Few teams exceeded expectations like the Seattle Seahawks during the 2018 NFL regular season. The Legion of Boom had disbanded with both Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas injured and Richard Sherman leaving in free agency. Little had been done to fix the often criticized offensive line. All in all, the general public expected Seattle to take a huge step back from its disappointing 9-7 season in 2017.
Flash forward to the end of December, the Seahawks are 10-6 on the year and headed to Dallas as the first wildcard in the NFC. The result may not have been what Seattle was hoping for, but 2018 was a nice little season considering the expectations.
So what should the Seahawks do to move forward?
Blow it the fuck up!
Seattle didn’t just overachieve expectations, it overachieved its own statistics. Seattle only had the 16th best defense in the NFL based on yards per game, yet they ranked 11th in scoring defense. That discrepancy is due to their league-high +15 turnover differential. That isn’t sustainable for next season. The Seahawks didn’t play exceptional defense this season. They were just ultra opportunistic and Russell Wilson never put them in bad situations. We are talking about the 17th best pass defense and the 13th best run defense. That is remarkably average in both phases of the game.
Seattle’s offense is even more confusing. It only ranked 18th in yards, but it ranked 6th (!!!) in points scored. While Seattle had the league’s best rushing offense, it was 27th in passing. Basically, the Seahawks either scored or they went three-and-out. That type of offense is hard to repeat when they went three and out on 28% of their drives this year.
The Seahawks are a ground-and-pound team. The problem is if a team can stop the run, the offense is anemic. When forced to pass, the Seahawks offensive line has a hard time protecting Russell Wilson. PFF ranks Seattle’s line 17th in the NFL in pass blocking (18th overall). We saw it happen in the playoffs this year. Dallas forced Seattle to throw and then pressured the literal shit out of Wilson. Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott then crammed it down the Seahawks’ average defense’s cram hole.
Next year, the Seahawks are going to struggle to score like they did this year if they can’t move the ball better. And that’s a huge “if,” considering there is still far too little talent blocking. That means their defense will have to play more, and will likely get its obvious holes exposed far more than it did this season.
It’s not going to get any easier for Seattle next year either. The Rams are going to be as strong as ever. The 49ers are getting Jimmy Garrapolo back from IR. The Cardinals have a hot-shot new head coach and could be much better. The Seahawks also run into the Eagles, Ravens, Saints, and America’s darling Cleveland Browns. Even if they can keep up this year’s pace, their schedule leaves them around 9-7. That already leaves them outside a playoff spot. Add in possible resurgent seasons from the Packers and Vikings, and the Seahawks are in trouble.
If Seattle wants to do what’s best for the franchise, keep Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, and sell off everyone else. There are too many pieces missing right now. Seattle needs a new tackle, new guards, a new center, another wide receiver, at least one new cornerback, a new safety, and a few upgrades on the defensive line. Long-term, it makes more sense to stock up on draft picks and young talent and try to rebuild the team in 2020.
Blow. It. Up.
Photo: Seahawks Wire