SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 30: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks drops back against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on August 30, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Raiders 21-3. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
The Seahawks didn't score much in 2011, or prior years, but the addition of Russell Wilson could change everything.
He'd probably swing a deal for a championship NBA team the moment he was elected.
There is a lot of hype around the Pacific Northwest right now about these Seattle Seahawks. I know because I should reveal that this is my team. I will try to be as unbiased as possible and I think I will give a fair review to all of these players while being realistic about what we should expect from this offense. /ducks
Hype around this team is building quickly and hope abound that Seattle can finish outside of the bottom-third in offense for the first time since 2007. The loss of Steve Hutchinson over a half-decade ago and the deterioration of All-World All-Time left tackle Walter Jones left the offense in a pile. A gross pile that has left the offense 23rd or worse in scoring in each of the last four seasons.
However, GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have done an excellent job of building up the defense into a top ten (five?) unit that's beating on the door of elite status that could lead the league in turnovers if everything broke right. All that's really left is to see an offense, specifically a passing offense, that can keep the defense off the field for at least half the game. With a fair amount of new faces, including a new (and beautiful) face at the most important position of all, it's hard to say exactly what the offense will look like this year. But I'll try.
2011 Record: 7-9
I confidently stated for months that Wilson would not be the starter to open his rookie season, so you know my predictions are solid as hell. Third round QBs don't start immediately. He's the lowest drafted player to start week 1 at QB since Kyle Orton in 2005. And he wasn't going to be forced into action because the team had Matt Flynn, and until recently Tarvaris Jackson, so it wasn't likely going to be necessary. Then he made it necessary.
Wilson is a special kind of QB. His sub-six feet height dropped him from a first round pick to a third round pick and he showed how ridiculous that falling draft stock was by outworking everybody (including Flynn, who wasn't the one showing up at 6:30 AM every day to study) and then executing on the field during the preseason. It wasn't long before Wilson had control of the offense and the respect of the veterans. He's not the perfect QB yet by any means, but he's athletic, smart, willing, and ready to be THE GUY for the Seahawks right now. At least a year before I had ever expected it.
As long as the guard play is sound, his height should be a non-issue and even then his ability makes it seem like a ridiculous notion to begin with. There haven't been many quarterbacks in the last 30 years to succeed at the NFL level at 6' or shorter. Wilson, so far, has shown that he's one of those exceptions. I expect that they'll be conservative with the passing game and that Danger Russ will run up some good yards and scores on the ground because of the specific tasks he'll face with his protection, receivers, and NFC West defenses. I'm not expecting him to do a whole lot more than give Seattle the best chance to win, while his stats might be too conservative for fantasy owners in year one. Though I think that dual-threat QBs that start are always must-own as a bench option at least.
2012 Projection: 60%, 3,300 yards, 17 TD, 13 INT. 450 rushing yards and 5 TD.
I think that backup Matt Flynn definitely did enough to win the starting job if it weren't for the superior presence of Wilson. He just got outplayed, period. If asked to start for any reason, I think that he'll be a conservative play in the mold of Matt Cassel.
He didn't look good in his first season with the Hawks until Beastquake rocked the world. At the beginning of 2011, it's easy to forget that Beastquake had no shake and bake, he flaked and it was make or break. (Sorry. That came out of nowhere.) Then something happened and the Skittles, Beast Mode, Money Lynch phenomenon took over as he became one of the most consistent running backs in the game, scoring at least one TD in eleven straight games including being the first to score on the ground against the 49ers. It was easily the most outstanding season of his career and we saw that something special that made him a top prospect out of Cal.
He was rewarded with a big contract in the offseason, but suspicion of DUI and the same back spasms that kept him out of the Browns game in 2011 (not exactly the same because that would be a long bout of spasms) have put a damper on the start of Lynch's 2012 season. People are questioning the validity of whether or not Lynch could repeat it, and I get that. I feel that. More than anything, Robert Turbin gives Seattle their first real backup running back that they've had in a long while. He's a guy that could conceivably (and might have to in week 1) step in and take 20-25 carries unlike Forsett or Leon Washington. I think he'll snag some considerable carries in relief.
