Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
What a season it has been for the Seattle Seahawks! They go into this Sunday’s NFL, week 12 game against the division leading Arizona Cardinals tied for 2nd in the NFC West (with the 49ers) with a 6-4 record, 3 games behind the Cardinals (9-1). If the Seahawks lose this game on Sunday we 12’s can kiss goodbye any chance for the Hawks to win the division, for Seattle would fall 4 games back with 5 games left. In that circumstance even a wild card playoff berth would be at risk. For the Seahawks there is no question—this game on Sunday is of the “must win” category. Add to this the fact that Seattle must play the San Francisco 49ers 4 days later on Thanksgiving and you can see the situation the Hawks are in. The truth is Seattle must win both of these games to have a shot at winning the division, and possibly to even make the playoffs. It’s a tough spot for the Hawks; and it begs the question: how did this team get into this situation? How did a team that destroyed the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in historic fashion and that blew out the Green Bay Packers in the first game of this season descend to this pass?
It really isn’t a mystery though. When you look at what has occurred with the Hawks since the Super Bowl it is actually understandable. Here is a brief summary:
*Following the Super Bowl Seattle players, coaches, fans and even the media thought the Seahawks were in prime position to repeat as Super Bowl champs. The team was young, one of the youngest ever to win a Super Bowl. They had one of the best young quarterbacks in football and the Seahawks defense looked impregnable. However, with success comes the need to pay your players to keep them, and NFL salary cap rules make it well nigh impossible to keep your team together. In the Hawks’ case that meant that Seattle’s best receiver, Golden Tate, and several of their defensive and offensive linemen, players like Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Clinton McDonald and Breno Giacomini, were lost to free agency. There was no way that all of these players could be replaced at the same quality.
*It was thought by most everyone that Seattle had a built in replacement for Golden Tate due to the fact they had Percy Harvin on their roster. Recall that Harvin missed almost all of last season until his spectacular splash in the Super Bowl. With Tate gone Harvin would be a more than adequate replacement—right? Well…not so much. There is no way we as fans can possibly know the dynamics of what went wrong with Percy here in Seattle. The stories we have heard about the schism in the locker room, the pro Russell Wilson-anti Russell Wilson factions and Wilson “not being black enough” are to me specious and spurious. Not once in the articles I read charging these things was any statement attributed to anyone. No one other than the writer went on the record. We can surmise that Harvin was not wanted in Seattle because of the precipitous way Pete Carroll and John Schneider got rid of him via trade to the New York Jets for virtually nothing in return. For the Seahawks brass to view getting rid of Harvin as addition by subtraction they MUST have considered Harvin was a detriment to the team. But for what reason? We may know someday, but we certainly don’t know now. More important to the Seahawks now is the fact that Russell Wilson has not been the same since the Harvin turmoil. For some reason his passing accuracy has suffered and his quarterback rating and TD throws are down. He has seemed hesitant at times, which leads to holding the ball too long. With the kind of pressure Wilson has been under that can be death for a quarterback. As 12’s we can only hope that Russell Wilson frees himself from whatever suppression and/or invalidation he was subjected to in the Harvin fiasco and return to form. The rest of the Seahawks season depends on it.
*No sooner had the Percy Harvin story calmed down than the media began having field days with speculations that star running back Marshawn Lynch and head coach Pete Carroll were estranged. Again, no one went on the record, no sources were named, yet the media charged that the Seahawks were planning on dumping Lynch after the season. Meanwhile Lynch has had his two best rushing days of the season over the last two weeks and is playing brilliantly. But last week when he sat on the team’s bench on the playing field at half time in Kansas City instead of going into the locker room with the rest of the team, it gave the press plenty of ammo to claim Lynch was disaffected. To me his play belies that charge. If the Hawks do salvage this season it will be largely because of Marshawn Lynch and his Beast Mode runs.
*The Seahawks have been wiped out by injuries. On defense they have had many of their key players miss significant time, including Bobby Wagner, Cam Chancellor, Byron Maxwell, Malcom Smith, Brock Coyle; and now Brandon Mebane is out for the season. The offense has a similar list. On the offensive line James Carpenter and Russell Okung have missed significant time and the team is on its 4th string center with starter and Pro Bowler Max Unger having missed multiple games. Starting tight end Zach Miller and fullback Derrick Coleman are both lost for the season. This team is the poster child for “next man up!” It is very difficult to overcome the effect of all these injuries, but the Hawks will have to if they are to salvage anything from this season.
*The Seahawks schedule this year has been the toughest in the league and gets worse over these last 6 games. To this point in the season they have played the Packers, Chargers, Broncos, Cowboys and Chiefs. These next 6 games are against the 9-1 Cardinals (twice), the 49ers (twice), the Philadelphia Eagles and the always pesky St. Louis Rams, who defeated the Denver Broncos last week. That schedule, combined with Seattle’s league worst travel situation in terms of miles and time zones, bodes ill for Seattle’s chances, but must be overcome for this team to do what we want it to do.
With all of these factors to deal with there is no way the smart money in Vegas is on the Hawks to repeat as NFC West champs, let alone as Super Bowl Champs. But that is what makes sports so great. With all of these barriers stacked against them, how great would it be if the Hawks pulled it off? I think it would be more impressive than last year’s Super bowl win.
To make it happen, however, it’s “Put up or Shut up” time for Seattle. We have got to beat the Cardinals on Sunday and the 49ers on Thanksgiving.
So keep the faith you twelves!
And Go Hawks!
Copyright © 2014
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved