It is the offseason. One thing that kicks into full gear in the offseason is the Coaching Carousel, and boy is it going with the Seattle Seahawks.
Coaching has dominated the week for Seattle. It started last Wednesday with the announcement that offensive coordinator Darrel Bevell had been fired, then followed closely with the announcement that offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable was also let go. Rumors abounded about defensive coordinator Kris Richard had a tenuous hold on that position.
The Seattle Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time in 5 years. The team was riddled with injuries, but other problems were very evident. Fans had been screaming for changes in the coaching staff, and today, those fans got their wish.
The Seahawks lost 3 Pro Bowl players on defense to injuries this year. Cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor, and defensive end Cliff Avril were lost for the season leaving a large hole in the normally stout defense. Surprisingly, the defense wasn’t the problem for a team that struggled more this season than in years past. The real problem seemed to be found in the offense.
Over a week has passed since the end of the Seattle Seahawks 2017 season. To say that this year has been tumultuous would not even raise an eyebrow in Seattle. The Seahawks were making news, whether it was good, bad, polarizing, thought-provoking, and outrageous, off or on the field.
But that it wasn’t any different than any other year under head coach Pete Carroll. So why did this season end in disappointment? Not the sudden devastation of losing a playoff game, but a slow death-rattle-like loss of identity. As the season progressed, we kept waiting; waiting for something to turn, something to change. When the season ended, it looked like nothing changed.
Last January, after they were eliminated from the playoffs, the main concerns were the offensive line and the running game. But the kicking game became surprisingly unpredictable too.
Seahawks went to fix the concerns that followed them into the off-season by signing kicker Blair Walsh. They continued to acquire free agents like running back Eddie Lacy. Before the regular season began Seahawks traded wide receiver Jermaine Kearse to New York Jets for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
Right before kickoff I quickly listed a few things that I hoped the Seahawks would give to all their fans for Christmas. My list included:
1. Stop the run.
2. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham with quality and successful targets.
3. A clean game for guard Germain Ifedi.
4. A run game of our own.
5. A touchdown on our first offensive possession.
The NFL has had a lot of press, good and bad, this season regarding players protesting for equality for all. Many players were, and some still are, kneeling during the anthem. The players of the Seattle Seahawks decided they would take their dedication to equality a step further.
The Seahawks, wide receiver Doug Baldwin and many other players and coaches decided to start the Equality & Justice for All Action Fund. It was designed to “create lasting change and build a more compassionate and inclusive society.” They decided they wanted not just to protest inequality, but to work toward changing it.
With the Seattle Seahawks bogged down in injuries, fans were concerned about today’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
As of halftime today, 12’s have to come to the conclusion that there is no more home-field advantage when the majority of the Seahawks All-Pro players are on injured reserve or out of the game. After the disastrous ending of last week’s game, the concern centered on the defense.
With both linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright leaving the game with injuries, the conversation was whether either one or both would be able to play. Earlier in the week, there was the threat of suspensions on defensive ends Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson and defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson. Although Seattle lost Wright for the game having not cleared concussion protocol, everyone else was available for the game. On the offensive side, everyone was relatively healthy.
A few hours removed from the end of the game still hasn’t made this loss any less excruciating. Trying to drum up facts to feel good about is still a frustrating exercise. Coming off the best overall performance of the season with a win over Philadelphia, Seattle looked poised to start their typical December run. They are 18 – 5 in December since quarterback Russell Wilson has been under center.
All signs pointed to a team coming together, developing at the right time and finding their elusive identity. They even won the coin toss for land’s sake! From the beginning, the defense looked strong allowing only one field goal. But penalties and a turnover in the offense were the beginning tremors that would erupt later in a full seismic meltdown.
This is arguably the most complete game that the Seahawks have played this year. From the opening drive, the game seemed to go in favor of the Seahawks. The offense was led by quarterback Russell Wilson who once again turned into a wizard. He was scrambling his way out of would-be sacks and finding receivers like tight end Jimmy Graham for the 9th time in 8 games.
All week, I was anxious about this game. I knew it would be tough to play against Seattle in Seattle. I just figured it would be more competitive, or at the very least a fun game to watch. As frustrating as it was, though, I’m okay with this loss. Eagles needed to face a playoff caliber team; a team who was desperate for a win, in order to get experience in that type of environment.
This week’s victory over San Francisco felt like a broken record. The distinct discrepancies between the two halves, the defense keeping Seattle in the game, missed field goals, and the offense finding its footing in the second half. They were able to pull out a win but still did not answer the questions of where this season is heading.
Seattle’s record is now 7-4 yet concern still arises that they will not even make it to the playoffs. Something that has only happened once in the 8 years Pete Carroll has been the head coach. This season has witnessed key contributors like corner Richard Sherman and defensive end Cliff Avril placed on IR; strong safety Kam Chancellor hasn’t played in two games with growing expectancy that he will also join them on IR.