2012 Projection: 245 carries, 1,050 yards, 10 TD, 150 receiving yards.
Turbin was the fourth round pick out of Utah State that has earned a "Hulk" nickname because of his massive biceps and ridiculous frame. If I had a body like that, maybe I wouldn't be so single. Lynch is too young to need an heir apparent right now, but Turbin could have a real future in the league. He'll do well with maybe 1 or 2 starts this year, depending on Lynch health, and a few relief carries.
2012 Projection: 100 carries, 430 yards, 5 TD
Michael Robinson does the blocking, while Leon Washington comes in for spot duty and punt returns.
I wouldn't call it a curse but the Seahawks have really struggled to find "the guy" at wide receiver. Steve Largent led the team in receiving yards in each of their first twelve seasons, but no receiver has led them for more than four seasons total since. (Darrell Jackson and Joey Galloway.) There hasn't been one elite franchise receiver since Largent. The 2011 signing of Sidney Rice was meant to change that, but like previous signings and draft picks like Koren Robinson, Seattle just hasn't been able to get it done.
It's not a curse though, it's the same old story with Rice, who has missed at least three games in four of his five NFL seasons. Rice played in just nine games in 2011 and finished with 484 yards. You can see "it" when you see him play, that factor that makes him a number one wide receiver. You just can't see it consistently because he can't stay on the field. He's the kind of guy that needs 16 games in order to rack up big numbers for the season. (During his breakout 2009 season he had nine games of 70 yards or less, one game of 201 yards) Now recovered from offseason surgery on both shoulders, what can we really expect in the long run?
2012 Projection: 12 games, 750 yards, 45 catches, 5 TD (With acknowledgment that he has the ability to top 1,200)
Dougie Fresh is better than most people may realize, though his role may be defined into one that doesn't yield consistent high-end fantasy production in his second year. My biggest concern is the lack of reps Baldwin has with Wilson after missing significant time with hamstring issues. He's got the same work ethic as Wilson though, the kind that turned him from an undrafted free agent in April to the Seahawks leading receiver in his first year.
2012 Projection: 70 catches, 850 yards, 6 TD
The Seahawks brought in Antonio Bryant, Edwards, and Owens at different times in order to try and solidify a group that lacked depth and experienced talent. Edwards was the only one that stuck because he was the only one that the team must have thought had anything left. (I don't see Owens or Bryant on any teams right now, either.) He's getting the first shot at starting opposite of Rice because of an injury to Tate, and I think he could surprise. However, there wasn't a lot of competition in a conservative SF offense last year and he didn't do anything. I'm hopeful but not confident.
I think Edwards could finish in the neighborhood of 600 yards, maybe with a couple of 100 yard games.
I like Tate a lot more than most and I think if you watch him play you'll see sparks of what made him a second round pick. Incredibly gifted in the open field, can make a highlight catch, if Tate ever put it all together he could be a real threat at WR2 or Flex in the future. I'd like to see him do it consistently though. His production depends a lot on how Edwards produces to start the year, but Tate has athletic ability to get in the game in various formations and positions.
Obo and Charly aren't worth owning but Martin impressed in the preseason to force himself a spot over more notable names.
Zach Miller and Evan Moore
I don't think that the team ever expected to pay Kellen Winslow his full salary, but if he had performed and proved critical, they would have had to change their mind. He didn't do enough to do that so they let him go when he didn't want a pay cut and signed Moore from Cleveland, a former wide receiver.
Out of the two, I'd say that Moore has higher fantasy value but we've never seen him play with Wilson and we don't know yet what he'll bring to the Seahawks this year. When he's in, it's likely because he's there to catch the ball which could get him 4-6 touchdowns.
I like Miller but I was also frustrated with him at times in 2011, a career-worst season for receiving. I think the presence of both means that neither will be of much fantasy value in 2012, but Moore has the higher ceiling at this point to produce. Additionally, Wilson had a good rapport with Anthony McCoy in the passing game. It's too crowded to own any of these guys right now.
2012 Projection: Nobody tops 400 yards, I don't think.