When watching the Seattle Seahawks trip and stumble through their 2011-12 NFL campaign, it never occurred to me that they were an average or better QB away from truly competing.
Their signing of free agent Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn was the right move, as they had no realistic hopes of landing Peyton Manning, or Andrew Luck or RGIII in the draft for that matter, and desperately needed to put Tarvaris Jackson on the bench. The question is ,at 26 and with just two starts under his belt, can Flynn single-handedly turn this team around?
Flynn, for his impressive play in just two starts in GB (734 yards, 9 TD’s, 2
Rodgers had the advantage of playing in the same system and with the same players he was groomed with. Flynn will not have such an advantage, as he is moving to a new team with new faces and a new scheme, and will not have Rodgers or GB head coach Mike McCarthy to aide him.
The Seahawks did little to nothing to give him a high-level threat on offense, using the draft to bring in depth, rather than immediate impact players.
To boost a much-maligned and patchwork offensive line that actually lost guard Robert Gallery, the Seahawks passed on standout guard David DeCastro, whom many thought could be the second coming of Steve Hutchinson and team with Russell Okung to reform what has been an awful o-line since the departure of Hutchinson and the retirement of Walter Jones. The Seahawks “addressed” this need on the offensive line by drafting defensive lineman Bruce Irvin in the first round. The team in fact did not draft a single offensive lineman, and brought in discarded free agents from other teams in hopes that they could provide depth to the poor souls already on hand.
At receiver, the team also chose to stand pat and hope that their current crop of wideouts will get the job done. Lacking a true number one at the position, they will need to use a “by-committee” approach from week to week, and ideally one of the players already in a Seahawks uniform will find a way to step up their game, a la Mike Williams 2010. Williams was a shell of his former self last year, as was former Viking Sidney Rice, whose lone stellar season came in 2009 catching passes from Brett Favre. Of Williams, Rice, Golden Tate, Deon Butler, and Ben Obomanu; Flynn will need at least a deep threat (
Aiding Flynn will be Marshawn Lynch, who has finally returned to the power inside runner that made him the 12th overall selection in the 2007 draft, and has stockpiled weekly highlight reels, none greater than this ridiculous run against the Saints in the 2010 playoffs. Lynch is not the prototypical “west-coast” scheme back, though, and the team often has to tip its hand by inserting Leon Washington on true passing downs, as Lynch has yet to become the complete runner and receiver out of the backfield that the team needs.
The defense does get better each year under head coach Pete Carroll, and will continue that trend in 2012-13 with a stellar run defense that was comparable to the 49ers’ near-history making run defense in 2011-12. The unit has made upgrades at end and linebacker, and will return most of the starters from the previous season.
The secondary, on the other hand, lacks a “shutdown” cornerback, as most teams have at least one receiver whose skills demand at least one if not two defenders each time they take the field. Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond have both flashed the ability to be left alone against the league’s elite, however neither has done this long term, on a week-in, week-out basis. Marcus Trufant was once shut-down caliber, however age and injuries have slowed his abilities, and he is now perhaps just the 2nd or 3rd best cover man in the secondary. Earl Thomas and Kim Chancellor make a great safety tandem, and provide stellar run support amongst being able to be called to cover receivers and tight ends if necessary. Thomas is a fast and instinctive ball-hawk, and both players can hit like a hammer.
Overall, the Seahawks should be okay, and that is the problem. The team wasted draft picks on Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson and Utah RB Robert Turbin, neither of whom are projected to be anything more than insurance policies for Flynn and Lynch.
The offensive line was one of the best at run blocking last season, yet often left their QB hung out to dry in passing situations, with defenders constantly pressuring poor throws and bad decisions. Flynn seems to all the world a complete upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson, however how high of a bar is that setting? Flynn had a world-class offense in GB, that was finely tuned over the course of five seasons under McCarthy. Flynn will be operating an offense that premiered in
OC Darrell Bevell ran a similar scheme in
Run-heavy offenses that provide the illusion of protection while providing few opportunities for rhythm passers to get a streak going, can win games, and they can even win division titles. Heck, they can even compete for conference titles. The Jake Delhomme-led Panthers, Alex Smith-led 49ers, Joe Flacco-led Ravens, Matt Ryan-led Falcons, are all great examples of this. When too much of the offense relies on running the ball often to open the passing game, it can do a ton to poorly influence the quarterback position. Long gone are the days of run-heavy teams winning titles, unless they also have a championship caliber defense, and QB who is unflappable in pressure situations (ie Ben Roethlisberger 2008, Eli Manning 2007, 2011, etc.). Most of today’s passers need to get going early and get a streak going so that they are not feeling the pressure of situations late in games.
