Seahawks Death Week 2022: Quarterbacks On The 2023 Roster

I blathered on and on about the rest of the Seahawks free agents yesterday (just prior to one of them re-signing for a big-money payday), now it’s time to talk about the most important position (of which we currently have zero on the 2023 roster), and the two guys who are set to be unrestricted free agents this year: Geno Smith and Drew Lock.

I think it’s fair to say 2022 didn’t go how I expected AT ALL. I was under the impression that this team was bound and determined to hand the starting job to Drew Lock in the pre-season. We’ll never know if that was accurate or not, since he got COVID right before the game he would’ve started. Nevertheless, just watching the games, it was clear who the better man was: Geno Smith, hands down.

That isn’t saying much, because the Seahawks’ offense in the pre-season was the worst I’d seen in ages. They couldn’t move the ball for shit! It was fucking embarrassing. Which led to my extremely dour prognosis heading into the regular season, that the Seahawks wouldn’t win more than 3-4 games. They more than doubled that.

So, yeah, I’m bad at my job is what I’m getting at. I mean, the job of Fan/Blogger doesn’t pay anything, so you get what you pay for, but still.

I feel like – if I had to rank all expectations around this team – the least likely would’ve been the possibility that either of these guys would be back in 2023. Yet, here we are, with the very real possibility that BOTH might return.

Obviously, there’s chatter around Geno Smith coming back on a big money deal. That’s what happens when you have statistically one of the best (if not THE best) seasons in franchise history. There’s lots of speculation of anywhere from 2-4 years, and anywhere from $70 million to $150 million. So, this is a serious thing we’re about to walk into.

I’m firmly entrenched in the camp that has reservations about this move. I don’t fully trust Geno Smith in the big games. I don’t like the thought of tying up so much of our cap to him, especially when we have so many other holes we need to fill. It forces us to really nail the draft in ways we’ve only done once or twice since the heyday of 2010-2012.

Brock & Salk had an interesting thought exercise this week: would you rather have Geno Smith at whatever it’s going to cost to keep him (over $30 million per year), or Drew Lock and a $20 million defensive lineman (meaning, one of the very best D-linemen in the league). I don’t really know how to answer that.

They keep saying things about how the Seahawks coaches like what they’ve seen out of Drew Lock, putting it out there that he’s been doing well in practice and could conceivably be a viable option to take over as starter in this offense. I don’t know what to say to that either. I can take their word for it, I guess, but every time I’ve seen Drew Lock on the field, he’s been a nightmare. Also, how good could he possibly look in regular season practices when Geno is the starter and ostensibly getting the bulk of the reps? It all sounds fishy, like the team is leaking rumors of Lock’s competence in hopes Geno’s price will somehow be driven down. The logic isn’t totally there, but I still don’t believe Lock is worth a damn.

What is Drew Lock supposed to command on the open market? He’s a failed high-round draft pick, a failed starter in this league, and he failed to beat out Geno Smith when his value was remarkably low. You’re telling me there’s an organization out there who believes in Drew Lock, and is going to offer him on the high-end of a backup quarterback contract? As if he’s Gardner Minshew or Cooper Rush or Jameis Winston?

He should get the fucking minimum and like it! And be grateful he’s not reduced to the scrap heap of the XFL or USFL.

But, if what they’re saying is true, and Lock has looked good in practice, then why wouldn’t you pay him a low-dollar amount to be the starter (with incentives, of course) and then go out and trade for a top-of-the-line defensive pass rusher? Pair that guy with whoever you get with the 5th pick, then go after a lower first/high second round quarterback prospect.

Honestly, I’d love for the Seahawks to take that risk. Let Geno walk. See what he commands on the open market, and more importantly, see what he looks like in a different offensive scheme, behind a possibly-worse offensive line. I bet he reverts to the Geno Of Old real damn quick.

Go balls to the wall and believe in the Shane Waldron/Sean McVay system! Put anyone back there and see how they do! Cheap out on a veteran and go after draft picks to see if we hit on someone special!

Here’s my outlook on things; you may not agree with me and that’s fine. But, I feel like we’ve hit pretty close to the ceiling of what Geno Smith has to offer. I think he’s good enough to keep us middle-of-the-pack. He can get us into the playoffs, but he can’t lead us on a deep playoff run. If we had an elite team around him – like the 49ers – then it might be doable.

I’d rather risk it with a veteran making the minimum and spend our free agent dollars on superstars at other positions of need. I’d rather go to the quarterback well in the draft year after year until we hit on a stud. Then, ride that stud on his rookie deal as far as he’ll take us. If we fail, then fine, we draft higher and get more quality bites at the apple. If the cheap player(s) succeed, then great, we know the offensive scheme is great and can continue to reload at the QB spot with reduced capital, to continue bolstering our roster elsewhere.

I’m not gonna lie to you, I haven’t been this enamored with a team since the Seahawks of the L.O.B. days, but I really am fascinated with what the 49ers are doing this year. If I didn’t hate their fans and their organization so much, I’d be actively rooting for them the rest of this year’s playoffs! What they’re doing with a third string, seventh round quarterback, is truly amazing, and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted out of my own football team. I want what they have! I want the Seahawks to scheme their way to offensive success, and just overpower their opponents on defense. It’s fucking awesome!

Bottom line: I don’t believe in Drew Lock, but I don’t believe in Geno Smith either. So, let Geno Smith walk, use the #5 draft pick on a stud defensive lineman, use one of our other first/second round picks on a quarterback we believe can develop in this system relatively quickly, and use the cost savings to really go hard in free agency and in trades for elite players. It’s not conventional, but what has convention gotten us?

The Seahawks have been conventional since 2015, and it’s resulted in an endless run of disappointing finishes. We haven’t even been good enough to get back to the conference title game, let alone the Super Bowl. Maybe it’s time to be unconventional again. Zag where the rest of the NFL zigs, like we were doing when Pete Carroll and John Schneider first got here.

Who Do The Seahawks Have On Defense That’s Worth A Damn?

