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.

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Complete NFL Predictions for 2018

The NFL is as unpredictable as any sports league out there. And I’m probably wasting my time doing this but in the off chance I’m anywhere in the ballpark I want to have it in writing so I can tell you all what a GENIUS I am in February.

AFC

AFC East

Patriots: 12-4 (z)

Jets: 7-9

Dolphins: 6-10

Bills: 4-12

AFC South

Jaguars: 11-5 (y)

Texans: 10-6 (x)

Titans: 7-9

Colts: 6-10

AFC North

Steelers: 11-5 (y)

Ravens: 9-7 (x)

Browns: 5-11

Bengals: 5-11

AFC West

Chargers: 10-6 (y)

Broncos: 7-9

Chiefs: 6-10

Raiders: 4-12

NFC

NFC East

Eagles: 12-4 (y)

Giants: 9-7

Cowboys: 8-8

Redskins: 4-12

NFC South

Saints: 11-5 (y)

Falcons: 10-6

Panthers: 9-7

Buccaneers: 3-13

NFC North

Vikings: 12-4 (z)

Packers: 10-6 (x)

Lions: 7-9

Bears: 7-9

NFC West

Rams: 11-5 (y)

Seahawks: 10-6 (x)

49ers: 7-9

Cardinals 6-10

Playoffs Seeding

AFC:

  1. Patriots 2. Steelers 3. Jaguars 4.Chargers 5. Texans 6. Ravens

NFC:

  1. Vikings 2. Eagles 3. Saints 4. Rams 5. Packers 6. Seahawks

Playoffs

Wild-Card Round

Jaguars over Ravens

Chargers over Texans

Seahawks over Saints

Packers over Rams

Divisional Round

Jaguars over Steelers

Chargers over Patriots

Vikings over Seahawks

Packers over Eagles

NFC/AFC Championship

Chargers over Jaguars

Vikings over Packers

Super Bowl

Vikings over Chargers

NFL Awards

MVP: Russell Wilson (Seahawks)

Offensive Player of the Year: Alvin Kamara (Saints)

Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald (Rams)

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley (Giants)

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Derwin James (Chargers)

Coach of the Year: Mike Zimmer (Vikings)

Comeback Player of the Year: Deshaun Watson (Texans)

This article would be about a 30 min read if I had to give an explanation for every team’s record and playoff win. I will say this though, many fans, pundits and “experts” have the Seahawks missing the playoffs and finishing with 6-8 wins. Let me make myself very clear:

THE SEAHAWKS ARE NOT FINISHING WITH LESS THAN 10 WINS THIS SEASON.

(Provided Wilson stays healthy) I can’t stress this enough. The Seahawks scraped to nine wins last season without a running game, an offensive line that ranked dead last and a kicker that cost them three wins. Those issues, on paper, appear to be rectified. Tom Cable was fired, Chris Carson is healthy, Rashaad Penny was drafted and the Seahawks acquired Sebastian Janikowski.

Many people are pointing to the loss of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and others on the defense as a reason why the Seahawks will fall off, but let me remind you that this team minus many contributors on defense defeated the eventual Super Bowl Champion Eagles convincingly in December. This unit is still comprised of Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Frank Clark and (hopefully) Earl Thomas. I am willing to die on the hill of Seahawks over 9 wins in 2018.

If you have any questions/predictions of your own, tweet back (@stevebolen22), reply on Facebook or comment below! I’d love to discuss!

Top Five Seahawks Primed to Breakout in 2018

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By now you’ve heard all about it. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Jimmy Graham, Cliff Avril, Paul Richardson, DeShawn Shead and potentially Earl Thomas (god please no) are all no longer Seahawks. That has left many analysts and pundits alike to predict the demise of the once great Seahawks. Records as low as 4-12 have been predicted for the Seahawks and Hawk fans were even blessed with this great take:

You’re welcome for the free promotion on my blog that nobody reads, Benjamin.

Anyways, there are five players in my mind that can prevent such a catastrophe of having the worst record in the NFL.

1. Tyler Lockett (WR)

It may seem odd to put a player here who’s been in the league for three years already. However, after an outstanding rookie season in 2015 that saw Lockett be named as a 1st Team All-Pro by the Associated Press, Lockett unfortunately broke his leg at the end of the 2016 season and that injury had lingering effects on his 2017 campaign.

Enter 2018. With Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham gone and Doug Baldwin fully cemented as the team’s number one receiver, look for Lockett to have a big season. Oh, and he’s on a contract year.

2. Shaquill Griffin (CB)

Quill Griffin had a great rookie season, despite only registering one interception. Griffin was thrusted into a much larger role after Richard Sherman tore his achillies and by all accounts he handled it as well as he could. As Pro Football Focus Seahawks points out, Griffin ranked up well compared to his rookie counterparts in 2017:

Having a full off-season to prepare as the starter in Sherman’s old spot at left cornerback should do wonders for Griffin’s development. He’ll need to take a leadership role in that secondary that has seen the departures of Sherman, Chancellor and a rocky relationship with Earl Thomas. Griffin has made it very clear that he plans to carry the torch of the L.O.B.

3. Nazair Jones (DT)

2017 3rd-round pick Nazair Jones started in only two games last season and played in just 11. However, he managed to register 19 tackles, two sacks and an interception in that time. With the ill-fated Sheldon Richardson trade backfiring on Seattle after he signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings, Jones will have room to take a hold of the starting role right out of camp.

The Seahawks supplemented this with the signings of Defensive Tackles Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen (both former Vikings). Nazair Jones will have his work cut out for him in camp with heavy competition at the position that also includes 2016 2nd-round pick, Jarran Reed. The Seahawks will need solid production from both Reed and Jones, but look for Jones to breakout if he is able to play all 16 this season.

4. Nick Vannett (TE)

As a 3rd-round pick in the 2016 draft, Vannett had high expectations to produce pretty quickly as many higher round picks tend to do. Unfortunately, Vannett has been buried in the depth chart over the last two seasons behind the Greatest Seahawks Tight-End of all-time Jimmy Graham (In three seasons, Graham set the Seahawks’ Tight End franchise record for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.) As well as everyone’s favorite Canadian now turned Detroit Lion Luke Willson.

The proverbial sea has parted at the Tight End position, leaving Vannett to compete against nine year veteran Ed Dickson and rookie Will Dissly. Now is Vannett’s best chance to take the starting role and start producing.

5. Michael Dickson (Punter)

#PuntersArePeopleToo

Also look at these punts, goddamn.

If these five (or four, sorry Michael) can put together a solid season it would pay huge dividends for the Seahawks in 2018. The NFC is looking more and more like the Western Conference in the NBA with the likes of the Eagles, Rams, Packers, Saints, Falcons & Vikings all looking like Super Bowl contenders. Couple that with teams like the Panthers, 49ers, Giants, Cowboys on the rise the Seahawks have their work cut out for them. Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, Doug Baldwin and (for now) Earl Thomas are still the core of this team, but they can only carry this team so far. The aforementioned five four players and their peers will determine the course of this season.

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