The Seahawks Hired Mike Macdonald To Be The New Head Coach

Did the Seahawks just hire the best head coaching candidate available?

It’s interesting to go through the list of current NFL head coaches – in order of year hired – and see the different head coaching classes. When the Commanders finally get their asses in gear, 19 of the 32 head coaches will have been hired in 2022 or later. WELL over half of all head coaches have been in their current jobs for 2 seasons or less.

There are currently only three from the 2021 class: Dan Campbell (whose stock is as high as can be, in spite of some questionable decisions in the NFC Championship Game), Robert Saleh (who feels like he needs a HUGE 2024 with a healthy Aaron Rodgers and probably a deep playoff run if he still wants to be with the Jets in 2025), and Nick Sirianni (who took the Eagles to the Super Bowl in year two, only to almost get fired in year three).

The 2020 class has just two members: Mike McCarthy (in desperate need of a deep playoff run to save his job) and Kevin Stefanski (who probably earned Coach of the Year with the job he did with the Browns in 2023). There’s two left from 2019: Zac Taylor & Matt LaFleur (not going anywhere). No one from 2018. Pretty big three from 2017: Sean McDermott, Sean McVay, and Kyle Shanahan. Then, you have to go back to the Old Guard: 2013 – Andy Reid, 2008 – John Harbaugh, 2007 – Mike Tomlin.

So, what does that tell us? Unless there’s a VERY big surprise looming, there are currently seven members of the 2024 class of new head coaches: Raheem Morris (Atlanta), Dave Canales (Carolina), Jim Harbaugh (Chargers), Jerod Mayo (New England), Brian Callahan (Tennessee), Mike Macdonald (Seahawks), and whoever the Commanders hire. What the above tells us is that in three years, over half of these guys aren’t going to hit.

How to predict where it’s going to work and where it isn’t is kind of a fool’s errand. Canales seems like a longshot to be good. He’s going to the least stable franchise of the bunch (with a crazy owner, a legitimately bad team, and no first round draft pick this year), he’s coming off of only a year as a coordinator, and he just has the feel of a guy who took a job nobody else wanted (I wonder if the same will be said for whoever Washington hires). I’m always leery of the Head Coach In Waiting, ever since it went so poorly with Jim Mora Jr. in Seattle. Seems like Mayo has a huge job ahead of him to right the ship in New England. And I’ll be honest, I had no idea the Titans hired Callahan – or even who Callahan was – until I looked him up and realized he was the OC for Cincinnati. Oh, you mean the offense with the best quarterback we’ve seen since Patrick Mahomes, with one of the most talented and elite wide receivers in the game? Seems hard to NOT have success in that job.

After Raheem Morris’ initial stint as one of the worst active head coaches in the NFL from 2009-2011, I’ll admit he wasn’t on my short list of favorite candidates. Didn’t Bill Simmons coin the phrase WARM (Wins Above Raheem Morris) as a play on baseball’s WAR stat? I’m sure he’s come a long way in the intervening years, but he joins a Falcons team with no quarterback, and no real great shot at drafting one of the top three. If we’re just going by which team – who hired a new coach this offseason – is set up the best from a personnel perspective, then I would say Jim Harbaugh has the best chance to succeed. If the Chargers can’t find a way to win with Justin Herbert and a competent head coach, then they’re more cursed than I realized.

So, unless one of these guys really surprises me, I think Mike Macdonald has a real chance to be great. He’s joining a really solid franchise in the Seahawks, with a lot of good, young, talented players. He’s got a strong GM who should continue to draft well and sign the right guys, now that he’s the head man in charge. And, just based on what I’ve heard about him, it really seems like he has a special aura about him. Very intelligent, very gifted (at least at running a defense), players love him, and he becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL at the moment (if you’re that young and rising through the ranks this fast, you must be doing something right).

Obviously, there are two ways to go with hiring an NFL head coach: bring in a retread, or find someone new from among the college or coordinator ranks. By my calculations, there are currently eight head coaches with previous head coaching experience. Admittedly, that’s sort of an educated guess; I didn’t go through every single bio. Best-case scenario of those guys? Andy Reid, and he obviously gets to enjoy the talents of Mahomes after a successful run in Philly. While there are occasional hits (Pete Carroll obviously being one of them), the retreads never seem to work out too well. For every Bill Belichick, there’s dozens of Mike McCarthys and Dennis Allens. Oddly enough, Bill Belichick was one of the guys available in this go-around, but clearly John Schneider wasn’t ready to hand over the keys to personnel after he just got them handed to himself.

If I had to go with a retread, I would’ve been happy with Mike Vrabel, but I’ll admit I’m pretty thrilled we’re going with someone new and young. I know there’s lots of new, young guys hired every year, but if you find that dynamic someone, it can really be a boost for your franchise for years to come. I find it incredibly heartening that Mike Macdonald is being described as the defensive version of Sean McVay. And not just as a play caller or a schemer, but as someone who can transition into the head coaching job, find the right coaches to put around him, and has the vision to make it all work. On top of which, you know he’s hungry and you know he’s going to give it everything he’s got. Can you say the same thing about Sean Payton or Doug Pederson?

In 2022, in his first year as the Ravens’ DC, they were 3rd in fewest points scored and rushing yards allowed (10th in total yards allowed), as well as tied for fifth in sacks. In 2023, the defense improved to 1st in points allowed, 1st in sacks, and 1st in lowest passer rating allowed, all the while improving to 6th in total yards allowed. And that’s with blitzing less than all but seven teams, according to this article. The more I read about him and hear about him, the more impressed I am!