There’s nothing worse in football than a shitty defense. Put me in the minority of football fans: I want a defense that far-and-away outclasses the offense. I’d rather root for a team like the 49ers than I would a team like the Chiefs. Great defenses don’t take weeks off. Great defenses can make great offenses look inept; rarely do you see it go the other way. Rarely do you see a great defense – that isn’t totally decimated by injuries, thereby rendering it not-so-great – get totally obliterated. That’s what I’m looking for in a championship-level football team. That’s what I’m counting on when it comes to the playoffs. Great defense, and a quarterback who can get the job done in a pinch.

It feels like it’s been forever since the Seahawks have had a great defense. You could argue we haven’t had one since 2014 or 2015, which in NFL terms IS forever. The Seahawks haven’t just been mediocre, though. They’ve been downright BAD. What’s worse, they’ve often been bad masquerading as mediocre, which has led to this endless fucking cycle of never really going all-in to improve.

Year after year where we start out as the absolute worst defense in football. Then, through smoke and mirrors (and usually a reduction in the quality of offensive opponents), as the season goes along, they improve JUST enough to fool us into believing they’re not as bad as we thought. An inept coaching staff gets to keep their jobs (for a while), inept players get to stick around (for a while), and it starts all over again.

It’s been a long time since we’ve been THIS bad though. The run defense has been bad in spurts over the last half-decade, but never this consistently atrocious. There’s always been SOMETHING to stem the tide, and maybe that something was Bobby Wagner. Maybe we took him for granted for too long, and now we’re reaping what we sow.

There’s been a chicken or egg thing with this defense this year. Is it a scheme/coaching problem? Or is it a lack of talent among the players problem?

I’m inclined to think the scheme is sound – because we’ve seen the Vic Fangio scheme work all over the league – but the key difference is that usually they have Vic Fangio running it. I’ve had a problem with Clint Hurtt since it was announced he was taking over as defensive coordinator. Here’s a guy who’s done nothing in his coaching career, who led a mediocre-at-best defensive line unit under the previous shitty regime, and you just have to wonder what this guy did to deserve a promotion, as someone who’s never coached at this level before.

That being said, I don’t think there’s any question there’s a lack of talent on this team. Tariq Woolen appears to be the only player worth a damn. Uchenna Nwosu looks good week-in and week-out, but that can be deceiving. Is he just a standout among clods? Or is he actually a talented pass rusher/outside linebacker? I think it’s worth questioning since the Chargers let him go in free agency, and the Seahawks were only willing to sign him to a 2-year deal.

After that? Fuck this defense. As has been belabored, Jordyn Brooks makes a lot of tackles, but rarely are they of any impact. What big plays has he generated to put teams behind the sticks? Quandre Diggs appears to have lost a step, and if he’s going to keep dropping interceptions, then what good is he? We’re all well aware of Jamal Adams’ broken-down body; can’t count on him going forward. Darrell Taylor has had a nightmare season, given where we expected him to be in his development. Even Poona Ford and Bryan Mone have appeared to take steps back in their production, and all those guys are paid to do is stop the run! That’s literally their only fucking job!

The third and fourth best players on this defense are Al Woods and Shelby Harris, two aging vets you could get on the scrap heap in any given offseason.

It really makes you wonder how far away we are from building that elite defense we’ve missed so much. Are we just a few impact players away? Or is a total teardown and rebuild required? I don’t think we’re going to see the latter – at least as long as Pete Carroll and John Schneider are here – so that means we have to hope we’re just a draft away from turning things around.

Heading into next year, we’ve got the aforementioned Woolen and Nwosu. We hope the likes of Coby Bryant and/or Tre Brown can make an impact. Beyond that, man, I dunno. It seems more and more like we’re going to need that first Broncos pick to be an impact defensive lineman. I’m wondering if we’re going to need to use the vast majority of our draft picks to go towards the defense!

It’s extremely discouraging. I don’t like calling this a “lost season” because that makes it sound like a failure, when really it’s not THAT bad. But, any season where you’re not seriously contending for a championship – or at least building towards that – is indeed a lost season. You like to at least hang your hat on some players you can point to and say, “These are the building blocks of a potential championship team.” There are guys up and down that offense where you can say that. But, on defense, the cupboard is fucking BARE.

Fans are impatient. I get that. The Seahawks are 7-7 with three weeks to go. We’d need to win out AND we’d need help if we want to make the playoffs as one of the last two wild card teams. To win out, that means we’d need to somehow defeat the Chiefs this weekend, then turn around and beat the Jets and Rams at home. As a team that couldn’t even beat the Panthers, Raiders, or Bucs, that feels implausible. As such, I just want to get this Seahawks season over with as soon as possible, with as many defeats as possible, to better our draft picks for next year. I want to fast forward to the 2023 draft, I want us to select the best possible players, and I want the next regular season to get going with our bounty of improved talent! It feels insane to say that while there are still relevant regular season games left to play in 2022, but that’s where I’m at.

I can’t watch this defense anymore. It’s infuriating. The offense has been a heartwarming story thus far, but it’s not good enough to overcome the other side of the ball being so helpless. It’s time to seriously overhaul the whole fucking unit, from top to bottom, by any means necessary. All these half measures aren’t going to cut it anymore.

The Seahawks’ Rush Defense Is Atrocious Right Now

Two weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Bucs ran all over the Seahawks in Germany. We didn’t make a huge deal out of it because the final score was only 21-16. We fell to 6-4 (after a 4-game win streak, where our defensive woes felt like they’d been shored up a great deal), and we were headed into our BYE week, which we’d hoped would lead to the proper tweaks being made to right the ship.

What that game boiled down to, reportedly, was the defensive game plan focusing much more on stopping the Bucs’ passing attack, while neglecting the running game. Surely, THAT wouldn’t happen again!

Except here we are, losers at home to the Raiders – 40-34 in overtime – giving up 283 yards on the ground, on 40 carries, for a whopping 7.1 average per attempt, while we reportedly spent the last two weeks focusing on how to stop Davante Adams and the Raiders’ passing attack.

At some point – and I think that point is now – I’m going to stop believing this is a game plan shortcoming, but rather just a plain ol’ scheme/talent deficiency.

