Quarterback Aside, How Good Are The Seahawks Going To Be?

Great blog entry on Tuesday from Eric Williams of The News Tribune here.  He goes into great detail about what the Seahawks – and specifically Pete Carroll – are looking for in their quarterback going into next season.  Lots of good video of the upside and downside of Charlie Whitehurst last season; definitely worth the time if you’ve got it.

The money quote – what really got me to wondering – is right here:

So really, it makes no sense to pay a quality quarterback like Hasselbeck at least $7 million in guaranteed money to come back and play for a team that could be even worse than last season.

That got me to thinking because … ARE we a worse team than we were last season?  I mean, yeah, we’re rebuilding – so we’re playing a lot of younger guys – but we played a lot of younger guys last year too.  What’s worse, an offensive line with 2 rookies and 2 others with less than 2 years experience; or the fill-in scrubs we played last year due to rampant injuries and ineffectiveness?  I think, right now, we’re better along the offensive line than we were last year; hands down!  Okung will be healthy, with half a season’s worth of experience.  Carpenter out of college I KNOW will be better than Locklear.  If we pull a quality veteran in free agency, I don’t see how we’re NOT better in this regard.

In the running game, we’re the same.  In the receiving game we’re essentially the same.  We’ll still have to see if Deon Butler can come back; but then again, we have Golden Tate who’s hopefully ready to step up to a larger role.  I think a major coup would be re-signing Brandon Stokley; he’s going to help ANY quarterback play with confidence on 3rd and 10.

So, really, right there I’m saying the offense is at least AS good as last year, if not better outright!  Contingent, of course, upon the core guys staying healthy (fingers crossed fingers crossed fingers crossed).

The defense is another story entirely … but I wonder.  Brandon Mebane might be a goner.  I’m pretty high on Mebane because he’s been remarkably healthy for a guy who plays a position that has such a short shelf life.  Seems like we can NEVER keep our defensive tackles healthy.  In a position of such flux, Mebane has been the one constant the last few years.  He’s not overpowering with his production, but he’s stout, he’s strong, he takes up space, and he’s quick.  If he were 30 pounds lighter, you could stick him on the end and let him go hog wild on the quarterback.

But, you have to ask:  is defensive tackle really worth breaking the bank?  I don’t know how much Mebane is going to command on the open market, but it figures to be a lot considering he’s one of the most highly coveted tackles in free agency.  Maybe I’m a worrier.  I see guys like Marcus Tubbs – so key and effective in the middle, a guy you build your entire line around – with his multiple injuries and his short stint in the NFL; I see guys like Albert Haynesworth, who stays health & productive, who commands max bucks only to lose his drive, get out of shape, and ultimately dog it out there because he’s got his; I see these guys and I wonder:  what is Mebane’s fate?  Will he sign the big deal and immediately break his foot?  Will he sign the big deal, stop working out, and get run over by opposing teams every week?

What I’m trying to say is:  it PROBABLY wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to NOT re-sign him.  But, we WILL have to sign someone to take his place.  Preferably someone who’s NOT Craig Terrill.

As for our linebackers, it looks like we’ll be the same in that arena as well.  Probably good to have that continuity SOMEWHERE on the defensive side of the ball, because our secondary could be a mess.

We have Earl Thomas, Marcus Trufant, and … who knows?  Hopefully NOT Kelly Jennings.  But, if not him, then it’s one of the two rookies we drafted this year.  That will probably be a short-lived step down as they get acclimated to the NFL, but over time should hopefully prove to be a huge step up as they appear to have more baseline talent than Jennings.

So, overall, as a team, it’s probably a wash.  Our offense might be a tad better, our defense might be a tad worse; but who cares, because it’s all going to come down to who’s under center.  What we SHOULD be asking is:

Would we be a worse team in spite of Hasselbeck’s presence?  Or, would we be a worse team because he’s not around anymore?  I think most of us would agree, if he’s being replaced by Whitehurst, we WILL be a worse team.  But, quite frankly, what I want to know is:

Would we be a worse team BECAUSE of Hasselbeck’s presence?  With Matt on our team as our starting quarterback, I think most of us would agree we’re not all that much different from last year.  Nevertheless, we WEREN’T very good last year, and you could argue that our schedule this season is tougher.  We go to Pittsburgh and to New York to play the Giants in the first five weeks of the season.  We also have to go to Dallas and Chicago later in the season.  And, of course, we have Atlanta, Baltimore, and Philly at home.

I’d say the odds are pretty good we’re going to lose a few of these games!

Well, that’s nothing new, we lost a bunch of games last year too.  And what was a major problem during those losses?  Matt Hasselbeck trying to do too much, making idiotic, bone-headed throws, and turning the ball over left and right.  How big of a bed is Hasselbeck going to crap when we fall behind teams like Philly, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Dallas?

No, our team around the quarterback isn’t much different, but it’s also not much good!  It’s still going to be a struggle to stay in ballgames and to stay in contention for the NFC West.  The Rams are sure to be better, the 49ers are sure to be the Rams of last season, and the Cards are sure to do everything in their power to attract a proven quarterback to lead them back to the playoffs.  In that sense, yeah, the Seahawks will probably be worse; record-wise.

But, in overall talent, quarterback aside, we’re pretty much the same.

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