Seahawks Death Week: Improving For Next Season

There’s a lot to like about the 2012 Seattle Seahawks.  I’m not looking for a complete overhaul just because we failed to win it all.  A few minor tweaks here and there should do the trick.

What’s most important is the Seahawks aren’t losing very many players.  Normally, in any given offseason, you’re frantic about losing so-and-so to another team.  Or, you’re worried that, to bring so-and-so back, you’ll have to bust your remaining cap space to squeeze him in.  Not so, this season.  Alan Branch might be the most important re-sign, but I would venture to say that none of these guys are vital to ongoing success.  I like Steven Hauschka as much as the next guy, but sooner or later wouldn’t you like to find the next Legatron?  Some guy who can drill field goals from 70 yards away!  Who’s almost guaranteed to nail every kickoff through the endzone!

Clint Gresham, oddly enough, might actually be the most important guy to retain.  Don’t knock a long-snapper until you’ve lived without.  Remember all those snaps sailing over Jon ‘MVP’ Ryan’s head?  Of course not, because Clint Gresham has been THE MAN!

Moving on.

The Seahawks need a pass rush.  I would venture to say they need to sign a free agent defensive end AND they need to draft another guy, fairly high (in the top 3 rounds).  Chris Clemons is having some serious surgery this offseason.  Last time I checked, he’s not Adrian Peterson.  I would highly question whether or not he will come back AT ALL.  What happens, most of the time?  Guys have the ACL surgery, they rehab, then as the season gets closer they start rehabbing like crazy in hopes to be available for the regular season.  So, they skip the preseason entirely, work themselves into a lather, make it back for the regular season, but are ultimately unproductive.  And, since they haven’t had a proper preseason, they’re not acclimated to the pounding an NFL player takes, so ultimately they re-injure themselves and are out for the rest of the season (see:  Pancakes Carpenter, 2012).

My point is, if Clemons somehow comes back with a vengeance, that’s a bonus.  But, you should in no way COUNT on him being back with a vengeance.  Ergo, the Seahawks need to bring in a veteran type.  Like an Osi Umenyiora, or a Cliff Avril.

The Seahawks could also use some linebacker depth so they don’t need to keep bringing back Leroy Hill.  Don’t get me wrong, Hill has been great, but he’s well past his prime and he’s getting beat with more regularity with each passing season.  I still like Hill against the run, but I feel like we can draft that type of linebacker (who’s big and can put a pounding on running backs) while still maintaining the type of speed to stick with tight ends and backs in passing routes.

Don’t touch the secondary.  Period.  You let Trufant walk, you let some of the younger guys pick up the slack (hoping all the while that Walter Thurmond can finally figure out a way to stay healthy, because he’s one of the best cover-corners on this team).

On offense, what’s not to like?  You’ve got your quarterback.  You’ve got your backup quarterback!  Unless some other team absolutely blows you away with an offer for Flynn, you keep him, because that kind of security is invaluable.

You’ve got your stud starting running back, you’ve got your young, effective backup, and you’ve got your shifty 2-minute back that also doubles as your punt and kick returner (who is still returning kicks at an elite level).

You’ve got an amazing tight end in Zach Miller.  You’ve got a quality blocking tight end in Anthony McCoy, who can still catch a ball here and there.  MAYBE you look for a third tight end that’s almost exclusively a pass-catching tight end, but that shouldn’t be too much of a chore.

You’ve got a fantastic offensive line.  Pro Bowlers at Left Tackle and Center.  A couple of young guards in Moffitt and Sweezy.  A dirty mauler in Giacomini at Right Tackle.  And a lot of depth behind them to pick up the slack in the event of injury.

The only thing you could look at improving is the wide receiver position.  I think we have a nice diamond in the rough with Golden Tate.  He made HUGE strides this season as a playmaker who can go up and out-leap for a ball, but who can also break off his route when things break down and Wilson starts to scramble.  Tate found a real knack for getting open when Wilson went on the run.  With Baldwin, you see a guy who is absolutely fantastic when he’s healthy.  Yes, he’s a solid slot receiver, but he can also make plays down field when the opportunity calls for it.  I can’t say anything bad about Sidney Rice either.  He managed to stay healthy for the most part this season.  He’s probably got the best footwork on the team (how many balls did he catch along the sideline, just barely grazing that second toe along the turf?).  Beyond those three guys, though, you’ve got a lot of questions.  I would LOVE to see this team draft a superstar wide receiver early on and work him in slowly as the team’s 4th receiver.

Ideally, for their first two picks, the Seahawks should draft a wide receiver and a defensive end.  That having been said, I’ll trust whoever John Schneider and Pete Carroll go with, because I know that drafts rarely work the way you want them to.  How many times have we been shocked by who this team picked, only to have them be proven right eventually?  After that, the team should probably look at linebacker, defensive tackle, maybe another tight end, maybe another backup quarterback, and probably a second wide receiver.  Do you realize how lucky this team was that more wide receivers didn’t go down with injury?  We were down to practice squad guys playing on the reg!

The 2013 preseason is going to be one for the ages.  The level of competition is going to be SUPER high.

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