Josh Jacobs came into this game as one of the most proficient running backs in the NFL this year. It’s a phenomenal personal turnaround – one that’s severely underreported, when you think about how mediocre he’s been up until this year – so I’m having a hard time understanding why we’d take him so lightly. This is Pete Carroll, we’re talking about. He never fucking shuts up about running the football and stopping the run. That’s his whole fucking thing! There’s no way we’re going into these game plans completely overlooking these running backs! I might – for half a second – believe such when it comes to the Bucs (who have been inept running the ball all year), but not with the Raiders. Running the football is the one thing they actually excel at. If we’re being perfectly honest, they’ve yet to fully unleash Davante Adams, and probably never will get him back to the heights he saw with the Packers. So, don’t give me this bullshit.

Josh Jacobs ran for 229 yards on 33 carries (a 6.9 yard per carry average) and 2 touchdowns. The yards are a franchise-worst given up by the Seahawks to an individual rusher, surpassing that infamous Bo Jackson game way back when.

I don’t know what’s more at fault, the scheme or the talent, but I’m leaning towards talent. I’ve seen the Vic Fangio system work with flying colors with countless other teams. But, you can’t convert a defense overnight. It takes a year or two before things start clicking, and you’re able to get the guys in here who will buy in. I think the Seahawks are severely lacking – especially in the front seven – and that’s only going to be held together with duct tape until 2023.

That doesn’t mean we’re doomed. That doesn’t mean we’re going winless the rest of the way. But, the division is probably out of reach, and any sort of significant playoff run is wishful thinking at best.

Getting off the defense a bit, I’ve got a couple thoughts about the offense. My overarching sentiment is that if your score 34 points, you should win 100% of the time. It’s unforgivable for a defense to blow it in such spectacular fashion. We were up a touchdown with under 6 minutes to go, and promptly gave up a 10-play, 75-yard drive to tie it up. Then, the cherry on top – after holding the Raiders to a missed field goal in overtime – was allowing an 86-yard game-winning touchdown. WHAT?! How is this a Pete Carroll defense?

That being said, I’m perturbed that we had two shots at winning the game, and the offense came up empty both times. With just under two minutes to go in regulation, the Seahawks went 5 & Out. Granted, one of those plays was a hard-luck overturning of a D.K. Metcalf first down conversion, but we still had another play after that and ended up taking a sack, which forced a punt. Then, we got the ball back after that missed field goal in overtime, and promptly went 3 & Out. You hate to have the ball with a chance to prevail on any type of scoring drive, and give the ball right back. There are only so many possessions at your disposal with 10 minutes of game clock. With how shaky the Seahawks’ defense looked all game, you don’t want to have them try and get a stop twice in a row, even if you don’t expect to give up an 86-yard run.

That’s on Geno Smith. That’s a concern I’ve had about Geno Smith dating back to before the season. And, quite frankly, that’s not something I’ve really seen him prove he’s capable of achieving. Where’s the game-winning 2-minute drive at the end of the game? You haven’t seen it! Not in a Seahawks uniform, anyway. You’ve seen many of his attempts fall short. And you’ve seen him seal a game much earlier in the 4th quarter, when there were still possessions left for the defense to defend. But, no miracle comebacks unlocked. And, not even a field goal drive in a tie game late? If you’re going to pay a guy $33+ million per year, you need to know he’s capable of doing that!

It’s just a total breakdown on a team-wide level. It isn’t the first time that’s happened this year, and probably won’t be the last either.

The good news is that the schedule still favors the Seahawks the rest of the way. We get to play the Rams twice – including next Sunday in L.A. – and they’re absolutely falling apart at the seams. Yet, the Raiders were also part of that easing of the schedule – they came into this game a disappointing 3-7 on the year – so now I don’t know what to think. Could the Rams and Panthers do what the Raiders just did? I wouldn’t doubt it.

The Discourse Around Russell Wilson Makes Me Uncomfortable

Right off the bat, I’d like to point out that I’m as guilty of it as anyone. I’m no scold; I’ll own up to it: I’m delighting in the struggles of Russell Wilson.

This goes beyond rooting against the Broncos because we have their top two picks next year, though that plays a HUGE part in it. But, there’s something about Russell Wilson that rubs me the wrong way. So, I’m sort of relishing in the numbers being thrown around on Twitter, I’m laughing at the mocking of the front he puts on for the media and his weird videos/commercials, and I’m even a little smug about his injury issues (as if I could see it coming and I’m saying to no one “I told you so”).

Russell Wilson is kind of a fascinating character (and I say that intentionally; I think he’s playing a character in front of everyone, at least when it comes to his professional and public self), because there’s so much awkward weird robotic-ness that we can see, there are so many stories bandied about him behind the scenes, there are even more whispers about him that are maybe-rumors/maybe-lies/maybe-truths, and then there’s just so much that we absolutely don’t know. We don’t know what he’s like behind closed doors, with close friends and family (and advisors and agents and lawyers and hangers on). This could just be who he is with everyone, and everyone puts up with it because he makes them a lot of money. Or, he could be a total 180 of a person in his private life.

We also don’t know what it’s like to be in Russell Wilson’s head. He’s had this persona drilled into him from such a young age, it might be impossible to ever know the difference. Maybe there’s a little internal Russ that was proverbially beaten out of him at a young age, to the point where he just doesn’t know how to interact with human beings. He’s seen video of humans interacting. He’s watched others around him. He can sort of emulate human actions, human speech, human emotions. But, the driven part of his personality – the overwhelming majority of the internal Russell Wilson – just absorbs everything.

He sounds insufferable. It also sounds exhausting to be him. Not just from a workout perspective, but from a lifestyle perspective. He can’t just be a regular dude in his down time. He’s gotta be Russell Wilson, Professional Professional.

At the same time, he doesn’t seem like a bad guy. Now, who knows, right? There could be plenty of sinister skeletons in his closet featuring a bevy of alleged crimes. But, really, he seems like an okay person. He visits kids in children’s hospitals. Granted, that’s part of this persona he concocted; he’s not just the wannabe NFL Hall of Famer, but he’s the Children’s Hospital Guy. Nevertheless, he does it! He follows through. To a lot of fanfare at first, and then to little-to-no fanfare after a while. Week-in and week-out. Presumably; I’m not the keeper of Russell Wilson’s schedule. I haven’t heard anything to the contrary though.

