With the 2017-2018 NFL regular season wrapped up, this seems to be a very different season in regards to team performances and playoffs. For just the fifth time in NFL history, a team failed to win a single game and finish with a 0-16 record, which was the Cleveland Browns, even though they obtained some great draft picks last year, like Jabrill Peppers and Myles Garrett. Also, we had star players around the league with season-ending injuries, like the Minnesota Vikings’ running back Dalvin Cook and the Green Bay Packers’ most dominant quarterback Aaron Rodgers. A huge headline this year is the Seattle Seahawks and their failure to make the playoffs, which would’ve been their sixth consecutive appearance. Their season has been riddled with injuries all around the depth chart, but besides that, what went so wrong?
To start off, the Seahawks have been top contenders for the past couple of seasons when it comes to their postseason performances. They have been to the Super Bowl twice, and they won it once in 2014 against the Denver Broncos. Last year, they came 1st in their division, the NFC West, and they lost in the Divisional Round in the playoffs to the Atlanta Falcons. Coming into this season, the Seahawks and their league-known fans known as the “12th Man” were in high hopes of a great season performance, as well as a good postseason run. The first five games for them weren’t exactly considered a dream start, as they were 3-2, losing to the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, and the Tennessee Titans in Week 3. By Week 5, the Seahawks already had many players on their injury report, some serious. Noteworthy injuries included star wide receiver Doug Baldwin and lockdown cornerback Richard Sherman, both suffering another groin injury.
By Week 10, the Seahawks were still battling with crucial players being sidelined due to injuries. Known as one of the league’s best free safeties, Earl Thomas received a really bad hamstring injury after chasing down Houston Texans’ wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a very tense home win in Week 8.
The Seahawks ended their season with a 9-7 record after losing to the Arizona Cardinals with a very close 26-24 home loss due to a missed field goal by Blair Walsh in the dying seconds. Walsh had consistently missed many field goals that could’ve been game-changing all season long. The injury report by the end of the season was lengthy, including many stars like strong safety Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, and Michael Bennett. Richard Sherman sustained a frightening torn Achilles tendon injury in-game, and he knew instantly that he was injured and was in a terrible mood all throughout the rest of the game, benched on the sidelines.
A huge issue of concern for the Seahawks have to be their offensive line, which have been struggling the whole season, both due to injuries and the lack of experience they have. Even though they signed Duane Brown, a former Houston Texans and 3-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle, their line still struggled. He injured himself a few times along the course of the season, which overall didn’t really improve their situation, and with the inclusion of many rookie linemen, their line looked very bad this season.
With a weak line, that also means that their star quarterback, Russell Wilson, had less time to make decisions in the pocket. This past season, more than ever, powerful defensive players were able to get through the line rather quickly and easily, and ultimately get to Wilson to blow up the play. Numerous times has this happened this year, and Wilson is faced with four options most of the time in the event of a blown up play, he could either throw the ball out-of-bounds, get tackled for a loss, lob the ball downfield and hope for an open receiver to catch, or scramble out of the pocket and rush the ball, which has proved to be quite a skill for him. Russell has prior experience with baseball, which helps him in a fascinating way when he’s faced to make sharp cuts in different directions, sliding, and even throwing the ball. It’s safe to say that Wilson has bailed out the team numerous times, as clutch scrambles for many yards in a tight situation is not considered hard for him, as well as throwing it at the last second and creating “highlight-reel” plays out of nothing.
Unfortunately, the Seahawks’ recent performances and efforts haven’t been up to par compared to their performances in the last few seasons. A huge issue this season has to be all the penalties they have gotten. They led the league in most yards from penalties, at 148 penalties for 1,342 yards, which is astounding. When you dig deeper, 23 of those penalties appear to be offensive holding, and most of the time, that’s targeted at the line.
Since the season ended, there has been many modifications to the entire team, including the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been fired after seven seasons with the team, including witnessing their impressive Super Bowl win against the Denver Broncos four years ago. They also fired their offensive line coach Tom Cable after seven seasons, as well as defensive coordinator Kris Richard. They are switching up both sides of the ball when it comes to coaching, and they appear to want to have a “fresh start” in their staff for the next couple of seasons. As we can see from recent changes, they are optimistic to try new things on both offense and defence.
With all these changes to the team, and undoubtedly all the hard work they are going to have in the off-season with training all the rookies to their full potential, the Seahawks could bounce back and have an amazing season next year regaining their status as one of the NFL’s best teams.