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Football NFL

NFL Team Previews: Seattle Seahawks

but the Seahawks offense just seemed in a funk against a very good Dallas Cowboys defense.

2018 Review: 10-6 (2nd in NFC West)

The Seahawks managed to win 10 games after being 5-5 at one point during the season. They won five of their last six games of the year and the only loss came during OT to the San Francisco 49ers, and they got into the playoffs as the #5 seed.

In the playoffs they fell in a very close game to the Dallas Cowboys losing 24-22. In that WC game the Seahawks were unable to the run ball, something they led league in during the regular season with 160 yards per game. Against Dallas, they only ran for 73 yards on 24 carriers and that meant Russell Wilson had to try play hero again for the Seahawks. Wilson played alright, but the Seahawks offense just seemed in a funk against a very good Dallas Cowboys defense.

Seattle on offense during the regular season scored 26.8 PPG, which was tied for 6th in the league. Behind their league leading 160 yards per game rushing, Seattle averaged 353.3 total yards per game. Chris Carson ran for 1,151 yards and 9 TDs in 14 games, Mike Davis ran for 514 yards and 4 TDs in 15 games, Rashaad Penny ran for 419 yards and 2 TDs in 14 games, and Russell Wilson added another 376 yards on the ground. Out of all those backs, the worst yards per carry was Mike Davis at 4.6 yards. No matter who Seattle put in the backfield, they found success behind an offensive line that was ranked 18th after Week 17 by Pro Football Focus, but was the 5th ranked Run Blocking offensive line by Football Outsiders. As good as the run blocking was, the pass blocking was bad as they Seahawks were ranked 30th in the league by Football Ousiders, which is probably why they were 18th overall by PFF.

Russell Wilson had another Pro Bowl year, he threw for 3, 448 yards with 35 TDs and 7 INTs to go along with those 376 rushing yards. Receiving wise, Tyler Lockett almost hit the 1,000 mark, falling just short with 965 yards and 10 TDs. Doug Baldwin was hurt all year but still played in 13 games, he finished with 618 yards and 5 TDs. After that, the Seahawks didn’t have a player over 500 yards, but thats what you expect when you run almost half your total yardage per game. The Seahawks didn’t really have any receiving threats from the TE or RB position either. Mike Davis led the RBs with 34 catches, but he only managed 214 yards. At TE, Nick Vannett led the team with 29 catches for 269 yards and 3 TDs.

On defense the Seahawks were overshadowed early by Earl Thomas, who held out for a new contract but eventually showed up before Week 1 and made an immediate impact, because he is just that damn good. Sadly, in Week 4 Thomas broke his leg and was put on IR for the rest of the year. The second biggest story that day, was him flicking off the Seahawks sideline foreshadowing the eventual breakup both sides would have this past off season. It’s hard to replace Thomas especially when the following week you have to play the Rams, but they got the Raiders and Lions next which helped, plus they spent all training camp with other guys practicing with the 1’s.

Seattle gave up 21.7 PPG which was 11th in the league, they gave up 113.2 rushing yards per game which was 13th in the league, and they gave up 240.1 passing yards per game which was 17th in the league. They had 43 sacks on the year which was tied for 11th in the league, and forced 26 turnovers which was tied for 10th in the league. Their offensive only gave the ball away 11 times though, and Seattle led the league in turnover differential at +15.

Overall as you can see by the numbers, the Seahawks were good on defense, they were solid, better than average which is pretty good considering the slow deterioration they’ve had from the Legion of Boom.

Individually Frank Clark (13.5) and Jarran Reed (10.5) both finished with double digit sacks. After that however, HUGE drop off. The next guys on that list are Quinton Jefferson and Jacob Martin with 3.0 on the year. Both of those guys played 16 games. Shamar Stephen had 2.0 sacks, and he’s off to Minnesota this year.

Funnily enough, Earl Thomas was tied for the lead with 3 INTs in just four games. Bradley McDougald played 16 games and only had 3 himself. They did have six other guys record an INT however which helped them get 12 on the year. The Seahawks actually forced more fumbles than INTs, 19 in total and were led by McDougald, Clark, and CB Tre Flowers who all had three.

Bobby Wagner was the only guy on this defense that made the Pro Bowl, and he was also a First-Team All-Pro. He finished the years with 138 tackles, 6 TFL, 8 QB hits, 1 sack, 2 FF, and 1 INT that he returned 98 yards for a TD. Wagner is the best MLB in the NFL right now and the Seahawks just locked him up to a long term deal. As long as he’s in the middle, the Seahawks have a chance to be good on defense.

