Our thoughts on the Seahawks’ loss yesterday, and the offseason ahead for Seattle’s pro football squad……

Normally, we do a lot of coverage of youth and college sports here involving Valley athletes. So for us, this morning, we’re taking a bit of a detour here to talk about something which many of you in our community probably witnessed at home watching it on TV by yourselves or with your families yesterday and that was the Seattle Seahawks’ shall we say less than stellar performance in their playoff game with the division rival Los Angeles Rams. Seattle was heavily favored to win the game, and that became more and more obvious as the game went on as top Rams players were knocked out of the game with injuries – one, starting quarterback John Wolford, was even taken to the hospital after suffering what looked to be a concussion early in the contest, but there was no official word that we saw as to what actually happened to him – but the Seahawks were not able to take advantage of any of this and ended up losing 30-20 to the Rams.

Fans were to put it mildly not happy at all with the result, many, including a lot of you in our community, taking to social media expressing their anger and disappointment with what they saw. This morning, we take a look at some prevailing themes that earned a lot of people’s anger following the game yesterday, and examine what the Seahawks might look to do – and perhaps should do – this offseason in those areas. Let’s start first with #3, the man under center.

The future of QB Russell Wilson: There was a lot of criticism of the Seahawks’ starting quarterback by fans on social media during and following the loss yesterday, with some suggesting that perhaps it’s time to move on from him as the top player for the team.

So, to address this, we went and had a look briefly at the website ProFootballReference.com to answer a couple of questions – one, how long was Wilson’s predecessor as Seahawks QB, Matt Hasselbeck, in a Seahawk uniform, which allowed us to answer two, how long has Wilson been in charge? Well, in checking, we discovered that Hasselbeck was here for 10 seasons from 2001-2010 before moving on to finish his career elswehere, and that Wilson will be going into his 10th season next season as the Seattle QB.

With that all said, we believe that it is time for the Seahawks and their fans to begin to think about life after Wilson as the quarterback. While he has been a tremendous player – and leader both on and off the field – for the team for almost a decade, there is a reason you as an organization move on from guys after a while – to get younger, and perhaps that is approaching to be reality with Wilson. While Wilson’s contract has certainly been a target for a lot of ire among fans considering his performance in the second half of this season, that contract in our view was well-deserved. The deal is frankly the Seahawks’ version of a similar deal the Seattle Mariners baseball team made several years ago with then-star pitcher Felix Hernandez, the seven-year, $175 million contract that wrapped up prior to last season. It was a contract that rewarded the player not only for his performance on the field, but also reflected the player’s importance to the team off it – through such things as community outreach, marketing and sponsorships. And everyone knows full well Wilson has become a huge player in those things as a Seahawks player.

But, the time has come we believe for the organization to begin that process of moving forward and developing the next great QB, and that process needs to begin this spring with a selection of a signal-caller in this year’s NFL Draft. Such a selection is not needed in the first round; we believe there are far bigger needs (offensive line, tight end, running back) to address with that first-round selection. Instead, the QB selection can wait until the second or third rounds. We hope coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, if he remains with the Seahawks as is expected he will following recent rumors that other teams might be interested in hiring him, will look very hard at selecting a QB in the draft.

Carroll, coaching staff future: Another source of tremendous frustration for fans was the performance of Carroll as head coach and more notably his offensive and defensive coordinators, OC Brian Schottenheimer and DC Ken Norton, Jr., all of whom at various points in the season fans called for their dismissals. Those reached a fever pitch following the game yesterday, especially with respect to Schottenheimer.

Carroll, as many of you know, recently signed a long-term contract extension that is likely to keep him as Seattle’s coach until he is ready to retire; he is 70 and is the oldest coach in the NFL currently. But, many fans called for Carroll’s ouster following the game, and postgame comments he made to the media suggesting he hadn’t expected the team to lose the game only added fuel to that fire from fans.

