Projections for a poor record for the Seahawks completely miss the big picture

Did I miss something, or didn't Mike Macdonald get hired in Seattle?
Why do so many predictions think the Seahawks will be bad in 2024?
Why do so many predictions think the Seahawks will be bad in 2024? / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Many experts project the Seattle Seahawks to take a sizable step back this season. Somehow, they all miss the biggest step John Schneider took to address their biggest problem.

You know the drill, 12s. The dust has barely cleared from the NFL's free agency frenzy, and the Hawks are declared dead in the water. The moment Mr. Irrelevant is taken in the NFL draft, Seattle gets a B- minus for their picks, at best. As the weeks go on, the talking (and writing) heads declare the Seahawks will fall by the wayside. Remember last year when there was even one prediction of a 5-12 season? This year is no different.

Well, there is one slight difference. For the first time in 14 years, the bubble gum budget for the organization can be slashed to the bone. Peter Edward Carroll won't be churning through the Bubble Yum on the sidelines anymore. More importantly, he won't be running the defense of the Hawks, either. Sure, he had de facto defensive coordinators, but we all know they were game managers at best. At worst, they were glorified interns, calling the plays for the defense Carroll designed.

Seattle Seahawks have a not-so-secret weapon in Mike Macdonald

This year, we've seen an awful lot of 7-10 prognostications for the Hawks. A personal favorite is this call by Maurice Moton for Bleacher Report, in which he projects Seattle to drop to 7-10. Apparently, that's the flavor of the month for the NFL cognoscenti. His reasoning - and the details - are a bit suspect. He immediately notes that the Seahawks replaced Carroll with Macdonald. So far, so good. But those details are a little wonky.

It's sort of true that the Hawks "moved Pete Carroll to the front office", in that he was given the nebulous position as an advisor to the team. Except that the Closest Carroll has come to Renton since "his position evolved" was when he popped in for a Huskies practice in April. So Pete isn't exactly toiling away at VMAC, helping the new staff on anything, let alone the defense.

As for Carroll's defense, it's accurate to say that they were a bottom-eight unit if you look at points allowed. Seattle ranked 25th of 32 teams, and - let me whip out my ti-84 here - yep, that counts as bottom eight, alright. But it was a bit worse than that. The Seahawks ranked 30th in yards allowed, 31st in rushing yards allowed, and 32nd in time of possession allowed. Checking the calculator again - gimme just a second, 12s - yep, those are all a heck of a lot worse than the bottom eight. You have to go back to 2019 to find the last season that Seattle was ranked better than 25th in TOP-allowed.

So it isn't as if the Seahawks suddenly had a bad year on defense. The system clearly hadn't been working for years. The one thing that kept them afloat was their offense. Yes, the offense regressed last season. The Hawks dropped from 9th in points scored in 2022 to 17th last year. While a vocal minority of 12s blame Geno Smith, I do feel it necessary to point out that he didn't design the offense. He's not the one cutting runs by the lead back from 17.7 carries per game (Marshawn Lynch) to 15.7 (Chris Carson) or 14.9 (Ken Walker III).

The offense has been on one long decline for years, and it basically started when Carroll first uttered the famous line, "We need to run the ball more." At the least, the Seahawks need to get creative when the ball is in their hands. Sure, new OC Ryan Grubb is a rookie in the NFL. The question was asked if Grubb could design an offense to elevate Smith and his playmakers. Yes, that was actually posed in the article cited above. Does anyone doubt Grubb will be the most creative force on offense this team has seen in decades?

Now we come to the major flaw in the projections: Mike Macdonald. Yes, Macdonald fielded a top-three scoring defense in both 2022 and 2023. I mean, his defense also logged a historic first. They led the league in fewest points allowed, most sacks, and most takeaways. Throw in that four Ravens set or tied career highs in sacks.

Most people would look at those achievements and then look back at the Seahawks and see a reason to project a jump in production. Or, you know, they'll ignore all that. Instead, here's another 7-10 prediction. The first reason? The Seahawks will travel a lot. To their credit, they acknowledge they always travel a lot. So why would travel make this season any more difficult this year? Oh, and there will be growing pains, as if staying with the same moribund system wouldn't be more painful.

The most laughable justification of all, though, is this one. The Seahawks started off with back-to-back 7-9 seasons under Pete Carroll. On the face of it, yes, it's true. But what did Carroll inherit, compared to what Macdonald has in his team?

The Seahawks finished 4-12 and 5-11 in the two seasons before Carroll came to town, along with GM John Schneider. The leading receiver in 2008 was TE John Carlson. The leading rusher was Julius Jones, and quarterbacking was split between Seneca Wallace and Matt Hasselbeck. Things were a bit better in 2009, as Jim Mora at least figured out he needed to start Hasselbeck. They started getting the ball to wide receivers, but all that just added one win. I have one word for ya: yikes.

Compare that to what Macdonald has as his starter kit. He has Walker, a proven 1,000-yard rusher - assuming you actually give him the ball. DK Metcalf and Tyler Locket have been the most productive wide receiver tandem in the league since the genetic freak joined the team in 2019.

Proposed DK Metcalf trade would be a sad move. dark. Next. DK to Chiefs?

Yeah, the defense was about as stout as Jell-O that's been sitting out at a picnic in July, but the pieces are there. They just need to be put in the right position to win. Much like Schneider did in his first year in Seattle, the Seahawks added some tremendous talent for the head coach's first year.

More on that another time. For now, just read between the lines of these absurd 7-10 projections and focus on one name. Mike Macdonald. 7-10? At a minimum, reverse those numbers, and you'll have a much better projection for the 2024 Seahawks.

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