If you’ve followed Mike Sando’s work over the years, you know that one of his regular features is polling anonymous NFL executives on various topics in and around the league. This column on The Athletic focuses on conference rankings, and if you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan, you’ll likely not be surprised at the opinions.
Five execs were asked to rank the teams in the AFC and NFC from best to worst. We don’t really care about the AFC but if you do, the Denver Broncos are only 7th. As for the NFC and the Seahawks? Yeah it’s ugly. The highest ranking one executive gave was 11th — that same exec also had the Carolina Panthers at 5th and Washington Commanders at 6th — but everyone else was either 14th or 15th. When averaged out, the Seahawks are ranked as the 2nd worst team in the conference ahead of only the Atlanta Falcons.
Here’s the blurb:
The Seahawks will most likely need to be very good on defense and special teams — better than they have been recently — to approximate their relative success in 2010 and 2011, the only seasons under coach Pete Carroll when Russell Wilson wasn’t the starting quarterback. Seattle went 7-9 twice at the time.
“It didn’t look good this preseason,” an exec said. “When you have two quarterbacks, you have none. I think it could be bad.”
Carroll has never finished worse than 6-10 in 17 seasons as an NFL head coach.
“The two tackles they drafted can play, but they don’t have a quarterback,” the voter who ranked Seattle 11th said. “Geno Smith is not very good and Drew Lock, he did it in the preseason game against Pittsburgh when he got sacked late in the game. He impresses you and you are like, ‘All right, here you go,’ but his errors are game-changing. Bad interceptions, bad sacks, bad fumbles.”
Last year, same survey, the Seahawks were 3rd, so this is the heaviest of falls. The expected dropoff from Wilson to Geno/Lock is obviously the main reason for this, but that’s also another way of saying the roster as a whole isn’t good enough to overcome below-average QB play.
It may be an annoyance that this offseason has just been one big dogpiling on the Seahawks from national media and league insiders, but when the team hasn’t had much playoff success over the past six seasons, had a bad 2021 and then traded away its best ever quarterback, what do you think is going to be said? The Seahawks (Pete Carroll and John Schneider especially) are going to have to re-earn their reputation the hard way, even if it’s not an overnight process.