Change is scary, or so I’ve been told. Maybe I’m too stupid to be scared though. For all the changes, half of the 2009 Seahawks are gone in 2010; this is what I wanted, what I asked for, and what this team needed.
The Seahawks have resisted rebuilding for years, ignoring the piss poor drafting and bad free agency pools, slapping on bandaids instead of tourniquets, and ignoring the humoring for the sunburn. While it’s a bitter pill to swallow, the gutting of the roster had to be done. It’s better to know going into the season that things are going to be rough than it is to think the team is really only one player away.
With that in mind, here’s my preview for the 2010 Seattle Seahawks.
1. Changes – Nine wins in two years isn’t the worst record, but it was a drop of a cliff for a team that won 32 in the three years before that. Pete Carroll came in and took a torch to the roster. Every position was opened up for competition. It didn’t matter where you came from or who drafted you and where. If you got a roster spot, you earned it. That kind of competition works best in college, but tell me that professional athletes don’t get stoked by that. The good ones, the ones that make a difference, do and they are the ones that will turn this around.
2. Quarterback – Now that Kurt Warner is finally gone, Seattle has the best starting QB in the NFC West. Matt Hasselbeck, even this version, is better than anybody lining up for Arizona, St Louis and San Francisco. Of course, the problem is keeping him healthy and on his feet for a full season, something that hasn’t happened in three years. This could get ugly is Charlie Whitehurst takes over. I’m not a fan because he hasn’t shown much improvement or consistency since coming to Seattle.
3. Youth Movement – A lot of the new additions to the roster are youngsters, something that should give the team some high energy and excitement. There are still some veterans around, Lawyer Milloy for one, but it’s possible Seattle’s starting safeties could be rookies in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. I am positively drooling at that thought.
4. Coaching – Pete Carroll has refused to turn the Seahawks into USC North. By cutting LenDale White before training camp and trading Laurence Jackson to Detroit despite Seattle drafting him in the first round, Carroll sent the message that he wasn’t messing around. Although he has a reputation as a player’s coach, training camp was seriously professional and work time was for work. Although I was seriously skeptical, I have been swayed by coach Carroll.
1. Changes – There is good and bad with everything, and while the changes are refreshing, you have to wonder why Kelly Jennings is still starting while Josh Wilson has been traded. How many players that were cut will turn out to be players, and how many that were kept will turn out to be training camp heroes?
2. O-line – The position is a still a jigsaw puzzle and will be missing some serious pieces if first round pick Russell Okung and veteran free agent Ben Hamilton’s injuries carry over into the season.
3. Youth – This could turn ugly if the team comes out of the gate and promptly falls flat on their faces. The vim and vigor will be replaced with dejection and humiliation if Seattle hits the bye in week 5 at a 1-4 record.
4. Coaching – O-line guru Alex Gibbs retired this week, taking everyone by complete surprise. I was very happy with his hiring because I worried that Carroll would be too egotistical to go outside his assistant coaches from USC. Gibbs was an NFL assistant with many years of experience and a history of top offensive lines. His retirement at the brink of the season casts a lot of doubts on a very big problem area for the Seahawks.
1. Turnover – whose jersey should I buy this year? Not Deion Branch, that’s for sure.
2. Aaron Curry – He’s staying in this category until he proves he was worthy of the pick. I have very high hopes for the young man, but he needs to take his over-the-top excitement down just a touch and have a little more control to be effective. I think his progress was hampered by Lofa Tatupu’s injury last season. Hopefully there won’t be any more interruptions.
3. Rebuilding – It’s never easy, it’s rarely quick and it’s almost always ugly.
4. Buy in – Carroll wants his players to buy into his philosophy. Players that don’t, no matter how good they may be, are gone. Witness T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Josh Wilson. Both players are going to be starters wherever they go. While that might work in college, I’ve seen way too many former Seahawks come back to Seattle and punish their former team.
The NFC West, as everyone likes to tell me, is weak. Arizona is nose-diving without Kurt Warner, St Louis is not getting better any faster and San Francisco, although the best team in the division, has serious question marks at QB, O-line, defensive back and coaching. Seattle, if they come out hot, could get nine or ten wins. If they come out slow, they may struggle to match the five wins that they got in 2009.
Bottom line: It’s football, it’s the Seahawks and it’s about damn time. Now let’s light this candle and blow this popsicle stand.