The replacements, Brandon Browner, a CFL retread, and Richard Sherman, a former Stanford wide receiver in his first year, didn’t inspire confidence but they did allow Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to play a much more aggressive and physical style.
With safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, arguably the best young safety combo in the league, this style skyrocketed the defense up into the top ten in the league.
Overall, Seattle started 2011 going 2-6 before finishing out 5-3. There was no game, apart from the Charlie Whitehurst fiasco in Cleveland that the Seahawks didn’t compete to the final whistle. In fact, Seattle surprised Baltimore at home and the Super Bowl-winning NY Giants in the Big Apple.
After a roster turnover the last two years that resembled a tornado sweeping through the Seahawks, last season saw the foundations set. This season the team seems set in a lot of positions. With the religion of competition that Pete Carroll preaches constantly, no player can afford to rest on their laurels.
I was worried when Carroll was hired that the Seahawks would become a resting place for all USC alumni, especially when he traded for LenDale White during the first draft under the Carroll/Schneider regime. I felt a lot more confident when White was cut before training camp.
If Matt Flynn proves he’s not a flash in the pan, Seattle looks like they can compete with the surprising San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals (who refuse to go away). He looked good against Tennessee—not perfect, but definitely good.
I am not feeling the arrogant confidence that Mike Holmgren earned. Pete Carroll still has to prove there is more to his game than pom-poms.
A fast start against a very tough opening schedule would go a long way towards that end. The first three games have Seattle traveling to Arizona before returning home to face Dallas and Green Bay on Monday Night Football.
That should be enough time to know if this team is ready to step up or to still barely tread water.
Photo credits: Marshawn Lynch corn maze image: kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com; Three QBs image: Tim Booth/AP; Kam Chancellor image: seahawks.com.