The Morning After: Seahawks Have Bitter End, Need Fresh Start

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2.4

Sports means different things to different people. Some people love the thrill of the games. Some are drawn to the social aspect of gathering with friends and family, and care less about the outcome. Bandwagon fans are known for joining the fanbase when the team is playing really well. Hardcore fans follow their teams through the lowest of valleys and the highest of peaks. No one type of fan is better than another. If you are taking the time to read this article, you probably follow the team pretty darn closely. That means you have probably experienced the cyclical nature of this franchise. What we are witnessing this season is likely the end of an era. What we had hoped would be a resurgence of Seahawks football built around an MVP-caliber quarterback, is turning out to be a team not good enough to contend, with very little upside.

The Seahawks are not getting good performances from many of their top tier players. Jamal Adams is nowhere near one of the best defenders in football, sometimes playing like one of the worst. Carlos Dunlap has been mostly absent. Jordyn Brooks has been closer to awful than good. A defense that looked so dialed in and disciplined in the first half against the Rams, collapsed in the second half.

Give the Rams some credit. Matt Stafford and Robert Woods put on a clinic with some of their timing patterns. And while everyone is dragging Adams for the back-breaking deep ball, I saw that as more fortunate for the Rams than impressive. Stafford severely underthrew the football. Jackson deserves credit for making the adjustment, but Seattle had defenders behind Jackson. That usually is a great position to be in. It was a little like when an offensive tackle has blocked an edge rusher and then the QB rolls outside and suddenly the defender has a clear line to the QB and the blocker has lost all leverage.

Either way, Seattle did not make a play on that ball and should have. Even with that pratfall, it was not the defense that primarily disappointed in this game. They had a much tougher matchup, and still performed better than the offense overall.

The offense left a ton of yards and points on the field in the first half. Being at the game provided a good vantage point to see how well Shane Waldron had schemed for the Rams. There were players open on nearly every play Seattle ran. Russell Wilson hit a number of them, but also didn’t seem to see a bunch of them either, or gave into pressure too quickly. After half, Wilson inexcusably took a sack on 2nd and 10 when the team had been near midfield. He held onto the ball forever, and forced a 3rd and 22. That play was the turning point in my mind. It forced Seattle to punt again with a slim lead the game was never the same.

The most damning evidence of Wilson’s underperformance was the play of Geno Smith after Wilson’s injury. Smith drove the team 98 yards rather easily for a touchdown, and then nearly did it again before settling for a field goal. Smith outscored Wilson in two drives.

It was not just the points, but how the plays unfolded. Smith was hitting slant routes to DK Metcalf on time. He threw a perfectly timed screen pass. He found the tight ends multiple times. He threw the ball away to avoid sacks. These are things we have criticized coaches for over many years. The fact that Smith did all of these things in very short order begs the question whether Wilson has been the reason those things were not happening this whole time.

Before folks take this point too far, let me be clear that Wilson is ten times the quarterback Smith is. He has gifts that Smith will never have. The point here is that there appear to be things that Smith does better than Wilson, and that those things may allow the offense to run more smoothly in certain situations.

Smith will never throw Wilson’s deep ball. He will throw a lot more interceptions. He may also run the offense closer to the way it is intended.

We will get to find out as Wilson is out for a while, probably at least six weeks. Seattle’s season was destined for mediocrity with, or without, Wilson. Now we get a chance to learn about where Wilson is worth all the money he gets paid and where some of his shortcomings hamper the coaches and team. This is a critically important period in franchise history.

What is on the line is whether the rebuild this franchise needs will include Wilson, or if he is traded either at his request or to stockpile some draft choices.

Given that this team has a ceiling far lower than a Super Bowl, it would be best to lose a lot and see what we have in young players. That is where I am at.

Keep in mind, I acknowledge that not all fans are the same. Some may think its ridiculous to even consider starting over again and/or trading Wilson. I am not interested in teams that are not either contending for a Super Bowl or on the path to contend.

This team has maybe two players on the ascent. DK Metcalf and Darrell Taylor are decent bets to get better and better. It is not clear anyone else is in that category. When you have as many veteran starters as Seattle does, you need to be contending. If you are not, you are locked into a mediocre purgatory that will never result in a Super Bowl.

There is massive risk in starting over, especially if it means firing your coach, and possibly your GM, and possibly trading your franchise QB. The odds are that you will not become a contender by blowing everything up either. The NFL is hard. That’s why winning a trophy feels so damn good.

I just see a team that likely will not make the playoffs this year, and even at their best, might win 1 or 2 playoff games. I would always prefer the risk and hope associated with starting over than the lack of risk and hope associated with middling football.

