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Strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis’ past problems have caught up with him in Seattle

NFL: Seattle Seahawks-Training Camp Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday afternoon didn’t matter. At least, the results didn’t matter. Or rather, the score and win/loss outcome of the game didn’t matter. The Seattle Seahawks are in the playoffs, and the seed will be determined by Week 17 alone. Sunday should not have mattered at all.

What happened throughout the game ended up far more significant than any loss.

Two weeks ago the Seahawks lost Rashaad Penny for the remainder of the season. This weekend, they added Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise to that list. While it’s some kind of new hurt-less record for Prosise, it’s absolutely devastating for Seattle with the role the other two played. My memory is not that long, but when is the last time a team was guaranteed to hit the playoffs with their 4th string running back?

Add to that Mike Iupati and Duane Brown, plus on the defensive side Shaquill Griffin, Jadeveon Clowney, Ezekiel Ansah, Quandre Diggs....and this has gotten ridiculous.

It’s high time to introduce a name that has not been at the forefront of discussion surrounding the Seahawks’ woes this season.

Let’s talk about Ivan Lewis.

Ivan Lewis is the strength and conditioning coach hired by Seattle this February. It’s his first season.

And he’s playing like a rookie.

The Seahawks have in no noticeable way improved their preventative health over last season, and it’s almost impossible to dispute that it’s worse than 2018.

Lewis was part of head coach Pete Carroll’s past at USC, and it is in large part that relationship that brought him to Seattle this season.

Previous strength and conditioning head coach Chris Carlisle was fired as part of the huge coaching overhaul that took place this offseason. The move was made directly after a season full of notable injuries.


As it turns out, Ivan Lewis has not brought a strong resume of success to the Seahawks, so much as he’s brought a trail of broken limbs and shredded tendons everywhere he’s been. SB Nation’s own USC page, the Conquest Chronicles, had some choice words to follow Lewis on his way out the door.

While a coach leaving to the NFL is usually a downer for college teams, Trojan fans will rejoice at the departure of Lewis. After a season wrought with injury that decimated USC’s defensive corps, many began to wonder what USC’s strength and conditioning program was doing to set players up for a healthy playing career.

They were right. Turns out, people weren’t that torn up down in SoCal.

Before USC, Lewis had a role at the University of Washington, under another Pete Carroll associate (these guys are everywhere) Steve Sarkisian. His reputation there was similarly maligned. The internet has not spoken too kindly of Lewis from either Pac 12 school. A few of the more choice comments, taken from conversations herein:

For those who may not know: Lewis is commonly known as “Ivan the Terrible” by fans, and is generally reviled by both UW and USC fans for his poor results and especially the amount of injuries suffered by players under his coaching.

Speaking for UW, the difference that just one year under Petersen’s S&C coach (Tim Socha) after Sark and Ivan left was remarkable. Our players appeared to “level up” in just one offseason from a strictly physical perspective, and the years since have only further solidified how much better Socha is than Ivan. Now maybe Socha just happens to be one of the best in the business so everyone looks worse by comparison, but I’m going to go ahead and deduce that Ivan is just a bad S&C coach.

So why is he here?


I have no idea.

Brock Huard weighed in and pointed out that Lewis has worked with Russell Wilson, and that this followed a recent trend of player-specific coaches, like Tom Brady.

Except there’s 52 other guys on the roster, and nearly every one of them broken.

This issue plagued Seattle even in the middle of summer, so don’t try to argue it’s a cold weather problem either. The Seahawks were more banged up throughout the preseason than I’ve ever remembered. Heading into the third preseason game the injured list was already astonishingly long.

Of those injured early, only Ezekiel Ansah came with an expected timetable outside Ivan Lewis’ control. But we still saw many go down at least once:

  • George Fant
  • DK Metcalf
  • L.J. Collier
  • David Moore
  • Mike Iupati
  • Marquise Blair
  • Ed Dickson, who never ever recovered
  • Shaquem Griffin
  • Phil Haynes
  • Bo Scarborough
  • Jordan Simmons
  • Geno Smith - remember his weird knee thing?
  • Ben Burr-Kirven
  • Gary Jennings and DeMarcus Christmas, who are not part of the active roster, but serve to highlight that every rookie besides Travis Homer to the best of my knowledge got some kind of injury in rookie camp

That last bit is some of the most telling. Either Seattle was extraordinarily unlucky in the injury propensity of every 2019 draft pick, or they were not conditioned properly in preparation for training camp, or their program is such that athletes are not equipped to handle it out of college. Unless it’s the first option, both of the others relate significantly to the strength and conditioning coach.

Some of these have been those unforeseen collisions or types of plays that cause damage, but many of them have not been that. Soft tissue injuries would top this list (muscles and tendons).

So Griffin’s hamstring, Mychal Kendricks’ hamstring, Luke Willson’s hamstring - are you seeing the pattern?

Continuing: Jadeveon Clowney’s core thingy, a handful of ACLs, Nick Bellore’s quad, Quinton Jefferson’s oblique, Duane Brown’s bicep, seemingly every safety’s back spasm....

Yeah. It’s bad. All of those, soft tissue injuries.

This has been a very, terribly, inexplicably unfortunate December for the Seattle Seahawks.

Unless it can be explicated.

Something’s going wrong with the strength or conditioning of many on the Seahawks. Just wondering if anyone who deals with strength or conditioning is responsible for either strength or conditioning related issues currently plaguing this team.