Three Seahawks who must excel for potential playoff push in 2024

Seattle could win 10 or 11 games this year but only if these three Seahawks do their jobs well.
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The Seattle Seahawks might have switched out their coaching staff this offseason, but there was enough talent on the roster previously to get Seattle in the playoff hunt. Just because Seattle hired a new head coach does not mean the team should have to take a step back. In fact, Mike Macdonald was hired to immediately improve the defense and any slight improvement should push Seattle into the postseason.

Some Seahawks veterans need to keep doing their jobs well, however. Quarterback Sam Howell was added this offseason, but he isn't expected to be the starter. Seattle should hope that Howell doesn't have to play for the team to be better. Seattle's QB1 is on the list below, though.

Another player below simply needs the ball more. With new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, that should happen. Seattle could easily get 10 or 11 wins in 2024 if the following three people do their jobs well.

Geno Smith - Seattle Seahawks quarterback

This should be Geno Smith's year. If he succeeds at a high level - something close to 68 percent completions and running the ball more to help pick up first downs - then Seattle is going to make the playoffs. If he completes closer to 64 percent of his passes and has 14 interceptions, the Seahawks are going to miss the postseason and Smith will likely be out of a job next offseason, at least with Seattle.

Smith is capable of excellence. He has made two straight Pro Bowls and he was worthy of both. Many 12s do not seem to care for him, but his top-half-of-the-league QBR over the last two seasons proves that Seattle could be in much worse shape at the quarterback position. Smith needs to prove again in 2024 that he is worth keeping in the season that follows.

Kenneth Walker - Seahawks running back

Walker should be used a lot more this season than he has been in his first two years. He can run and catch well, but former offensive coordinator Shane Waldron seemed obsessed with having Geno Smith throw the ball to his wideout. The tight ends were underused and the running backs did not carry the ball enough. Seattle's offense was too easy to figure out and too often in third-and-long situations.

Walker has had almost the exact same amount of rushes and total touches in each of his first two seasons. As a rookie, he ran the ball 228 times (that is his career high) and scored 9 touchdowns. If he carries the ball 260 times in 2024, he should have close to 1,200 yards rushing (based on his career average of 4.4 yards a rush) and close to 1,500 yards in total.

That is going to help the entire offense be more efficient, keep the ball for longer each game, and help a better-rested defense be much improved.

Mike Macdonald - Seahawks head coach

I realize having Macdonald here might seem silly, but there are a number of reasons he is important in 2024 compared to how much Pete Carroll has done over most of the last 14 years. Carroll and Macdonald are both defensive-minded coaches, but Carroll had head coaching experience. Macdonald doesn't. He needs to learn quickly not to make what might seem like minor mistakes that become major issues. A bad timeout here or a wasted challenge there can cost a team a game.

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Most importantly, however, Macdonald is going to be the real defensive coordinator of the team. He will be calling the defensive plays and the scheme used is entirely his. Aden Durde has the title of DC but he is more of a communicator of Macdonald's weekly design. If Durde cannot do his job well, he will be replaced, but the person making the calls (Macdonald) and creating the game-by-game matchups remains the same.

If Macdonald can implement his system and have it fully understood by Week 1, Seattle's defense should be good enough to help the offense get into the playoffs. Once there, the Seahawks could be a very dangerous team. If Macdonald has a steep learning curve as a head coach, Seattle could go 6-11.

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