I don’t have a lot of faith in the Seahawks this year. As I’ve noted in the past – especially in the post-LOB era – if you take Russell Wilson off of this team, it’s probably a 3-win team, give or take. That’s what we’re looking at right now.
It’s not just the loss of Russell Wilson, but it’s also who we’ve replaced him with. Geno Smith has always been a terrible-to-mediocre quarterback. Now he’s an old terrible-to-mediocre quarterback. He might have a few good throws per game, but he’s also going to hold onto the ball too long, take some untimely sacks, and fail to move this offense one iota whenever we’re behind the sticks. Any failed play – whether it’s the aforementioned sack, a penalty, a run stuff, or even an incomplete pass on 1st & 10 – and we’re looking at almost an automatic punt. Anytime we get down by two scores, you can pretty much write the game off; there’s no way Geno Smith is pulling our asses out of any fires like Russell Wilson did on the regular. Remember ALL of those games where we started slowly WITH an elite guy like Wilson at the helm! Now, imagine those same slow starts, only we’ve got Geno being harassed like crazy in obvious passing situations. It’s a living hell.
At least in the LOB era, you could’ve made the argument that a simple game manager might’ve kept us in a lot of games. We might’ve even succeeded on the strength of literally every other position on the team. But, this ain’t that. It might have the potential to one day approach that, but there’s a lot that would have to go right.
We all know the preseason is fake football. Putting too much stock in what happens in August is really grounds for losing your football fan card. But, I can’t help feeling especially disheartened, because we actually played a good number of our starters. Geno Smith had a lot of snaps out there! Behind a starting offensive line that also saw a lot of snaps – since we’re breaking in a couple rookies at the tackle spots – that actually looked pretty decent! So, the fact that we struggled so mightily to score points is pretty damning. Even if our top two running backs missed most of the games, our next two running backs played quite extensively and ALSO looked better than I’ve ever seen them. Really, the guys you’re talking about – on offense – who largely sat out were D.K. and Tyler Lockett. Are those two guys alone going to automatically pump things up to a league-average level? I’m dubious.
Which puts a lot of pressure on a defense that’s as big a question mark as anything. The defense didn’t look great either, but you can convince me a lot of our best guys DID sit out. Nevertheless, that’s putting a lot on guys like Jordyn Brooks, Quandre Diggs (coming off of injury), and Jamal Adams (also coming off of injury, as well as playing through more injuries). We’re going to have to count on cornerbacks who are largely untested (and possibly bad). We’re going to have to count on a pass rush that’s in Prove It Mode. We’re going to have to rely on a run stuffing unit that didn’t seem to stuff much of the run in spite of playing a lot in the preseason.
We’re really banking on the coaching staff holding everything together with duct tape and zipties. Is that smart? An offensive coordinator in his second year of calling plays? A defensive coordinator in his first year of running a defense? The second-oldest head coach in the NFL?
Let’s look at the schedule. We start out on Monday night against a fired up Russell Wilson, surrounded by a lot of talent on that Broncos roster. That feels like a sure loss. Then we go on the road to play the 49ers, who might be among the best teams in the NFC from top to bottom. We host Atlanta, who feels on par with our talent level; that’s a coin flip at best. Then, it’s back to back road games against a young and hungry Lions team, followed by a Saints team with a great defense and a lot of talent on offense.
Then, we host the Cardinals (a playoff team last year with most of their guys returning) and play the Chargers on the road (a definite playoff-calibre team this year). The Giants at home feel like pushovers, but like the Falcons, I think their talent level is on par with ours. That’s another coin flip. Then, we go on the road against Arizona again, before playing Tampa in Germany.
Would it shock anyone if we’re 2-8 or 1-9 heading into the BYE week? Not me!
We host the Raiders (another playoff team from last year), then go on the road to play the Rams (Super Bowl champs). We host Carolina, which is a sleeper playoff team this year with Baker Mayfield out there. Then we host the 49ers, before going on the road to play the Chiefs (another viable Super Bowl contender). Then we close by hosting the Jets and Rams.
In that last stretch, I see one win. Maybe two. But, it’s not a stretch at all for this team to be anywhere from 2-15 to 4-13, and maybe that’s for the best.
I haven’t been this down on the Seahawks in a while. Probably since the Suck For Luck campaign. We all know how that turned out. But, rather than winning 7 games, I think we have the legitimate potential to lose a lot more.
It sucks being in this position, but again, I think it’s necessary. I’d still rather be here than having Russell Wilson and praying everything goes right for us to MAYBE get beyond the Divisional Round of the playoffs (something we haven’t done since the 2014 season). We’ve been spinning our tires in the mud for too long now. It was time to make this change. It’s time to start over and see if we can rebound quickly. First thing’s first: we need to lose a lot so we can guarantee ourselves a chance to draft our next potential franchise quarterback.
I know, in a vacuum, it’s better to have the sure thing on your roster. But, the way we’ve failed to build around Wilson – combined with the fact that he was only going to get more expensive and take up more of a percentage of our salary cap – I don’t see how things were ever going to change. I guess you can argue we should’ve kept him over Pete Carroll and John Schneider, but then you’ve got the unknown of a brand new head coach and GM pairing.
Maybe that’s preferable. What has John Schneider done since 2014 when it comes to building this roster? Maybe he’s cashed as a talent evaluator. After all, if the rumors are true – that he was high on bringing Drew Lock here – then I think that speaks volumes. But, if that’s just poppycock, and he has another card up his sleeve with the next draft, then I’d like to see what’s in store for the future.
This is it, though. It’s the 2023 draft. It’s whoever we draft at that position next year. Pete and John get whoever that is, and if they flame out, it’s over. We’ll know soon enough whether this was all a huge mistake, or a massive stroke of genius. It might not make the 2022 Seahawks worth watching, but it’ll make the 2022 and 2023 NFL seasons pretty interesting. I’ll be keeping an eye on what Denver’s doing, for sure.
For the record, I think Denver will look pretty fucking great this season. I’m on record as believing they’ll win their division and maybe even go far in the playoffs. I think Russell Wilson will look terrific and in shape and run more with the ball than he has in the last few years. But, long term? I do have my doubts. I think the honeymoon won’t be long. And when it gets bad, it’ll get REALLY bad.
But, if it gets them a title in 2022, clearly it’ll all be worth it. And Pete and John will look like assholes for squandering so much of Russell’s prime.
I’m putting us at 3-14, with a top 4 draft pick. Maybe even top 3 or top 2. We won’t be the worst of the worst – I think that’ll be Chicago – but it’s going to be ugly. Just get there now. Get in that mindset. We’ll get through this together.