He reminds me a lot of Michael Jackson, minus all the alleged diddling. But, we’re talking about guys who never really got to have childhoods, who were conditioned from a very young age to be in front of cameras and to be in front of thousands of adoring fans. We’re talking about people who reached the heights of their professions, who have the drive to be the very best, but at an obvious personal price. Obviously, Michael Jackson came out much more fucked up than Russell Wilson, but I would argue there’s real damage to Wilson’s development. You gotta wonder: does he have childhood friends? Or, was he always more emotionally attuned to being around adults? Was he the kid who was better friends with his coaches and teachers than his fellow players and students? Or worse, did he used to have a bunch of childhood friends and maintained a lot of normal relationships growing up, only to eschew them once he advanced through college and into the pros? I don’t know what’s sadder, but I would give almost any amount of money to get a sit-down with his ex-wife and listen to her tell stories for three hours.

Part of me feels bad for him, but like I keep saying, I don’t know him at all. He could be a colossal dick for all I know! Regardless, he doesn’t seem to be very grounded. There are plenty of mega-celebs out there who can make themselves look very down to earth and “everyman”. Russell Wilson is not one of them.

I don’t hate Russell Wilson. I don’t even dislike him. I’m pretty neutral on the persona he throws out there, and even if he is a phony, he still does enough good things (or, at least, not-bad things) to make himself likable. Okay, so he doesn’t get along or even try to associate with teammates. Okay, so his personality rubs some media people the wrong way. He’s not Opinionated Aaron Rodgers. He’s not Folksy Peyton Manning. He’s not Unfiltered Charles Barkley. Hell, he’s not even Tom Brady (who’s about as guarded as it gets, yet can still be charming as all get-out when he wants to be). That doesn’t make him a villain.

And oh, by the way, he also helped lead the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl championship (and two of their three appearances). Was he the be-all/end-all of quarterbacks? No, but he’s still the best we’ve ever had. Was the single-handedly the reason why those teams were good and we won all those games? Of course not, there were a lot of future Hall of Famers on those teams (and otherwise very good players) who gave us the magic elixir to win at such a high rate. But, I will say that we couldn’t have swapped Russell Wilson out for just anyone. We still needed his very specific magic to pull off what we were able to pull off. I refuse to discount everything he’s ever done to bring the Seahawks to greatness just because he’s been on the downslide of his career for the last few seasons.

I agree wholeheartedly with the decision to trade Russell Wilson. I think the Seahawks are in a much better place now. If I’m being honest, I think the rebuild started maybe a year or two too late. I also – not for nothing – probably would’ve gotten over it if we’d never offered him that third contract. If we had been able to draft a Josh Allen or a Patrick Mahomes, I would’ve gladly moved on way back when. I was worried about Russell Wilson being a potential problem back when he was on his rookie deal. I wish I could pull it, because I remember specifically writing about how all of these guys become me-first divas. They start worrying more about their stats and their legacy than they do about winning. Russell Wilson was never going to be the game manager Pete Carroll wanted him to be. He wasn’t even a game manager back when the Seahawks were competing for Super Bowls, but he was also much more willing to play within the conservative system we’d set up around him. Starting with 2015 and beyond, it became more about his quest for MVP votes. And, unfortunately for him, you can’t buy those, and you can’t win them in a popularity contest. You have to earn them on the field. And, more often than not, it was Russell Wilson’s own failing that prevented him from taking that next step.

That being said, for the most part, I relished every minute that Russell Wilson was a Seattle Seahawk. He was fun as hell to watch! The way he was able to elude pressure and generate huge plays down field will be something I never forget. He might not be an MVP, he might not even make the Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done, but he has a Hall of Fame highlight reel that you could put up against any of the all-time greats. I’m not kidding. There’s never been a Seahawk with a better set of highlights. There might not be anyone else in the NFL today who can top Russ. Maybe Mahomes, but I would argue the variety of plays we’ve seen out of Wilson is unmatched. Not just in blowouts, not just in random Sunday afternoon home games, but in the biggest moments, on the biggest stages, with the whole world watching.

So, why do I have such schadenfreude towards him?

It’s a real primal reaction, I should say that. There’s very little logic to it, given the way I’ve laid it out today. I imagine it’s the way one would feel about an ex who’s moved on. Maybe you didn’t part on the best of terms, but it also wasn’t the messiest divorce either. Nevertheless, there’s an animal inside of you who wants them to be forever suffering with regret for shunning you the way they did.

To be fair, there’s very little logic to being a fan of sports teams period! So, this falls right in line with that. You don’t want to play for the Seahawks anymore? Then fuck you, I hope you’re miserable for the rest of your days.

There’s also part of me that relishes in being right. Everyone has to pick a side in any argument nowadays, and I staked my claim pretty publicly that I think the Seahawks are in the right – sticking with Pete and John – and I’d rather head into a rebuild with those two guys making the calls, over a new front office catering to Russell Wilson’s every whim. I wanted no part in a Russell Wilson contract that saw him earning upwards of $50 million a year. I wanted no part in another protracted negotiating year of back-and-forth leaked sniping to the media ahead of an inevitable contract extension. And I wanted no part of an older, slower, less accurate Russell Wilson in the twilight of his career.

Really, I was done with the whole online discourse. The chicken or the egg argument of who’s at fault, Pete Carroll for holding Russ back, or Russell Wilson for not playing within our offensive system. A system, mind you, that he personally vouched for and approved, in bringing over Shane Waldron from the Rams. Let’s just be done with it and find out once and for all.

And, not to toot my own horn or anything, but at this early juncture it seems like the right moves were made. Get rid of Russell Wilson, acquire lots of draft picks, and use all your draft picks to bolster the rest of this roster ahead of the next great Seahawks quarterback.

The only question that remains is: will that Next Great Seahawks Quarterback be someone who’s been here all along – Geno Smith – or will it be whoever we look to draft next year? I think that’s a legitimate question that will only get murkier in the coming months.

One answer to a question no one asked – who is better, Russell Wilson or Geno Smith – appears to be answered before our very eyes. I’ve seen plenty of Wilson in a Broncos jersey to date this season, and both my eyes and the numbers bear it out: Geno Smith in a landslide. Not that I’m the biggest Geno Believer or anything, but that’s pretty cool to see.

