Chicago – The Aftermath

First of all friends and die hard fans, don’t be mad and above all, hold your head high. The Seahawks had a spectacular season for a team in the first year of a total re-build where we set records for player transactions with somewhere around 275 as Pete Carroll and John Schneider looked at every possibility for improving the talent level of the team. They set a goal of winning the division at the first of the year and although getting there was on a different path than any of us envisioned at the beginning of the season, they attained that goal and then exceeded it by beating the world champion New Orleans Saints in the wild card round in a game no one believed they could win. Today, I want to talk more about where we’re at and how bright the future is and I’ll let someone else break down the game in detail.

The inexperience of our rookies plus the very nature of such a massive re-build and it’s effects finally caught up with us in multiple places but especially at the interior line positions where we’ve struggled all season long to be consistent. It was a fun ride but just too much for our team at this stage of the re-build  to overcome in terms of holes still existing at some positions where talent upgrades are desperately needed and depth issues almost everywhere.

 

It certainly factored into the equation that it was another 10 am start on the East coast and history tells us that in itself is a huge problem for Seattle and other West coast teams. Chicago had an axe to grind and you know that a team’s home field especially that field in January is a tough place to win. Not really an excuse because the Seahawks refuse to use any of those factors to explain the defeat. They put the blame on themselves and are holding tight to all the lessons they learned from going through a do or die last game of the season followed by two playoff games, one on as hostile a field as they are likely to encounter ever again in post season play.

How many of you in their wildest dreams really thought we would be playing in the divisional round for the right to host the NFC championship when the season started? If anyone answered yes, I don’t believe you. The Seahawks far exceeded what Pete Carroll needed to have accomplished to have his inaugural season declared a resounding success. Although we are drafting at the end of the rounds instead of the first, we have a very nice young nucleus to continue building around and they’re playoff seasoned with a good understanding of where the real prize lies and what it takes to get there. That in itself is a valuable asset to be taking into future competition especially against similar young teams being built in San Francisco and St. Louis as well as matching Arizona’s playoff experience. That playoff experience could be what separates Seattle from it’s divisional competition next season.

Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Ben Obomanu, Marshawn Lynch, and Big Mike Williams are five of the most important cornerstones of this rebuilding franchise who should be farther ahead of where they would have expected to be in terms of personal development had they not gotten a hands on look at what post season play is all about and the price tag to get there and excel. There are many other Seahawk players who just had their first look at post season play and those who make the team next year should show similar gains in personal development and should give the Seahawks a young but seasoned team to continue the makeover with next season. John Carson, Cameron Morrah, Kentwan Balmer, Kam Chancellor, Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne, Tyler Polumbus, Michael Robinson, Golden Tate, and Walter Thurmond most likely figure into future Seahawk plans too and all got their first taste of post season play in the last two weeks. Even Red Bryant, Max Unger, Anthony McCoy, and Roy Lewis on injured reserve should have gotten a good look at playoff intensity and had their expectations for the future expanded by the experience even though they couldn’t directly participate.

I think that everyone pretty much knows where the franchise most needs to upgrade this off-season. Acquiring a quarterback of the future to be grooming and working on both lines would go a long ways towards making this team into a more legitimate contender. Getting Bryant back on defense will be huge but finding a better replacement if he becomes injured again should be a high priority so our defense doesn’t go into a huge tailspin if he’s absent again for any reason. While we could always use more competition at the defensive back, linebacker, running back, and wide receiver positions, all of those playmaking positions will be naturally upgraded with better lines playing up front. Young players at all the skill positions should bring this playoff experience to bear during off-season workouts and show progress next season.

Acquiring a starting offensive guard and tackle as well as a big defensive tackle and defensive end that can compete with Cole and Bryant for starting positions with the losers providing legitimate backups for both positions will improve both sides of the ball immensely. Add an additional pass rusher in the Leo mold and I think using the rest of our picks and free agent acquisitions to give us better backups would give us a much better squad to field next season. Although every position on the team could be upgraded, fielding good lines on both sides of the ball will be the single most effective thing that one could do to improve both offense and defense. If Pete and John do what they did last off-season, there could be considerable change once again.

I think you have to give Bradley and Bates the benefit of the doubt and conclude they didn’t have the personnel to run their schemes as drawn up. At times, their squads were unstoppable and at others clumsy and unable to function. I think they need another draft and free agency period to acquire more players in their mold and hopefully, their respective schemes will look better and run much more efficiently next season.

All in all, it might take Pete Carroll and John Schneider another couple of years to really put all the pieces together and get adequate backups in place but I think next year we’ll be a more consistent team and one who will be capable of coming from behind to win games. I anticipate that next years Seahawks won’t get blown out by so many points in their losses either. I doubt their goal will simply be to win the division again either. I would wager they’ll set their sights a bit higher like making the NFC championship game they missed out on this year.

One thing we can be certain of is that Pete Carroll has endeared himself to his players and they would fight through brick walls for him. I think we’ve got ourselves a coach again and we just have to give him some slack to put the pieces in place and find his field general to lead the Seahawks into battle during the next decade. That’s still going to take some time but I have a good feeling about the chances that Pete Carroll will eventually succeed and get us back to the championship game.

Look how he started.

Hasta,

BillT

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