Over the past few days, I’ve gone through all the different parts of the offensive side of the roster piece by piece and examined the contribution that each member had on the season, and what was likely to happen for next season. Before I jump into the defense, I thought it would be a good idea wrap everything up before moving on to the defense.
Surprisingly, the part of the offense that is the most “set” is the part that was the biggest weakness in 2011, the offensive line. The 5 starters seems locked in, as does the 2 primary backups. The biggest question seems to be if backup Paul McQuistan will return, but he’s going to be the 7th or 8th lineman on the depth chart, and even lower once Carpenter returns, so this clearly isn’t a big deal.
Normally, returning everyone from a unit that played so badly wouldn’t be a good thing, but here it clearly is. This group is young and inexperienced, and greatly improved as the season went on. If the line picks up where it left off last season, it will be a serious strength by the end of next season.
The backs are a unit with a lot of questions because everyone of importance is a free agent. While Lynch can be easily retained by using the franchise tag, the loss of lead blocker Michael Robinson would be equally devastating to the running game. The Seahawks must find a way to retain or replace Robinson, and also find a major upgrade over Justin Forsett as the primary backup.
Receiver is an odd cast of too many pieces and not enough of an idea of just how good those pieces are. The Seahawks played 8 players at the position in 2011, and no more than 6 will make the team in 2012. Tough decisions are going to have to be made. Not the least of which is going to be if promising but very raw talents like Kris Durham and Richardo Lockette can turn their promising talent into on-field production.
TE is another position that’s mostly set. Zach Miller and Cameron Morrah were solid and will both return. All that’s left is to fill the roster with another player. Where that’s John Carlson or younger player remains to be seen, but I’d be completely surprised if it was McCoy, who was dreadful this past season.
The real conundrum lies at QB. Josh Portis isn’t an NFL caliber player, and Tarvaris Jackson is best suited to be a backup. The Seahawks desperately need to upgrade the position, but a true upgrade isn’t going to be available to them in the draft, and the only free agent options are very risky. It’s looking more and more likely that the Seahawks will draft a “project” in the middle of the draft, and go into 2012 with Jackson again as the starter.