After an offseason that seemed like it might never end, Seattle Seahawks football is BACK and the first of at least 17 games is upon us.
As always, I have some thoughts about that ...
A little over 19 months ago, in one of my first articles for Field Gulls, I suggested that the Seahawks should trade Russell Wilson.
A little over 6 months ago, that’s what they did.
Well, technically, it was a little less than 6 months ago since the trade, which was agreed to on March 8th, couldn’t be officially consummated until the first day of the new league year, which was a little over a week later.
I thought trading Wilson made sense when I suggested it, when John Schneider and Pete Carroll actually did it, and I still feel that way today.
But, damn, has it been hard to deal with the aftermath.
Seeing Wilson in a Denver Broncos uniform for the first time ... that was a jarring experience.
Hearing the national media write the Seahawks off, reading thousands of online comments that did the same, seeing the Over/Under on Seattle’s expected wins set at 5.5 ... Ouch!
But I endured, and the Seahawks will too.
Some call it the end of an era.
They. Are. Wrong.
Whether you like them, hate them, or something in between, John Schneider and Pete Carroll remain at the helm of the Seahawks.
When all is said and done, it will be them, not the players, that define this era of Seahawks’ football.
That’s not to say that the players aren’t important, it’s simply that eras are defined by longevity and, so far, John and Pete have outlasted all of the significant players that Seattle has had over the last x-number of years.
And, contrary to what some might think (and/or wish), neither John nor Pete appears to be in any danger of losing their job anytime soon.
JSPC is the era, not Russell Wilson.
Some would argue that an era is defined by dominance.
Unfortunately, the Seahawks’ run as a dominant team ended long before they traded Russell Wilson and released Bobby Wagner.
I would argue that it ended before the infamous Earl Thomas “finger incident”.
Before Richard Sherman joined the Niners.
Even before Marshawn Lynch hung up his cleats ... the first time.
Me, I think it ended on the goal line in Glendale, Arizona on February 1st, 2015.
Helluva run. Far too short.
John Schneider disagrees.
Not about where the Seahawks are - i.e., he acknowledges that they’re no longer a dominant team - but, rather, about when they lost the pole position.
According to Seahawks.com, John Schneider had this to say the day after Seattle trimmed its roster to 53 players:
“We’re chasing instead of being chased, which I think is cool. I think it’s exciting. It’s kind of like right when we got here, we were chasing the San Francisco 49ers. L.A. Rams, like it or not, are the world champions. Let’s go, we got to compete with them every single day.”
I’ve always liked John Schneider, but that quote, to me, is ACES.
He’s excited about the team, he’s excited about the season, and he hates that the Rams won the freaking Super Bowl last year.
Some more quotes, courtesy of The Athletic, from players and coaches, specifically in regard to tonight’s game against the Broncos:
“A lot of people are going to try to bring a lot of drama around this game, but it’s just the Broncos versus the Seahawks on Monday night.” - DK Metcalf
“We’re not making the game about Russell. We’re not playing Russell. He’s a part of their team, but we’re playing the Broncos.” - Clint Hurtt
“It’s gonna be the Seahawks versus the Broncos.” - Penny Hart
“It’s not going to be anything different than it ever would be. Why would it be something different? He’s a terrific player, and he’s going to do his thing over there, just like all the guys we play. This has been a long time coming — it’s not like we just changed uniforms last week. We’re in good shape, and I’m not in any way expecting it to be anything different.” - Anonymous
Just kidding on that last one; it’s obviously Pete Carroll.
It’s no secret that I dislike the Rams. And the Niners. And, to a slightly lesser extent, the Cardinals. Unbeknownst to me though, I apparently have a subconscious aversion to every team in the NFC that isn’t the Seahawks.
I recently learned this after a co-worker asked me to join his fantasy football league.
Prior to the invite, I never really understood the appeal of fantasy sports and, because of that, I almost passed on the opportunity. But I like doing mock drafts prior to the NFL Draft and figured this would be like that except with players that I know a whole lot more about.
Plus, I thought I might appreciate having a distraction this season.
The league draft was a blast!
My initial team consisted of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Kenneth Walker III, plus 3 AFC quarterbacks, 3 AFC running backs, 5 AFC receivers, an AFC tight end, an AFC kicker, and an AFC defense / special teams unit.
