Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Seahawks -- A look back, a look forward

Oh, what could have been. The Seahawks played their best game of the season last Sunday. And it was almost enough -- almost -- to escape Chicago for a win. But after blowing not one, not two, but three shots at getting into field position to win with a Josh Brown field goal, every genuine Hawks fan has to admit the better team won last week.

And you know what? I feel ok about that. I would have loved to see us play the Saints, of course, but after a season of ridiculous injuries, a season without any continuity or rythm, I feel pretty good about making the divisional playoffs and forcing overtime against a 13-3 team. Unlike the Super Bowl last year, where I felt robbed and brutalized by the officiating, this was an honest loss.

Ok, so now all eyes can immediately turn to the long offseason. Here are some key questions going for the days, weeks and months ahead:

1. Whither Matt Hasselbeck? The biggest surprise this year was the apparent regression of Matt Hasselbeck at QB. I know all the excuses: the patchwork o-line, the injuries at WR, and Hass's various ailments. To me, those might explain a dip in numbers. What they cannot explain is his very questionable throws into traffic that resulted in way too many interceptions. If you look at their season statistics, Seneca Wallace played at virtually the same level that Hass did. Does that mean Seneca should be the starter? No. But we now have some questions at the QB position, and you can bet Coach Walrus will be very attentive to Hass during training camp and preseason.

2. Our $50 million running back problem. I said it after the Super Bowl loss: we shouldn't resign Shaun. The number of RBs who have had as many carries at his age who continued to produce can be counted on one hand. Three fingers, actually: Eric Dickerson, Emmitt Smith, and Curtis Martin. Nonetheless, the Hawks front office wimped out and resigned him to a huge contract. Predictably, Shaun got injured and averaged about 3.7 yards per carry when he could play. Maurice Morris, who I semisecretly thought would be better, played about the same (though Mo has no ability to sniff the endzone like #37). So now we are stuck. What really bothers me is that, even if we draft a good rookie RB this offseason (unlikely in any event), we'll still feel obligated to give Shaun his carries. I'm very depressed about this.

3. Who stays, who goes? The Hawks have a bunch of interesting free agents this year, including Darrell Jackson and DJ Hackett -- both great, both injured, one old, one young -- Josh Brown, and Jerramy Stevens. It's that last guy who's going to give the front office fits. He was all but guaranteed to depart before the playoffs -- then he stepped up huge in the Cowboys game. And don't forget Walrus drafted him, and has a particular fondness for him. There aren't many quality TEs available this offseason -- the best is probably Daniel Graham from NE, and he ain't that good. But at what point do we give up on Stevens' "potential" and look to someone else?

4. Defensive needs. Although the Hawks defense really started to come on at the end of the year, there are more than a few question marks. First, the good news: we'll get Marcus Tubbs back, who's an absolute beast at stopping the run. The bad news: who knows for how long? He's what they call injury prone. We've also got serious questions at cornerback -- Jennings may not be the answer -- and safety, and defensive end too.


Anonymous Jimmimoose said...

I actually think the Hawks are in pretty decent shape for next season without too much changing besides getting healthy. We don't have any glaring needs, methinks....

Tubbs' health is going to be an important aspect in how good we can be on defense next year, did you read the numbers that Sando put up today. Damn!

But our secondary has a few players coming back who I think are at least adequate starting-level players in the NFL, if not a touch above average. I think Trufant and Jennings are fine, with Green hopefully providing some depth.

I want to keep Josh Brown, and though I fear his hands, Jerremy Stevens is a pretty damn decent blocker, too, (Ashworth can go, Data Security my ass!), so I think we should retain him if we can. Otherwise I just want to see moves made for depth, basically. I love the effort of D-Jack this year when he was in there, but I think Hackett is a better receiver for us next year (and likely cheaper).

So basically, I go into this offseason pretty excited about next year. I think we've a pretty good chance of being in the superbowl hunt once again (alas, I'll be in Cairo for the entire season, dammit).

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch for humorous blog take on Nintendo's Wii.

Hawks should let Djack walk... and sign Stevens.
-John (signing in anonymously because Blogger sucks.)

11:40 PM  

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