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What the 2018 Seahawks went through before making the playoffs

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This is a list of the things that are true about the 2017-2018 Seattle Seahawks, a team that just clinched another playoff berth:

  • All-Pro strong safety Kam Chancellor was injured last season and has been unable to play since. The team signed him to a lucrative contract extension prior to that, which is taking up a significant amount of their cap space in 2018.
  • The team fired offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and replaced him with Brian Schottenheimer. The first move was applauded by many, the second move was ridiculed by most.
  • The team fired defensive coordinator Kris Richard and replaced him with Ken Norton, Jr. The first move was probably questioned by many and surprising to say the least, while the second move involved a coach who had been fired by the Oakland Raiders, of all teams.
  • The team replaced Tom Cable with Mike Solari. Few didn’t like this.
  • They traded Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett for almost no return and no savings against the 2018 cap.
  • They released All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.
  • All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas broke his leg in Week 4.
  • Between Kam, Bennett, Sherman, and Thomas, the Seahawks are spending almost $28 million on those four players with virtually no production other than four games from Thomas.
  • They also lost defensive end Cliff Avril in Week 4 of last season and never really found a replacement for him.
  • They waived their first pick in 2017, Malik McDowell, and they’ve still never seen him play for them.
  • They didn’t have a second round pick in 2018. Instead, they drafted running back Rashaad Penny, who has been helpful but contributed very little as a rookie. Third round pick Rasheem Green has done even less. En total, their contributions from the first round of the draft since 2017 is a little bit of Penny, their return on the second round is some poor play by Ethan Pocic, and the third round is a little bit of production from Green, a lot of starts (but mostly inconsistent-to-uninspiring play) by Shaquill Griffin, inconsistencies from Nazair Jones, not much from Delano Hill, and virtually nothing from Amara Darboh.
  • Basically, if you took away the first, second, and third round by Seattle over the last two years, you wouldn’t change the team by much.
  • In fact, fourth round tight end Will Dissly looked like a steal who could offset that issue but he tore his Achilles.
  • The team also let Paul Richardson (second on the team in yards for 2017) and Jimmy Graham (third in yards, first in touchdowns) leave via free agency. Some fans lamented the lack of compensatory picks and their production could not or at least was not replaced.
  • The team lost Sheldon Richardson in free agency with Richardson saying that their offer was a joke. Instead, they used some cap space to sign Tom Johnson and Shemar Stephen in his place, then released Johnson after Week 1. Some fans ridiculed their handling of the Richardson and/or Johnson situations, and the team has been transparent in their admission of mistakes made. Less loud are the voices of praise that the front office found Jarran Reed in the second round in 2016.
  • As the season approached, it became apparent that number one receiver Doug Baldwin was seriously hurt and that he might not be at 100-percent at any point in the year. Baldwin had one target and zero catches in Week 1, then missed Weeks 2 and 3, before returning in Week 4. In Week 5, he had one yard on one target. He also missed Week 14.
  • K.J. Wright was seriously hurt just before the season and has missed all but four games. His cap hit this year was $8 million.
  • The team found a gem replacement in Mychal Kendricks. After three games he was suspended for eight games. When he returned, he broke his leg.
  • Starting running back Chris Carson missed two games with injury.
  • Backup running back Rashaad Penny broke his finger in the preseason and has also missed the last two games.
  • Free agent signee, planned starting tight end Ed Dickson opened the year in NFI, missing six games.
  • Starting cornerback Tre Flowers missed Week 2, further weakening a secondary that had lost Sherman, Jeremy Lane, and offseason signees like Dontae Johnson and Byron Maxwell.
  • Offseason signee D.J. Fluker has missed five games.
  • Germain Ifedi missed Week 16.
  • Dion Jordan was expected to pick up some pass rush production and has done almost nothing.
  • J.D. McKissic opened the year on injured reserve, unexpectedly. C.J. Prosise still couldn’t stay healthy or do anything productive.
  • Jordan Simmons steps in as a solid replacement for Fluker, then goes right onto IR after his second start.
  • Bobby Wagner missed Week 2.
  • The Seahawks schedule has ended up including games against the 9-6 Cowboys, 11-4 Bears, 12-3 Rams (twice), 11-4 Chargers, 11-4 Chiefs, and 8-6-1 Vikings. All playoff teams, if Minnesota wins next week or the Eagles lose. It’s a significant amount of difficult games.
  • The team was 0-2 after two games, 2-3 after five, and 4-5 after nine.
  • They are also ... going to the playoffs. Again.