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NFL Draft

Seahawks Will Have Successful 2021 Season If…

  • The Draft Network
  • July 5, 2021
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Super Bowl or bust.

Since Russell Wilson’s ascent to superstardom, those have been the Seattle Seahawks’ expectations year in and year out. The only problem? The last seven years have all been busts.

Sure, for most teams, seven years would be a completely normal and expected drought. If Cleveland Browns fans were told they’d win a Super Bowl and then still make seven out of the next eight playoffs, they’d sign up in a millisecond. The same goes for Jacksonville Jaguars fans, Houston Texans fans, New York Jets fans—heck pretty much anyone not rooting for New England or Tom Brady in recent years. One thing has become very clear over many wacky games, bold trades, and unreal plays, however: the Seahawks are no ordinary team.

A franchise-caliber quarterback, multiple star wideouts, a Hall of Fame linebacker, and a budding star safety create expectations—expectations the Seahawks have failed to meet year in and year out, whether it be due to poor coaching, a leaky offensive line, pass coverage struggles, or a simple lack of depth all across the board. Although Seahawks fans are somewhat spoiled over a decade worth of ‘successful’ seasons, they have every right to be upset over how the last seven years have played out for their franchise. After back-to-back championship runs in 2013 and 2014, it looked like a dynasty reminiscent of the Belichick/Brady era in New England was on the way in the pacific northwest. Instead, the Seahawks have looked a lot more like the McCarthy/Rodgers Packers ever since, racking up early playoff defeats year in and year out while wasting the career of a one-of-a-kind quarterback in the process.

Yet to make another title game since 2014, let alone a conference final, the Seahawks have been dealt multiple wild-card losses, divisional round-losses, and even missed the playoffs altogether in 2018. Each year that goes by eats at another year of Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, and Duane Brown’s prime. It may seem weird and unnecessary to call a perennial 10-plus win team in a 32-team league a disappointment, but that’s exactly what Seattle has been ever since 2014: disappointing.

It hasn’t been for a lack of trying—swinging for the fences with players like Jimmy Graham, Rashaad Penny, and Germaine Ifedi were made in the attempt to capitalize on this Super Bowl window—it’s just all those moves severely backfired in the process. And although coaching has been something that has held the organization back in recent years, they haven’t been afraid to make moves to try and help Wilson when needed (outside of Carroll/Schneider, of course), firing coordinators Darrell Bevell and Kris Richard a few years ago and then Brian Schottenheimer this offseason.

The hope is that Schottenheimer’s replacement, former Los Angeles Rams assistant Shane Waldron, can sync up with Wilson in a way those other coordinators couldn’t, but I’m not so sure. Wilson—as great as he is—loves to play a lot of hero ball and I legitimately thought Schottenheimer did a great job with reigning in Wilson’s mechanics and scheming up deep shots to play to Wilson’s advantages as a thrower. Sure, people criticized him for his inability to adapt when the deep shot/long-ball game got covered up, especially late in the 2020 season, but exactly how much of that was on coaching and how much of it was on Wilson?

Coming from a Rams system that implements more underneath passing, Waldron will no doubt help answer that question this season. If he helps get Wilson to convert a bit of his ‘home-run” mentality for more of a quick-game approach (including more of a willingness to throw hot-reads), we’ll see that the right offensive coordinator can unlock Wilson’s unorthodox traits and fit them within a great system (think how Aaron Rodgers’ overall game improved when moving from Mike McCarthy to Matt LaFleur).

If not, Wilson will still be who he’s always been: magic in a bottle and capable of completely electric spurts, but not consistent enough to achieve his first-ever MVP award nor dominant enough to make up for Seattle’s deficiencies in other areas. The Seahawks should still be a Super Bowl contender regardless, but if Wilson truly can improve his rhythm passing and ability to play within structure, Seattle is the clear favorite in the NFC.

With this in mind, it’s once again a Super Bowl or bust situation in Seattle. It’s a loaded conference and they have their fair share of holes, but knowing the improvements that can be made and the closing window of their superstars, the only successful season for Seattle is one where they make the big game.

It’s really that simple.

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