Disclaimer: I have been a Seahawks fan since moving to the Northwest in 1983 and a season ticket holder since 1999. When I hear other team’s fans complain about the bad times, I shake my head. Been there, done that, no way do I want to go back.
Here is my foolproof guide to keep winning the NFC West, get back to the Super Bowl and avoid going back to the season from Hell, otherwise known as 1992 (2-14 and Ken Behring).
1) Start at the top.
Mike Holmgren is the head coach, at least for the one year left on his contract. Groom Jim Mora Jr. as the successor and keep your assistant coaches together. Jim Zorn is long over due to move from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. Get him there while you have Holmgren around.
2) Prudence in free agency.
No need to spend as freely as we have done the last few years, but Paul Allen’s checkbook needs to open up wide on the place we need a veteran — the offensive line. Alan Faneca will not be cheap but he will plug the hole that has been gaping in our line since Steve Hutchinson took his poison pill, claims of disrespect, and mean streak to Minnesota after the 2005 Super Bowl season. The problems with the running game were a combination of a few things but everything begins with the line and the fix is to get Faneca. Write his name in permanent marker next to Walter Jones, move Rob Sims to right guard and the antique Chris Gray to the bench.
3) Go wild in the draft.
The biggest problem positions for the Seahawks last season were at running back and tight end. This years draft is deepest in those two positions. The Seahawks should put bulls-eyes on Jonathon Stewart (Oregon), Darren McFadden (Arkansas), or Rashard Mendenhall (Illinois) at running back. For tight ends, look at Fred Davis (USC), John Carlson (Notre Dame), or Martin Rucker (Missouri) or go with one of the four juniors that have declared themselves eligible. In the later rounds, draft three or four 300-pound plus defensive linemen to plug holes on that side of the line.
4) Figure out what to do with Shaun Alexander.
The passing game does not work as well in adverse conditions. Even New England, a pass happy offense early in the season, has been working the ground game harder as the season wore on. Should we just dump Shaun now? That would be a knee jerk reaction. According to ESPN writer John Clayton, the Seahawks would only save around $125,000 if they cut Alexander now as opposed to bringing him into training camp and cutting him by August 1st. Alexander, for his part, claims that his woes are down to injuries he’s suffered the last two years. If that is true, bringing him to camp and letting him show his stuff doesn’t hurt anyone.