It’s fun to be a Seahawks fan again. I wasn’t able to say that all the time in recent years. And, if you base fun on a team’s ability to compete at a championship level, then this team hasn’t been fun since 2015 (not that we’re a potential championship team this year, but that’s just illustrative of long we’ve been waning in this league). We were always in it for the playoffs and the division (until 2021), but we never felt like a legitimate contender in all those years since. It felt more like we needed an unsustainable amount of Russell Wilson wizardry pulling our asses out of the fire for things to go our way.

Lo and behold, all that time, we never realized how much Russell Wilson was actually putting us INTO those fires he tried so desperately to then pull us out of. Was he doing it intentionally? Was he that psycho mom who poisons her child, just so they have to depend on her nursing them back to health? Maybe not consciously, but I’m sure he didn’t hate being the hero to pull everyone to safety, while at the same time being falsely modest afterwards. I’m willing to believe Russell Wilson is a pretty big narcissist; him being humble is part of the act I just don’t buy. He might not feel comfortable talking himself up, but I bet he loves it when everyone else does.

Well, no one’s talking him up now. Quite the contrary. Everyone’s all too happily digging his grave. At some point, it’ll come around to being sad again. But now? This year? Let’s bury the motherfucker. The Seahawks could use a top 5 draft pick, and they’re sure as shit not going to get there with their own draft placement!

The Seahawks Actually Played A Little Defense!

A 19-9 Seahawks victory over the Cardinals is not what I was expecting. Not in the least. I read something on Twitter about an interview with Pete Carroll before the game, and he was talking about how they worked on a few tweaks for the defense that he was expecting to pay immediate dividends, but how many times have you heard that in your life? And how many times has it actually come true?

I wouldn’t say the Cardinals are great, not by a longshot. But, they know how to move the football. Sure, they’re a little banged up, and Hopkins won’t be back until NEXT week, but they’ve put up points in bunches against much better defenses than ours. Yet, in this one, they scored all of three points on offense (the other six were a special teams touchdown on a botched punt).

You’ll forgive me if this was a bit of a hangover game. Not literally, but with the Mariners going 18 innings on Saturday in losing to the Astros, I really wasn’t in the mood to watch the Seahawks on Sunday. Turns out, I didn’t miss a whole lot.

The take-away from this game is just how good this rookie class is for the Seahawks. We haven’t seen rookies produce at this level since You Know When.

For starters, Kenneth Walker III ascended to his rightful spot as this team’s #1 running back. So, everyone who held onto him in fantasy through the first five weeks (including me in two leagues, one of them a dynasty league) got handsomely rewarded. 97 yards on 21 carries with a TD, plus 2 catches for 13 yards. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but apparently he passed the eye test with flying colors. He just LOOKS like what a #1 running back is supposed to look like, which means – if he can stay healthy – he should be good for a long time.

Tariq Woolen is not-so-quietly having a monster season. That’s his 4th interception in his 4th consecutive game for the 5th round pick. We all knew he was super athletic and fast coming out of college, but to be this fundamentally sound and able to make these kinds of plays (as someone mentioned on Twitter, these aren’t cheap INTs off of deflections and whatnot) is truly remarkable! I didn’t know if the Seahawks were capable of coaching up young DBs anymore, given our lack of success since You Know When. But, he looks like a star!

Speaking of coaching up DBs, Coby Bryant is coming along swimmingly. That’s 4 forced fumbles in his last five games for the 4th round pick. It certainly looks like he’s the answer to our nickel corner woes, but I also wouldn’t put it past him to slide over as the other outside corner.

Then, you’ve got the steady excellence of Charles Cross and Abe Lucas on the O-Line, topped off with Boye Mafe being a fine-looking role player on defense who figures to get a longer look as others continue to disappoint on the edge. If we can get either of our 7th round wide receivers into the mix, that’s practically a Yahtzee!

So, the Seahawks were able to get consistent pressure on defense, which has been the biggest bugaboo this year. 6 sacks, 10 tackles for loss. More importantly, the run defense looked much better. Arizona running backs only netted 44 yards on 18 carries. Granted, Kyler Murray had 100 yards on 10 carries, but one of them was a 42-yard scramble. At this point, even that is an improvement over the consistent gashing teams have exposed us to.

I’ll say it, that was an impressive defensive performance! We’ll have to see how well that carries over; we go on the road to play the high-flying Chargers offense next week, so I’m dubious about us fixing all of our problems in one week’s time.

I’m less-thrilled with the Geno Smith performance. 20/31 for 197 yards. We were 4/15 on third/fourth downs. That’s two weeks in a row of subpar work on the most crucial of downs. The Chargers are no slouch on defense – with lots of quality stars on that side of the ball – so consider next week another big test.

I can’t imagine the Seahawks prevail. I think we’re actually in for a pretty big stinker. I’m thinking something like 34-17 Chargers.

The Seahawks Should Be In For Another Shootout Against The Lions

Not that the Falcons game was a super high scoring festival of points or anything, but the over safely covered and that’s all we’re talking about here.

The over/under at the time of this writing is 48 points. The over seems like a lock of all locks. The Lions have one of the worst defenses in football, and a pretty potent offense (all things considered), led by Amon-Ra St. Brown, who is one of the best and most productive receivers in all of football. Jared Goff is giving them just enough competence, and even with D’Andre Swift out, they have plenty of depth at running back to give us trouble.

Oh, yeah, also our defense is straight up hot garbage.

The Seahawks can’t stop a cold (is how I think that saying goes). The D-Line isn’t doing anything against the run, the linebackers can only seem to make tackles 9-10 yards down field, and the secondary isn’t nearly as stout as it was in the olden days against the run. To top everything off, we’re not getting a ton of pressure on the quarterback, we have plenty of lapses in coverage, and we’re not forcing those fumbles on the goalline like we did against the Broncos, so flukey luck isn’t even on our side anymore.

I would say the Lions have a better offense than the Falcons, plus they’ll be at home. They should have no trouble pulling this one out in the end.

That being said, the Seahawks should have no trouble moving the football and scoring points in bunches. The Lions might be so bad that they even gag this one away to us, which is a terrible thought. If you’re a betting person, I’d say to go ahead and bet on the Seahawks a lot in the first half. Then, go ahead and make a halftime live bet for the Lions to make it close late. Bet the Seahawks to cover +3 in the first half, maybe even bet the Seahawks to have the lead going into halftime, bet the first half over (24) and bet the game over (48), with a live Lions bet at halftime. You can’t lose!

