I love the Seahawks, I have since I was young. I've seen ups and downs and mediocrity. I've seen excitement build only to be dashed by mid-season. As a younger man, I always came into every season with high hopes. Now, entering my 8th straight full season of watching this team I no longer have my default excitement. In truth, I find it hard to reduce my expectations down to just wins and losses.
The more I thought about how to set my own expectations the more I felt I didn't really know what I wanted. The more I think about Pete Carroll's entrance into this organization and his quick success, the more I am comparing his situation to that of Mike Holmgren. The 1999 season was painful. Sure, people remember the success of making the playoffs and losing the heart-breaker. I remember a team on offense that looked incredibly inept in second halves of games in which they had demonstrated clear control of the first half. It was a team that overachieved on offense and played to its strengths on defense.
After the improbable playoff run of 1999, the Seahawks of 2000 gave up nearly 400 yards a game on defense. I say nearly because they came up just 9 yards shy of having that perfectly round number. I say this now and make this point because this 2000 team was technically not the worst in the NFL, going by wins and losses, they were an amazing 6-10. However, this didn't stop them from being one of the worst defensive teams ever in football.
I almost feel looking at it, that we are somehow destined to face a "2000 season" again this year. Though this time around, I don't think it will be because of a hopeless defense.
I could easily see Pete Carroll's football team fielding the worst offense in football this year. The volume of changes to the offense is very comparable to the changes made on that defense by Mike Holmgren then, and that's where I make this connection. The 1999 defensive line, which was a decent strength in that season, lost both Phillip Daniels and Sam Adams in 2000, replacing them with Lamar King and career Seattle back up Riddick Parker. Cortez Kennedy was not the defensive wall he had previously been and without an adequite partner was not able to affect the games in any meaningful way.
Meanwhile, they moved Anthony Simmons from middle linebacker to left outside linebacker, and although Simmons would log 119 tackles he was always having to make up ground and looked unnatural in the switch. Simmons was replaced in the middle by George Koonce,-- if you have no idea who this is, that's ok,-- neither do I.
So on the 2011 Seahawks I see three switches of the same drastic nature, this time on the offensive side with three new inexperienced lineman and Robert Gallery. They switched out the head of the offense for a known commodity with little upside in Tavaris Jackson. Sure, there's a few other key pieces that are still decent additions but this front is going to be terrible, at least to start. I realize the comparison isn't an across the board match but it's pretty close.
So this return to 2000 is sort of what I'm expecting. Without putting a number of wins and losses; circumstances could change, but that's where I am going in.
If we speak in hope though, then I hope we get a 2002-like season. In that season the first half was terrible but that final stretch was an awakening, the offense was so good in their final six games the media mentioned them everywhere and Hasselbeck was a fantasy gem in all the fantasy draft mags.
Outside of this, I'm not putting any stock in wins or losses, though some groups will have the "suck for Luck" campaign to keep them interested. I will just be looking for a nice stretch of games that can find some good football being played on both sides of the ball for all four quarters, win or lose.
I have one vain hope though. I want Sidney Rice to have a 1000 yard year. Just because.
Outside of wins and losses, what are your expectations?