May 21, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; (L-R) Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson present President Barack Obama with an honorary "12th Man Flag" at a ceremony honoring the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks in the East Room at The White House. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If Seahawks Had Lost In 2014 Playoffs, Would Team Be Among Super Bowl Favorites?

An interesting thought about our Seattle Seahawks crossed my mind earlier this morning, what if the Hawks had lost at any point in the 2014 NFL Playoffs? Would we be as high on this team today?

Obviously we don’t have to worry about that, but the point is more based off of the fact that this team actually lost quite a few key contributors this offseason. It’s not as easy as it seems sometimes to put together a team that is just cohesive and ready to take the league by storm. A lot of issues can come up, from chemistry, to injury, to skill.

The simple fact is that the Seahawks were so good during the 2013/2014 season and in particular throughout the Playoffs and in the Super Bowl that they have to be the favorite in Super Bowl XLVIIII. But if the Saints or 49ers had derailed the Hawks late last season, we might be talking about how they lost too much this offseason (Golden Tate, Chris Clemons, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond, Clinton McDonald, Red Bryant, Breno Giacomini, Paul McQuistan and others) to go win their first this year.

In the end it makes little difference, the team’s depth has already been tested and come through with incredibly high marks, leading to reviews that the Seahawk roster is the best in the NFL by sources like Pro Football Focus. But it’s an interesting argument to put into play if the roster were to be considered as strong as it is and they were still looking for that first championship. The Seahawks would still have to be considered among the Super Bowl favorites.

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  • Peter Smith

    First, Super Bowl 49 is XLIX… :)

    But as to the topic, I don’t think there’s any question that a playoff loss would leave us here with slightly lowered belief in the power of this team going forward. Not that we wouldn’t still see us as potentially Super Bowl bound next year, we just wouldn’t yet know or fully believe that the Pete Carroll system could work as well as it has. But now we know it can, and quite likely WILL keep working.

    The off-season player departures will no doubt have an effect on the evolution of the team, but that doesn’t mean we will be worse next year, as I think we might actually get better, on both sides of the ball. Its hard to imagine our defense getting better with the losses of Bryant, Clemons, Browner, Thurmond and McDonald, but only two of them are likely to be missed that much, being Bryant and Clemons. Browner was replaced by Maxwell, and it looks to be an upgrade. Thurmond was finally starting to look like he might be a stud, but we also have Lane, and more importantly Tharold Simon, who could be as good or better than Thurmond (who I might add looked horrible in the Super Bowl). McDonald would have great to keep around, but he’s replaceable. Like with Tony McDaniel or Jesse Williams, who both make not only the loss of McDonald, but also Bryant, easier to digest… add in a UDFA DT to rotate in the mix and we’re pretty solid again.

    Clemons was a nice DE to rotate in there with Avril and Bennett, but drafting Marsh, and picking up Jackson Jeffcoat, should balance it all out in the wash, if not be an improvement.

    Then there’s the other notable drafting of Kevin Pierre-Louis, who is streamlined for a Peter Carroll defense. With Irvin, Wagner, Wright and Smith, KPL will have to work hard and impress to get his reps, but I think he may turn out to be an upgrade over Wagner and Smith.

    And the icing on the cake? More experience for the youth on the defense. Experience and maturity… and a belief that you win big games if you have that fire, that moxy, that desire to to be the best you can be, and perform at level 12.

    On offense, Giacomini and Tate are the biggest losses, but Giacomini was again a replaceable part… he wasn’t elite, he just played with a LOT of fire! But he made mistakes, and caused a lot of lost yards from penalties (less so in 2013 than before, but he was still imperfect). Justin Britt plays with the same fire, so I think he will step into those shoes just fine, especially under the tutelage of Cable, who hand picked Britt as one of his two “must draft” OLineman (the other of which went before our first pick). Tate, while he was one of our primary receivers, and a good/reliable one at that, was nothing spectacular… he was also replaceable. Like with Kevin Norwood, who is very similar in a lot of ways. But the addition of Paul Richardson could be electric. And lets be honest, with one reception and 17 yards in the regular season, we really didn’t have Percy Harvin either. Add those two super-fast wide receivers to our offense next year, plus the steady hands and speed of Baldwin, and more trust and reps for Kearse (I’m not forgetting Rice, just ignoring him), the passing game could open up a lot! Two outside WRs with 4.3 40 speed?? Two inside-type receivers with good hands, routes, and body positioning to make spectacular catches? And of course Zach Miller? Russell Wilson will have plenty of options of every play he thinks about throwing. But he’s what I like to think of as a triple threat QB: can beat you with the pass, can beat you with his feet, or he can be deadly accurate passing while running, even across the chest, facing right and throwing to the left. To a defense, he’s unpredictable.

    And the news now is that we won’t be doing a RB by committee as earlier thought… so Lynch will be the lead back, with most likely Michael ahead of Turbin for secondary touches. But Michael is electric! A defense will have to respect the chance of a dangerous run even when Lynch is taking a breather with Michael spelling him.

    As a defense, what do you plan for if you see Michael in the backfield, Harvin and PRich on the outside, Miller lined up as a sixth OLineman, and Kearse outside next to Harvin? Just with those guys on the field we have so many different kinds of plays we can choose from, and with the potential for big yardage in any way we choose to play it. Harvin and PRich are home run threats that a defensive backfield has to respect, and likely keep the safeties back. Linebackers have to keep in mind that Kearse can be dangerous in the middle, and Miller can roll out for a 10+ yard dump… so who stacks the box to stop a potential Christine Michael hand-off? Or a Wilson scramble?

    Oh this offense could be a lot of fun to watch next season……… :)

  • Time Bandit

    If the team had lost in the playoffs then they would not have lost as many players to free agency. Bryant and Clemons would not be valued as highly as they were. The whole team would have been easier to meet their salary demands. It’s very hard to compare the two situations.