I’d also put money on a D.K. anytime touchdown. If St. Brown plays, put an anytime TD on him as well. I would even say give me over 1.5 Geno Smith touchdown passes. I want it all! Stay away if it’s over 2.5 though.

I like Penny in this one as well. I think we’ll go further down the rabbit hole with the run.

This one could be scary, from a tanking perspective. I know we’re all frustrated with some of the decisionmaking by Pete Carroll, but I think the in-game coaching for the Lions is even worse. I think there’s going to be a lot of bungling going on by the Lions, and I think the Seahawks will take advantage. I’m taking the Seahawks in a squeaker, 31-30.

The Seahawks Should Lose A Lot Of Games In 2022

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.

OH MY GOD The Seahawks Looked Terrible Against The Bears

Yeah yeah yeah, it’s pre-season and whatnot. The whole point is to rest your stars, give the young guys some experience, and parse through your depth to see who’s worthy of a shot at the 53-man and who’s destined for the XFL or whatever the fuck they’re doing now with spring football.

But this was just a-whole-nother level of sucking that feels more like a harbinger of things to come than fake-football nonsense that can be ignored.

If you were unfortunate-enough to watch from beginning to end, who are you happy with? Who stood out in even a remotely positive light? I’ll tell you who, the fucking long-snapper Tyler Ott. Dude just balls out. Perfect long-snaps, made a touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return; he does it all!

Everyone else can go right to hell, as far as I’m concerned. Burn in the fiery pits of Satan’s domain.

Pre-Season Quarterback Report

Welp, Drew Lock was announced earlier this week as the Seahawks’ starter for this game. He went through a full practice with the ones and we were off and running with this now-legitimate quarterback competition.

Then, immediately after practice, it was announced he’d tested positive for COVID-19 and would not be playing this week. Furthermore, we’d find out that he was sick as a dog throughout that practice, and there’s no real guarantee that he’s even going to be ready to play in our third and final pre-season game on Friday, August 26th. Yay.

So, that means Geno Smith got to start his second game, with Jacob Eason playing those meaningless second half reps.

It’s hard to shit on Geno too much, because receivers were dropping balls left and right. That being said, it’s not like those drops were all on the most perfect of passes. Should they have been caught? Yeah, sure. Could they have been thrown more accurately and on time? I think so. I think there’s incompetent people on both sides.

It was a first half of punts, with one missed field goal. That feels true to real life. I think we’re going to see that a lot in the regular season, no matter who’s starting at quarterback. I don’t think D.K. Metcalf & Tyler Lockett will make much of a difference, because we’re also going to be going up against opposing teams’ number 1 defenses, with all of these pass rushers and other studs who’ve been sitting out the pre-season so far.

Jacob Eason led us to all of our 11 points in this 27-11 loss – and it could’ve been more if only we’d played better down the stretch – but don’t let that fool you. Eason stinks. He stunk in Georgia and lost his starting job. He stunk in Washington and ended up being the single worst decision of the Chris Petersen era. And he stinks now, where he’s clinging to a #3 job until the end of the month, when I’m sure he’ll be cut and free to sign with the Alabama Roughriders, the Omaha Roughriders, or even the San Francisco Roughriders of whatever second-rate minor football league is out there.

What does it all mean for the quarterback position heading into the regular season? Your guess is as good as mine. It felt like – by giving Drew Lock this Bears game at Lumen Field – we were setting him up for great success. Give him the home crowd and a soft-ish landing against the Bears and let him win this starting job. Even though all the talk has centered around Geno Smith being the man who deserves to be ahead in the competition – based on his years of experience and prior knowledge of the system – I don’t believe Pete Carroll is happy with the notion of Geno Smith being the starter when the games matter. I think he wants Lock out there, to see if we have a diamond in the rough, or to go down in flames so we can take a shot at a rookie next year.

But, Lock has disappointed at every turn. Critical practice interceptions, that fumble at the end of last week’s game (which could’ve been avoided had he adjusted our protection), and now this COVID diagnosis. He can seemingly do no right, and he’s bumbling his way into a backup job, at least to start the month of September.

Other Pre-Season Tidbits

Where to begin? It sucks that Damien Lewis got hurt. But, it’s a relief that it wasn’t an ACL or something too serious.

I thought the O-Line gave us some good pockets early, but struggled at times; they definitely weren’t as clean as last week. Charles Cross had the perfect storm of fuck-ups, with NUMEROUS penalties that killed MULTIPLE drives. Also, after the first couple drives, we really couldn’t even get a run game going to save our lives.

I will say that I thought Travis Homer looked GREAT! For the second week in a row! I’m flabbergasted! Like, if we needed to rely on him for more than pass protection, I think he’d be a real asset. It’s one of the most shocking things I’ve seen out of any pre-season, and I’m happy for him. It looks like he put in WORK this off-season; he appears faster, stronger, more agile. It’s a sight to behold.

Lotta drops by the receivers, as I mentioned. LOTTA DROPS. They all looked so fucking shitty. How is it that no one is going to step up and assert themselves? I know we have draft picks galore in this room, not to mention guys who’ve been on the periphery of the program for a few years, but I think the Seahawks need to start looking at everyone we’ve got – even the guys lower on the depth chart – and give them a legit chance. If you’ve got hands, I want you on my team! I know he doesn’t have a chance in hell, but you know who looks like a slot receiver who can catch the ball AND who can stay healthy on the field? Cade Brewer. If he’s someone who’s showing out in practice, I think he deserves a real shot. Not to mention Kevin Kassis, who caught 4 of 5 balls. This is the first I’ve seen or heard about either of these guys, but just by not dropping the ball, they out-performed every other higher-rated guy on this team.

The defense as a whole, again, is on my shitlist. But, two stood out as being particularly terrible. Justin Coleman, for the second week in a row, leads me to wonder why the fuck he’s even on this team. Terrible coverage, and a total brain fart where he could’ve downed a punt at the one yard line, but mindlessly stepped on the endzone line for a touchback. Why is he here?! Why did we trade Ugo Amadi? Why is he playing over Coby Bryant, who is LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than him?

