Football is back and your(?) Seattle Seahawks aren’t very good at it! At least that’s what an offseason of turmoil followed by an opening day 27-24 loss to the Denver Broncos would suggest.
It may seem early to say something like “the Seahawks are not good and won’t be all year, so deal with it,” but here I am, saying it now. Why? Well, the roster is not filled with good players. That’s a problem: the team is down tons of Pro Bowl talent, including Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and the now injured Doug Baldwin. Also the coaching staff overhaul has not brought in any of the innovators who are changing the way the game is played. Instead, they brought in “back to basics” assistant coaches, who failed to accomplish what they set out to accomplish in game one.
Are the Seahawks dreadful? No. But things could get bad. In fact, are we on an insufferable journey to the first overall pick in the NFL Draft? Maybe. Mayyyyybeeee (almost certainly not, as Buffalo looks goddamn dreadful). The Seahawks could also get good, I guess. But for now? They’re not good. Let’s break down how they’re not good, point by point.
This team is thin. So, so thin. And it’s particularly bad in the secondary. This team used to turn fifth round picks into hall of famers at corner back. In 2013 they were cutting guys from the roster who went on to be Pro Bowlers elsewhere. Now they are scraping together a functional defensive backfield out of the pieces left over after they built an Ikea dresser. Am I saying that Akeem King is the footballing equivalent of an Allen wrench, a piece of particle board and three screws? Uh, yeah. And he played defensive snaps today. That shouldn’t happen. Tre Flowers should not be starting at cornerback. Delano Hill should not be getting snaps at safety. It’s all wild.
Speaking of that, in his post game presser, Pete Carroll said the defense, “played in spurts a little bit.” He then listed some good plays and bad plays. Shockingly all the good plays happened with All-Pro safety Earl Thomas on the field, and all but one of the bad plays happened with him off the field. Earl Thomas is so crucial to this team. The Seahawks must pay Earl Thomas. Why hasn’t this happened? I don’t know! Some intrepid journalist should get answers. Will that journalist be me? I don’t know! Probably not!
The offensive line is fine. Especially compared to last year’s line that was a dumpster fire burning pungently inside of another dumpster fire. Germain Ifedi got shredded by Von Miller a few times, but Miller’s really really good (more on him later). Russell Wilson got sacked six times, but a lot of those were coverage sacks with Doug Baldwin out of the game. I guess the offensive line could regress to their Tom Cable era levels, but what I saw on Sunday up front was at least moderately encouraging.
The Seahawks moved on from longtime punter and franchise icon Jon Ryan this offseason. It’s sad, and normally would be a move I’m not so fond of. But here’s the thing: they brought in an Aussie named Michael Dickson and he’s the LeBron James of punting. The Seahawks have a player who is already in the conversation after one game for greatest punter of all time. And it’s fucking magical.
Seriously, punts are the best way for the Seahawks to dictate the rhythm of a game at this point. They don’t have a consistent running game and with Baldwin injured they don’t have a great possession receiver. They have interesting and explosive weapons but they don’t have the Bobby Engram/Golden Tate/Baldwin type to move the chains. Well, that’s okay with Dickson, who will flip field position every time he touches the ball. It’s insane and wild and something to be cherished for the next however long we have him.
The Seahawks wasted their first round pick on running back Rashad Penny this year. Penny looked lethargic on Sunday, and even if he had looked great, the cost spent on him was still too high especially considering the explosiveness of Chris Carson. Seriously, look at this:
Hot diggity damn! Carson did fumble once, but that was on an amazing play by Denver All-Pro Von Miller… sometimes you get got by the best… Aside from that player, Carson looked incredible, and hopefully will monopolize the running back role going forward.
Controversial opinion time: the Seahawks lost Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennet and Sheldon Richardson this off-season, but miss none of them as much as they miss Cliff Avril. Frank Clark looked shmedium on Sunday and no one else was impactful at all on the outside pass rush. Avril’s game, which relied on speed and great hand placement, specifically would have thrived after the rule changes put into place this year to punish dangerous hits on the quarterback. That’s not what Cliff did. He just presented consistent pressure from the outside, something the Seahawks will sorely miss this year.
Russell Wilson was also shmedium on Sunday, mixing in some spectacular throws with some ugly misses. It was a classic bad Russell Wilson day, so I don’t want to read to much into it, but it’s not too hard to imagine that the recent SI article that featured a certain anonymous former Seahawks cornerback (whose initials are MAYBE RS) ripping on him was a factor. But man, the Russell Wilson verve just was not there. And with the ball in hands and the game on the line late, he made an ugly unforced fumble that ended any hopes of a comeback.
So yeah, the Seahawks lost and they are not great. But they’re not without fun players to watch. Dickson, Carson, rookie tight end Will Dissly all looked great on Sunday. Shaqueem Griffin was lost at times, but he has the athleticism to be great. I don’t know, this team isn’t good, guys. But hey, the kids could get good. Or… we could be bad. Delightfully and deliciously and insufferably bad. We’ll know more after we see what happens next week against a very weird Bears team.