It was always going to be a matter of time before the offense surpassed the defense in ability. Attrition and regression were/are bound to happen as contracts skyrocket for our stars. And besides, the 2013 defense was one of the greatest of all time; doesn’t seem likely that we could keep up that output for very long.
Nevertheless, if you’d asked me even a month ago, I would’ve told you that the defense would still be in near-peak performance and easily outpacing the offense. While the defense should still be pretty great, I’m ready to go out on a limb right now and say that the offense is going to be the talk of the NFL in 2014. And what’s better, we won’t have to change our philosophy to do it.
I said it on Twitter earlier today: this offense will surely be the most efficient in the NFL. Exactly HOW efficient remains to be seen, but if they play to their abilities, it could mean the best offense in the league. Russell Wilson’s grasp of the scheme, and of the NFL as a whole, will certainly see this unit reach heights unseen in franchise history.
There are simply too many weapons. Marshawn Lynch is still one of the best running backs in the NFL. Robert Turbin is running harder than I’ve ever seen and will surely be a mini-Lynch when all is said and done. Christine Michael, if used, has the type of speed and power to be right there on that elite level. In between the tackles, bouncing outside, catching passes, the running backs on this team as a whole are the best in the NFL.
Percy Harvin is the x-factor and the #1 receiver we all thought we were getting when we brought in Sidney Rice. He may not be one of those 6-foot-plus monsters that the Bears have in Jeffery or Marshall, but he’s every bit one of the top five wide receivers in the NFL. On top of that, Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin are sure-handed play-makers who are bound to benefit greatly from Harvin’s presence. This isn’t even taking into account Paul Richardson – who I suspect won’t make a huge impact as a rookie – who could still be used as a deep threat and/or a decoy to open up plays underneath.
Our tight ends just have to be solid. No one is expecting Jimmy Graham-level performance out of either of them, but they’ll still be quality role players who will also benefit from Harvin and the other receivers creating huge gaps in the zone.
All that stands in our way is the offensive line. It’s reasonable to expect some trouble, with a rookie in Britt and certain nagging injury woes among the veterans. But, if we can patch this together without losing too many guys for too long, we should be just fine.
Britt’s maturation process will be key, and from the first three pre-season games, so far so good. He’ll have growing pains in both pass protection and run blocking, but he should get better as the season goes along. Besides that, with Wilson’s scrambling ability, it should mitigate his deficiencies. On top of that, J.R. Sweezy looks like a true beast at right guard. Within a couple years, we could be looking at a Pro Bowler out of someone people saw as a great liability going into this offseason (remember all those people calling for the Seahawks to invest heavily into the guard position? They won’t be looking too smart before too long).
More than anything, I’m concerned about Okung, Carpenter, and Unger, and solely for injury reasons. Both Okung and Unger returned for the Bears game for the first time this pre-season. I can’t speak to how Unger fared, but Okung definitely looked a step slow. I hope it’s rust and not something more serious (like: he’s not fully healthy from offseason surgery). If these three can play out the full season, you’ll be looking at one of the better O-Lines in the league. If that happens, HOO BOY.
It’s not shocking that the Bears posed little threat to our gameplan in that all-important third pre-season game. They don’t have the best defense as it is. But, considering THIS was the game where everyone goes at it a little bit harder, it was more than a little encouraging to see the Seahawks absolutely control things from all aspects.
Not all the defenses we play will be on the level of the 49ers or Cardinals or Rams. In those games, I don’t necessarily expect the Seahawks to be putting up 30+ points per game. But, unlike in seasons past, I don’t necessarily think the Seahawks are automatically going to be kept under 20 either. You’re going to see touchdown-efficiency go way up – especially in the red zone – and that’s going to make life a nightmare for opposing offenses as they try to throw their way into coming back against us.
Can the 2014 Seahawks be even better than the 2013 Seahawks? Absolutely. It’s going to take the defense being on par or only a little bit worse than last year, while the offense takes a huge leap forward. I fully expect that to happen. And, with news of the Rams losing Sam Bradford for the season, our path has been made all the easier.
I know it’s only pre-season and all, but I think this Bears game was an accurate bit of foreshadowing for what we’ll see in the regular season. Sub-par defenses are going to be exploited to the tune of skyrocketing point totals. And, even the great defenses aren’t going to know what hit them when they go up against us.
You think you know what you’re going to get when you play the Seahawks’ offense. Russell Wilson scrambling around, a pretty even ratio of run to pass, and just enough plays to get us over the hump. You expect things to be tight in most games, with the Seahawks able to find a way to get the job done in the fourth quarter. You THINK that this type of strategy is unsustainable, as teams with great records in one-score games tend to regress back toward .500 in those games.
But, here’s what you don’t expect: the Seahawks being involved in far FEWER one-score games. Because they’re going to be running up the score in the first and second quarters to the point that it’ll all be downhill in the second halves of games.
At times in 2013, you could say the Seahawks were just sort of scraping by and getting lucky. The Panthers game, the Texans game, the first Rams game for SURE. Yes, the defense was top-notch. And yes, the 2013 Seahawks were the youngest champions ever. That team sort of reminds me of the first Cowboys team in the 90s that won the title. They finally got over the hump in the playoffs and did their business in the Super Bowl. After that, the Cowboys were an even bigger juggernaut than anyone could have imagined.
THAT’S what I’m seeing out of these 2014 Seahawks. You’re going to see a lot of cakewalk games that should have been close. A lot of wins that maybe would’ve been losses in 2012 or 2013. Indeed, if I’m being honest, this looks to me like a 14-2 or 15-1 team. Yes, the schedule looks scary now, but we all know the schedule never pans out as it’s set up on paper. Other teams WILL regress. But the Seahawks? They’re a snowball rolling down the mountain, picking up steam.
No, actually, these Seahawks are an avalanche. An unstoppable sheet of ice and snow, plowing over everything in its path. And the rest of the NFL? They’re the poor skiers and snowboarders who are about to be swallowed up whole.