Seattle was as unremarkable as they have ever been in 2008, which was a tough pill to swallow for fans who saw the team return all 11 starters on defense and an all-pro offensive line.
But few teams fielded the amont of injuries that Seattle did, and felt those injuries strike so critically in vulnerable areas. Most teams suffer the equivalent of falling down the stairs: you're battered and bruised, you have nicks and scrapes, and you may have even broken a bone or two. Seattle suffered a catastrophic double amputation.
|Record||Rush Off.||Pass Off.||Scoring Off.||Total Off.||Rush Def.||Pass Def.||Scoring Def.||Total Def.|
|Football Outsiders||Total DVOA||Rush Off.||Pass Off.||Offense DVOA||Weight Off. DVOA||Rush Def.||Pass Def.||Defense DVOA||Weight Def. DVOA|
As far as overarching strategy is concerned, Seattle will be looking to address depth concerns at the two worst hit positions from injuries last year: wide receiver and offensive line. Beyond that they need to look at addressing the consistency and talent levels of their secondary and defensive line. With a solid plan and a little luck, 2008 may just be a bump in the road of perrennial NFC West Domination.
It is tough when you lose a starter on the offensive line, but you have to find a way to pick yourself up and move on. Sometimes though, a team will lose two starters on the offensive line, and the task becomes one of epic difficulty.
Seattle lost all five projected starters on offensive line to IR before the season mercifully ended. No doubt Holmgren was beginning to feel the inclement danger, lest fate mistake him for an offensive lineman. The worst news out of the group may have been Pro-bowler Walter Jones needing microfracture surgery. Every indication is that he will be ready for camp, but there are concerns as to how well the aging veteran will respond to the surgery.
Since it all starts with the trenches, after dealing with oline depth, Seattle will probably wnat to prioritize the search for help at defensive tackle to pair with up and comer Brandon Mebane. After picking up Red Bryant in the 2007 draft, the position looked stocked with potential, but young DTs can't absorb much of a cramp in their long developmental periods, and Bryant ended up succumbing to an injury, which was a red flag issue for him coming out of college. Stud DT Rocky Bernard was underwhelming, and with FA impending, it is highly likely that Seattle will want to look elsewhere, while some team is bound to overpay for promises of future return with Rocky. Though Seattle has capable backups at the position, they really need to target some talent, as stopping the run needs to be their #1 defensive priority.
At WR the Seahawk fans are probably getting tired of the IF/THAN scenarios. IF Deion Branch can acheive and maintain a high level of play, IF Nate Burleson can get healthy, and recover fully from ACL surgery, IF GM Ruskell is not to upset with veteran leader Bobby Engram holding out for more money, well, THAN MAYBE Seattle can reduce the level of alarm at the devestated WR position. BUT. And frankly, that is a big but, and those are a lot of ifs.
One priority for Seattle will be to make a decision before the 19th on LB Leroy Hill. A month ago the decision was easy: franchise Hill and try to find a way to get the steallr LB resigned. Recent trouble off the field, involving a drug related arrest, may make the Seahawks balk at the high tender of the franchise tag. If they feel that Hill's value has dropped significantly on the market, expect them to leave the tag alone.
Retaining key free agents "Porkchop" Womack and Ray Willis on the offensive line should be a key element to free agency for the 'Hawks, but Willis may end up getting larger offers than most expect, as he showed himself capable and with a mean streak. Another intriguing free agent will be RB Maurice Morris, who showed flashes and a 4.3 ypc average, but with 2 starting caliber RBs already signed ahead of him, including highly touted FA Julius Jones, Morris may be the odd man out.
In Mocking Dan's latest Mock Draft, stellar WR talent Michael Crabtree eases into the #4 slot. Medical issues may have the most impact on what Seattle does at this position. Will Womack be up to his usual standard? Is the WR position as depleted as it appears? If Seattle resigns Bobby Engram, and reports come out that Branch and Burleson are healthy and will be ready for camp, OTs Eugene Monroe, Michael Oher, or Andre Smith may be the ones getting the call.
|4. Seattle Seahawks|
Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: Outside of 36-year-old Bobby Engram, none of Seattle's wide receivers strike fear in opposing defenses. Although finding a quality offensive tackle will be enticing, Walter Jones still has a few good seasons left.