Until the 2014 regular season starts, the Seattle Seahawks are the best team in the NFL. Winning the Lombardi Trophy is every team’s dream, but it comes at a cost. No championship team has won back to back titles since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. The race begins Thursday to see if Seattle can break the so-called Super Bowl hangover. Meanwhile, here are five reasons why the Seattle Seahawks will not make the playoffs this season.
The Seahawks are taking a hit from injuries. Seattle was one of the healthier teams last season. Their starters accounted for 44 total games missed. Injuries are bound to occur when the team plays more games. Veterans James Carpenter, Kam Chancellor, Russell Okung, Malcolm Smith, and Bobby Wagner sat out most of the offseason because of injuries. While they are on the field, it will be important for them to stay healthy.
According to the Seahawks website, there are several players on Seattle’s roster who are listed on the injury report. Among the injured are Cooper Helfet (knee), Bruce Irvin (hip), Jeremy Lane (groin), Christine Michael (hamstring), Kevin Norwood (ankle), Kevin Pierre-Louis (hamstring), and Tharold Simon (knee). Irvin, Lane, and Norwood have participated less than 100% of their normal repetitions and the other five have not practiced. There are also eight players on injured reserve: C.J. Daniels, Heath Farwell, Lemuel Jeanpierre, A.J. Jefferson, Anthony McCoy, Taylor Price, D’Anthony Smith, and Jesse Williams.
A good portion of Super Bowl teams dismantle during the offseason. Players become greedy. They want a higher salary, more endorsements, and want the spotlight. You’re probably thinking, “Seattle’s players aren’t greedy,” but let’s discuss this offseason.
Doug Baldwin, Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman, and Earl Thomas signed new contracts. Sherman and Thomas’ contracts make them the one of the highest or the highest paid player in their positions. The 2013 Seahawks were mostly on rookie contracts. As those contracts expire, Seattle will need to figure how to manage their money appropriately in order to keep as many players as possible.
Marshawn Lynch held out of training camp for eight days. He wants more money, but Seattle’s front office has declined. Beast Mode is reaching the age of 30, the NFL’s average age for running backs is 25. Lynch is the power house for the Seahawks and has ongoing knee problems. He needs to continue to perform well at an older age for the team to have a chance. If Robert Turbin and Christine Michael show coaches they can perform well this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks decide to trade Lynch elsewhere when his contract ends. Beast Mode can’t last forever and Seattle can save a lot of money on younger guys to spend on Russell Wilson’s new contract which is expected to be around $20 million.
The NFC West is the best. The four teams combined record was 42-22 a year ago. Arizona barely missed the playoffs last season and was the first team to beat the Seahawks in Seattle since 2011. San Francisco has been in the playoffs the past few years. St. Louis has one of the best offensive lines in the league. Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll said, “Whoever comes out on top of the division is really going to be ready to play anybody.”
Loss of Depth
The Seahawks lost 10 players this offseason. The offensive line is Seattle’s biggest weakness. Wilson needs to be protected in order for him to use Percy Harvin as a deep field threat. There is not a lot of depth and rookie Justin Britt is the starting right tackle. I am all for giving rookies a chance to play, but Britt will have to learn fast and play well. The defensive line no longer includes Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, and Clinton McDonald. They left during free agency leaving Seattle with younger guys to fill their positions.
Now that Seattle is the best team in the NFL, the rest of the league compares themselves to the Seahawks. They want to beat Seattle so their offseason has been spent not overlooking the defense and having faith in late round picks. Teams have studied Seattle. They know last year’s plays and know their weaknesses. For Seattle to repeat they need to continue being physical and fast.
Everything seems too perfect for Seattle right now. Yes, the odds are in their favor but their chances at repeating weighs heavy on the team staying healthy. Here’s to a new season.