Amusingly, I didn’t realize that I was drafting anti-NFC until the 13th or 14th round.
Oh, and I chose the Buffalo Bills defense as well as their kicker which made watching the Bills manhandle the defending Super Bowl champions on Thursday night sooooo much more fun.
Obviously, I now understand the appeal of fantasy sports.
Speaking of fantasies ...
My recent 3-part series about the Seahawks (maybe) surprising us this season stopped short of my suggesting that the team could reach the Super Bowl.
Inside Seahawks HQ though, that’s the goal.
According to Uchenna Nwosu, he got the “championship” pitch from Pete Carroll before signing a 2-year deal with the Seahawks in free agency:
Every year they’re trying to compete for a championship here, and that’s something (Pete) reiterated to me when I signed: ‘We’re just going to keep competing for a championship.’ I believe him.”
Per Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic, in his article titled “Forget rebuilding: Seahawks players, coaches genuinely expect to contend in 2022”:
(T)here’s truly a genuine faith inside Seattle’s locker room. They believe they have the right ingredients to be competitive on a weekly basis. And they’re not blowing smoke when they admit to feeling as if they can win a championship this year. The word rebuild just isn’t something anyone wants to entertain.
It’s probably worth mentioning that the Seahawks have the 3rd-worst odds of winning the Super Bowl right now at +15000 (tied with the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears, ahead of only the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans).
The oddsmakers are probably wrong though.
I mean, what do they know?
Maybe I’ll buy what Pete Carroll is selling and put $100 on the Hawks to win it all.
The Athletic’s Mike Sando thinks that Russell Wilson is the quarterback with the most pressure on him in Week 1.
The Broncos embraced the idea that they found their savior at quarterback in Wilson. Whether that becomes the case, there’s pressure on Wilson to elevate that team right away, but he must play his first game against the team and coach that know him best and against a remade Seahawks defensive scheme that did not reveal much in the preseason. Seattle’s offense could lose the game, obviously, but is it realistic to expect Wilson and that Denver offense to hit their stride right away? There’s more for Denver to lose than win in this game.
Looking at the matchups around the league, it’s hard to argue that Sando is wrong.
A case could have maybe been made for Trey Lance ...
... but San Francisco at Chicago was just one of nine games in the early slot on Sunday whereas all eyes will be on Denver vs. Seattle on Monday Night Football.
Speaking of pressure ...
There’s a question as to whether or not Seattle’s revamped defense will be able to collapse the pocket and consistently get to Wilson before he’s able to find an open receiver.
Right now, I don’t think we can answer that question with any confidence because, as Mike Sando pointed out in my previous thought, Seattle’s defense “did not reveal much in the preseason.”
That said, count me among the group that thinks the defense this year is going to be really good. Maybe not out of the gate, but certainly by season’s end.
Our D-line is stout, our EDGEs are fast, Jordyn Brooks is a stud in the middle, our safeties are top-notch, and the corners we’ve selected in the last 2 drafts have the potential to vault this D to the top of the league once they’re all in the lineup together.
Hyperbole? Perhaps. But I don’t think so.
Pete Carroll, without Russell Wilson as his quarterback, is 9-8 in prime time games during his coaching career.
- 0-1 with the New York Jets
- 6-5 with the New England Patriots
- 3-0 with the Seahawks in 2010 & 2011
- 0-2 last year with Geno Smith as the starter when Wilson was on IR
Conversely, Pete Carroll is 29-11 in regular season prime time games and 2-1 in prime time games during the playoffs (31-12 overall) with Wilson as his starting QB.
On the surface of it, that doesn’t bode well for Seattle in their prime time matchup against the Broncos tonight.
Thus, after starting his career with an otherworldly record of 24-5 in primetime games, Russell Wilson has suddenly become quite average.
Of course, that knife cuts both ways since it means that Pete Carroll has also become quite average.
Unlike Wilson though, that’s where Pete started his career.
Jamal Adams set the NFL record for sacks by a defensive back when he recorded 9-1/2 of them his first year in Seattle.
Last year, not so much.
This year, I think he’ll hit double-digits and break his own record.
