2018 NFL Season Preview- Seattle Seahawks
For the first time since 2011, the Seahawks failed to reach the playoffs.
Reasons for Seattle's fall were all obvious. The offense had no effective running game with a running back only scoring one touchdown all year. The defense dealt with numerous injuries to key players which ultimately took their toll. Add in that the Seahawks were the most penalized team in the league, it's almost a miracle the team finished 9-7.
Quarterback Russell Wilson led the league with 34 passing touchdowns and was also Seattle's leading rusher. He struggled with multiple leg injuries thanks to a nonexistent running game and make shift offensive line. Running backs Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy were widely ineffective and C.J. Prosise was injured for most of the season. Tight end Jimmy Graham had his worst production season as a Seahawk as he was second in the league in drops and had his lowest output of receiving yards and yards per reception. Luke Willson had only 15 catches, but four were for touchdowns. Nick Vannett made nice strides in his second season. Wide receiver Paul Richardson had his most productive season since being drafted and Tanner McEvoy made a lot of plays off the bench. The team traded for offensive tackle Duane Brown, which helped stabilize the line, but they still had their issues. Right tackle Germain Ifedi was the league's most penalized player with 20 flags thrown on him. Left guard Luke Joeckel missed five games due to knee surgery.
The team traded for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to stabilize the line. Defensive end Cliff Avril injured his neck in October and might never play again. Jarron Reed played better in his second season and Dion Jordan flashed his talent down the stretch with four sacks in the final five games. Linebacker K.J. Wright had another strong season as he and Bobby Wagner continue to be one of the best tandems in the league. Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor were having strong seasons before their injuries in November. Bradley McDougald was a strong backup when Chancellor went down. Justin Coleman had two pick sixes as the team's nickel corner.
Kicker Blair Walsh missed nine field goals on the year, including three in a 17-14 loss to Washington. He also missed a game winning try against Arizona and a game tying attempt against Atlanta.
The team produced seven Pro Bowlers in quarterback Russell Wilson, wide receiver Doug Baldwin, tight end Jimmy Graham, offensive tackle Duane Brown, defensive end Michael Bennett, linebacker Bobby Wagner, and free safety Earl Thomas. Thomas and Wagner also each were named All-Pro along with kick returner Tyler Lockett. Baldwin had another strong season with just under 1,000 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. Despite his struggles, Graham finished with 10 touchdown receptions. Brown arrived from Houston and immediately made an awful line better. Bennett finished with 8.5 sacks but struggled to close out the season due to knee and foot injuries. Wagner was looking like the Defensive Player of the Year before a hamstring injury slowed him down the last month of the season. Thomas and Lockett slowly worked back from their pre injury forms.
The rookie class offers hope and concern. Defensive tackle Malik McDowell was injured in an ATV accident before training camp and never saw the field. Offensive lineman Ethan Pocic started at two positions and looks to have a promising future. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin earned a starting job opposite Sherman and looks like a quality player. Wide receiver Amara Darboh got buried on the depth chart and never made an impact. Running back Chris Carson won the starting job in training camp before an ankle injury ended his season in October.
Opponent Passing YPG
Opponent Rushing YPG
With the team missing the postseason for the first time in six years, There has to be some pressure on head coach Pete Carroll. He'll be entering his ninth season with Seattle and his contract is through 2019, so turning this team around has to be a top priority.
After the season, the team dismissed offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Kris Richard. The team then hired former Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer to be the new offensive coordinator. Schottenheimer is the son of longtime NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer. Seattle also hired former Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator and their former linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. to be the new defensive coordinator.
Notable Additions- WR Jaron Brown, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Ed Dickson, LB Joshua Perry, LB Barkevious Mingo, K Sebastian Janikowski,
Notable Departures- RB Thomas Rawls, RB Eddie Lacy, WR Paul Richardson, TE Jimmy Graham, TE Luke Willson, G Luke Joeckel, DE Michael Bennett, DE Cliff Avril, DT Sheldon Richardson, CB Richard Sherman, CB Jeremy Lane, K Blair Walsh, P Jon Ryan
Seahawks 2017 Highlights
2018 NFL Draft
Hold the 18th overall pick in the draft, the Seahawks have to make upgrades if they expect to get back to the postseason. Especially at tight end, defensive end, and safety.
The Seahawks lost Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson to free agency. Ed Dickson has had an up and down career and Nick Vannett is still a work in progress.
Michael Bennett is now in Philadelphia and Cliff Avril may never play football again. Seattle has to reload their pass rush.
With Kam Chancellor's career likely over and Earl Thomas wanting a new deal or to be traded, the Seahawks will need more depth at safety.
On draft day, Seattle traded back to the 27th overall pick with Green Bay so the Packers could draft Jaire Alexander. With the 27th pick, the Seahawks selected San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny. Penny has the ideal build for the position and fresh legs, but many questioned his lack of stats considering he played against weaker competition in a run first offense.
Seattle also notably drafted USC defensive end Rasheem Green in the third round and UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin and Ohio State offensive tackle Jamarco Jones in the fifth. Green was a versatile prospect who could play inside or outside, but lacks endurance late in games. Griffin has the heart and commitment to be great and is the twin brother of Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin, but his left hand was amputated at age four due to a rare birth condition. Jones plays well against speedy edge rushers, but has to get stronger at the pro level.
Rashaad Penny Highlights
What To Expect
Just looking at all the key pieces that they lost in the offseason, the Seahawks look like a sinking ship.
Russell Wilson was the only reason Seattle was even in contention for much of their games due to his ability to make something out of nothing. Rashaad Penny will likely be put in as the starting running back with Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise being backups. Like in past years I see the team using two tight ends, so Nick Vannett and Ed Dickson should see a lot of action. Doug Baldwin will continue to produce and the addition of Brandon Marshall and Jaron Brown will be suitable replacements for Paul Richardson and Jermaine Kearse. Another year with the offensive line together will make a lot of difference. Duane Brown should continue to be one of the better tackles in the league, if Ethan Pocic can get stronger, he could be a fixture at guard for years, and I wouldn't be surprised if Jamarco Jones beats out Germain Ifedi at right tackle.
For the first time in awhile, the defense will really struggle. The team hopes Frank Clark, Dion Jordan, and Jarron Reed can step up and fill the void of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. The linebackers should remain solid as long as Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright can stay healthy while Barkevious Mingo can be used as a situational pass rusher and Shaquem Griffin will find his way into the starting lineup. The secondary has taken the biggest. By the start of the season, the "Legion of Boom" may be dead. Richard Sherman is gone, Kam Chancellor might retire, and Earl Thomas might leave if he doesn't get a new contract. Looking at the roster, I don't see any defensive back making much of an impact immediately.
The team signed Sebastian Janikowski in the offseason. He may be coming off a back injury and just turned 40, but anyone is better than Blair Walsh.
In my mind, Seattle is not feared anymore and I expect San Francisco and Los Angeles to run through them. Russell Wilson will keep them competitive, but it won't be enough for the Seahawks to get back to the playoffs.
Best Record They Can Hope For: 8-8