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Winning with Seneca Wallace Part 1: Adding a Weapon

Could Seattle win with Seneca Wallace starting at quarterback? Apart from Seneca himself, it's an attractive proposition. The Seahawks could approach the offseason with one vital need filled. Wallace turned 29 September 6. He is within a quarterback's prime. He has glaring weaknesses, but amazing athleticism and solid arm strength. Wallace cannot be the center of an offense, but can he be the trigger man on a successful offense? And more importantly: Can Seattle build that offense in one offseason?

The following series is meant as an exercise in team construction. I don't think Seattle should build around Wallace, but I do want to know if it can. I hope by doing so I can provide a novel look at another vital offseason for the Seahawks franchise. This is in line with my series on Jason Campbell. The idea is not to endorse a player (I'm not yet ready to endorse Campbell) but only to explore realistic options.

We know Wallace well enough to build an offense around him. It will be built around the run game. With respect to Justin Forsett, Seattle must add a superstar rusher. Free agency is good for stop gaps and retreads, but this offense needs game-breaking talent. That leaves Seattle looking to the draft to fill its need at back.

For purposes of argument, I will presuppose that this year's running back class, though deep and talented, does not produce a back that Seattle cannot pick. The best rated back, the extremely premature pick for first running back selected, is C.J. Spiller. Spiller is not an every down back and teams rarely select a complementary back in the top ten. We'll use Spiller as the template, but Seattle could select Jahvid Best, Joe McKnight, Noel Devine or a host of others and have the same basic back.

Seattle could attempt to import thunder to trail its lightning or just convert Julius Jones into a thunder back. Given his age and rounded skills, he's not far from the designation as is. He won't pound down defenses, but then, does any back?

Whoever is selected and however that rotation is filled out, if we want Wallace taking the snaps, we need a special back to build the rest of the offense around. Most likely, that means investing a first round pick. Seattle is likely to have two. One in the five to 15 range and the other in the 15 to 25 range.

So Seattle selects C.J. Spiller with the 12th overall pick. Spiller on board, Wallace can be babied. Spiller opens a whole new avenue of offense for Seattle. He opens the middle by drawing the safeties in, and Wallace will need to be able to hit his fullback and tight ends to survive. Drawing the safeties in is also vital to the play action game, and play action will be used extensively with Wallace. He upgrades the screen game immensely and that gives Wallace big-play potential without Wallace himself executing big plays. Spiller could be lined out wide or in the slot and draw out safeties and linebackers. Wallace could run a read option with Spiller, as he did with Jones when Seattle first went SeaCat on Sunday.

The offense has a home run threat, but it's foolish to spend big on a back and leave the line in disarray. The next step is to find offensive line talent to further improve the run game. Seattle has added a rusher that can take over, but it also needs Jones and Forsett to be able to rush effectively. Adding talent to the offensive line keeps the running game productive, the playbook open, Wallace out of passing downs and Wallace in the pocket when he must pass.

Winning with Seneca Wallace starts with adding a weapon but depends on adding a line. Seattle wants to run a clock control offense that can score, but that defers to the defense. It wants succesful drives and to own the clock. It wants to put the boot on its opponents when it's ahead and be able to stick with the run when it's behind. Spiller helps, but Seattle needs much more than a back to make Wallace an able starter.