After watching incompetent quarterback play hold back the Seahawks, I was thrilled with the Matt Flynn signing because it brought hope to a position where there previously had none. That hope escalated further last night when I read John Morgan’s piece about Flynn. That got me wondering: how good can the Seahawks really be in 2012?
Offensively, the Seahawks showed a lot of promise in the second half of last season when things started to click with Marshawn. Rushing-wise, the Seahawks had one of the best in the league over the course of the last 8 games. The Seahawks rushed for 1050 yards, which would equate to 2100 yards over a full season. That number would have ranked them in the top 10 of the league in rushing yards.
What makes the Lynch-led Seahawks rushing attack even more impressive was the fact that they were missing their best offensive lineman in Russell Okung for 4 of those games, along with Motiff and Carpenter for essentially the entire half of the season. When those three return to the field next season, along with an improvement in Turbin as the backup RB, I could envision the Seahawks having a top-7 rushing attack in the NFL. Expect to see a lot of skittles in 2012, because Beast Mode ain’t slowing down.
As for the passing game, this depends almost entirely on Matt Flynn. His girlfriend/wife is hot though, so if Moneyball has taught me anything, Flynn will be a huge step forward for the Seahawks. If he is an improvement over Jackson like we all expect him to be, then the Seahawks could suddenly have an average or even an above-average passing attack. Even with Tarvaris Jackson, the Seahawks were not in the bottom-10 of the league in passing yards. Replace Tarvaris with Flynn, add in a healthy Sidney Rice and another year of experience for young wideouts like Baldwin, and the Seahawks suddenly have a respectable passing game.
I think another key here for the 2012 season is also the reemergence of Mike Williams. Williams had a poor season last year, as Tarvaris was hesitant to throw into coverage. Judging from what I’ve heard and seen from Flynn’s highlights, it certainly seems like Flynn is more willing to throw the ball into tight coverage and give his WR a chance to come down with it. We saw the impact Mike Williams had in 2010, and his reemergence this year with Flynn would be a huge boost to the Seahawks’ passing game. Combine that top-7 rushing game with a top-15 passing attack, and we could be looking at a top-10 offense here.
Defensively, the Seahawks may have what it takes to be elite. In just a matter of a couple years, the Seahawks secondary has transformed from a fatal weakness to a noticeable strength. Football Outsiders had a system last year called "Cornerback Success Rate," and they rated Richard Sherman as the 2nd best cornerback in the league. Browner made it to the Pro-Bowl, so he’s not too shabby himself. The two also have plus-ability to locate the ball and intercept it, a skill Kelly Jenning’s mom forgot to teach her son. Both safeties, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancelor, also made the Pro-Bowl, creating what I believe is the best secondary in the league, and due to their youth, they are only improving.
As for the defensive line, the Seahawks were one of the toughest run-stuffing teams last season. Although the stats claim that the Seahawks were an average rush defense, I would imagine that most fans watching the games are comfortable with the Seahawks rushing defense and its ability to shut down opposing RBs. Ray Rice had 27 yards against the Hawks. Michael Turner had 70 yards; LeSean McCoy had 82 yards; Frank Gore had 59 and 83 yard games, while Steven Jackson had 42 and 63 yard games. For the most part, we held the other team’s runner in check.
When it comes to rushing the quarterback, that was definitely an area of concern last season and the position that needed the most upgrade this offseason. I think we made those necessary upgrades, with the addition of Jason Jones and Bruce Irvin. If those two can combine to add a net gain of 10 sacks over the course of the season, then the Seahawks would have ranked in the top 7 in terms of sacks. Overall, with the strength of the secondary and the added depth to the defensive line, the Seahawks defense is etching closer to becoming elite. For now, they are a top-7 defense for me.
With a top-10 offense and a top-7 defense, that screams "playoffs!" in my head. While it is a little strange that I have voices screaming in my head, it’s a pleasant voice with an even pleasanter thought. The Seahawks were showing signs of becoming a very good team in the second half of last season, and with upgrades to key areas of weaknesses such as QB and DE, the Seahawks have set themselves up for a magical season. It’s almost 1:00 AM now and I’ve just written nearly 1000 words. I thought I was taking a "break" from homework, but I ended up writing an entire piece on how good I think the Seahawks will be this season. Such a strange way to procrastinate… Anyhow, while I realize that for every possibility that guys like Flynn and Irvin work out, there’s an equally good chance that they’ll struggle and the Hawks will miss the playoffs. However, there’s something called hope, and I’m blinded by it.
Super Bowl XLVII. Seahawks 2012. Believe the hype.