The Seahawks face an uphill battle in 2011 after eking their way into the playoffs last season with a 7-9 record. They managed to beat the defending world champ Saints in the Wild Card Round but with that opportunity they bought themselves a division winner's schedule. The Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh, Dallas, Chicago, and to New York to take on the Giants and they also host Atlanta, Baltimore, and Philadelphia in 2011. Yeesh.
The Seahawks are a team that has completely overhauled their roster in just over a year, and only a handful of players remain from the team that John Schneider and Pete Carroll inherited after the 2009 season, and most of these remaining holdovers have taken pay cuts. This front office is cold blooded, in the best of ways. With the Hawks' issues at many spots, including the ever-important quarterback position, this schedule could end up being very brutal to a team that, for all intents and purposes, is as much a total rebuild as you're going to see in the modern NFL.
There are some intriguing things to watch this season. The development or failure of new quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will be the main storyline and if he fails to live up to Pete Carroll and Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell's bidding, Charlie Whitehurst will be waiting in the wings to prove his detractors wrong. The Seahawks have added several high-profile free agents, receiver Sidney Rice and tight end Zach Miller, and they will be fun to watch as well and should help the Seahawks passing attack improve.
Keep an eye out for the Seahawks run game. They overhauled the offensive line with key additions of a 1st round draft pick, right tackle James Carpenter, a 3rd round draft pick, guard John Moffitt, and free agent left guard Robert Gallery. They hired respected offensive line coach Tom Cable to give new additions from last season, Marshawn Lynch and Leon Washington, a better chance at breaking free past the line.
If I had to guess on an overall record, I'd probably put my money on 5-11. I'd love to see the Seahawks surprise some people this season like they did last year against the Chargers and Saints, to name a few, but that is my conservative guess. Let's see if they prove me wrong.
Breakout Player Candidates
A couple players capable of breakout seasons are second year tight end Anthony McCoy and second year strong safety Kam Chancellor. Both players have looked great in training camp and the preseason, and could find themselves grabbing some attention in 2011. One player that is the darkhorse to steal some snaps from Seattle's established starters is undrafted free agent rookie receiver Doug Baldwin, out of Stanford. Simply put, he's been stellar, and has been the biggest surprise thus far for the Seahawks.
Best Media Personalities In Seattle
The Seahawks media darlings and probable 'faces of the franchise' at the moment are running Marshawn Lynch and wide receiver Mike Williams, in my opinion. Both are excellent interviews (for different reasons... let's just say Marshawn Lynch is a weird dude, also in the best of ways) and consistently provide entertaining sound bites and quotes. They'll look to lead their team to a winning record in 2011.