The other guy is Marquise Blair, who just isn’t good. We all know him as the guy who can’t stay healthy – in three years, he’s played in 22 games – but he’s also just not good at the game of football. The only thing he wants to do is hit. Instead of using proper tackling techniques, he’s lowering his shoulder and hoping for those home run hits. Except, the guys he’s trying to obliterate are football players too, and they’re fully capable of bouncing off of this skinny twig-man for extra yards. And, when he lowers his shoulders like that, inevitably his helmet is going to get in the way and inadvertently come into contact with the helmet of the player on offense, resulting in a penalty. Just no football common sense whatsoever. It’s his last year, and maybe he won’t even make it to the regular season. What a fucking BUST of a second round pick.

I don’t remember much from the pass rush, so no kudos for any of them. Darrell Taylor had a critical offsides penalty. In total, we had 13 penalties for 92 yards, and all of them were warranted. The Bears, on the other hand, had 3 for 38. Don’t take that as the refs favoring one team over the other. Take that as the Seahawks being shitty and undisciplined.

Oh, yeah, before I forget, Jason Myers missed another make-able field goal. Another waste of money on a kicker who’s hardly better than a coin flip. Why is he here? Why isn’t there at least a competition going on?

The more I see of this team, the worse my opinion gets. I’m starting to come around on the idea that we might be bottom-dwellers in the NFL. Is the #1 pick on the table? Absolutely. Is a winless season on the table? Why not?! How low can we go? Your guess is as good as mine.

How Bad Can The Seahawks Get On Offense In 2022?

I think the Vegas odds have the Seahawks at over/under 5.5 wins this year. Seems high when you think about how extensive this rebuild has gone so far; I’ve always maintained the Seahawks would’ve easily been a 2-3 win team without Russell Wilson in recent years. But, when you look at the schedule, there appears to be at least 4-5 really bad teams on there, with most of those easy games happening at home. All it would take is beating the truly awful (on paper) teams, and maybe stealing a game in our division, and there you have it. I’m not saying I’d bet the Taylor Family Farm on the Seahawks winning 6+ games in 2022, but I’ve always had an inkling we’d manage to get there one way or another. Maybe that’s just because I have this perception that the national pundits and football fans outside of the Pacific Northwest think so poorly of our chances, I just want to zag where they zig. I’m guessing a lot of armchair general managers out there will be predicting us to have a Top 3 draft pick next year.

Aside from the schedule, I’m on record as saying I like this team at most every position except quarterback. If we had an elite quarterback, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if we contended for a wild card spot, or even as a dark horse divisional contender.

That could, of course, be the homer in me. Looking at things logically, we have inexperienced guys at offensive tackle, we have inexperienced guys at cornerback, we have a potentially bottom-quarter pass rushing unit, and we have a run-first guy in Pete Carroll throttling this offense back at every turn. By season’s end, there could be pleasant surprises from every non-quarterback group on this team. This very well could be the start of a new Seahawks dynasty for all we know! But, as was the case in the L.O.B. era, a lot would have to go right for that to happen again.

Until you actually sit there and watch the games, it’s easy to forget how truly vital the quarterback position is. The Ringer has the Seahawks ranked 27th out of 32 offensively. Honestly, that feels high, but I don’t know who you bump to move us down. It got me to wondering just how bad things can get.

Limiting Turnovers isn’t an offensive scheme. Yet, that seems to be 95% of what the Seahawks are banking on this year. That seems to be 110% of the reason why Geno Smith is leading the quarterback competition, even though we know exactly who he is. Spoiler alert.

Just because someone takes care of the football and “knows when to take a sack” doesn’t mean we’re magically going to score 25+ points per game. I think the biggest part of the reason why my gut tells me the Seahawks can win 6+ games is because the defense will be better than expected, and because Pete Carroll and his staff will be able to coach everyone up to win some tight and low-scoring games. But, it’s entirely possible the defense is the same (or worse) as it’s been for the last half-decade. It’s also entirely possible that Pete Carroll is cashed as a coach, and it’s time to move on to some fresh blood.

The bottom line is: if the defense stinks, there’s no way the Seahawks are winning any shootouts. If the defense stinks, the floor is zero victories. The offense will be THAT mediocre.

We all point to the 1992 Seahawks as the epitome of a terrible offense. Not just a franchise nadir, but also one of the very worst offenses in NFL history (at least modern NFL history, since the merger). I will say that I don’t think the 2022 Seahawks offense will be THAT bad. There are still some talented players. Metcalf and Lockett are up there among NFL wide receiver duos. We’ve got some talented guys at running back. The tight ends look solid. If the O-Line is even remotely competent, we should be able to easily surpass 8.8 points per game.

But, this is obviously a different game than the one that was played in the early 90s. It’s a lot easier to score nowadays, all the rules changes have seen to that. Nevertheless, I think we’re going to find this team to be VERY difficult to watch. Geno Smith’s “good” numbers – in, again, not turning the ball over and hitting his checkdowns – mean nothing if we can’t convert third downs. Mean nothing if we can’t convert field goal drives into touchdown drives. Mean nothing if we can’t score in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. He can complete 100% of his dinks and dunks for all I care, but if we’re not able to reliably slice and dice our way through opposing defenses, it’s all going to be worthless.

And that’s assuming we roll with Geno! Just imagine how bad things could get if Drew Lock is the guy. Someone who decidedly isn’t as careful with the football. Yet, also someone who isn’t even remotely accurate as a deep-ball passer. It’s all well and good to have a cannon for an arm, but if you’re always over-throwing guys by 20 yards, then what use is it?

The only hope, really, is that Shane Waldron is able to unlock the Sean McVay offense – even if it’s a slightly watered-down version – to the point where Smith or Lock can be to us what Jared Goff was to the Rams when they were all together. That, and the offensive line holds up, and the running game is more dynamic than we could’ve possibly imagined. But, here’s the rub: even if the running backs play some elite ball, defenses are just going to gear up for the run and load the box, because they know our quarterbacks will never be able to beat them with their arms.

