“You’re as good as your record says you are” says Bill Parcells.
3-5 ain't very good. There's plenty of 'bad' to go around on this team right now. However, if they can steer clear of the icebergs, there are some good things for the Seahawks and changes are coming. As ugly as Seattle has looked at times, there are positives; Matt is getting healthy, as is the o-line, there are healthy receivers to throw to, the kicking game is stable, and a very possible change in the GM position looms. This team is not a disaster, but they need to get on a hot streak STAT if the playoffs are to be any kind of reality. Truth be told, that reality is fading fast.
Offense: 22nd in total offense (320.8 ypg. & 20th in scoring. (20.9ppg)
Grade: D+ and rising
Passing game: Amid a plethora of injuries, the passing game has shown it can still be a force. Receiving corp of Burleson, Branch and Carlson are a solid core of consistent receivers. They need to step up their effort full-time with intangibles ie; blocking/finishing routes. This is a good unit that makes catches. Matt is still the franchise and as he goes, so go the Seahawk fortunes. He is still a formidable passer, competitor, and proud Seahawk. B-/C+ and rising.
Running game: Very little productivity. Running backs Jones, Forsett and Griffiths running abilities are at the mercy of a very suspect offensive line. However, out of the backfield as receivers they are very effective. It’ll be interesting to see if the bigger, faster, Louis Rankin will start getting carries and if the line can open some holes consistently. D+/C-. Holding steady.
Offensive line: Injuries and a new blocking scheme have hindered this unit. The loss of Jones is significant, but not surprising. They look horrible one week and competitive the next. They could grow into a decent unit with some help and time together. Draft picks will surely be used to shore up this unit on the off season. D+: Holding steady.
RED FLAG: Where's the red zone offense? Too many field goals. Four against the cowaqrdly Lions and toothless Bears? NFL teams win by scoring touchdowns. This team needs to improve red-zone efficiency via play-calling, execution and sheer desire.
Defense. 13th in total defense (322 ypg) & 13th in scoring (20.9 ppg)
C and holding.
A tough unit to analyze. There’s talent here. They look bad at times yet are in the upper half (13) of the league, statistically. They’ve also been victimized by the Seahawk offense ineptness that goes three-and-out far too often, keeping them on the field too much. Regardless, they need to improve and probably will. The line and 'backers are good. If they can develop and hold their own up front, they'll take pressure off the suspect secondary that is 26th in the leagus against the pass. Once the Seattle offense improves, this defense will have a chance to flourish. C and rising.
Linebackers: Solid group even with Hawthorne filling in for Lofa. He’ll be a starter somewhere next year, maybe even Seattle. I would not be surprised if Lofa’s career declines as injuries take a toll. This is the strength of the team. Is it time to make Kerney a linebacker? B and holding steady.
Defensive Line: ability to pressure the quarterback needs more consistency. Sacks are great, but pressure, containment and fundamental play are what hurt offenses most and lead to three-and-outs and turnovers. They have played some very formidable o-lines this season (Arizona, Indy, Dallas) that can make you look bad. Still, there needs to be more accountability and desire up front. It's time for the new acquisitions to start shining.
Secondary: Continues to be abused when up against big receivers and skillful QB’s like Peyton and Warner. Then again, most secondary’s do. Again, part of the problem is up front where the QB has too much time. Trufant needs to get back to playing speed. The biggest flaw here is that this unit is too small for a division that has a tradition of big physical receivers like Fitzgerald, Holt, Bolquin, etc. Need better coaching and a change in strategy to maximize the talent they have. Head coach Mora was the secondary coach before taking over for Holmgren, yet his students are arguably the weakest link on D. Weird. Need bigger, physical, punishing talent here. D and holding steady.
Special Teams: Sadly, Mare is the team MVP for all the field goals he’s made (14 out of 16) due to the inept red zone offense. There is plenty of speedy talent in the return game. Forsett had a huge blunder against Chicago. They need to step up and break some returns for scores to help the offense. Need better coverage. C+. Holding steady.
I am not swayed by Mora or his staff either way yet. 3-5 is not awe inspiring, but growing pains are to be expected, especially with a new staff, this roster and injuries. Seattle has had brutal losses (Arizona, Indy and Dallas) but also two huge shutouts at home. This team falls somewhere in the middle. This is not a championship caliber team, nor is it a cellar-dweller. They have an interesting mix of youth and veterans. Injuries are hampering this team, along with mental toughness and smart strategy. Consistency, execution, and the player's desire to win is questionable at times. Coaching has to step it up and start getting the most out of this team. 9-7 would be a huge achievement for this team, albeit unlikely.
RED FLAG: Ruskell has not been offered an extension and Holmgren is said to covet the job. Is Tim a lame duck keeping Mike’s seat warm for him until next season? Is this good or bad? This would be three straight years of transition. Continuity is a huge part of success. IS there a plan in place or is this a franchise adrift? Ruskell is replaceable, but let’s hope the team takes a step up in that crucial area.
Overall grade: D+
Games out of first: 2
Playoff forecast: Gloomy
Predicted finish: 7-9
First round draft picks: two
Countdown to Ruskell's likely departure and possible Holmgren reunion: Eight Games.