“Run it back”, they say. “Firing people and trading quarterbacks after one bad season is dumb.”
“Burn it all, you blind and ignorant ingrates,” others reply. “Systemic problems have been masked for years and it’s all caught up.”
Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
I don’t care.
The team totally sucks, and while it’s not been hard to say “go Seahawks,” it’s been hard to stay invested and even harder to watch all the way through the fourth quarter sometimes. So, if the Seattle Seahawks did decide to keep absolutely everyone next year, the organization would be banking on certain large-scale problems that were true of 2021 to not be true of 2022.
That is quite a big bank.
How would it happen?
finger brain works again
Wilson clearly came back early, lacking several aspects of the passing game. However, it’s the decision making that’s been killer far too often. Not finding wide open Gerald Everett and DK Metcalf, scrambling only once every 50 plays, extremely predictable and unreliable third down throws.
But his finger can heal, seems like it has, and fortunately for Seattle that finger is connected to a brain very unlike Jimmy Garoppolo or Jared Goff. Wilson may need more of both help and tinkering with what defenses are doing to him, but he’s not permanently broken. His big play game is so good that going 18/23 with 4 TDs is still completely in his wheelhouse. The rest of the staff needs to solve the intermediate game - as does Wilson - which they can do.
Rashaad Penny is the best back this regime has drafted
He’s not yet a useful combo with Wilson, because he’s also a boom-or-bust running back, which you do not want paired with a boom-or-bust quarterback.
But his averages of both his big runs and his ineffective runs are increasing.
Play action was a complete mystery to this offense for much of this season, and it needs to be better. I am not a proponent that a stellar run game is needed to even attempt a play action pass, but I am a proponent that it feels as though Pete Carroll is.
Watched the All-22 of the Seahawks game and Shane Waldron's 1st half play calling was unbelievably bad. 5 straight three and outs. No motion, just 1 play action pass, and 12 of 15 snaps out of the gun. On the 6th possession he went under center play action and shocker, it worked pic.twitter.com/ycYhb22BPc— Parker (@ParkerLewes) October 5, 2021
The offense just gets so inexplicably weird without a true lead rusher. Not even bad, just weird.
Anyway I digress one way this works next season if Rashaad Penny’s second half is real. Over the last five games he’s averaging 6.6 yards per carry and a career-best run of 118 yards. (No, that’s not real, but it’s here, and screw you, ESPN, get a better product online).
I don’t think Shane Waldron was expecting to come into Seattle to lose his quarterback’s middle finger and any sense of a confident run game. They need this to work.
Dee Eskridge is helpful and Gerald Everett comes back
They also need this. Eskridge should be able to rush effectively 1-2 times per game, for 20+ yards. He’s also proven he can catch and run, though only in one NFL game this year. A renewed emphasis this offseason on taking on the defense gives will result in Everett and Eskridge as vitally effective in Wilson’s nearly-forgotten ability to spread the ball all over the place. The pursuit for the elusive WR3 threat continues but if things resolve themselves next year then he’s already on the roster this time.
They get a pass rusher
Carlos Dunlap did... a thing this year. I don’t know what to call a 32-year-old star who was only good in the freezing end of the year grind after the team’s been eliminated. Backwards is all I’ve got.
But Darrell Taylor and Rasheem Green are plenty good enough as supporting cast. Taylor is a solid 1b at this point, and has all the potential in the world to progress to a true 1a. But if the Seahawks get somebody on the edge through free agency, unlocking Taylor and Green in the way Dunlap has very infrequently, then the pair with six sacks each this season can continue to be disruptive.
The Secondary stays healthy
This is obviously true of everyone, but the entire backfield except Quandre Diggs was hurt this year.
Of course, Seattle could theoretically find an upgrade over D.J. Reed if he leaves in free agency, but I’m more interested in seeing what the current DBs would look like with a pass rush and correct expectations.
If the Hawks 90% ran it back here:
- Quandre Diggs
- Jamal Adams
- D.J. Reed
- Tre Brown
- Jordyn Brooks
- Somebody else at linebacker
- Somebody else at nickel corner
This is successful. I mean, it probably won’t be if teams continue to throw underneath and whatever second linebacker has similar coverage problems.
But having finally figured out Adams as a safety and that Brown is very good, this is fine.
We’ve already seen what this looks like, and it’s good
I didn’t pick random numbers in this piece. Those random stats were from the Week 1 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Wilson’s stats exactly, Eskridge’s numbers, Everett had a touchdown. Green and Taylor had a sack. Only Penny wasn’t himself yet. 251 yards allowed in the air, and only a 6.6 per catch average.
For all who’ve surely forgotten by now, try to think back to September 13th when you woke up thinking the Seahawks were Super Bowl bound.
All the “what ifs” and limitations in the world considered, but 2021 Week 1 is best case scenario for this team if it’s largely the same next year.