But, you know, as with any head coach, there are so many variables at play. So many other decisions left to make. Who will be his assistant coaches? What are we doing with Geno Smith? What are we doing in the draft? How long until the team is sold? How solid is John Schneider’s job in the organization?

I’ll tell you what, though, this hire gives me a lot of hope! It’ll ultimately be decided on the football field, likely over the next 2-3 seasons. But, I think we’ve set ourselves up very well to succeed the greatest head coach in franchise history and a legitimate hall of fame candidate. I can’t wait to see what these new Seahawks look like. If nothing else, I’m expecting a rapid turnaround of the defense. And, as we all know, that’s when the Seahawks are always at their best.

The Bears Hired Former Seahawks OC Shane Waldron

For the record, I never thought Shane Waldron was The Problem with the Seahawks the last few years. I don’t know if I was often wildly impressed with his playcalling or his gameplans, but he never stood out so negatively that I felt the urge to run him out on a rail.

We hired him from the Rams ahead of the 2021 season, where he was a, I dunno, Passing Game Coordinator? What even is that? Not someone who calls plays. Not someone who designs an offense. Pretty much: he knows Sean McVay, so maybe he can deploy an offense like Sean McVay. All right. I would say the McVay Coaching Tree isn’t totally bereft; Matt LaFleur is doing well in Green Bay, and Zac Taylor lucked into Joe Burrow in Cincinnati. But, now we’re just plucking any ol’ made up position coach and handing them the keys to an entire side of the football?

I wouldn’t say Waldron had the easiest landing when it came to his biggest promotion to date. He had to endure the final season of Russell Wilson in Seattle (where Wilson missed three games, then played terribly through the next three games thanks to a thumb injury), he had to transition to Geno Smith, and then he had to survive the final season of Pete Carroll in Seattle (where Geno missed some time and Drew Lock had to start actual football games).

In 2021, the Seahawks were 20th in yards per game and 16th in points per game. In 2022, we improved to 13th in yards per game (a 27 yards per game jump) and 9th in points per game (only a 0.7 PPG jump). In 2023, we regressed to 21st in yards per game, and 17th in PPG.

So, some good and some bad. We actually dropped in 2021 (in total yards and total points) compared to 2020 (the last season with Brian Schottenheimer as the OC), but you can see why a first-time signal caller would have some growing pains, especially in the dysfunction that was the 2021 Seahawks. But, as I noted here, the 2023 regression came at the hands of a wildly disappointing rushing attack, and that’s with arguably better talent at the running back position.

I find it interesting that the Bears were all over Shane Waldron. Granted, they’re The Bears, and it’s about as inept of a group as you’ll find in the NFL, especially on the offensive side of the ball. How many OCs is this for Justin Fields, going into just his fourth NFL season? Three. Dating back to 2010, no OC has lasted more than two seasons there. Their head coach, Matt Eberflus, just survived by the hairs on his chinny-chin-chin when it came to retaining his own job. I think it’s fair to say if this team doesn’t miraculously make the playoffs in 2024, we’ll likely see a full blown reconstruction of the coaching staff. And that’s not even factoring in the HUGE decision they have to make: do they take Caleb Williams at #1 overall? Or, do they trade that pick for more picks and roll with Justin Fields in the final year of his rookie deal?

This is The Bears we’re talking about, so whatever they choose will be the wrong decision. But, who knows? Crazier things have happened. The Lions are in the NFC Championship Game for crying out loud!

The thing with Shane Waldron is: we don’t really know if he’s good or bad. I get the feeling it’s difficult to be a coordinator under Pete Carroll. I feel like sometimes Pete meddles, and sometimes he’s entirely hands off, but either way it tends to go poorly unless we’re loaded with supremely talented players to make up for coaching deficiencies.

Darrell Bevell is the best offensive coordinator we’ve ever had (who just so happens to have gotten buried under the weight of one terrible call in the Super Bowl). I thought he was relatively creative and adaptive to personnel. He also had Russell Wilson in his magician years, and one of the most underrated receivers of all time in Doug Baldwin, to say nothing of the toughest running back of his era in Marshawn Lynch. In that sense, you’d think pretty much any playcaller would be able to succeed with that collection of talent.

Shane Waldron didn’t have those players. His players were okay, but definitely not on that level. The thing that stands out with Waldron is: there’s no one thing he appears to be elite at. It definitely didn’t feel like we got the Rams’ offense in Seattle. There were times this unit looked unstoppable, but also too many times where they kept getting in their own way and couldn’t do anything but go 3 & Out.

That being said, I didn’t see a lot of absolutely terrible play calls. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that you wouldn’t see from any other offense. Sometimes it seemed like he’d go away from the running game just as it was working, but if that’s your biggest complaint, it’s probably not so bad.

Ultimately, Waldron wasn’t special. He was Just A Guy, in a long line of JAGs. We could do worse, of course. But, the hope is that we’ll end up doing better.

Shane Waldron just so happened to coincide with Clint Hurtt being the DC at the same time during his tenure here. So, in that sense, he lucked out. All the vitriol went to his counterpart, leaving Waldron flying well under the radar.

And apparently, doing a good-enough job for the Bears to hire him at the most critical juncture of their franchise’s history in the last two decades.

Seahawks Death Week: What Would Make Me Happy As A Fan?

