So I see that there are at least a few people that simply don’t understand what Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks are all about on offense. This is leading to complacency in the idea that the Hawks just don’t need a receiver that can blow the top off of the defense, a la a DeSean Jackson. This simply has to be addressed, as it is the most naive idea you could have as a fan of this team.
I should preface this with a mention of a report that the Seahawks are apparently not interested in Jackson. The report surfaced yesterday by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who says his source has direct knowledge of the teams’ thinking and also says that the 49ers are denying interest in Jackson as well. So basically all we know is that (as free agency usually goes) the Hawks may or may not have interest, but they certainly won’t trade for him due to his current salary so at least until he’s released there’s no reason to believe they’re a player in the DeSean sweepstakes. If he were to be released though, you shouldn’t be surprised if their name resurfaces as a team of interest.
Either way, this article has nothing to do with that. This is to discuss what the Seahawks need to do, regardless of this foolishness that they are ok in their current offensive situation.
First of all, the Seahawks obviously pride themselves on being a dominant, physical team. That generally means run-first, run often and play stifling defense. We all know that. Ok fine, but the notion that Seattle should live in that bubble just because they won their first Super Bowl and still seem like the team to beat is absurd. Remember what happened to the Ravens the year after they won that way? Or the Seahawks after the 2006 runner-up campaign? Or any other ground and pound team that’s ever tried to repeat?
Let’s get one thing straight, the Seahawks are no longer the best team in football, they are now only one of them. 2015 has started folks, and if Seattle sits around and watches everyone get better without responding they’ll be watching next year’s Super Bowl instead of playing in it.
Some people are saying “ah well the Hawks just went out and won a Super Bowl without a true number one receiver, so spending too much money on one would be stupid with the money they already have tied up in Harvin.”
If they simply can’t afford it, that’s one thing. But look, the 49ers have gone out and retooled their secondary to compete and all indications are that they fully plan on upgrading it even more come round one of the NFL Draft with Darqueze Dennard, Jason Verrett, Kyle Fuller or another high level secondary prospect, should one still be available at 30. If not for a couple of big plays in the passing game in the NFC Championship Game a few months ago, the 49ers would have been the Super Bowl champs. They know it and they’re taking measures to fix it.
In fact there are few organizations that take as much pride in their football legacy as they do in San Francisco (Packers, Steelers, Cowboys, probably the Patriots and most recently the Seahawks either match or come close). Being second-best in the NFL, not to mention in their division to their newest bitter rival (remember when it was the Niners, the Cowboys and the Packers?), all because of they couldn’t defend a couple big pass plays is eating at them in a major way.
If the Seahawks don’t improve in the passing game, but the Niners improve in their secondary, that will be the difference in the opportunity for back-to-back championships. And the Niners aren’t the only ones who give the Seahawks trouble. St. Louis and Arizona both are taking measured risks to upgrade their secondaries to be able to compete with each-other’s receivers, creating a ripple effect that would leave Seattle (in their current state) very vulnerable to defenses that they already struggle with. This is also not lost on Pete Carroll and John Schneider, trust me.
Regardless of whether the Seahawks had a ‘true No. 1′ receiver or not throughout the duration of 2013/2014, the Hawks just lost their top receiver in free agency and he didn’t get paid because he’s chopped liver. Golden Tate was a really special talent and the Seahawks will miss him immensely, but even he isn’t that guy to carry a receiving corps, so I don’t get the assessment that the Seahawks are fine out there. As much as we love Baldwin and Kearse, neither of them will have a major, consistent impact in that role, at least not against the other top corners. They thrive on match-up deficiencies and depend on the legs of Russell Wilson to find space much of the time.
And if you’re thinking Percy could be that guy, we all saw that play out in Minnesota, he needs a running mate. Just like we saw in the Super Bowl, he is best when moving all over the field as a utility player. Besides, who knows how much Harvin is going to be able to give you over the course of a season? He played in a total of three games in 2013.
Even if he did stay healthy, with no threat of a vertical passing game elsewhere (and yes Tate was a down-field threat, if not a huge one), defenses will suffocate Harvin in an umbrella defense and the rest of the offense will become largely ineffective as a result. There are examples of it all over the NFL. Wouldn’t it be great if he could continue to be a free-moving piece of the puzzle, instead of having to become the whole puzzle now that Tate’s gone?
Arceto Clark, Phil Bates, Chris Matthews, Ricardo Lockette and Bryan Walters are the other names on the roster. Again, the Niners upgraded against the passing game this offseason and will do more. They’re already one of the top defenses against the run, so if you can’t pass on them you’re done. Are these the names we really want to count on to beat that defense?
