The Seattle Seahawks need big contributions from everyone, of course, but no one will play a bigger role in improving the team than Kenneth Walker III. Without a big second half of 2023 from him, the Hawks are in danger of missing the postseason.
The Seahawks clearly have room for improvement at 5-3. I expected this record at the near midpoint of the season, although I wasn't exactly Nostradamus. I only got four of the eight games right as far as wins and losses go; we'll not even discuss the points. That's why my betting endeavors consist entirely of an annual one-dollar bet on the Super Bowl with my brother. For betting advice, look elsewhere.
As for the Seahawks and their prospects for the future, you've come to the right place. Boye Mafe has indeed played lights out, Jaxon Smith-Njigba has produced better with every passing week, and Devon Witherspoon was the key to shutting down Lamar Jackson. Okay, so I'm not batting 1.000. Unfortunately, the Hawks didn't have much of a clue about stopping anyone on the Ravens, so I'm not too broken up about being wrong on that one. While I expect all three players to continue to shine the rest of the way, Seattle needs more players to step up to make a serious push to the postseason.
The Seattle Seahawks need more than the players to step up
No, I'm not going to talk about Geno Smith here. It's painfully obvious that he needs to bump up his production for the Hawks to make some noise in the next nine games. Just how much of the blame lies with Smith, and how much with circumstances is debatable. What is beyond debate is whether he's entirely blameless or completely at fault for his mediocre play, he has to improve. If he doesn't, Seattle is going to have trouble just breaking .500 for the season.
While my focus is on one man, the coaching staff has to step up their game as well. The Seahawks missed about 600 tackles against the Ravens. A lot of that was in execution, of course, but preparation certainly plays a role there as well. As Bob Condotta wrote in his grades for the Ravens game, the coaching staff deserved a grade of F. If that. Their plan didn't work well in the first half, and for once, their adjustments at halftime were awful. Pete Carroll, Clint Hurtt, and Shane Waldron all have to step up their games, too.
Speaking of coaching decisions, I really hate to invoke what is becoming a mantra. But when is Pete Carroll going to realize that when he says the Seahawks need to run the ball more, he's the one guy who can make sure that happens? Yes, Shane Waldron sends in the plays, but last I checked, he's not the head coach. Hand Waldron an old-school counter, and have him click it for every run. Once he hits 30, he can call whatever he wants. Maybe if he glances down at it and sees just fifteen runs by the fourth quarter, it'll dawn on him that he should run the damn ball.
Kenneth Walker III can't break through if he doesn't get the chance to do so. in 2022, Walker had 202 carries for 868 yards in the ten games he started and was healthy enough to finish. He had six games with at least 20 carries and ran for over 100 yards in five of those. He "only" had 97 yards in that outlier. Not too bad, right? This year, he's had exactly one game with at least 20 carries. And what happened? You'll never guess - he had 100 yards, and Seattle won the game. By the way, the Hawks won five of his six 100-yard games in 2022 as well.
Maybe you're thinking that Zach Charbonnet is siphoning off some of his runs. He isn't, but that's not the point. The problem is that the Seahawks as a team simply aren't running the ball enough. You don't have to take my word for it; remember, Pete Carroll says so himself about every third game. How on Earth the coaching staff looks at Walker - and Charbonnet, for that matter- and thinks they don't need to run the ball more is beyond me. Get K-9 the ball, and let him pile up the yards and the wins.