There’s so much going on right now, I really can’t be bothered to keep up. How many interview requests have the Seahawks put in for, like a dozen? Any one of these guys could be amazing, and any one of these guys could be a total disaster. I’ll admit, between the Mariners, Huskies, and Seahawks, my confidence level is pretty much bottomed out at this point. So, I’m going to be inclined – pretty much throughout this entire offseason – to come at this from a pessimistic standpoint. The Mariners were already incredibly bad offensively for too much of 2023 to be successful, and the notion that a second hitting coach is going to be the thing to turn everyone around is asinine to say the least. The Huskies are in a very toxic place right now – that place being the college football landscape at large – and the notion that we’re going to turn around our fortunes by going heavy into recruiting sounds like a fairy tale.

I would say, for the Seahawks, it’s funny that the number one objective in John Schneider’s head coaching search is to maintain our positive culture, because right now that’s the ONLY thing we have going for us. We’re not in a great spot with our roster the way it is – bereft of elite-level talent on both sides of the line of scrimmage – we’re not in a great spot with our salary cap – with lots of aging/useless veterans commanding high salaries and just-as-high dead cap hits – and we’re not even all that well off with our draft capital – having given away our second rounder for half a year of Leonard Williams, and only acquiring an extra third rounder from Denver (with no compensatory picks for the fourth year in a row). They don’t give away Lombardi Trophies for “best culture”. And, if you don’t win, it’s amazing how quickly that culture can dissolve.

The one thing that does make me happy is having John Schneider at the helm, making all the important decisions. It’s impossible to ever know how much influence Pete Carroll had over personnel. My guess is, not a lot when it came to the draft, and probably too much when it came to veteran trades and free agency. Even then, I wonder about what we were told at Schneider’s original hiring – or at least what we assumed, coming from his Green Bay background – and what we’ve actually seen come to fruition here in Seattle: namely, that we would be drafting a quarterback nearly every year, even if we didn’t necessarily need one. Why have the Packers been so successful in carrying over from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers to now Jordan Love? Because they don’t miss an opportunity to take a chance at finding their Quarterback of the Future. It’s something the Seahawks let go straight to hell throughout the Russell Wilson era, and I believe it’s still setting us back to this very day.

So, that would also make me happy: having John Schneider in charge, and getting back to John Schneider-esque decisions. I believe we’ve had a couple of high-quality drafts the last two years. I also believe that the 2023 Seahawks underachieved based on the talent they have. If we can manage to keep the good drafts flowing, and marry that with a coaching staff that can get the most out of our younger guys, then I think there’s potential for a quick turnaround. Let’s eliminate some of these panic trades for aging vets, let’s dole out smart contracts to the right guys, let’s get rid of aging players a year too early vs. a year too late, and let’s trust in our ability to coach up young players immediately, to better take advantage of their inexpensive cost to our salary cap while they’re on rookie deals.

I couldn’t tell you who would make me happy to bring in as a head coach. I think Dan Quinn is probably the likeliest guy, and I also think he’s the least exciting candidate. I think Jim Harbaugh is the most intriguing, but I also don’t believe he will go anywhere if he doesn’t have full control over every part of the team, so that kinda rules him out. Of all the coordinators getting interviews, I think Ben Johnson is probably the most thrilling, but he’s also among the least-experienced names being bandied about, having just two years of OC experience with Detroit. Is his scheme something that’s revolutionizing the sport of football? Or did he just come up with the right team at the right time, who just so happened to have an elite collection of players? Is he the next Shanahan or McVay? I’m guessing probably not. But, is the next Shanahan or McVay even out there? Again, I’m guessing probably not.

The Seahawks have only had three successful head coaches in the franchise’s history: Chuck Knox, Mike Holmgren, and Pete Carroll. All three of them had previous NFL head coaching experience. Now, obviously, that’s not a guarantee, because Jim Mora Jr. also was previously a head coach in the NFL, and Dennis Erickson was a longtime head coach in college. But, it strikes me that the three best guys were all pretty huge names in the sport at the times of them being hired, and maybe there’s something to be said for that.

I’ve always liked Mike Vrabel. I think he’s smart and knows how to lead a team as much as he can lead a culture. He probably best fits in that mold of a prior NFL head coach who’s a big name and has a lot left to give to the game. But, he doesn’t seem to be a viable option for whatever reason. I know I’d be concerned about his desire to play older guys over young kids, but maybe that’s a perception I’ve falsely acquired over the years. Like with any coach, his success level is going to come down to the quality of the players around him, regardless of their age or experience.

I guess the biggest thing that would make me happy as a Seahawks fan is for them to cut the dead weight. I know these decisions are tough, I know these older guys have given us everything they had, and I know it might mean enduring a tough salary cap situation for a year. But, if we can make it through, there’s a real opportunity in 2025 and beyond. But, we have to understand what this team is right now: it’s not a Super Bowl contender. And it’s not one offseason (with one hand tied behind our backs thanks to lack of money and draft picks) away from being that contender. This is a two-year window. Year one is the tear down, and year two is the immediate rebuild.

K.Y.P. Know Your Personnel. One of the local basketball color guys used to say that all the time (I can’t remember if it was Marques Johnson or someone else), but it’s universal across all sports. Seahawks, K.Y.P! Figure it out, get rid of anyone who’s not part of the future, and let’s get this thing turned around. Hovering around 9-8 and a potential wild card spot isn’t going to make me happy. Competing – TRULY competing – for a Super Bowl title, THAT will make me happy.

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.

Is Geno Smith Worth $33+ Million On The Open Market?

