“You’re a Seahawks Fan? It looks like they’re going to have a good team this season.” I can’t tell you how many fellow football fans I have encountered this off-season that have said some variation of this quote. When I hear it, I want to simply agree and say thank you, but as a lifelong Seattle sports fan I know better than to let my expectations run away with me.
I remember when the Mariners won 116 games and lost to the Yankees in the ALCS. I remember when the Sonics (may they one day return from the dead) lost to Bulls in the finals. And I certainly remember when the Seahawks left Superbowl XL with just as many Lombardi trophies as they came in with.
Look, I know how great the Seahawks look on paper this off-season following an emotional Divisional round loss to the Falcons and I personally believe this could be a special (maybe championship worthy) season for the Seahawks. But I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t let a little bit of “Seattle team paranoia” get the better of me for a few minutes. So please allow me to address these fears by stating 5 reasons Seahawks fans should be worried heading into the 2013 season.
1. The D-Line Roller Coaster
It has been quite a roller coaster ride the past year along the defensive line. And I’m talking about one of those rickety wooden ones that leaves your neck achy. Early last season, it seemed like Chris Clemmons and Bruce Irvin were going to be quite a formidable pass rushing duo. However, as the season went on, the sack production dwindled and Clemmons was lost for most if not all of 2013 due to a knee injury. Couple that with a recent four game PED suspension for Irvin and now everybody is ready to get off the ride.
Thankfully, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett have come in to add both talent and depth. But the loss of both Irvin and Clemmons for a considerable period of time takes away some of the ability to throw different looks at opposing offenses. Hopefully new defensive coordinator and pressure specialist Dan Quinn can find a way to cope with the losses, otherwise Seattle chances could be in jeopardy right from the start.
2. Complete Control Could Be A DangeRuss Situation
I don’t buy into the idea of a sophomore slump for quarterbacks. I don’t think a second year quarterback suddenly regresses simply because opposing teams “figure them out.” What I do buy into is the potential danger of giving a successful rookie quarterback more freedom and responsibility during their second year. Russell Wilson is no longer just a gifted player in the Seahawks franchise, he is the franchise. He’s getting all the reps, making all the calls, and he’s the guy everyone else is looking to for leadership. I want to believe that his performance against Atlanta in the Divisional round was just the beginning but until I see Russell Wilson be “the guy” for a full NFL season I’m going to fret a little bit.
3. A Treacherous Road
I’ll make this one very simple. 4 of the 8 teams Seattle plays on the road this season were in the playoffs last season. The other four road opponents are Arizona, St. Louis (both losses last season), Carolina, and the always unpredictable Giants. Anybody else see a few potential flat tires? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
4. Where’s The Vet?
A lot has been made of the youth on the Seahawks roster. They have been one of the youngest teams in the league for a couple of years now and it’s obvious why that can be an asset. Young players stay healthy and bounce back faster, plain and simple. But championship caliber teams always seem to have a franchise player or two at the tail end of their careers.
Think of Ray Lewis, Michael Strahan, or even Jerome Bettis (I’m sorry) to name a few. These players provide experience and they give their younger teammates added motivation to win now. They also tend to be the voice of reason when adversity inevitably comes to town. You don’t have to have one of these guys in the locker room, but not having one can be a reason for concern.
5. The Hype Machine Is Ready To Blow!
For every team that enters the NFL season as a “trendy Superbowl pick” and lives up to the hype, there is a handful of teams that end up on the “biggest disappointment list” halfway through the season. The Seahawks are in the top three of just about every Power Ranking list on the planet right now. This means two things: One, the Seahawks are good. And two, expectations are now at an unbelievable level.
Based on the hype, what Seahawks fan can say a 10-6 season with a wildcard berth would be sufficient? Honestly, anything less than 12 or more wins and a Superbowl appearance seems like failing at this point. This more than anything else is what worries me for the 2013 season. I feel confident that the Seahawks will have success this season, but I hesitate to believe it will be at the level that some analysts have put it at.
WHEW! I’m glad that’s out of my system now and I can go back to being really excited about the Seahawks 2013 season. I think I blacked out for a little bit though. Did we get the Sonics back yet?