The Seattle Seahawks have stolen the stage during the offseason by signing Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, and trading for wide receiver Percy Harvin. Seattle added these three players to an already lethal squad that includes Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Zach Miller, and of course Russell Wilson. Seattle finished the 2012-2013 season in a gut wrenching loss to the Atlanta Falcons, losing a slim lead in the last 30-seconds to a Matt Bryant field goal. A lot of hype is headed Seattle’s way after adding the trio, and some are calling them the team to beat for the 2013-2014 NFL Season.
The addition of Percy Harvin has made Seattle even better on offense. Harvin will give Seattle a much needed deep threat at the wide receiver position that they lacked during Pete Carroll’s three first years in Seattle. Harvin also gives Seattle another element in the zone-read option. He often lined up as running back during his time at Florida with Tim Tebow. Minnesota also used Harvin at running back on third down situations. The addition of Harvin also takes pressure off of Sidney Rice, and Golden Tate, and will give Russell Wilson another weapon who will haul in a lot of receptions, and be able to gain yards after the catch, much like Golden Tate was able to last year.
On the defensive side of the ball Seattle has added defensive end Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett who can play tackle and defensive end much like Jason Jones was able to do last year for Seattle. These two combined for 18.5 sacks last year, add that to Seattle’s total of 36 last year that is a total of 54.5 sacks. I find it hard to believe Seattle will be able to rack up that many total sacks, especially with Chris Clemons, who led the Seahawks in sacks last year with 11.5, is recovering from an ACL injury he suffered in the playoffs, and may not be ready for the 2013 NFL season. However it is not hard to believe with the growth of rookie defensive ends Bruce Irvin and Greg Scruggs that those two can’t add to their sack total. Irvin led all rookies with eight sacks, and fellow rookie Greg Scruggs totaled just two sacks in a very limited role. I expect both players to up their sack totals next year. I see no reason Seattle can’t get at least 42 sacks which would put them in the top half of the league.
In the latter part of the 2012 season Seattle arguably played better than any other team in the league. They dominated on offense and defense, and showed little overall weakness. A slow start in the playoff game against the Falcons led to the end of the season for Seattle, despite outscoring Atlanta 28 to 10 in the second half. Seattle is now one of the most complete teams in the NFL, with two deep threats at wide receiver, one of the best running backs in the league, and a young roster. Seattle is bringing back every starter on offense, and nine of eleven starters on defense. It is logical to think this team is only going to be better.
Some fans are calling this team the “Dream Team.” Is it true? Is Seattle the best team in the league, and the team everybody else does not want to play? Is Seattle the most talented team in the entire league? My quick answer to all three of these questions is simply, yes. I am, however, scared of a team that originally dubbed themselves the “Dream Team” (something no Seattle player has done, which I am very thankful for). The team I am speaking of is the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles, like the Seahawks, brought in big-name players to a team that went 10-6 the year before, and had one of the most lethal quarterbacks in the NFL in Michael Vick. They had a seasoned coach in Andy Reid.
The Eagles decided to add to an already potent roster and brought in All-Pro corner back Nnamdi Asomogha, former Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin and veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. Philadelphia also added former first round picks Ronnie Brown and Vince Young. The talented roster, along with these new additions, formed what was supposed to be the “Dream Team,” as Vince Young famously called them.
What happened to this so called Dream Team? A 11-5 NFL football team, ended up going 8-8. Poor coaching and management of the team by Andy Reid is the simple answer. Andy Reid made the mistake of hiring Juan Castillo, who coached the offensive line, to become his defensive coordinator. I failed to see the logic in this at the time and still do.
Reid also tried to buy himself a championship team, something you can’t do in the NFL He added a lot of high priced guys who did not fit with his or his staff’s system. Injuries to Michael Vick also led to the demise of the Eagles’ season but that should also be blamed on Reid. He failed to give his franchise quarterback a stable offensive line to protect him. I highly doubt this fate will be Seattle’s. The Seahawks go into 2013 with the same coaching staff besides defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who became the head coach in Jacksonville. Pete Carroll replaced him with Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who worked as Seattle’s defensive line coach from 2009-2010. As long as Seattle stays with the system they have run under Carroll, I see no reason why the defense should suffer with the arrivals of Avril, Bennett, and Dan Quinn.
The 2007 New England Patriots also used free agency to improve an already talented team who went 12-4 the year before. The result turned into a 16-0 regular season and a loss in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
The Patriots’ first move in the offseason before 2007 was trading for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Wes Welker, giving up a 2nd and 7th round draft pick to acquire the veteran pass catcher. The Patriots continued to boost a wide receiving group that lacked explosiveness and signed free agent wide receiver Donte Stallworth. New England finished off by adding Randy Moss. The end result was a 16-0 season and both Brady and Moss shattered the touchdown record for their respected positions on the football field. Moss was the biggest risk as many felt he played lazy and uninspired football during his stint with Oakland. Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick was able to keep the talented wide receiver happy. All three wide receivers contributed greatly to the season. Moss finished the season with 98 receptions, 1493 yards, and 23 touchdowns. Welker had 112 receptions, 1175 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Donte Stallworth finished his season with 46 receptions, 697 yards, and three touchdowns. Spending in free agency can work if you have a good coach, stability at the quarterback, and a solid franchise. The Patriots clearly had that. The Eagles, well they are still looking.
So will the Seahawk’s season end in flames like the Eagles’, or will it end in record breaking success like the Patriots. I feel somewhere in between. I do not believe Russell Wilson will throw for 50 touchdowns, or that Harvin will haul in 21 touchdown receptions, or even 112 receptions. The team is too balanced for that to happen. Nor do I believe they will go 16-0 at the moment. I do believe, however, they can achieve something the 2007 New England Patriots were not able to, and that is a Super Bowl. I do believe this Seattle team is the Dream Team and team to beat for the 2013 NFL season.