This is the time of the year where hope seems to be in infinite supply. Look back at the team previews that I’ve been posting for the last month (we’ll finish that up next week), and you’ll see that all but 6 teams think they have a chance at the playoffs. So while most of what I write for this site falls into the category of hopeful, I thought it would be prudent to point out some of the causes for concern that this team still faces.
Before I get into this, I should say that I’m playing devil’s advocate here a bit. I’ve stated repeatedly that I think the Seahawks are ready to contend for the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed. This is still a team with many questions left to be answered. I don’t want to get people all riled up or anything. I just want to make people think about everything that needs to fall into place before the season begins.
The Quarterback Battle - the longer this battle goes on, the worse it is for the team. I’m not just talking about the reps the eventual starter is losing to the others who are in the QB competition. I’m also referring to the fact that it means that the position wont be much better than it was in 2011. The longer it takes for Flynn or Wilson to beat out Jackson, the more it means that they aren’t much better than he is.
The Offensive Line – The line was a serious problem for most of 2011, both before it had time to gel, and during the final couple weeks once injuries finally took their toll. This year’s line is made up of most of the same cast of characters, sans one Robert Gallery at LG. And speaking of LG, the Seahawks never really replaced Gallery. The Seahawks seem to be betting that someone will step up there, and that John Moffitt takes a major step forward at RG as well.
Wide Receiver – Rice was good when healthy, he just wasn’t healthy all that often in 2011. Doug Baldwin was great… that about it at the position. The Seahawks have a group of players (Durham, Lockette, Tate) that they’re hoping break out, or they’re hoping that Mike Williams can do better than 18 receptions in 14 starts like he had a year ago. What is neither of those things happens, can the Seahawks win without a solid receiving corps?
Pass Rush – James jones was signed to provide an inside pass rush, but he’s had only 6.5 sacks combined over the past 2 seasons. Bruce Irvin was also added, but he’s a rookie and you never truly know what you’re going to get from them until they get on the field.
Linebacker – The Seahwks replaced their most productive linebacker with a 2nd round pick from a tiny school. They also didn’t upgrade the weakest position on the entire defense, weak side linebacker. If Wagner can’t match Hawthorne’s 2011 productivity, this defense may take a major step backwards against the run.
Wow… how’s that for being a major buzzkill? Like I said up at the top, most of these questions/problems will be answered during camp. It would take a perfect storm catastrophe for all of them to work out into their worst case scenario, and even then the team wouldn’t be noticeably worse than the 2011 team.
It definitely makes me ready for training camp to begin.