The Seattle Seahawks and the national media do not generally go hand-in-hand. Fans often find themselves wondering what they did to earn the silent treatment, or what their team has to do to get noticed. The awkward conversation about Russell Wilson’s 0 MVP votes (from those who’ve never voted for him) serves as one recent example.
Predicting the outcome of football games is difficult; just ask Alistair Corp. The goal of this piece is not to poke unnecessary holes in the arguments those who were wrong about Seattle before games were played.
Just necessary holes.
But in all honesty there’s only three undefeated teams left in football, and an honest fan should admit that the Seahawks have surprised even their faithful 12s. Some true surprise strengths have emerged, and one glaring weakness was unforeseen.
Disguised Strength: Position Groups
Mike Clay releases a massive league-wide ranking system every year, using a 0-4 point system for each position group. It also comes with a season win/loss projection which never gives the Seahawks enough wins.
Here’s the highlights for Seattle:
- QB - 3.9
- RB - 2.6, meaning (generally speaking) Clay believed there are 11 backs in this league better than Chris Carson
- WR - 2.6, and yes we will talk about this
- TE - 2.0
- OL - 1.3
That’s it for the offense so let’s take a second to talk about that. Every position group has outperformed their ranking on this list, with the possible exception of tight end.
The running back grade is especially disrespectful, following consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons by Chris Carson. And the signing of Carlos Hyde, making Seattle the only team with two top-ten RYOE rushers. And the late-season breakout of Rashaad Penny. We must assume that Clay believed all three were injured beyond reasonable usefulness, because it’s difficult to defend there are 11 RBs better than Carson alone, much less the entire group.
Second, let’s be reasonable. Nobody expected the passing attack to be what it currently is. But the WR group at 2.6 was a definitive mark that DK Metcalf would not make any sort of sophomore progression. Obviously, Metcalf has not only done so but surpassed all expectations as the first name mentioned in deep-threat leaders this season. There are some very good receiver corps in the NFL, but the Texans, Bengals, and Panthers were not ever going to outperform the Seattle duo.
Tight end is fine, they are...just fine.
That leaves the Offensive Line as the biggest surprise here, outside of possibly Metcalf. Clay’s 1.3 was the worst grade for any of the projected winning teams’ line. While the Seahawks may never have a top-5 line, they are decidedly not terrible this year. More importantly, they’re pretty good when they need to be, giving Wilson time to throw during his comeback drives.
- DT: 0.6
- DE: 0.5
- LB: 4.0
- CB: 2.8
- S: 2.5
There’s not as much to say about the defense. This list came out before the Jamal Adams trade. Linebacker is spot on, if we’re talking only about Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright and not one moment’s thought about Cody Barton.
The big surprise here would be the defensive line. The 0.6 and 0.5 scores point towards worst-in-the-league type athletes. For all of you who just chuckled and said “well, yes” - those type of athletes do not make three game-saving stops in five games. This line has plenty of issues, but again, there’s 10-12 defenses who are struggling even worse in this weird world of 2020 NFL.
Wrong Reasoning: you win the game in the fourth quarter
The kicker for me all year has been Bill Barnwell’s candidates for regression. It’s still among my favorite pieces of the summer, for a series of criteria that didn’t make any sense. First and foremost: the inability to come from behind with regularity. Russell Wilson is the proven best quarterback in the NFL at this, so it was totally out of place. Here’s a couple screenshots from that masterpiece.
Well, sir, Seattle is well on their way to smashing that streak to smithereens.
To be fair, Skybox Brian Schottenheimer has unleashed Wilson in a way that presumably all sane Seahawk fans had hoped this year. So Barnwell’s confusion with the lack of cooking is not exclusive to him. But the come from behind bit? The tight game victories? Utter nonsense. Wilson has done this 34 times now. Try to understand: the gripe about this line of reasoning is not simply another pundit who dissed the Seahawks - it’s using one of Russell Wilson’s greatest strengths as a criteria to determine future losses.
Whereas Clay’s table shows where this team has surprised, Barnwell’s projection shows that this team is exactly who they have been for sometime - excellent at comebacks because of Russell Wilson.
Barnwell’s piece also focused on Seattle benefitting from opposing injuries, a fact not likely to be repeated. There’s not really much we can do with that, so let’s not.
The last bit was Barnwell joining the long list of those who thought that this offensive line would be terrible, which makes me think that yes we definitely should consider Damien Lewis and Brandon Shell as the second and third biggest (positive) surprises of this year.
There’s a host of other offseason predictions, most of them less relevant to what’s currently happening with the Seahawks. The honorary mention goes to when Colin Cowherd said this is a poorly run franchise, which clearly explains why so many veterans continue to choose Seattle. Jadeveon Clowney both forced trades and shortlisted Seattle, while Damon Harrison has proven twice that he chose this team specifically.