You may laugh at a few of those names on the list but remember this…If this season past was 2010 and the 2011 season was fast approaching, you’d have seen Kam Chancellors name on the list above. A 2010 rookie that did nothing in his first year outside of special teams play that absolutely exploded in his second year. That can and likely will happen again this year, it’s just so much better set up to accommodate that kind of magic happening with so many roster spots being wide open. You can’t identify future stars if they’re sat on the sidelines after all and that has been the case over the last 3 or so years, players simply haven’t had the opportunity to emerge and it’s why this team was on a slow but painful decline and, in my opinion, is on massive upwards trend moving forwards.
I’m sure you’ve heard some people comparing this upcoming season to the 2011 or 2012 Seahawks and I agree with that thought completely, however the biggest difference, in my opinion, is we have a whole lot more talent on the roster than we did back then. A whole lot more. Take the quarterback position for example, Pete Carroll has said it takes quarterbacks 7 years to fully develop, guess what year Russ is entering? That’s right his 7th season. The whole roster is better from top to bottom at just about every single position so it’s a very fair assumption to say we are starting off in a better position.
All of the above has focussed on the players and how they will develop and how new stars will likely emerge this season, but one aspect that absolutely cannot go unmentioned is all the coaching changes. A huge amount of men lost their jobs this offseason paving way for new guys with new ideas and tactics. Pete himself called the moves ‘franchise altering’ at the NFL Combine back in February. It seemed that the offense in particular had gotten a bit ‘stale’ so I very much welcome these changes and while I wish the absolute best to Darrell Bevell, Tom Cable, Kris Richard and the others, change was necessary. The main reasons behind these changes seem to be to get more out of Russell (wow!), get the run game fixed and hold the players accountable. Russ seems to respond very, very well to criticism and I get the impression Bevell very much pandered to him, it doesn’t seem that will happen with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and QB coach Dave Canales, when Russ slips up and makes a bad read, he’s going to get called for it. This alone could propel our franchise quarterback into levels of play that we have not yet witnessed, quite exciting when you think just how good Russ is and what he has done for this team to date that he could still get better.
Mike Solari could very well be the most important cog in the box, though. This offensive line needs to block better and moving to a power run scheme as opposed to a zone blocking scheme will help them out no end. I won’t go into the intricacies of both however if you’re interested in reading a detailed breakdown of how each work, read an article I wrote that can be found by clicking here. In summary, though, a power run scheme plays to the strengths of the lineman we have available on the roster, for the most part at least. The zone blocking scheme, at times, seemed to play to our guys weaknesses. Expect big things from Mike Solari.
You also can’t underestimate what Ken Norton Jr brings to the field. We all know this is Pete Carroll’s defense but what Ken brings is a tone, a standard, and those are the sorts of things that NFL players respond well to. Richard rarely got in the players faces screaming at them when they mess up, you can bet Ken will! He will be in their face, pushing them and quite literally forcing them to play better. It all comes back down to accountability, this team is making the players accountable for their successes and their failures, and that means something, it really does.
I may be in the minority when I say this team is absolutely not rebuilding, but I am yet to see any proof that this team does not have the potential to put it all together and go on a long run deep into the playoffs. I’m not saying we are going to win the Super Bowl, that takes all sorts of things to happen, including a good dose of luck, however if a few balls bounce our way, we are lucky with injuries and a few players emerge as stars, I can say with upmost certainty this team is going places. Of course things could be derailed in week 1 if Russ were to get injured but you cannot predict these things.
This team is bound for greatness and the 2018 season will be no different. Go Hawks!
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