At some point, I talked about how I’d gladly re-sign Geno Smith for $20-$25 million. That’s assuming, of course, that Shane Waldron is still here – and isn’t hired as a head coach somewhere after this fantastic performance – but it goes completely out the window if he’s gone. I base that on Geno Smith being a pretty great fit for this very specific scheme.

I also think there’s a lot of risk that comes with giving Geno a big-money extension after one great season. At this point, it’s not even one great season, with six games left to play. But, it’s hard for me to reconcile what we’ve seen from him in his career to date.

I understand where this $33ish million figure comes from. That’s right around what he would cost on a franchise tag. At this point, I think Geno would readily accept a franchise tag at that cost; I don’t think the Seahawks want any part of that, since the entire tag becomes fully guaranteed, and cripples your salary cap accordingly. If you’re the Seahawks, you want a 2+ year deal, to spread out the signing bonus, and limit the number of guaranteed money over the long haul.

What I don’t understand is why the franchise tag is automatically the floor. Is Geno Smith going to command $30+ million on the open market? Is he nearly as valuable in any other system? With a lesser offensive line protecting him? With lesser targets to throw to?

The last thing I want to do is get into a bidding war for Geno Smith, who has a definite shelf life. Even if we assume this is the new normal for Geno, I give it two years before we start seeing a decline. The Seahawks need to address the quarterback position not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. I have no problem handing him the team in 2023. But, in 2024 and beyond, I’d like to be looking towards a younger franchise quarterback to take over. It’s why you build through the draft, so you can use your cap dollars in other ways, with the quarterback position not taking such a significant portion of the pie.

The lone upside – as I see it – to extending Geno is the fact that we can use all of our draft capital on other areas of need. It sure would be nice to have both first round picks available to bolster our weak defensive line. Maybe grab a high-level linebacker early in the second round, and then either grab a guard/center with the other, or just take the best player available, regardless of position. But, my concern with that is similar to my concern about drafting a quarterback: what if they’re not good right away, or ever? Sure, we’d have Geno Smith, but if we’re still having the same problems stopping the run and rushing the passer, then we’re no better than we are now, with the limited shelf life of a competent Geno Smith.

I guess my whole thing is: I’m never going to be happy if we don’t select a quarterback in one of the first two rounds next year. But, regardless, if some other team is willing to throw gobs of money at Geno, godspeed. Let them have him. What I think this year has shown me more than anything else is that you can plug & play pretty much anyone in the Shane Waldron (née Sean McVay) system and get serviceable results. Just like Jared Goff a few years ago taking the Rams to the Super Bowl; we don’t need to break the bank on Geno Smith or anyone for that matter. Let the rest of the NFL ravage that carcass. The Seahawks can carve out their own path.

Everyone’s Crapping Their Pants Over Geno Smith & The Seahawks’ Offense

It’s football, and so by design you get these wild emotional swings from week to week. We won on Monday Night against Russell Wilson and the Broncos: we must be great! We lost in demoralizing fashion to the 49ers and then the Falcons at home: we must be among the very worst teams in football! Now, we go out on the road and win a crazy shootout: heck, maybe the wild card is on the table!

There’s a lot of Geno Smith dick sucking going on, and I don’t know if it’s deserved. I don’t know if anyone considered him the very worst quarterback in the game; among backups, I think he’s always been fairly well-regarded. That’s probably because – until last year – you never got to see him play. The mystery and the name recognition did a lot of the heavy lifting for Geno Smith’s reputation. Once it became apparent this offseason that he was not only in a quarterback battle with the likes of Drew Lock, but until he got COVID, it was a battle set up for Lock to ultimately win, I think we all remembered, “Oh yeah, this is Geno Smith we’re talking about.” He’s probably in the low 20’s or high 30’s in a ranking of all quarterbacks.

Now that we’re four weeks into the season, I’ll admit that he’s better than I expected. His accuracy is off the charts, and even if we’re talking about a preponderance of throws being dinks and dunks, that’s still better than a lot of other so-called Game Managers. To me, this feels like our offensive system making good on its original promise (more than Smith making a late-career surge in effectiveness). We wanted the Rams’ style McVay offense, and we’ve got it! Jared Goff was once a quarterback that took his team to the Super Bowl. I think while it’s safe to say Geno Smith won’t be doing the same, he can still play competitive football within the parameters of this offense.

But, let’s see it against superior competition. His first half against the Broncos was lights out; his second half was atrocious. His entire game against the 49ers was a huge nothing-burger. He was good and bad against the Falcons, but clearly not good enough to prevail in a home game that you HAVE to have if you’re a playoff team. Now, he has this elite performance (320 yards on 23/30, with 2 TDs, 0 INTs, and 1 rushing TD with 49 yards on 7 carries) against arguably the worst defense in the league. Possibly one of the worst defenses of the last decade or more!

And that’s saying something, because the Seahawks this year ALSO have one of the worst defenses in the league, and one of the worst defenses of the last decade or more.

If the argument is that this offense has worked out the kinks, and is capable of some percentage of this every week, then I’m going to have to see it in action against good defenses. I need to see this against the Rams and 49ers. I need to see it in action against the Saints on the road next week. I need to see it against the Chargers and Bucs and Cardinals and literally everyone else on our schedule; they’ve all got better defenses than the Lions!

