We currently sit at a point of the year where the Seahawks have not played a single snap, not even a preseason snap, and yet fans are willing to make broad assumptions about how this year might go. This is reasonable for the most part as an analysis of roster construction and schedule will give some insightful clues as to where our beloved Seahawks will find themselves at the end of the year. There are a lot of things that can be gleaned from examining how these Seahawks look on paper. However, as the incredibly annoying but unfortunately true cliché goes, “the game isn’t played on paper”. In this article I will examine the validity of five assumptions that we Seahawks fans (I’m just as guilty as you) are making going into this season. Very scientifically I will be rendering my verdict as to whether these assumptions fall under the categories of Safe, Likely, Iffy or Wrong.
1. Marshawn Lynch will continue to be a beast:
Marshawn Lynch is an absolute pleasure to watch. The utter violence of his running style makes me feel as if children under 18 shouldn’t be allowed to see his carries. At the same time I wouldn’t want anyone to be excluded from enjoying his brutal grace. Marshawn was excellent last year behind an iffy (the limits of my vocabulary show themselves in a hurry) offensive line with 1204 yards and 4.2 yards per carry. While his running style seems conducive to injury, he has been fairly durable throughout his career, never playing in less than 13 games in a year. For all the punishment he seems to take and all the carries he’s had, he is only 26. That being said running backs can break down at a moment’s notice.
2. The Seahawks secondary is awesome:
When you look at the Seahawks projected starting secondary awesome is a word that comes to mind along with epic, picktastic and bonecrushing (ok so that only applies to Kam Chancellor but I think it’s fair to say he crushes enough bones for the entire quartet). The foursome of Browner, Chancellor, Sherman and Thomas are 28, 24, 24 and 23 so age related regression is hardly a concern. If anything this group is on the up and up as they hone their skills as they approach their collective prime. The picture is not entirely rosy as Browner can get himself in penalty trouble and both him and Chancellor lack elite foot speed and can be exposed in coverage from time to time. That being said Earl Thomas has Mike Trout-esque range and can often cover for the errors of his comrades. I’m also fairly sure that Walter Thurmond, Marcus Trufant or someone else on the roster can be a competent 3rd CB. Overall there isn’t a lot not to like here but Pete Caroll’s preference for big DB’s could get them burned by speedy receivers from time to time.
3. Chris Clemons will once again lead the pass rush with exactly 11.0 sacks:
I did not have especially high hopes for Chris Clemons when he was first acquired. Even when he excelled in 2010 I braced myself for a sizable regression last year but that regression never came. I think at this point we are treating Chris Clemons as a proven commodity ace pass rusher. Unless Bruce Irvin is an instant star (I’m not betting my life savings on it) the Seahawks absolutely need this to be the case. Unfortunately there are multiple causes for concern the foremost being age and size. Clemons turns 31 this year. While this isn’t ancient it is about the time when pass rushers can fall off the side of the Earth. We got a great season from Patrick Kerney at this age but none after that. Also the fact Clemons is undersized makes me worry about his durability even though that potential issue has not cropped up during his time with the Seahawks. Overall I think that Clemons has too many things working against him (not even mentioning a defensive line that lacks the pass-rushing threats to prevent him from being doubled) to replicate his previous production.
Verdict: IFFY (I considered Wrong but I can’t muster that level of pessimism before the season even starts)
4. Nothing much should be expected of Zach Miller at this point:
After an admittedly disappointing season I feel like fan confidence in Miller is fairly low. Seahawks fans do not seem to have a great deal of optimism regarding Miller despite the fact he is a very talented player. The receiving numbers were not there last year and given what the Seahawks are paying him the results really should be there. I’m not really in the business of making excuses for Miller’s 2011 but I do think there is reason to expect a bounce back this year. Firstly he has youth on his side. Miller turns 27 this year and, without any debilitating injuries to speak of, there is no reason he should be physically diminished. Also between 2008 and 2010 Miller had no less than 685 yards in a season proving a consistent ability to produce despite playing with quarterbacks ranging from questionable to historically awful. Along with youth and history Miller will also be playing with a new quarterback this year in all likelihood. Despite the fact a great deal of his drop in production was a result of increased blocking responsibilities (which he will probably face this year as well) it was also clear that he didn’t really mesh with Tavaris Jackson. This year he will have the luxury of a new quarterback (whether it is Wilson or Flynn) and a chance to build chemistry from scratch. Miller has the potential to be an excellent weapon and hopefully his new quarterback (am I so out of line in dismissing Jackson’s chances of starting?) recognizes that. He could well be in for a big rebound. I don’t understand the lack of optimism.
5. Multiple quarterbacks will start for the Seahawks this year.
Given the lack of clarity in the quarterback situation at the moment this seems like a safe bet. People seem to think it will be Flynn and then ultimately Wilson either after the Seahawks fall out of contention or he proves himself. I wouldn’t put money on this but I have this feeling that Flynn might actually be good. Maybe even good enough to hold off a rookie 3rd round pick who is under 6 feet tall and Tavaris Jackson (is any description really required?). Call it a hunch but I think there is more of a chance that Flynn starts for the Seahawks all year than most seem to think. He is also the man getting paid. People say they haven’t invested in him fully but alternatively he makes a mighty expensive backup. Also there probably isn’t that much harm in sitting Wilson for another year. If you are a gambling man count on multiple QB’s for the Seahawks this year, due to the injury risk alone, but don’t be surprised if Flynn takes a hold of this job.
Verdict: LIKELY (I wish I was bold enough to say iffy which in and of itself isn’t exactly the boldest word).
Essentially what I’ve done here is warn you about making assumptions about the 2012 Seahawks at this point in the season and then made some assumptions of my own. If I’m a hypocrite so be it. Time will tell if my assumptions are any better than anyone else’s.