Because Clint Hurtt has plans for Adams and those plans, per The Athletic, include “a handful of sub packages that place Adams closer to the line of scrimmage playing linebacker.”
Quoting Clint Hurtt directly:
“Some of the criticism that he may have had in the past, to me, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The guy is a hell of a football player. He’s dynamic in the way he goes about his business, his skill set, his ability in the box, pressure, and he is good in coverage, contrary to popular beliefs. There are things that he does really well when he is coverage in the back end.
“So, I don’t understand where some of that stuff comes from. The guy is a hell of a player. His teammates believe he’s a hell of a player, and I’m happy as hell we have him.”
With any luck, Adams will record his first sack of the season tonight.
And maybe his second one as well.
I’m going to let Pete Carroll have my final thought.
Per The Athletic, when Pete was recently asked what Geno Smith will have done well if the Seahawks end up competing for a championship this year, he said:
“He has to take care of the football. Those weapons are there, let them show. I’m not trying to make little of the quarterback position in saying that. That’s how I’ve always felt.”
Let’s take that statement a piece at a time.
Sentence One. “(Geno) has to take care of the ball.”
This is, of course, vintage Pete Carroll. Nothing is more important to him than taking care of the ball. Failure to take care of the ball is what ended “Let Russ Cook,” and it’s the one factor that will ultimately determine whether Geno is Seattle’s starter for the entire season.
Sentence Two: “Those weapons are there, let them show.”
This is, in my opinion, the thing that anyone writing off the Seahawks this year is clearly forgetting. Geno. Has. WEAPONS.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are 2 of the 20 highest-paid receivers in the league for a reason.
DK holds the franchise record for single-season receiving yards (1,303) and NoE holds the record for single-season receptions (100).
Sure, RW3 was the quarterback when both of those records were set, but 388 of D.K.’s 1,303 yards were after the catch (29.8%) and Tyler’s 75.8% catch rate in 2020 was both the 4th-lowest and the 4th-highest of his career (meaning that it was his career-high 132 targets that enabled him to set the record).
Noah Fant, who came to Seattle as part of the Wilson trade, is a massive upgrade over Gerald Everett (and Greg Olsen before that).
Olsen (2018-2020): 103 receptions for 1,127 yards with 7 touchdowns
Everett (2019-2021: 126 receptions for 1,303 yards with 7 touchdowns
Fant (2019-2021): 170 receptions for 1,905 yards with 10 touchdowns
Additionally, Will Dissly’s 3-year, $24M contract clearly indicates that Seattle values him. As well they should given that Dissly’s career catch rate is 81.7%.
By comparison, Fant’s career catch rate is 72.0%, Gerald Everett’s is 70.0%, and Greg Olsen’s was 65.2%.
Dissly’s lowest catch rate in the past 3 seasons (80.8% last year) is at least 4 points higher than any of the other 3 have had at any point in their respective careers.
Fans may balk at the contract, but Dissly is the definition of a weapon.
Especially if the 2022 Seahawks plan to target him like they did in 2019 when he had 4.5 targets per game.
Yes, the Seahawks lost Chris Carson to retirement, but Rashaad Penny is healthy heading into the 2022 season and he’s looking to continue the dominant streak he had at the end of last year when he led the league with 671 yards on 92 carries (7.3 average), with 6 TDs and 16 runs of 10+ yards over the final 5 games.
Plus, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas are still around and had arguably the best preseason performances of their careers.
And KW3, once he’s fully healthy, is going to show the league why he was a 2nd-round pick in this year’s draft. (For what it’s worth, he’s my pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year.)
Sentence Three: I’m not trying to make little of the quarterback position in saying that.
Uh-huh, right. I mean, maybe Pete’s not trying to downplay the role of the quarterback, but that is exactly what he’s doing. Whether it’s intentional or not makes absolutely no difference.
Sentence Four: That’s how I’ve always felt.
To me, the last sentence in that quote is a rare moment of completely unfiltered Pete Carroll, and those 5 words - “That’s how I’ve always felt.” - are the simplest explanation for why Russell Wilson will be on the visitor’s sideline tonight.
FTR’s Week 1 prediction: With first place in the NFC West theirs for the taking, the Seahawks stun the Broncos! Seattle 24, Denver 20.