If I was in charge, everyone on the roster would be available for trade before the deadline. Even Bobby Wagner. Even Tyler Lockett. Even Duane Brown and Chris Carson and Jamal Adams. The only people I would not move would be the two young players on the ascent I mentioned.

The system needs to be flushed like it was in 2010 when John Schneider and Pete Carroll made a record 200+ roster transactions. Young players need to see the field and be allowed to make boneheaded mistakes to learn and grow.

There is so much more to gain from that approach than clinging to the ghost of what this team once was. If this was a Madden season, I would sim the rest of it so I could get to the draft and free agency. The games do not matter. Even if the team beats Pittsburgh and New Orleans and Jacksonville the next three weeks and sits at 5-3, they are largely irrelevant.

I have no doubt that will sound harsh to some of you. I understand. I may just have different priorities. I have sat in half empty Seahawk stadiums before and watched bad football teams. I have sat at home and watched atrocious coaching and terrible quarterback play.

I do not believe there is a coach better than Carroll just sitting there who wants to come to Seattle. I do not believe there is a better GM than Schneider easily available. I certainly do not believe it would be simple to replace Wilson. None of my feelings are based in naïve underestimation of the perils of starting over. I just have no interest in hopelessly mediocre (or even slightly above average) teams. I believe this group is akin to the 2008 Seahawks. As god awful as 2009 was, the team cleaned house and was on the ascent just one year later.

We will learn a lot in the coming weeks. Do not expect Smith to be Wilson. He is different, and likely far worse. What parts of the offense click on that have been dormant will be what I will be looking out for. It will not be nearly as fun as the thrill of a contending team, but at least it will be different.

For now, be kind to yourself and your fellow fans. There may be fewer of them, but the ones who remain will rejoice the most when the franchise rises again.

Founder, Editor & Lead Writer
  1. This is a great column and very much echoes my own thoughts. Pete and John have been emptying the draft coffers to try to win now, but they made poor choices and failed. Let’s clean up and move on. New coach, new GM, and maybe even new QB. And please, for the love of all that is holy, trade Adams for a jar of peanut butter and be done with the worst trade in Seattle history.

  2. I often do not agree with your assessments, but I feel that a full rebuild is necessary to maintain competitiveness. If that includes trading the typical stalwarts, then so be it. The game seems to have passed Pete by, and when someone tells me that Pete has forgotten more about football than I’ll ever know, I feel that they’re speaking in literal terms. He seems to not remember that it’s about #always competing. Should Geno go 6-1 over 7 games (assuming an 8 week recovery), I say keep riding the hot hand. KNJ needs to go, and so does Pete’s “defense” which NEEDS otherworldly talent to really work in today’s NFL, when he had it, he looked like a genius, without said talent, he looks like a dunce. And his excuses for the garbage on the field are getting tired.

  3. Two things that worry me.

    1. The hardest part of the Superbowl formula is finding a QB good enough to win 3-4 playoff games in a row. You can make it easier though by putting together a terrific defense (like what SF did a couple years ago).

    2. Pete and John haven’t shown in years they know how to draft anymore, or even trade for the pieces that would make that kind of defense.

    Because of that, I’d rather show them the door and keep Russ.

    1. Sir, you are one of the few who know what is “wrong’ with Seattle? Talent evaluation and personnel decisions, which one guy has the ultimate authority; it is not the GM. One trick pony. The dude did the same thing at USC, left a mess after he left. Trade the first ballot HOF, get some picks, get a new coach who does not override the GM’s authority and start fresh. Btw, the vaulted “LOB” led the league in blowing leads in the 4th quarter during its peak time.

      1. I think you meant vaunted not “vaulted”… If you’re going to write snippy responses to everyone’s comments at least learn how to use the English language… thanks

        1. Sure, be a grammar Nazi. You are one racist white male. I thought Seattle is progressive, mainly pigs. But you do know white liberals are the most racist people. Don’t you know I am one of the “colored” people that you think that I always need help? Racist pig.

  4. This defense is KNJ’s fault. I know this because it is the LBers who are mostly screwing it up, jumping on short routes and giving up the middle. I read when they brought in KNJ that his defenses were not good. He was a great LBer coach who wasn’t a good DC.

    The Adams trade has been a disaster. Dude got paid and now he’s making the business decision to not get hurt and keep the money flow long term. I hope I’m wrong.

    I’m rooting for Geno. I am hoping he continues to look good. I’m not adverse to trading Wilson to offset the devastation the Adams trade has been.

    1. Sure, blame it all on the asst. coaches. Who the f**** put him there in the first place and made all the personnel decisions? Seattle fans sure “know” their football, lol. What Seattle needs is the “Great Reset,” lol.