If you’re like me, and you saw this team – heading into the year – as an annoyingly 7-10 type of team, then you looked at the schedule and predicted we’d be 2-2 after four games. Granted, one of those victories would’ve been over Atlanta, but one of those losses would’ve been to the Broncos, so maybe that evens it out. Regardless, this isn’t the most unexpected thing in the world. There’s a lot of football left to play. A lot of the teams we thought would be good might lose to a team like these Seahawks. Conversely, a lot of teams that we thought would be pushovers might nip us in the end. I don’t think I can make a definitive statement one way or the other about this team. I still don’t think we’re very good. I still don’t think Geno Smith has what it takes to drive us the length of the field, needing a touchdown to win the game in the final two minutes.

I’m not terribly irate about winning this game, though I think it annoyingly papers over a lot of deficiencies, especially regarding the defense. But, I’m happy that our skill guys looked good (Penny had 151 yards on 17 carries, with 2 TDs; Metcalf had 7 catches for 149 yards; Lockett had 6 for 91). I’m happy that the offensive line is progressing like gangbusters. I’m happy that Tariq Woolen had a pick six.

But, in the grand scheme of things, if we’d lost 45-41 – instead of winning 48-45 – I’d still have all of those things to be happy about, plus we’d be one step closer to tanking this season! As it stands, this looks like a HUGE tiebreaker for us at season’s end. Clearly, these are two pretty evenly-matched teams. I think both the Seahawks and Lions will be close in record. So, we’re talking about a pretty big edge they have, especially if they decide to make drafting a quarterback a priority next year.

This Seahawks defense, tho. Ye gods. Darrell Taylor got demoted to a rusher on passing downs, because he can’t handle all the responsibilities of an outside linebacker. Then, his replacement go hurt and he was forced back into action. All in all, this has been a pretty bad season for him so far. The secondary is still getting dinged pretty severely. Other than Nwosu, no one is getting to the quarterback on a regular basis. Cody Barton looks inept and feeble. Jordyn Brooks is no Bobby Wagner in his prime; not by a long shot. If we’re not at the point where we’re abandoning the 3-4 for the 4-3, then it’s probably only another week or two away (because we can’t keep getting gashed with this sort of regularity).

At this rate, I don’t know what we’re going to have to hang our hat on by season’s end. Hopefully, the secondary can settle down a little bit. I don’t think there’s much hope for the linebacking group, and I think we’ll have to use a 2nd or 3rd rounder on that position. I think there’s a considerable demand for a dominant pass rusher, but I don’t know how you get that without foregoing a shot at one of the elite quarterback prospects. Maybe someone falls to us?

There’s also the very legitimate – though, I would argue kind of a longshot – concern that Geno Smith keeps playing well within the system, and is just handed the keys to the offense next year. Does a 7-10 Seahawks team with Geno throwing for 4,000+ yards on high-efficiency passing give this group the confidence to continue trying to bolster around the quarterback position, rather than addressing it directly? Again, I don’t think that’s very likely, but it has to be a concern.

So, yeah, I’d say the weekend could’ve gone better. At least the Broncos lost! I made a big show of telling all my friends how they’re a 12-win team and they all rightly laughed in my face. We’ll see who’s laughing last (it’ll either be me because I’m right, or me because I engineered a quality jinx).

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!

Could The Seahawks Be Okay At Quarterback?

Recently, I wrote about the Seahawks roster at every position other than quarterback. The conclusion I came to was that there’s potential for improvement, but still probably too many holes to fill in this one offseason. If enough draft picks and whatnot pan out, maybe we can head into 2023 and do enough damage in free agency to lift us back into the playoffs.

My take on the quarterback position, however, is that the guys we’ve got on the roster right now should be bad enough to help us tank for a quality draft pick next year, at which point we should go all in on a rookie QB to be our next franchise player. But, what this blog post presupposes is … maybe we don’t?

Okay, not quite. But, there’s been this concept that’s been gnawing at the back of my mind for a while now. The 2018 Los Angeles Rams went to the Super Bowl with Jared Goff at quarterback. What we’ve come to learn about Jared Goff since he was drafted first overall in 2016 is that he’s not as terrible as he showed in that rookie season. Of course, that was under the tenure of Jeff Fisher; Sean McVay was hired going into the 2017 season. What we also know about Goff, however, is that he’s not as good as his two (?!) Pro Bowl seasons either. McVay essentially declared he can’t win it all with Goff under center.

Yet, the system was good enough to get them all the way to the very end with a mediocre QB like Goff. That’s obviously intriguing to us as Seahawks fans.

Because here we are, with Shane Waldron as our offensive coordinator, looking to run something very similar to the system McVay installed with the Rams. And, here we also are, with Drew Lock and Geno Smith, mediocre quarterbacks just as Goff has been.

These aren’t apples-to-apples comparisons, though. Waldron is, obviously, a diluted form of McVay; McVay is largely seen as an offensive genius, and someone who might be “The Next Bill Belichick”. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but he does seem to be one of the top five-or-so head coaches in the NFL right now. And, I think it’s fair to say Lock and Smith haven’t shown to be anywhere near as competent as Goff, though obviously Lock is younger and less experienced (in other words, he very well could be as competent as Goff, we just haven’t seen him in a Rams-style offensive system yet).

What it boils down to is this: how reliable is this Rams system? Once you know the ins and outs, can literally anyone run it? Or, does it take the finesse and knowledge of a McVay to make it function as it should (to say nothing of a quarterback as capable as Stafford to push through as world champions)?

If it’s just a rock-solid system and anyone can do it, then I think I’m not out of bounds when I say Drew Lock could appear to be better than expected, as early as this season. If Jared Goff can take the Rams to the Super Bowl, why couldn’t Drew Lock take the Seahawks to the playoffs (especially when they let in three wild card teams now)? We’d need the defense to make huge leaps in development, and we’d probably have to rely more on our running game than the Rams ever have under McVay, but I don’t think it’s batshit crazy to come to this conclusion.