Key Off Season Acquisitions

DE Ezekiel Ansah (1 Year, $9 Million)

The Seahawks had 43 sacks last year which as good, but they lost Frank Clark to the Chiefs, and Jarran Reed is suspended for the first four games of the year. Those two guys accounted for 23.5 half of those 43 sacks. Seattle needed some pass rushing help and the got it in Ansah from the Lions. He only had 4 sacks last year but played in just 7 games. In 2017 he had 12 sacks in 14 games. The Seahawks are hoping for the latter kind of production.

K Jason Myers (4 Years, $15.45 Million)

Kickers are important, check out the Browns and Vikings in years past. Jason Myers is very good, he’s 97 for 115 in his career and when 33 for 36 last year for the Jets, although he did miss 3 XP’s. He brings stability to the position for the next four years at least.

2019 Draft

Round 1 Pick #29: DE L.J. Collier

Collier was never a full time starter at TCU until his Senior year. During his four years there he had 82 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and 20.5 TFL. He helped his draft stock with a good Senior Bowl but even so, this pick was viewed as a reach by most. Seahawks did that before with Bruce Irvin but he helped win them a Super Bowl. Collier is gonna give every chance to start from day one.

Round 2 Pick #47: S Marquise Blair

Blair was a depth and value pick here and will battle for the starting safety spot. The Seahawks have questions at safety and everything is up in the air. Blair was a guy out of college who like to come up and hit, and really throw is body around which seems perfect for the Seahawks.

Round 3 Pick #64: D.K. Metcalf

Metcalf was the combine darling, hes’ big, he’s fast, and he’s shredded. Some mock drafts had him being taken as high as #12 to Green Bay. But he feel all the way to #64 but it’s a great spot for him. With Doug Baldwin gone, Metcalf will battle with David Moore and Jaron Brown for the #2 WR spot opposite Tyler Lockett.

Key Off Season Departures

S Earl Thomas (via free agency to the Baltimore Ravens)

The writing was on the wall for Thomas to leave Seattle after his contract fiasco and flicking off Pete Carroll after he got injured in Week 4. Thomas didn’t play the rest of the year so the Seahawks do have experience without him, but still, Thomas is one of the best safeties in NFL history. You don’t easily replace a player like that.

DE Frank Clark (via trade to the Kansas City Chiefs)

The Chiefs traded Dee Ford to the 49ers, the Chiefs then trade for Frank Clark who was cheaper. In four years at Seattle, Clark had 35 sacks and has only missed two game his whole career. The Seahawks were obviously okay not paying him and letting him walk, but they’re gonna have to replace 13.5 sacks from last year.

CB Justin Coleman (via free agency to the Detroit Lions)

Coleman was a rotational guy for the Seahawks but CB depth is everything in the NFL today. This hurts the Seahawks nickel and dime packages, but they always seem to find CB depth and S Marquise Blair could possible be used in those packages as well.

G J.R. Sweezy (via free agency to the Arizona Cardinals)

The Seahawks have struggled with offensive line play in the past, although Sweezy isn’t a Pro Bowl player, his loss does hurt as he was a starter on that line the Seahawks now need to replace.

WR Doug Baldwin (via retirement)

Big loss here for the offense, Baldwin was Russell Wilson’s favorite target and a staple for the receiving core going back to the Super Bowl win. This leaves a lot of catches up for grabs in the WR room.

2019 Preview

For a team that made the playoffs, the Seahawks have a lot of question marks going into 2019. Everybody can be confident about a few things with the Seahawks: Russell Wilson will be one of the best QBs in the league, Bobby Wagner will be one of the best defensive players in the league, Pete Carroll will coach this team up, and I’ll add Tyler Lockett being a stud in 2019.

After that, you have a lot of question marks with Seattle. We’ll start with the offensive line, which should be the least of Seattle fans worries when it comes to things up in the air. The offensive line was good, but they lost JR Sweezy who will get replaced with mike Iupati, and they were still one of the worst pass blocking lines in the league. Adding onto that, its very unlikely the Seahawks are going to average 160 yards on the ground again. They have two capable RBs in Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, the latter who they spent a first round pick on in 2018. They also lost Mike Davis, so now its just a two headed backfield compared to last year.

