Week 7 Hawktopsy
By Nic Bodiford
Six weeks are in the bag and the Seattle Seahawks sit atop the NFC West with a record of 3–2, one week after knocking off the Los Angeles Rams (3–2). Even better, the Hawks rank 4th overall in the NFC. Although Seattle sits high the standings — which should continue, given their schedule — there is cause for concern among the Seahawks faithful.
As far as opponents go, the rest-of-season schedule is far from fear-inducing. The Texans, Falcons, Jags (seriously), and Cowboys will be among our toughest remaining games but there is a smattering of beatable teams that we can use to buoy our record (i.e. the Giants, Cardinals twice, Rams, and Niners).
All that glitters may not be gold though. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Seahawks always start the season slowly. “We’re a second half team! And not just in games — the season too!”. I agree, we are. The issue with being this kind of team though is that the turnaround can’t be taken for granted. It isn’t a bankable strategy that you can hang your hat on as a given occurrence.
This team has a lot of holes — the offense ranks 15th in both rushing and total yards and sits 17th in passing yards. The passing yards aren’t as troubling as the rushing, given this is a Pete Carroll team. However, in Russell Wilson’s 6th NFL season, it’s reasonable for our expectations to be higher. The problem is twofold. First, this offensive line is unforgivable. It’s unclear who’s to blame: Tom Cable, Pete Carroll, John Schneider? It’s likely all three. Pete wants a ball-control/defensive powerhouse, Cable wants specific athletic profiles for his zone blocking scheme, and John has to construct the salary cap in a way that takes both of these things into account. Given Pete’s system, the team’s hands are somewhat tied in the finance department. Keeping our defense intact isn’t cheap. It’s imperative that we hit on offensive lineman picks and UDFA signings and in recent years, we’ve come up short. Field Gulls says it nicely:
It’s tough to envision guys like Odhiambo, Fant, Aboushi, Glow, and Joeckel panning out at this point. They’ve all got question marks, whether it be ability or injury history. Britt used to be our worst offensive lineman, and now he’s our trench-MVP. Having him locked up through 2020 is probably the best thing we’ve got going in this department. A question worth asking though; where the hell is Pocic? That guy was a stud for LSU. Can he really not beat out any of these guys? He’s position-versatile, or at least was said to be. It’s a bit concerning.
Even if we somehow get the line figured out, running back is a huge concern with the loss of Chris Carson. He looked like he could be our bellcow. Thomas Rawls is a terrific player, but injuries have plagued him since his freshmen year of college — he can’t be relied upon to carry a full load. Lacy doesn’t necessarily look bad, but he struggles to create on his own, and that’s something you’ve gotta be able to do behind our offensive line. Prosise is dynamic as hell, but he can’t stay on the field. I’d like to see a lot more of J.D. McKissic. He looked great against Indianapolis and only missed 3 games in his 4 year college career. That’s dependability.
Our receiving corps is solid, but our underutilization of Jimmy Graham as a 6’7” wide receiver is angering. Last week we lined him up out wide from the 4-yard line and lo and behold, a touchdown! If we start doing that more often, I’ll stop complaining. But until then, I will be wishing Jimmy well in his free agency run. We’ve derailed a Hall of Fame career and we should feel badly about it.
Fortunately there’s not a whole lot to dissect on defense. By and large our studs have been studs. We played Green Bay tough and the veteran LOB members look great. Obviously our run defense has been subpar, off and on. However, it was nice to see Frank Clark step in the absence of Cliff Avril. Todd Gurley has been a monster this year and Clark was integral in slowing him down. 55’s ceiling is sky high. Thinking about a future line involving both he and Sheldon Richardson is mouth-watering.
An 11–5 finish is still totally reasonable at this point. Assuming we drop the Falcons, Jaguars, and Cowboys game, this is where we’d finish. That’s good enough to make the playoffs and we might even be in play for home field advantage.