Look, am I saying it’s likely? Absolutely not. The smart money is totally and completely on the Seahawks to NOT make the playoffs in 2022. And, in fact, I don’t want them to, because what would be the point? We’re never winning a Super Bowl with Lock or Smith under center, no matter how good the roster is around them, or how good the scheme could potentially be. While the Seahawks will never actively try to tank, I hope a series of misfortunes befalls this team week after week after week, until we’re left with two picks in the top five (because I also hope a series of misfortunes befalls the Broncos to a similar degree). I’m talking injuries, I’m talking hail marys going against the Seahawks/Broncos, I’m talking about an unsustainably terrible record in one-score games. I want all of it. I want these to be the two unluckiest and most inept teams in all of football. THAT is my dream.

Not a Drew Lock-led Seahawks team squeaking in as a seventh seed only to lose in the Wild Card round.

Seahawks Are Staring A Season From Hell In The Face

It’s one of those out-of-nowhere, Anything That Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong types of seasons. We gag away a 2-score 4th quarter lead to the Titans, we lose handily to an inferior team in the Vikings, we take advantage of a 49ers team that lost its quarterback, but then we lose our own quarterback at home to the Rams in a loss on Thursday night.

Russell Wilson has a finger. The severity of his injury is unknown at this time, but anything is in play. They could have surgery to put a pin in it. They could wrap it up and have him play on it. He could return as early as next week, or as late as 4-6 weeks from now.

We’ve always said that a significant Russell Wilson injury is the worst possible scenario for any Seahawks team. When that happens, just write the season off immediately. Enter Geno Smith.

Admittedly, he looked pretty good last night! Given what I’ve seen from him in his stint with the Jets, and everything I’ve seen from him in the pre-season, I expected a statue who checks down constantly and misses wide open receivers on the regular. But, he was pushing the ball down the field with authority, and taking his opportunities to run with it! Granted, by the time he got the ball, it was the 4th quarter and we were down by 9 points; in all likelihood, the Rams were playing softer coverage than normal to help bleed clock.

Nevertheless, Geno Smith made the throws, led a 98-yard touchdown drive, then followed it with a field goal drive to make it a one-score game. We had the ball with just over two minutes left in the game – and no time outs – with a chance to win it. Of course, Tyler Lockett fell down and his first pass of the drive was intercepted, but you can hardly blame Geno for that.

I don’t know what to make of that. Because all along, Seahawks fans have been saying how great it is to have him as our backup. Veteran presence, someone who can come in and steady the ship if Russell Wilson were to miss a few games. I think that’s always been somewhat halfhearted because no one ever expected Wilson to get injured! We’ve never had to actually stare Geno Smith in the face as a real starting possibility. I’ve rarely given a shit about who the Seahawks have as their backup QB for this reason: if Wilson always plays, then put ME in there as the backup for all I care!

But, now we’re in dire straits; 2-3 record, probably needing to go 8-4 the rest of the way to make the playoffs. And we need Geno Smith to help get us there.

I’m going to need to see Geno play this way for more than a single quarter of football. I’m going to need to see multiple games of competence before I believe he’s been worth all of those backup quarterback contracts.

I’ll say this, though: there were lots of things he did against the Rams that I don’t think Russell Wilson is capable of doing. Like getting rid of the ball quickly when faced with extreme pressure. The Rams weren’t just hanging back; they were sending regular blitzes. Plus, our offensive line wasn’t great (Duane Brown REALLY had a poor game, as he starts to show his age). In those situations, I don’t mind when a quarterback checks down, because it beats that little turtle move Wilson always does when he gets swallowed up by the pocket and goes down in a heap. Geno hit a pass to Alex Collins that went for a huge gain; I believe Wilson would’ve been trying to make some crazy play happen deep down field and got killed.

I’m starting to believe you need a specific type of quarterback to run this Shane Waldron/Sean McVay offense, and I’m starting to have my doubts that Wilson is the guy. Could Geno Smith be as effective as Jared Goff was with the Rams? Scoff all you want, but he still led them to a Super Bowl. I’m not saying the Seahawks are a Super Bowl team, but Geno could at least keep the offense on track, if he can play at that Goff level.

It’s unfortunate that the world is ragging on the defense, because they really put together a terrific first half of football, holding the Rams to 3 points. But, they ended up allowing 476 yards in the game, making it the fourth straight game where they’ve given up 450+ yards (an NFL record). Yes, they held the Rams to 3 first half points, but they gave up 23 in the second half, and it would’ve been a lot more had Matthew Stafford not been dealing with a fucked up finger of his own (and throwing a lot of errant balls as a result).

Bottom line is: this isn’t a Super Bowl defense, though there are some nice pieces. Jamal Adams just can’t cover anyone; he fucking sucks. The pass rush can’t get home without blitzing, and goes in the tank for large stretches of every game. And we can’t even hold our heads high with a good run defense. It’s all bad, at all levels.

What REALLY makes this the Season From Hell is the fact that the Jets get our first round draft pick next year. We’re almost certainly going to fall short of making the playoffs. We might even be in the bottom-ten teams in all of football (or even bottom five if things get super bad). That means we’re giving the Jets a Top 10 pick, for an overpaid safety who stinks.

