Only a couple more days until the season opener against the St. Louis Rams. Optimism is high around Seattle, especially for a team that finished 4-12 the previous year.
This weekend presents the perfect opportunity to voice the perspective of an optimistic homer.
In a series of articles prior to Sunday’s kickoff, I’ll create the most positive scenarios imaginable (and believable, if you’re a homer too).
Here is the first of many hopeful scenarios:
The Seattle Seahawks will win the NFC West in 2009.
Alright, so maybe this isn’t a new opinion for those of you in the Pacific Northwest, but the rest of the country doesn’t tend to agree with us.
The Seattle Seahawks are getting too old, they say. They claim that a team without a running game or a capable defense has no shot at winning a division title. Opponents argue that the Arizona Cardinals are the most talented team in the NFC West without question.
Blah, blah, blah.
The 4-12 record last season was an aberration. The season was derailed by injuries, which kept starters off the field and created a lack of confidence in players. Wide receivers were being hired off the street, the entire starting offensive line was injured, and key playmakers spent most of the year on the sidelines.
And yes, the Seahawks are getting older. But in addition to the veteran players present on the roster, Seattle’s front office has done a great job of mixing youth and athleticism.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will turn 34 years old later this month, but he appears healthy and primed for a great year. He is in excellent shape, and possesses the leadership and intelligence to overcome any physical shortcomings.
As far as the running game is concerned, Seattle should be fine. It won’t be the strength of the team, but the Seahawks should be capable enough to control the clock and establish at least some threat on the ground.
Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp consistently manages the best running attacks in the National Football League. Julius Jones, Edgerrin James, and Justin Forsett have the potential to combine for what should be a capable force.
And even if the Seahawks aren’t a great team, their division is rather weak and should be easy to claim. The NFC West is considered by many to be one of the worst divisions in the NFL.
The St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers both appear to be a couple of seasons away from competing. The Arizona Cardinals have a terrible defense and are coming off a Super Bowl loss. Oh, and Kurt Warner is another year older.
A lot of analysts are considering the Seattle Seahawks to be a potential “surprise” team in 2009. They won’t surprise me.
I know that the Seattle Seahawks will once again find themselves at the top of the NFC West and back in the playoffs at the end of this season.