It feels bleak! It feels like 27th truly IS too high of a ranking for this offense. It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if the Seahawks are averaging somewhere in the realm of 15 points per game and we go something like 3-14 or 2-15. There’s just NOTHING holding this team together right now except for the coaching staff. And I don’t care how good the coaches are, they aren’t out there on the field taking care of business. If they don’t have the players, then they’re effectively useless.

Bad quarterbacks – even with the talented skill position players we have around them – will alienate the entire team. If we’re truly awful to start the season, expect it to snowball. Expect this team to give up. And once that happens, there’s no bottom limit to how bad this team can be, in every facet of the game.

I would say – in a TL;DR situation – to expect a lot of field goals this year, but who knows with Jason Myers?! If he’s as bad as everyone else, then watch out!

Pondering Russell Wilson’s Future In Denver

I have a lot of investment in the 2022 season of the Denver Broncos, followed by no investment whatsoever in 2023 and beyond. This obviously has to do with the Seahawks getting whatever ends up being Denver’s first round draft pick after this season. The worse they do on the field, the better it is for us as Seahawks fans.

But, that’s tricky, because that means actively rooting against Russell Wilson for the first time since he joined the league.

It’s going to be so weird to see him playing for the Broncos. Russell Wilson is a player I’ve been conditioned to root for. Not just him specifically, but what he represents as well. The under-sized, scrambling risk-taker. A deep ball maven who finds a way to pull a victory out of his ass more often than not.

And you’d think – as someone who took us to back-to-back Super Bowls, and winning us our first and only NFL championship – it would be all sunshine and roses for our erstwhile franchise QB. You’d think we’d root for him no matter where he went, even if his success meant a worse trade compensation.

There are opposing truths about Russell Wilson’s tenure with the Seahawks: he was the greatest reason for our successes, as well as our frustrating failures. While he doesn’t get enough credit for all the winning we did in the L.O.B. era during the first half of his stint here, there’s no doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t have done what we did with a lesser talent at quarterback. It’s that talent that kept the Seahawks relevant as the L.O.B. era rode off into the sunset. But, ultimately, we were never able to get over the hump when it became the Russell Wilson Show, and I don’t think he gets enough of the blame for where it all went so wrong.

Who gets the blame? Pete Carroll gets the blame. The offensive line gets the blame. The talent and coaching of the defense. The offensive play-calling and/or scheme. The moves of John Schneider and the front office. Everyone seems to get to share in the blame except for Wilson. They were all holding Wilson back in one way or another. Cue “Let Russ Cook” movement on social media, followed shortly thereafter by the regular media.

I thought this was really well-written and informative. Even Russell Wilson – the greatest quarterback in Seahawks history – has his limitations. And those limitations were really damaging over the last five years of his time here. You can look at his numbers, and our regular season results in the standings, and see what he did to prop up a dying monster. But, if you dig deeper, you’ll see that the Seahawks feasted on bad teams. And we only really looked good when the running game was on point and our defense improved as seasons went on.

Ultimately, the reason why we needed to move on from Russell Wilson was his unwillingness to adapt. His unwillingness to see himself for what he actually is. His unwillingness to be anything but Russell Wilson: Deep Ball Maven.

Part of the greatness of any elite athlete is the belief that they can do anything. Russell Wilson believes so fiercely that he can complete every pass, that instead of just taking what the defense gives him, he seeks out lower-percentage shots downfield, to the team’s detriment. It’s to his credit that he was able to complete as high a percentage of them as he did, but over the last couple years you could see even that starting to dwindle.

Brian Schottenheimer was probably the best offensive coordinator we’ve had in his tenure. Yet, that ended in miserable failure even as he led this team to a 12-win season, where Russell Wilson had some of his very best efficiency numbers. Why is that? Because Wilson went off-scheme too much – throwing into coverage with disasterous results – necessitating the team to pull back the reins in order to win ballgames. We ultimately sided with Wilson in the parting of ways of Schotty, going so far as to hire a Wilson choice in Shane Waldron.

And what happened in 2021? Wilson kept going off-scheme, with much worse results. We brought in a guy with a Rams pedigree, yet we were still pretty much running the same offense as Schottenheimer. There was no stopping the Russell Wilson Show from eclipsing everything, so it was time to move on.

The big question that remains is: what does Denver have to look forward to?

Can Russell Wilson tamp down his need to do things his way? You would think that a drastic move to a new team would come with a little humility. It’s a fresh start with a whole new group of coaches and teammates, he’ll probably want to buy a little good will early. But, this is Russell Wilson we’re talking about. He’s a superstar in this league. He’s one of the most famous and popular players in the game today. This change of scenery might embolden him to become even further entrenched in the belief that he can do whatever he wants and it doesn’t matter, because his arm talent alone will save the day.

I could see it going either way. I guess I’m leaning towards him falling in line, allowing the run game to play out, and doing things within the flow of the offensive scheme (at least for this first season). But, it wouldn’t shock me to see his gigantic ego take over.

I agree with the blog post above, that if the Broncos are going to succeed, it’s going to necessitate Russ letting other players cook as well. If they contend for the division and a deep run in the playoffs, it’ll be with that strong running game, and a highly efficient Wilson playing like he did in so many Seahawks victories.

If the Broncos fail, I think it’ll be because Wilson is too involved. If they go pass-wacky and put the entire offense on his shoulders, then I think it’ll be a recipe for disaster. Of course, if they do go pass-wacky and the Broncos win it all, well then … that’s a pretty atrocious look for Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks.

Ultimately, I expect the Broncos to play well in 2022. In fact, I’m leaning towards them winning the division and at least one playoff game. I do think Wilson will look a lot like he did in the first five years of his time in Seattle, meaning he’s letting the running game do its thing, and being the hyper-efficient beast we all know he can be. That’s going to engender a huge outcry for people to say, “See! The Seahawks should’ve listened to Russ!” All the while, the Seahawks can say, “See! If he’d only checked his ego like we wanted him to, we could’ve won just like this!”

There’s no way the Seahawks get a draft pick out of the Broncos that’s inside the Top 20. That’s ultimately what I’m getting at. We’re not that lucky ’round these parts. If there’s a way to screw over a Seattle sports fan, the gods are going to find a way to do it, in as heart-wrenching a way as possible.

So, look for Wilson to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February of 2023. It’s really the only way this can end.