From an outsider’s view looking in, the Seahawks finished the 2011 season with the same 7-9 record as the 2010 regular season. From even further out, it would look like the team made no progress under head coach Pete Carroll and General Manager John Schneider’s second year at the reigns. However, anyone who habitually watches the team has a very dissident view, one of hope and for the first time since around 2008, clarity.
It is clear that Pete is building a team that is progressing in an almost unprecedented fashion. Not only has this team made significant strides from the squad that finished 7-9 and won what was arguably one of the biggest upsets in playoff history in 2010, it is leaps and bounds ahead of the unit that galloped onto the field in august.
The team has an identity. That simple statement has eluded this fan base since Mike Holmgren left after the 08′ season. Pete Carroll has assembled a very young team with tremendous upside delivering on his assurance of an effective running attack and big, punishing defense. He has done this in only two short seasons and with a near entire roster turnover. Amazing.
Here’s some points that demonstrate just how far this team has come in John and Pete’s second year.
- The Seahawks have not finished a season with positive numbers in either point differential or turnovers since 2007. Both were accomplished this season.
- The team jumped from the 27th ranked overall defense in 2010 to 9th in 2011. The top ten ranking is the first in at least a decade. Even the 2005 super bowl team finished 15th, a statement of how quickly Pete has assembled an elite unit.
- The Hawks finished third in interceptions and in the top ten for the first time since 2007 after placing 25th and only 3 int’s out of last in 2010.
- Seahawks place second in both interceptions returned for touchdowns and interception return yards after finishing 25th and 24th, respectively in 2010.
- The Defense finished 7th in points allowed, in the top ten for the first time since 2007.
While I can go on and on about the strides the defense has made, the offense has accomplished some amazing things as well. After the entire right side of the offensive line (week 9) and Left Tackle Russell Okung (week13) were lost for the season due to injury, an anomaly this fan base has associated with disaster far too often, the Seahawks proceeded to continue gaining steam in the running game, with Marshawn Lynch leading the Nfl in rushing the last 8 weeks of the season.The team went 5-3 during this span, after starting 2-6. This is a true testament to the depth and talent Pete and John have been able to corral, as well as the line coaching genius that is Tom Cable.
Coming up on the draft, I found myself for the first time in years excited about the ability to draft for skill postions instead of depth or redundancy. This means that the team has a solid foundation and is a few skill players from competing for much more than just a division title. This is an exciting time to be a Seahawks fan, and the future is bright. The tale of these two seasons is going to be told to fair weather fans jumping on the wagon of a championship caliber team for years to come.
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