In the finale of our Seahawks Death Week series, I’ll be looking at next year. How does it look?
Well, I’d probably be nuts if I said it wouldn’t look very similar to this season; at least, as far as the Seahawks are concerned. If I had to guess, I’d say we retain Marshawn Lynch, we draft a quarterback but he’s immediately implanted as the backup to Tarvar, our defense stays relatively the same as it has been these last few weeks of the season (with Trufant likely gone and Thurmond likely the third corner).
The schedule next year looks a LITTLE fucked, if we base it on this year’s results. According to the pattern, we are due to play the NFC North next season (Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, and Minnesota) and the AFC East (New England, NY Jets, Miami, Buffalo). That’s a little rough. Tack onto that, if we beat the Cardinals this weekend we will have a 2nd place finish in the West (meaning we would play Atlanta AGAIN next year, as well as the loser of the Dallas/Giants game … or maybe Philly depending on how the NFC East tiebreaker shakes out).
Let me break this down for you, in case you need help following along:
- San Francisco
- @ San Francisco
- @ Arizona
- St. Louis
- @ St. Louis
- Green Bay
- New England
- NY Jets
- Dallas/NY Giants/Philly
I don’t care who you are, that’s a TOUGH schedule. 6 games against 2011 playoff teams (maybe 7 if the Jets find a way to sneak in). And when you factor in the Bears (who were a lock for the playoffs before Cutler and Forte got injured), the always-tough NFC East, and the fact that Miami and Buffalo have been pretty dominant at times this year … it’ll be a rough go.
Here’s what I’m going to fall back on, though. I DON’T think San Francisco is that good this year (I believe they are going to fall hard in their first playoff game). The whole “Great Defense/Game Manager QB” thing is okay in small doses, but just ask the New York Jets how that works out for you long term. I think Frank Gore gets a year older, I think the 49ers get a little more unlucky with injuries, and I think Alex Smith reverts back to his old, mistake-prone ways. The 49ers won’t be irrelevant next year, but they also won’t be anywhere NEAR 13-3. I see the 49ers and Seahawks duking it out to see who can get to a 9-7 record. Ironically enough, the Seahawks will be doing it all next year the same way they have this year: “Great Defense/Game Manager QB”. But, hopefully we won’t have to suffer this fate too many seasons thereafter.
If I had to think of some reasons to be excited for next year, I’d point squarely at that defense, which I believe with the experience of this 2011 season, will only make them BETTER. Lots of forced turnovers. Lots of teams being held to field goals. Maybe the Seahawks starting a streak of their own, with respect to keeping other teams from getting rushing touchdowns.
I’d also look at the offensive line. The younger guys might not have had a full season, but they had half. And they will benefit from an offseason of coaching (even if they’re still rehabing major knee maladies). With Beastmode back in the fold, next year should prove to be the best on the ground since Shaun Alexander’s heyday.
As for the reasons to dread next year, it starts and ends with the promise of another 16 games with Tarvar. Unlike some misguided sycophants out there, I DON’T think Tarvar progressed one iota this season. I think he looked just as harried and confused as he ever looked in Minnesota! I also think he benefited greatly from a dominant running game in the second half of the season (like he used to have in Minnesota on all of those 8-8 teams). Tarvar is no better than a .500 quarterback, and that’s all he’s ever going to be. Watching him dick around as the pocket around him collapses, refusing to EVER just throw the fucking ball away … it’s more maddening than anything I’ve seen since the Rick Mirer days.
16 more games. AT LEAST. Good lord. Would some kindly defensive lineman PLEASE just roll up on his leg early next year? I’m begging you!