All Fingers Point to Pete Carroll & John Schneider for Seahawks Decline

The term “Seahawks Rebuild” has been tossed around since the Seahawks failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011 last season. However, after a crushing loss to the upstart Chicago Bears and a 0-2 start, the Seahawks are back under the spotlight of the national media for all the wrong reasons. Though it’s important to note that starting linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright was out along with #1 wideout Doug Baldwin, starting right guard D.J. Fluker. This does not excuse the awful performance on offence that Seattle fans were subject to Monday night. And what led the Seahawks to the point of a severe lack of depth falls squarely on the shoulders of General Manager John Schneider and Head Coach Pete Carroll.

Drafts

Allow me to preface the coming criticism by stating the two aforementioned gentlemen are responsible for the most successful decade in the history of Seahawks football. Playoffs in 6/8 seasons together (10′, 12′, 13′, 14′, 15′, 16′), four division titles (10′, 13′, 14′, 16′), five straight seasons with a winning record (12′-17′) and finally back-to-back Super Bowl appearances (13′-14′) and a victory in one (13′).

However, much of this success is due to the very successful drafts the Seahawks had from 2010-2012. Since then, the Seahawks have had mediocre drafts at best whiffing on a number of high draft picks. No players remain from the 2013 draft class, one player remains from the 2014 class (center, Justin Britt), two from the 2015 class (Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett).

Dismal 2016 Draft

The Seahawks then kicked-off a string of disappointing drafts by selecting right tackle Germain Ifedi who has been nothing short of a failure in his time protecting Russell Wilson. He also had the prestigious honour of leading the NFL in penalties in 2017. Hindsight is 20/20 but linebacker Myles Jack was still on the board at the time but we’ll get to missed opportunities later. Second-round defensive tackle Jarran Reed has been a solid contributor over the last two seasons, however, after that, contributions from this class are pretty bleak. Running back C.J. Prosise hasn’t been able to stay healthy, Nick Vannett hasn’t been able to assert himself has a number one tight-end and the emergence of rookie Will Dissly may make that even harder. Alex Collins was never given much of a shot to take over at running back and since being cut, he has broken out as a number one back in Baltimore.

2017 Draft Look Promising

Aside from the unfortunate short career of 2nd-round pick Malik McDowell, the 2017 draft has an optimistic outlook to it. Guard Ethan Pocic, corner Shaquill Griffin, defensive tackle Nazir Jones and running back Chris Carson all appear to be contributors for the seasons to come, the jury is still out on safety Tedric Thompson and Mike Tyson (no not THAT Mike Tyson).

It’s still too early to evaluate the 2018 class but there are plenty of players to be excited about mainly, Aussie punter Michael Dickson. However, the stretch of poor drafts between 2013-2016 has put this team in the spot it finds itself today. Carroll and Schneider’s failure to replenish the cupboard after stellar drafts from 2010-2012 has left this team thin in many areas. Not to mention the poor free agency decisions that have taken place over the years.

Free Agency/Trade Blunders

Harvin over Tate

Whether it’s been Schneider and Carroll failing to resign developed talent or making bad trades, both have set the Seahawks back in a number of areas. This dates back to 2014; right after the Seahawks had won the Super Bowl. Free agency opened up and the Seahawks allowed Golden Tate to walk, they figured they were set at the receiver position as it was with Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Percy Harvin. This is where it gets interesting, the story is Tate and Harvin got into a confrontation the night before the Super Bowl that leads to Harvin giving Tate a black eye. The following pre-season, Baldwin and Harvin reportedly got into it. By mid-season 2014, Harvin was traded to the Jets for a mid-round pick.

Jimmy Graham Trade

Next, is the Jimmy Graham Trade. After a stunning Super Bowl loss at the hands of the New England Patriots, the Seahawks shook things up by acquiring Pro-Bowl tight-end Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick. In exchange, the Seahawks gave up starting center Max Unger and a first-round pick. While Graham would go on to set franchise records, his talents were never fully utilized in the offence leading to Graham leaving this past free-agency to the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, it’s been no secret the Seahawks offensive-line woes that have consumed the narrative of the Seahawks for seasons now, trading Max Unger plays directly into that.

Bruce Irvin & Sheldon Richardson

When the team needs pass-rushing help now more than ever with the departures of Michael Bennett and the retirement of Cliff Avril. This makes the decision to let Bruce Irvin walk at the end of the 2015 season appears baffling now. Irvin accumulated 15 sacks in his two seasons with Oakland and already has one in 2018.

Sheldon Richardson, on the other hand, was acquired last season after the Seahawks desperately needed interior pass-rushing after 2nd-round pick Malik McDowell’s career came to an end before it even started in an ATV accident. In exchange, the Seahawks gave up a 2018 2nd-round pick and Seahawks hero Jermaine Kearse. This was not a bad trade by any means, however, allowing Richardson to walk this past off-season for just $8 million is a questionable move considering where the Seahawks are at with depth on their defensive line. Not much more needs to be said on this move, PFF has a graphic that speaks a thousand words.

All Said and Done

Pete Carroll and John Schneider deserve all the credit in the world for making the Seahawks the juggernaut they were in the mid-2010’s. They appeared to be lapping the league in draft knowledge and personnel moves. But the NFL is a copycat league and it appears on the surface, that Carroll and Schneider have now allowed the rest of the NFL to catch up. And to make things worse, poor drafting and salary cap moves have left the Seahawks a shell of themselves for Russell Wilson to carry. What fans saw Monday night is a direct result of personnel decisions dating back four years ago. Practice roster players starting in key positions is not ideal in any circumstance. Time will tell if the Seahawks can turn things around or if they will fall prey as every other team has (minus the Patriots) to the salary cap era.

That being said the Seahawks are still going to the playoffs in 2018.

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images

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