In the NFL, teams don’t improvement dramatically over the course of the season. Bad teams talk about trying to improve and get better, and expect it to matter by making them win games later in the year. But this is the NFL. It doesn’t happen. Talent and coaching is what matters. Any talk about “improving” during the regular season is just a lie. While a team might get a little better over the course of the season, even team gets better by about the same amount. If a team in bad in week 1, they’re going to be bad in week 17.
That is, unless you are the 2011 Seattle Seahawks. This Seahawks team was genuinely bad at the start of the year. For the past 6 quarters, they’ve been a substantially better football team. While the Seahawks still have their flaws, right now they look much more like a playoff team than they do a team that’ll be picking early in the draft next April.
Back in week 1 and 2, this team looked remarkably similar to the 1992 team that had Cortez Kennedy and a really good defense, but who’s offense was so bad the team finished 2-14. That team had Stan Gelbaugh as it’s starting QB, and if you don’t know who that is, don’t worry, you don’t need to. Just picture Tarvaris Jackson’s play in week’s 1 and 2, and extend that over a full season and you’ll know all you need to about that 1992 offense.
So how is this happening? How can this Seahawks team be breaking one of the laws of NFL football? Easy, It’s happening because of the lockout. This team is full of rookies and first year starters, especially on offense. There’s also a new offensive coordinator and new offensive line coach. With just 10 days between the start of training camp and the first pre-season game, there was no way to get everyone up to speed. Had this been a normal year, the Seahawks would have had 2 mini-camps and 3 and half weeks of training camp before the games started.
So for this year’s team, the learning and preparation that would normally have been over well before the week 1 game, was strung out over the first 3 weeks of the season. The team was about more unprepared for the start of the season than you’ll likely ever see an NFL team ever be.
I’ve been saying since week 1 that this is a more talented team than people think. We weren’t seeing was that talent manifesting itself as results on the field at the start of the year, but more and more it’s starting to show each Sunday.