Through the dismal 2-7 start, we've learned that even good teams are fallible. Well constructed teams. Teams that are assembled by smart football people who can recognize talent. But this year, poor execution and a ridiculous slew of improbable injuries shot the Seahawks down before they could get airborne. But in the spirit of John Morgan's attempts to keep an optimistic outlook on this team, I want to take a look at a 2009 that can't possibly see us suffering this much bad luck.
First off, there's the receiving corps. Right now we're running a Robinson-Colbert-Engram split end, flanker, and slot rotation. It's not terrible, but it could be better. And in 2009, it will be. Assuming we keep Robinson (and why not, he's cheap and has been very good) we could potentially run sets of Branch-Robinson-Burleson-Taylor. It will be a position of depth with Kent, Bumpus, and potentially a draftee taking a bigger role. The receiving corps next year shapes up to be sure-handed and athletically gifted.
Secondly, the quarterback position. We've seen three quarterbacks line up under center for our beloved Seahawks this year, all due to a hit that should have been considered illegal on Matt Hasselbeck. Admittedly, he was hurting before then, but the prognosis of his injury seems to be better than we expected. Can we count on Hasselbeck in 2009? The man is a warrior, it's hard to say no, but we'll have the second half of the Season to see if his back injury hinders him from being an elite, championship-level quarterback in 2009. With a guy like Hasselbeck, my money is on him returning to form.
Next, Red Bryant has turned into quite the monster at defensive tackle. Paired with Brandon Mebane, it's possible we won't even look to re-sign Rocky Bernard. And if we do, great, we have incredible depth. Patrick Kerney being out isn't as terrible as we may think, because it gives Lawrence Jackson some time to learn on the job is a lower-pressure situation. It's not impossible that we draft another end this offseason, but a mature Tapp and Jackson will look good. Anything Kerney can give you in 2009 is just gravy.
Additionally, Locklear missed the start of this season, so our line took some time to get up to full strength. Not to mention Rob Sims missing the entire year is a little bit of a drawback. However, we may learn that Willis can be an even better right guard than Sims. It's a positional battle that leaves the Hawks well-served either way, as we have a good right guard and good depth behind him.
Add all this together with a new, modernized coaching staff (hey, we may even get a shotgun formation!) and most likely (hopefully) a new Safety to replace Brian Russell as well as any standouts from the draft (long-term replacements for Walter Jones, and/or Hasselbeck), the outlook on 2009 can't be anything but bright. Lofa's injury wasn't serious, and the biggest thing we may have to deal with is losing Leroy Hill. Worse comes to worse, the Seahawks can compete with D.D. Lewis taking Hill's spot. Injuries happen; they're a part of the game. But it's safe to assume the Seahawks won't be this injured in 2009. The thought of this team being healthy in 2009 should strike fear into the hearts of teams all around the NFL.
Here's to health in 2009.
(Tagged players are those with injury issues, those who may depart in free agency, or horrible horrible players. Kind of crazy to realize just how many Hawks got injured this year, huh?)