        1. Sure, but you responded. Seattle fans are surely uppity with all your “sophisticated” bullshit. You are a bunch of white liberals who are the most racist people. Btw, I am a “colored” person, as you f**** refer.

  5. “For now, be kind to yourself and your fellow fans. There may be fewer of them, but the ones who remain will rejoice the most when the franchise rises again.“

    Love this!

    With that said, there is too much talent on this team to blow it up. Both sides of the ball are stacked, with very few weaknesses on paper (CB and C, but both spots are on a good path with Fuller looking good against Rams interior and Jones LCB with Reed moving to RCB).

    The offense is loaded, but has been inconsistent. Waldron appears very good (and I hope is heir apparent to Pete), but he is a NEW coordinator and we are just getting out of Q1 of the season.

    Everyone is forgetting the strength of Pete’s which is why this team is so “stupid”… they figure it out inexplicably. The offense will gel even with Geno (he’s better than Goff with similar scheme). The defense has a ton of talent and will get better (as they did last year… opponents matter but they were significantly better).

    This has a chance to be an incredible year! Oh the story line of G-G-G-Geno coming in to win 5 of 6 for the team to be 7-4 and in the playoff race and Wilson to come back for stretch run to go 12-5 with the team scorching into the playoffs.

    I love it when everyone writes us off. I love it when there is a chance for something uniquely incredible to take hold. This “stupid” team will continue to do its stupidly incredible things and I’m ready to watch the show.

    Because as it’s been said… it’s more fun to believe, to hope, to stay on the ride, than to give up and dump on your team. You may save yourself from disappointment, but you won’t get the same view of the show.

    I’ve got my popcorn ready… (insert Bart Scott gif “can’t wait!”)

    1. “For now, be kind to yourself and your fellow fans. There may be fewer of them, but the ones who remain will rejoice the most when the franchise rises again.“

      Desperate time, I see. Hope and hope, lol.

  6. The big question to me: does R. Wilson care more about his legacy than winning games? I can’t say for sure, as the two aspirations are intertwined.

    People acknowledge RW has “flaws,” but I think his play indicates he’s at least as addicted to the home run ball as Pete is. Vital yardage and wide open receivers, running short routes are continually ignored, and rarely is the ball thrown away to avoid a sack. Some flaws are fatal, as in 2-3.

    Btw, thanks, Pete, for coaching a SB winner with what should have been a dynasty. Thanks for the shambles, most of all. (Jamal, Malik, et. al). Bye-bye, soon, I/we hope.

  7. Oh gee, QB “controversy.” Seattle fans are sure dumb as a donkey. Freaking Geno, one freaking “good” drive, and let’s call for a QB’s competition. You are becoming a big joke, Brian. Why do you think he is a journeyman QB? Just asking. Like I’ve said, you have no guts to question the freaking “messiah” just because he won your city one SB. If you need to clean house, start at the top.

  8. My *ahem* strongly buzzed note from Thurday night: That was a great game – the SB vs Patriots was also a great game. Let’s start turning these great games into WINNING games.

    It’s always fun to see everyone fired up in the comments section. Definitely find myself agreeing that Russ is looking more like part of the problem – except for those nice passes to Metcalf. It was great to see Metcalf shining! It was great to feel the energy when Geno marched the team down the field, and Geno’s play was a clearer window into how the offense is coached to run. We shall see.

    I’m overjoyed every time the Seahawks beat the damn Steelers, and have too much blue and green wardrobe to jump off the wagon any time soon. But watching other games on Sunday – Chargers v Browns and a bit of Chiefs v Buffalo, Packers still looking lively too – was a window into how exciting great team play can be. And it was a view of commanding QB’s.

    It feels like it’s been a while since the Hawks have played as a team, lots of strong individuals out on our field. …Russ finally ran for the down a couple weeks ago and charged up that team battery a little …Geno came out commanding and charged up that team battery again. The leader’s gotta take hits for his team, be the first to cheer, be willing and able to adjust and correct himself and others, and be the last to give up, and it’s best to be authentic through it all.

    Anyway, time to stop rambling, caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet. At least we don’t have Garoppolo : ) Go Hawks!!
    And thanks, Brian, for your work

  9. Pete, it’s not about your age. It’s about your decisions. You’re paid for your expertise. HC is not about surrounding yourself with family and friends for that warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s about treating mercenaries as such. And not being fooled. It’s about knowing your limitations. It’s about delegation. Yeah, you’re probably a nice guy, but you live in an ivory tower—another guy who thinks he knows all the answers.

    1. Wow, a Seattle fan is not “blinded” by the “messiah” and has some intellectual honesty. It is time to move on, but the majority of Seattle fans are still delusional. It is called “Peter’s Principle.”

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