Thursday, September 02, 2010

Seahawks So Far

You know, I really didn’t know what to expect when Pete Carroll was selected to be the new head man at Seahawk World.  Would his enthusiastic approach work with pro players?  Especially veterans?  I thought that his previous record as an NFL head coach was just fine, given that he got just one season, and two seasons at his two stops.  That is just not enough time to put your program in place: not enough time to get the personnel you want for your system, not enough time to test that system (and yes, I feel this way about Jim Mora too.  His career was capriciously damaged, and while the team has the right to go a different way if desired, it really was a Florida State-style mess to ignore Mike Holmgren’s likely desire to stay on and get the team back to a level he could feel good about leaving, name Mora coach in waiting, then give him just one year with poor personnel?  Lame.  Lame.  Lame.). 

So, back to Coach Carroll.  I think he is likely to get much better defensive play  out of this team and the new players added.  I think that better line play and a solid receiving corps will show that if he isn’t being pounded into the turf and rushed on every play, Matt Hasselbeck is still a damn good quarterback.  Perhaps seeing the impact Steve Sarkesian has had at the University of Washington and the immediate change in the players and program from moribund and impotent to on the move and expecting great things, has given me a positive feel for the way Coach Carroll’s upbeat ways will forge a new spirit in a team that has fallen like a rock from the elite to the effete the past two seasons.

A better group of players, the sense of meritocracy, the competitiveness at every position every week, the willingness to adapt to personnel, give players second chances, make quick decisions when the second chance ain’t going anywhere…what I am seeing is a team that is competitive, improved in personnel, willing to adapt, has chemistry and a sense of aggressiveness that has been missing of late.  These are all good things, and I won’t be surprised to see this team finish first or second in the division (depending on how the Cardinals work out their offensive problems and the 49ers hold up over a season.  Especially if the line can gel by the end of the bye week, there are some good playmakers (Housh, Forsett, Carlson, a rejuvenated Mike Williams, maybe Leon Washington and maybe Branch), and I am absolutely convinced that Matt can still get the offense as revved up as any QB in the league (if his line allows him some time, and makes some holes for the running game).

I can’t predict how the season will work out – too much is up in the air with Arizona, the 49ers and the Hawks to have a strong sense of how the long season will end,  But I really do have the feeling now that the team is improved in all phases of the game, has chemistry that has been missing, and is lining up for seconds at the Pete Carroll enthusiasm and chemistry buffet.  My guess:

Seattle Seahawks Schedule

Game (Result) Record
SF at Seattle  (Hawks) 1-0
Seattle at Denver (Broncos) 1-1
San Diego at Seattle (Hawks) 2-1
Seattle at St. Louis (Hawks) 3-1
Seattle at Chicago (Bears) 3-2
Arizona at Seattle (Hawks) 4-2
Seattle at Oakland (Hawks) 5-2
NY Giants at Seattle (Hawks) 6-2
Seattle at Arizona (Cardinals) 6-3
Seattle at New Orleans (Saints) 6-4
Kansas City at Seattle (Hawks) 7-4
Carolina at Seattle (Panthers) 7-5
Seattle at SF (Hawks) 8-5
Atlanta at Seattle (Hawks) 9-5
Seattle at Tampa Bay (Bucs) 9-6
St. Louis at Seattle (Hawks) 10-6

The great thing about this prediction is that it assumes the defense plays great, and helps the offense with takeaways and tough red zone play over the first few weeks.  By the time of the bye, the O line should be gelling and healthy – good lord willing and the creek don’t rise – and the good start plus home field advantage helps the team get on a roll.  The 12th man is valuable, but not if a team can’t win on the road, as has been the Hawks pattern recently.  In my (hopeful?) prediction here, I am assuming a 3-5 record on the road (better, but not world-beating), and a 7-1 record at home.  That may be tough with Atlanta, Carolina, SF, Arizona and the Giants, but I really think they’ll return to home form.  We shall see.  And luckily, for those of you who enjoy poking me when I am wrong, well, this may just give you the chance to do so four or five times.

I’m truly looking forward to seeing Coach Carroll’s approach and how it translates in the NFL.  And whatever happens, he better get more than one season to “git ‘er done!”

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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