The Seattle Seahawks kick off training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Complex in one week. Vegas thinks they’re bad, Mike Clay thinks they’re bad, whenever CBS gets around to it they’ll say the Seahawks are bad.
They might lose a bunch of games. But this is a talented roster in a number of areas, and there are reasons to believe Seattle can compete and exceed expectations.
Let’s get this out of the way up front: this is a homer piece. However, it’s a homer piece based in reality. Things the Seahawks have that are lost in the current narrative, especially when considering that the Arizona Cardinals are never going to put it all together and the San Francisco 49ers will have an injured roster led by Trey Lance.
So, my Three Legitimate Reasons the Seahawks Could Theoretically Finish Second In the Division:
Defense (clap clap) Defense (clap clap)
The biggest move Seattle made this year was trading Russell Wilson. The second was re-signing Quandre Diggs. But the third?
Pencil me in for the firing of Ken Norton Jr., the Almighty Giver of Free Yards.
The defensive improvement from last season to next year is among the most certain bets this franchise can offer.
We’ve been down this road before, but don’t forget the players themselves led the charge in 2021.
Interesting that both Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed have spoke to schematic things defensively today in comments to @BradyHenderson and @IanFurnessSea.— Curtis Crabtree (@Curtis_Crabtree) September 27, 2021
Interesting comments from Tre Flowers on Seattle’s pass defense: “It’s a schematic thing, I feel like. I’ve got my own questions to ask.” Said there’s confusion among some guys on how to defend certain routes. “It’s going to be an easy fix once we all get on the same page.”— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) September 27, 2021
The Seahawks now boast several things heading into 2022, including Pro Bowl safeties, a proven defensive interior, edge rushers at the critical juncture of young and experienced, a top-10 linebacker, and a potential breakout cornerback.
Tre Brown: Only rookie to play 100+ snaps and not allow a since 15+ yard catch @OU_Football pic.twitter.com/X7eDbpgKNE— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 18, 2021
I want to use Jamal Adams as the example here. Absolutely do not care what they traded for him, in this piece, it does not matter.
In 2018 he had 12 passes defended and three forced fumbles. Pro Bowl. In 2019 he had 6.5 sacks, a 61 yard interception TD, a 25 yard fumble recovery for TD, and was First Team All-Pro. In 2020 he set the record for a defensive back sacking the quarterback.
Yes, you hate the trade. I don’t care. Adams is really, really good. Ken Norton was really, unnecessarily, bad at his job.
Can you even set aside your biases long enough to consider Quandre Diggs alongside a (finally) healthy Adams - by his own admission - in a scheme focused on competence?
Clint Hurtt has some absolute difference makers to work with. I do not know if the best version of Seattle would be able to keep up with the best version of the Los Angeles Rams defense this year, but I’d take them over the other two and I do think the Seahawks have the firepower to keep it close. Defense will be the primary storyline this year in regards to Seattle’s success, for those paying enough attention.
The Positions, But Only the Skill Ones
Why exactly do we call them skill positions? It’s fairly rude to suggest that Michael Dickson can’t put “NFL Punter” on his future resume under “additional skills”.
Look, whoever throws the ball on this team has already unimpressed every national reporter with internet access. Why not have fun with it?
Seattle has a few things in their favor this year: the best WR tandem in their division, the best TE besides George Kittle, an extremely intriguing RB room, and an offensive line that all but guarantees to be better by end of season than beginning. I’m not sure if that last one is actually a plus, but it’s probably better than putting duct tape on Duane Brown and hoping he’s good in 25 degrees.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have already shown they are the game-changing duo of the West. Noah Fant will probably rise and fall with the success of whoever’s throwing, but he’s got a ton of talent.
Running back is where it’s really interesting, as the second-half version of last year’s Rashaad Penny would be a top-five back over the course of a year.
From Doug Farrar
From Week 12 through Week 18, there wasn’t a more productive back in the league. Penny ran 102 times for a league-leading 706 yards, 6.9 yards per carry, six touchdowns, 4.98 yards after contact per attempt, and 12 runs of 15 yards or more.
Add college’s best runner in Kenneth Walker to that, and Seattle is the only team with even a shred of reality in walking away from next season with the NFC West’s #1-2 WR and RB.
All the Small Things
If we made a list of things that could improve in 2022 (yes I said this was a homer piece), that list would include:
- Playcalling of Shane Waldron
- Defense x10
- Tre Brown
- Jordyn Brooks
- Darrell Taylor
- The Offensive Line
- Frickin’ using Alton Robinson
- Jamal Adams
- The RB play
- The TE play
- 4th down decision making because Jody Allen said do better “and this time I really mean it, Pete”
- The defense-befuddling use of Dee Eskridge we saw for 12 plays last year
- Third Down efficiency
I am not predicting the Seahawks to win 11 games. But this season is not a lost cause. Even if it doesn’t result in double-digit wins, there are enough fascinating storylines this year - actually achievable! - that will keep me completely dialed in. As more and more of these players, position groups, or overall improvements materialize, we’ll get a better picture of what the potential is of this roster when they really gear up to go for it.
Very different, but very exciting football lays ahead.