And, what’s worse, this is probably the final straw before Russell Wilson demands a trade out of here. So, not only will we have to rebuild, but we’ll have to rebuild without our top ten draft pick.

In conclusion, I’ll be looking for other activities to pursue on Sundays for the next few years. I had a good run as a football fan, but I think it’s time to be hitting the old dusty trail. How much apple picking is too much apple picking, if you had to estimate?

The 2021 Seattle Seahawks Regular Season Preview Extraordinaire!

If you feel like reading about my position-by-position breakdowns, click HERE and go through all the links at the top. And, in case you missed it, I talked briefly about my predictions for how the 2021 NFL season is going to go as a whole HERE. There’s a pretty significant spoiler in there about my feelings on the Seahawks, which I’m going to get to directly.

I think the 2021 Seattle Seahawks are going to be disappointing. That’s not a very unique hill to die on. If you’re a playoff contender, only one team’s season WON’T be disappointing. But, I guess that’s my point: the 2021 Seattle Seahawks aren’t going to win the Super Bowl. For a team with Russell Wilson as its quarterback, for a team that has been to two Super Bowls in the last decade – and been to the playoffs in all but one year dating back to 2012 – not winning the Super Bowl is always going to be disappointing. Seasons change and we’re all getting fucking older, and it’s reasonable to wonder if we’re all going to die without the Seahawks ever winning a Super Bowl again.

In skimming last year’s preview post, I think my feelings about the team are similar, but for slightly different reasons. I was probably a little higher on the offense than I am this season, and for the first half that was validated by what we saw on the field. Then, the level of our defensive competition improved, and we were unable to adjust to what they were doing to us. On the flipside, there were lots of worries about the defense heading into the season – also validated by what we saw on the field – but that tightened up in the second half (as the level of offensive competition declined, and we were able to adjust to what teams were doing to us). Ultimately, we were looking at a fatally flawed team in 2020, and we’re still looking at a fatally flawed team in 2021.

There’s a lot to like about the offense once again. The talent is on par with the most talented offensive teams in the NFL. We have a Top 5 quarterback, we have arguably the best wide receiver duo, we have a stable of quality running backs and tight ends (when healthy), and our offensive line is good enough (especially with Duane Brown back in the fold). I only have one concern about the offense, but it’s a big one: Shane Waldron.

He’s never called plays before. He’s never been in charge of setting up an offense or scheming against an opposing defense. I don’t know what it was, exactly, he did with the Rams, but he wasn’t The Guy. The buck didn’t stop with Shane Waldron. We ASSUME – since he worked under offensive genius Sean McVay – that we’re going to get “The Rams’ offense” with our Seahawks talent executing it. And, we ASSUME – because the Rams’ offense has always been so great for them since McVay was brought over there – that it’s going to translate seamlessly to our team. But, we don’t know if it’s going to work out at all!

There’s a chance the offense is more efficient, and we’re able to connect on the short passing game, which in turn will open up the deep passing game again, which in turn will also open up our rushing attack. But, I would argue there’s an equally-good chance (if not a better chance) that the offense is even less efficient than it was before, and we’re reduced to an embarrassing shambles with a guy who doesn’t know how to call plays or adjust in-game to what defenses are throwing at us.

Frankly, I’m leaning towards the offense being a frustrating mess more often than not. What’s more likely? Some first-time offensive coordinator – who no one’s ever heard of outside of hardcore football circles – comes in and takes the play-calling world by storm? Or, like the 8th coordinator poached from the Rams under Sean McVay goes to another team and sucks like all the rest?

Why is no one talking about this? Why isn’t this a bigger story? Everyone’s just taking for granted that the Seahawks are going to look exactly like the Rams offensively; it makes no sense. We’ve got a quarterback who can’t shit until he holds out for the long bomb – taking umpteen sacks in the process by holding the ball too long; we’ve got a head coach who wants to run the ball more than anyone else in the league; and we’ve got an offensive line that still has to face the front sevens of the rest of the NFC West six times a year (plus playoffs), on top of many other difficult D-Lines around the league. This is a recipe for utter disaster!

Honestly, I really question whether or not Brian Schottenheimer was the main problem last year. You’re telling me he doesn’t have a short or intermediate passing game in his playbook? You’re telling me HE was the reason this team never called screen passes or crossing patterns? Or, is it because the quarterback always wants to throw the home run ball, and he can’t see over all the linemen in his way to hit his receivers 10 yards downfield? Come on, let’s think about this rationally here.

I expect this offense to struggle mightily through the first month or two, until this team goes back to calling the same plays it’s called over the last decade. At which point we MIGHT see marginal improvement, but by that time we’ll have already lost too many games to get the top seed in the NFC, and it’ll be iffy at best if we can even compete for the divisional title.

While we’re on the topic, let’s get to probably the biggest reason why the 2021 Seahawks will be disappointing: the NFC West.

They’re all better. I’m just going to say that right off the bat. The 49ers are healthy again; they figure to have enough talent to contend for a playoff spot (and maybe even the division). The Cardinals were 8-8 last year and their quarterback was playing injured for most of the second half of the season. The Rams won 10 games, beat the Seahawks in Seattle in the first round of the playoffs, and VASTLY upgraded at quarterback with Stafford over Goff. I fully expect the Rams – still stacked at virtually every single position group – to not only win the NFC West, but have the best record in the entire conference. This isn’t just reverse-jinx posturing; I’m staking my fantasy football life on it (going all in on Stafford and the Rams’ defense, earlier than probably most any other non-Rams fan in existence).

