July 27, 2012
10 Wins and a Playoff Spot
The 37th Seattle Seahawks Training Camp begins Saturday, and aside from uncertainty about the quarterback position and a possible Marshawn Lynch suspension, all indications are that this team is primed for significant improvement in 2012.
What do I expect? 10 wins and a playoff spot.
That will strike some people (particularly a lot of national media bobbleheads) as wildly optimistic. These folks either have always viewed the Seahawks through dingy, gloomy lenses, or they are simply ignorant about what is under construction in Renton right now. Seattle's defense is young, nasty, and extremely talented. Already stout against the run and in the secondary, the addition of Bruce Irvin and a new deal for Chris Clemons gives the Hawks a legitimate pass rush- Which gives the unit a chance to not only be a Top 5 defense, but perhaps the best in football.
There are far more question marks on offense for Seattle, but that elite defense should buy their offensive counterparts time to develop into a unit that is at least in the top half of the league. Whether the QB is Flynn, Jackson or Wilson, we should see improved play at that position compared to 2011- Jackson presumably can top his performance from last season after recovering from that pectoral injury, and Wilson would only win the job if he absolutely CRUSHED it during camp/preseason. I expect Matt Flynn to be our starting quarterback when we face Arizona on Kickoff Weekend, but that's far from decided at this point.
It's legitimate to be worried about a possible Marshawn Lynch suspension, but any such punishment might not be meted out during the 2012 season. Even if Lynch were to miss a number of games, Seattle's Cable-forged offensive line can probably blast open enough holes for Robert Turbin and Leon Washington to be effective ballcarriers. I also expect Sidney Rice to have the type of season that creates a run on his replica jerseys for the holidays, and Miller/Winslow should create match-up nightmares for enemy defenses.
I've heard people say the schedule is hard. Ever notice that people say that EVERY year? Now is the time to stop assuming games at home against teams like Green Bay and New England are totally Kobayashi Maru for the Hawks. If we truly have an elite defense now (and I say we do), they can stop Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers- or at least slow them down enough for Seattle to grind out a victory.
So yeah, I EXPECT 10 wins and a playoff spot. I've heard some people on twitter criticize this as settling for mediocrity. Fuck no! First of all, a 10-6 season would be an incredibly important step towards our bigger long-term goals (think about the leap from 7-9 in 2002 to 10-6 in 2003). Secondly, the current Super Bowl Champions went 9-7 last season. Nowhere does "10 wins and a playoff spot" mean we CAN'T make a run all the way to XLVII, baby.
This has been an incredibly positive off-season for the Seahawks (with the exception of the Lynch DUI arrest, obviously), and I truly believe we're about to see our team blast right through the barrier that segregates the NFL's elite from its mediocre rabble.
Who's with me? Let's get #10winsandaplayoffspot going on twitter, Twelves!