Why wouldn’t you try to get better if you’re Seattle?
So yes, the position must be filled and we all know Carroll would love to upgrade it. We should only hope that the Seahawks upgrade it! Maybe then they could throw it whenever they want to and more importantly if they need to. It’s not about finding a guy who can give you a 1000 yard season, it’s about finding a guy who can help you put San Francisco away early in the 4th quarter, instead of having to sweat out the final moments and pray for a miracle tip-drill in the end zone to save the season.
In large part, those types of guys are one and the same and depending on the offensive scheme they are instrumentally just as important. Also in large part, they are rarely available.
It’s the reason the Hawks are interested in bringing Sidney Rice back. He used to be that type of guy, after all. But we already know that situation might not work out with other teams interested and still a high asking price. Even if it does work out in the end, he’s another receiver that has proven he might not be able to give you a full season of production. Then even if he does give you a full season, while likely productive, it’s not going to be at the same level as what he used to be able to give you. So an upgrade at some point is still very much a necessity.
If a guy like DeSean were to become available to the team somewhere along the way, maybe they could pass on everybody else and put the money they would spend for two or three into him. A guy that’s rarely hurt, brings a completely new dimension to the offense and with Harvin would present a nightmare to gameplan against, not to mention cover on game day. You really don’t want that, Seahawk fans? Why, because we were ‘good enough’ last season? I mean I know we have embraced the underdog role or whatever in the past but we’ll never be that, ever again. The rest of the League is all-in gunning for our Seahawks and we should be praying they make moves to get better.
To add to that, Marshawn Lynch can’t run forever. His body is taking a major toll by toting the rock so much and speculation has already begun that he may not last longer than a couple more years, especially against the defenses in this division. If the Seahawks could alleviate some of that pounding by throwing a few more times in a game, I’m sure that Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevel would prefer to add a year or two to his shelf-life.
I’m also fairly certain that’s what Marshawn would prefer as well. He goes to war for you, but he’s already had his own somewhat-major injury issues and constantly shows up on the injury report throughout the season. Talk all you want about Robert Turbin and Christine Michael taking the rock, they’re pretty legit, but against a stacked box they don’t produce like Marshawn does. If they did, they’d already be taking some of those ridiculous hits on for him.
To go even further, Russell Wilson shouldn’t have to make as many plays with his feet as he does and he certainly would prefer not to need that to try and win games. Not to mention keeping him out of harm’s way is of the utmost importance. Adding a piece like a Jackson, Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham Jr or even a Kelvin Benjamin (depending on availability) would certainly help Russell out. Regardless of the size differences, each of those guys is cut out to be a No. 1 receiver and DeSean has already proven that he is probably among the top-5 most dangerous deep threats in the League. Why shouldn’t the Seahawks want to add that if they could?
Since Cooks is cut from the same cloth, I would say that the Seahawks would be just as well off with him in the mix (maybe even more so because he’s younger, won’t cost as much and is less of a diva), but having to wait til 32 means there’s absolutely no guarantee he will be there when the Hawks go up to pick. Same with Benjamin and Beckham and all are picking up steam to be taken by the mid-20′s.
That’s not even counting the fact that the Hawks must get a starting Guard or Tackle somewhere along the way and the easiest opportunity (perhaps the only opportunity) might be the first round. The Seahawks have been great drafting late, but there is still certain talent that can only be found between 1 and at the very latest 40. The Seahawks have one pick in that span.
It’s a real long shot at this point, but if the Hawks were to somehow pick up interest in Jackson (or another elite receiver) before draft day and could realistically and financially pull the trigger, they’d be stupid not to do it. Not only would they instantly become one of the top receiving cores in the West, but all the pressure would come off to decide on receiver or offensive line in that first pick. It might even allow them to use other pieces of the draft to move up and get whomever they want on OL if they felt he were in danger of being taken off the board early.
The Seahawks must get a No. 1, there’s no way around it. Rice could be a solid stop-gap, but it would be smart to invest a bit more to know the guy will likely be available all season, not just part of it. Speaking of which, there are other receivers that should be available at 64 that could eventually become solid No. 1 guys (Paul Richardson, Allen Robinson or Jordan Matthews might be around, would all be serviceable in that role and are the scenario I see playing out realistically). But settling is not the Seahawk way, not anymore.
If you don’t like Jackson or whomever the Seahawks might consider trading for out there for whatever reason, fine, I can deal with that. But if you’re under the impression this team somehow couldn’t use him to his full potential or doesn’t need a man of his talents just because they already hoisted a trophy without that piece of the offense, you’re must not want to repeat very badly.