It’s almost an impossible ask to expect the Seahawks to win this division in back-to-back seasons! Especially since you can’t really point to any one thing the Seahawks do as definitely exceptional. The Rams have a great offense and the best defensive player alive. The 49ers have a great offensive scheme (if maybe lacking in talent at the quarterback position) and a stacked front seven on defense. The Cardinals have one of the best mobile quarterbacks in the league, who almost always keeps them in ballgames with a chance to win it at the end.

The Seahawks have … a less-mobile Russell Wilson, in a new offense. They have maybe the best receiver in the game in D.K. Metcalf … who was largely neutralized in the second half of last season thanks to countless double teams and defenses (or just Jalen Ramsey) blanketing his side of the field. The only certainty is that the Seahawks have the best Safety Who Gets Sacks in football. Okay. Who was the last team that featured a sacking safety that won the Super Bowl? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

At the same time, though, I can’t say it’s all Doom & Gloom either. Because, as I said up top, this team IS talented, pretty much throughout. There’s enough talent on offense that I fully expect – in 2-minute situations, when Wilson is calling the plays in hurry-up – points will be scored. My argument is: it’s not going to be as seamless as everyone is expecting; it’s going to be a struggle sometimes. The Seahawks aren’t going to lead the league in points; they’re not even going to be in the Top 5. Talent alone will probably keep us in the Top 10, but I don’t think that’s going to be good enough to push us over the hump into the upper stratosphere.

Sure, there’s also talent on defense. I think the starting linebacker unit is solid, the defensive line should be at least on par with what we saw in the second half of 2020, and I have zero issues with the safeties. But, the cornerbacks are an obvious weakness, and there’s still the Ken Norton in the room. He’s a terrible defensive coordinator! He might’ve been okay when there were Hall of Famers throughout this side of the ball, but literally anyone could’ve coordinated those defenses and had a top DVOA unit. This is a group with a lot of young guys in prominent roles, a lot of fringe-starters getting full-time snaps, who desperately need to be coached up, and Ken Norton is completely incapable of doing that outside of the linebacker room. He should be a linebackers coach; that’s where his ceiling is from a coaching perspective. But, he’s in charge of the entire defense, and that’s where this team gets fucked.

The defense hasn’t been the same since Dan Quinn left for Atlanta. I’d feel a lot better about things if we’d brought him back this year, instead of letting Dallas take him in.

So, you know, expect a lot of frustrating defensive series. Expect teams to continue to dink and dunk on us at will, at times, in every single game. Expect a good amount of chunk plays to go against us because our cornerbacks are crappy and our safeties can’t be everywhere at once. Then, expect us to adjust and slow teams down for a while in the second or third quarters of games, before they finally figure out how to move it again midway through the fourth quarter.

In short, expect the Seahawks defense you’ve come to know and loathe since Dan Quinn left. Along with it, expect the usual Cardiac Seahawks games where they’re maddeningly close until the bitter end, with the final possession deciding the game’s outcome. You like one-score games? I hope so, because the Seahawks enjoy nothing more than playing the same fucking Greatest Hits for us every single week.

I haven’t done this in a while, so let’s go game-by-game and see if we can predict wins and losses. This is fun for about 30 seconds, right?

  • @ Indy – Win
  • Tenn – Win
  • @ Minn – Win
  • @ Frisco – Loss
  • Rams – Loss
  • @ Pitt – Loss
  • Saints – Win
  • Jags – Win
  • BYE
  • @ Pack – Loss
  • Zona – Loss
  • @ Wash – Win
  • Frisco – Win
  • @ Hou – Win
  • @ Rams – Loss
  • Bears – Win
  • Lions – Win
  • @ Zona – Win

I have us at 11-6 in this scenario. It might not shake out EXACTLY in this fashion, but I think 5-3 heading into the BYE is probably reasonable. I think 2-4 against the division is probably the difference-maker between us or the 49ers getting the higher wild card seed (I think we probably end up with the same record, but they figure out a way to sweep the Cards and get one over on the Rams).

I’d love nothing more than to be wrong. There’s a small part of me that wants to believe the Seahawks have been on this upward trajectory since 2017 (the last time we missed the playoffs). We were 9-7 that year, and have improved by one win every season since, with us finally winning the division again in 2020. The next step in that progression is to not only win the division, but take the top seed in the NFC again. And, with that – ideally – a spot in the Super Bowl.

But, usually, teams who do that are able to get that one final piece to the puzzle in the lead-up to that season. In 2013, for instance, we went out and got Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. The Bucs last year got Tom Brady and loaded up on veterans on defense. When was the last team you saw that was THIS flawed that somehow managed to improve? Almost always – when a team is this flawed – there’s negative regression the other way.

Frankly, the Seahawks have been flawed every season since 2017; things can’t keep improving forever.

This feels like a total meltdown waiting to happen. We were already teetering on the brink this offseason with Russell Wilson complaining in the media. I’m half-expecting everything to totally fall apart, with the final nail being a Wilson trade out of here. And knowing our Seattle luck with trading superstars, he will hamstring us with the list of teams we’re allowed to trade him to, resulting in our getting a terrible package of picks and players in return.

Officially, I’m predicting the Seahawks will be 11-6 and the 6th seed in the NFC. But, secretly I wouldn’t be shocked to see us fall to 8-9, miss out on the playoffs, and have all hell break loose.

Earlier this week I called out the Ravens as the team having a Season From Hell. But, don’t be surprised if it’s us. Again, I hope I’m wrong, but I feel it in my gut: the future looks grim.