Although most teams would like to run the ball more to help their QB, Seattle seems like the opposite to me but who knows if the Seahawks have the weapons to do it. Wilson is one of the best QBs in the league, and although they ran the ball very well last year, it was to the determent of Wilson taking over and ending games. In the Wild Card game against the Cowboys the Seahawks kept trying to run the ball when they probably should have unleashed Wilson earlier on. Carroll obviously knows what he has in Wilson, but the receiving weapons just aren’t there.

Tyler Lockett is going to be a stud, he’ll have over 1,000 yards receiving and lead this team in TD’s most likely. After that though, everything is up for grabs. Rookie D.K. Metcalf, David Moore, and Jaron Brown are all going to battle for the #2 spot. Who steps up and is consistent is the question. Moore and Brown have shows flashes of being good. Moore has two years with the Seahawks and had 445 yards receiving last year with 5 TDs. Brown spent most of his career with the Cardinals and came over to Seattle last year. Along with Lockett, he’s a veteran in the WR room. The wild card here is Metcalf. Metcalf can run a really nice go route, but can he run anything else? If Metcalf lives up to his 1st round talent, then the Seahawks got an absolute steal and he’ll eventually be the #1 guy over Lockett. However, he fell in the draft for a reason and he is so raw. He might e good next year, but this year who knows what the Seahawks are getting.

On defense this team needs to replace Frank Clark and his 13 sacks. Jarran Reed who had 10.5 sacks last year is suspended for the first 4 games of the year. Shamar Stephen who had 2 sacks last year is gone. Justin Coleman even had .5 sacks last year. That is 16 sacks of 43 which are gone in 2019, and 26.5 of 43 they won’t have for the first four games of the year. Rookie L.J. Collier is going to need to make an impact right away for them. That is also why the signing of Ezekiel Ansah is so important, if he can get back to his 2017 form then the Seahawks aren’t going to miss much when it comes to sack numbers. However, they have a lot of questions when it comes to pass rushing.

Luckily they have Bobby Wagner who will now be the sole leader of the defense with Earl Thomas gone, but the secondary is going to have questions also. They lost CB depth with Justin Coleman gone, and they have a lot of young guys back there. Tre Flower and Shaquill Griffin are both good and young at only 23, but behind them they have young guys who haven’t proven much from the last three years, and Deshawn Shead whose 31.

You know what the Seahawks are, and what they want to do, and who they want to be. Yet there are still so many unknowns about this team, and currently they seem to lack depth at CB and WR. Seahawks are good candidate to take a mini step back and miss the playoffs in 2019.

Schedule

The NFC West plays the AFC North and the NFC South. Seattle finished second in their division so they also play the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles.

First and foremost, the Seahawks get five prime time games this year. First off they play the Rams at home on Thursday Night Football in Week 5, in Week 10 they play on Monday Night Football at San Francisco, then in Week 12 they play at Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football, Week 13 they play vs Minnesota on MNF, and finally Week 14 at the Rams on SNF. They also play the Saints at home in Week 3 as the late afternoon game on FOX, which is going to be the main late game that week. Get used to seeing lots of Seattle on your TVs. Now the Seahawks bye week is during Week 11, so they actually play FOUR prime time games in a row from Week 10 to Week 14.

The other notable tidbit is the traveling the Seahawks have to do this year. They play five games in the Eastern Time Zone, luckily for them they only have one instance of back to back away games but they just go from LA to Carolina the following week.

Fantasy Player You Want

Tyler Lockett is going to be a stud for the Seahawks. He and Wilson have great chemistry, and Lockett is going to get over that 1,000 yard mark this year at probably have 8 or more TDs. He’ll be the main target and he’s a little under the radar so far.

Fantasy Player To Avoid

Any TE on this roster. Don’t even waster your time picking one up trying to find a diamond in the rough. Let others waste a roster space on Dissly or Vannett.

Ceiling

As long as the Seahawks have Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, they’ll be in the playoff discussion? Do I think they’re better than the Rams? No. Plus the 49ers and Cardinals got better. They play a tough AFC North and NFC South. They lost a lot in their pass rush, and I’m not sure they’re gonna for 160 yards a game again. All those factors against them, I still think this team can win up to 10 games.

Floor

The variation here isn’t going to be much. The Seahawks are too solid to not be fighting for a playoff spot late in the year. I’m gonna say they win at least 7 games this year.

The Seahawks defensive line running drills during Training via Ted S. Warren/Associated Press from The Colombian
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