Flynn and his supporting cast will win games, he may even challenge the 49ers for NFC west supremacy; however this team will need to grow up and fast, if he is to ultimately succeed where past Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck failed. The 2005 Super Bowl should have been a victory for the team, however the overall weakness of the league that season speaks more to how the team got that far than to their overall greatness. That team was a consistent playoff team in a weak division in a weak conference that did not win a title between 2002-2007, and has yet to send a team to consecutive Super Bowls in 14 years (GB, 1996-97).
The sad truth is that this team will win enough games for their lackluster and in some cases, lack of moves, to be considered a general success. They will post winning records, make the playoffs, and even record signature wins against elite teams. They will not, however, challenge for NFC or even NFL supremacy without completing a true makeover, rather than merely putting together a patch-work team. In today’s NFL, only teams built to last and be routinely successful become truly elite, and the Seahawks do not appear to be in that class.
In a league of 32 teams, all vying to be the
There has been a Super Bowl Champion crowned at the end of each season since 1966, and
You mean 45 years without a superbowl. Dont write an article if you cant count. Seattle will be fine this year and will improve on last year with a 9 or 10 win season and maybe even a division win.
I may not be as direct as peabodynewton but I agree with his general assessment of this article. It's obvious that this writer does not understand football at the fundamental level or team dynamics. For one, effectively running the football does help a quarterback. I don't know ANYONE who understands football who disagrees.
Secondly, what factor is equally important in making a receiver better? Well since you ask - the quarterback. Williams showed he is a stellar receiver when he is targeted by a decent quarterback (see 2011 season with Matt Hasselback) Flynn has shown an above average accuracy, the ability to get the ball quickly to his receivers, and solid decision making ability which was lacking with TJack. This upgrade alone will tweak EVERY receivers' success. The overall impact of the improvement of multiple receivers improving because they have a quarterback more effective at getting them the ball where they can do something combined with a solid running game will create a fundamentally improved offense to go with their stellar defense. By the way, one of the Seahawks greatest weaknesses were on defense in third down passing situations. You add a pure speed guy like Irvin in passing downs and this will force quicker throws to receivers who are being physically covered by tall, fast corners and you are going to win most of those battles.
Lastly, when you add Beastmode Jr. to the mix with Sr. Beastmode over the course of a game you wear down opposing defenses, keep the ball out of the other teams offense, and create opportunities for big plays as defenses start pinching down to stop the run. Fundamental my dear Watson.
I agree with peabody and no, I'm not a disillusioned fan. It's not very reasonable to ask a sub .500 team to make the moves in the offseason and the draft to suddenly become a conference champion. If you want to say something significant, let's hear who you would have pursued in FA and the draft. I agree that I do think they will have success this season, though not in the context you use. Also, R. Lockette showed a nice flash last year a may be sharing "deep threat" time with Butler.
This was possible one of the worst written articles on professional football I think I have ever read. If you think the Seattle franchise is not "built to last" you must be completely new to covering the sport. Not only have Pete Carroll and John Schneider completely rebuilt the roster they inherited from Tim Ruskell, but they have also made it one of the youngest in the league, all while signing their key players to team friendly contracts, staggered evenly to provide cap room in successive seasons for the next decade.
In addition, you failed to note Richard Sherman, a pro-bowl cornerback in his rookie season. After being picked in the 5th round, Sherman was easily the Seahawks best cornerback, a fact easily known by even the most casual fans. To not mention him while assessing the defense truly points out your utter lack of knowledge.
Yet despite your obvious gaffs made while trying to analyze the Seahawks, I found the most embarrassing part of this piece to be the remarkably shoddy writing and extremely poor standards of journalism. Perhaps someone can decipher this;
"The sad truth is that this team will win enough games for their lackluster and in some cases, lack of moves, to be considered a general success. "
I'm sorry, but what on earth are you trying to say here? Are you calling the moves lackluster? It's baffling. And speaking of standards, it's often a good idea to back up statements with these tricky little things called facts. I present the following;
"When too much of the offense relies on running the ball often to open the passing game, it can do a ton to poorly influence the quarterback position."
"Flynn will be operating an offense that premiered in Seattle just last season, and saw its fair share of problems and obstacles, many of which are still mysteriously overlooked and unresolved."
Please, tell me what running the ball does to "poorly influence the quarterback position"? And what are these incredibly mysterious problems? Are they too mysterious for even your incredibly journalistic abilities? In addition, are you aware of what a run-on sentence is?
Actually, I'm not baffled anymore. I figured it out. Your a terrible writer and an even worse football analyst. I'd suggest a new line of work, perhaps in the janitorial field, as you seem very comfortable working with sh**.