A positive end to the Seattle Seahawks season might cover up a bunch of issues, issues that needed to be fixed even before this year began.
I am not at all going to say I know what Jody Allen, chair of the foundation that owns the Seahawks and sister of the late Paul Allen, is thinking. She reportedly is actively involved in the running of the organization and sees Seattle’s on-field issues as a global problem instead of just a one-year outlier.
But making needed changes to the current team isn’t as easy as terminating someone. The organization has several people in power who hold multiple positions. For instance, Pete Carroll isn’t just the coach, he is also Vice President of Football Operations. John Schneider isn’t simply the general manager, he is also the Executive Vice President.
This means that if you start getting rid of pieces like the coach or general manager you are also getting rid of the hierarchy that has helped build Seattle into one of the most successful NFL teams of the last decade.
Seattle Seahawks need changes in the offseason no matter how the season ends up
But changes need to be made and recent success sometimes clouds one’s decisions for the future. While the Seahawks defense allows the fifth-fewest points-per-game in the NFL in 2021 (20.2), they are also 21st in quarterback-rating-allowed (94.3), have the third-fewest sacks (21), are 26th in pressure percentage (21.4 percent of drop-backs) and 27th in turnovers forced (13).
All the raw numbers point to the fact that Seattle giving up so few points is an outlier. I get bend but don’t break but this is more a matter of the Seahawks simply getting lucky instead of a truly designed scheme.
But the defense has been bad overall since Ken Norton, Jr. became the defensive coordinator in 2018. Seattle’s defenses start every year slowly giving up lots of points and yards and then seems to get a little better after five games or so. The reason for the slow start? Poor preparation from the coaching staff.
And this might still be Pete Carroll’s defense and maybe he is really in charge of what is happening. If this is so, Carroll doesn’t need to be the head coach anymore because his defenses are getting worse (if the Seattle defense has the same raw statistics next year, I guarantee you they will be giving up a lot more points than they are currently). Norton, Jr. needed to never be hired, honestly. He was a bad DC in three years with the Raiders and he is still bad.
A big problem this season has been the offense and there is no good reason for it other than the change to Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator has made Russell Wilson worse and the overall design of the offense not fit with the personnel. Waldron never called plays before this year and it shows. Some of his third-and-short calls, especially, have been baffling.
Seattle is 30th in third down conversions (34.5 percent) and 21st in scoring (20.9). Some point to the fact that Russell Wilson missed three games and that has affected the overall outlook of how good the offense is. But in three games without Wilson, Seattle averaged 20.3 points a game. In 10 games with Wilson, Seattle has averaged 21.1 so not a big difference.
That last bit also incorporates 10 points scored by the Seahawks in Week 5 that were actually scored after Geno Smith came in at quarterback.
But Seattle has won its last two games to move to 5-8. They have scored 63 points in the two wins. So things appear to be getting better. What happens if a miracle happens and Seattle wins its last four games and somehow sneaks into the playoffs?
It might be easy then to believe the first part of the season was a misnomer and the last six games were the real Seahawks. But this would be a lie. Seattle started slowly defensively in 2020 but the offense was great but then the offense got worse and the season petered out with an early loss in the playoffs. This season likely ends without the team being in the playoffs even if they win their next four.
Seattle is digressing and the team needs changes. This goes for players and the coaching staff. Maybe Pete Carroll doesn’t need to go but Norton, Jr. and Waldron do. Maybe Russell Wilson needs to stay the quarterback but wholesale changes are needed once again on the offensive line. Six nice games at the end of 2021 shouldn’t affect how the team needs to be fixed for 2022. Doing nothing this offseason sets up the franchise for long-term failure.