To this, we say this: The man, like it or not, has led this organization, and city, to levels not seen really by any sports organization repping our region perhaps ever. Two trips to the title game known as the Super Bowl. Winning the thing in 2013 in what was Seattle’s first major men’s pro sports title in almost 35 years to that point. Establishing and growing a fan base that has enveloped this region far and wide. And you know what we’re talking about if you’re out and about on Fridays during the season. You go to the grocery store, the post office, school, to grab a latte at Starbucks or Huxdotter’s or wherever in the Valley, you’re likely to see at least one or two people sporting Seahawks blue. So we feel that he deserves to go out on his own terms.

But fans who call for Carroll’s exit likely argue the idea that it is a results-oriented business and it’s all about “what have you done for me lately?”. And that, as you might guess, has been mixed, with a strong start to this season followed by what fans have argued has been a lackluster end. So the argument for the coach’s ouster is a fair one, and it’s certainly worthy of a lot of debate for the organization and its fans this offseason.

But the coordinators are a little bit of a different story. Norton perhaps saved his job with the defense’s improvement down the stretch this season, aided by strong showings from veterans such as Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright and newcomers such as Jamal Adams and Carlos Dunlap, both of whom had their pro football careers literally rescued by the Seahawks when Seattle acquired the players from their previous teams this season. Both players had been playing for teams – Adams with the New York Jets and Dunlap with the Cincinnati Bengals – who had not made the playoffs while they were there and are among the worst in the league.

Schottenheimer, though, is a more interesting case. It is our view that a change there perhaps can be useful for the team moving forward. However, the problem we see is – who do you hire that might be better? The choices, well, we don’t know of any obvious ones. Steve Sarkisian, Carroll’s former OC at the University of Southern California and a former University of Washington head coach, just got hired as a head coach by the University of Texas. Eric Bienemy, a widely regarded NFL assistant, is expected to himself be named a head coach in the NFL once the season ends. There’s others too, perhaps Darrell Bevell, a former Carroll OC in Seattle who is currently the interim head coach of the Detroit Lions that may be in need of a job were that team not to name him the permanent coach replacing former head coach Matt Patricia. So replacing Schottenheimer could be a diffcult question the Seahawks will need to answer this offseason.

The draft: As we just discussed, we call on the Seahawks to draft a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft, but we also noted there the team will have multiple needs to address through that process this season. Chief among those are on the offensive line and at tight end and running back.

With respect to the offensive line, the squad yesterday had its challenges against the Rams, and that didn’t help Wilson’s struggles at all playing in the game yesterday. So that is an area they’ll look at. They can always call up Eastern Washington University alum – and Mount Si High School grad – Chris Schlicting, who played a stellar four years on the Eagle OL from 2015-19, but the days of that happening probably have long since passed. Running back Chris Carson has had some solid production this year, and again did okay yesterday, but veteran Carlos Hyde didn’t exactly with his performance inspire much in the way of confidence from fans and Carson has been known in the past to be an injury risk. You do have rookie DeeJay Dallas, but he was lost for the season recently with an injury and it’s unclear what his future could be with the team. So if the Seahawks can find a good speedy back in the mid-late rounds of the draft in the mold they see of Dallas, that might be a guy you see them pick. As for the tight end position, veteran Greg Olsen saw his season impacted significantly due to injury and there’s a good likelihood he’ll retire and move into television this fall. Jacob Hollister and Will Dissly had their moments and are both solid players in their own rights, but are they ready to be that top TE?

Seattle might be better suited we believe to perhaps look for another stopgap option to compliment those two this offseason in the free-agent wire, then come the 2022 draft, there will be a potentially attractive option for them that could be available, in the form of University of Washington tight end Cade Otton, who is from Tumwater and recently announced he will return for his senior season with the Huskies next fall. If he has a strong season, that could make him NFL draft material, and something fans might not want the Seahawks to pass up in next year’s selection proceedings.

So there you have it. As we head into the offseason, a lot on the plate worth discussing.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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