A lot of sportswriters and fans alike seem to be jumping to conclusions about the Seattle Seahawks only six games into the NFL season. Yes, I understand that many people thought the Hawks were going to be absolutely terrible this year.
Well guess what: They could still be terrible this year—even though it is highly unlikely the Seahawks could technically end up 3-13 at the end of this season.
On the other hand, I actually thought that Seattle was going to be to good this year. I predicted that the Hawks would finish 11-5 or 12-4. This could still happen as well.
My point is that six games into the season, nobody really knows where the Seahawks will end up at the end of the year.
Now, there are some things that are blatantly obvious at this juncture. It is going to be damn near impossible to win our division this year. Barring some major injury, the Los Angeles Rams look like the best team in the NFL. They are off to a hot start and it doesn’t appear that they are going to slow down any time soon.
I want to make it extremely clear that I believe that Seattle can beat the Rams in a playoff game. I believe that the experience of Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson gives the Hawks a chance to beat any team in a one-game playoff. However, catching them in the division isn’t happening.
Another thing that we have learned so far this year is that the offensive line…well, how do I say this: It actually looks like a real NFL offensive line.
I don’t buy into the early season statistics that say that the Seahawks have the best pass blocking line in the NFL. However, I do believe that the o-line has done a great job the last four games. Nevertheless, I am not willing to forget what happened to them when they faced the likes of Von Miller and Khalil Mack. Those two players both dominated the Seahawks o-line by themselves.
At this point in the season, I think that there are only two conclusions we can make about the Seattle o-line. First off, D.J. Fluker is really good. I don’t know what characteristics define a good o-lineman in the NFL; I mean, they’re all really big. But what I do know is that our o-line has drastically improved since we got him. Furthermore, he went to Alabama and my dad says he’s a stud, and that’s good enough for me.
The other thing we know about the o-line is that they are not the worst in the NFL anymore. It is nice to actually have five lineman who have NFL experience. For retrospect, George Fant had never played one game at left tackle at ANY LEVEL OF FOOTBALL, before he suited up and started for the Hawks in 2016.
In terms of the receiving core this year, I think that there are two big take-a-ways from the early portion of this season. Simply put, Tyler Lockett is healthy and Doug Baldwin is not.
Lockett has had an amazing start to the 2018 season. He has already racked up five touchdowns, 360 yards, and is averaging just under 16 yards a catch. This is the best that he has looked since the gruesome injury that he suffered in 2016. I don’t know if his numbers will stay this high; nevertheless, I’m glad to see him playing at his full capabilities again.
On the other end of the spectrum, Doug Baldwin is slowly starting to get healthy. It is obvious that he was used as a decoy against the Rams. He only had one catch for one yard in that game. Furthermore, even though his stats looked good against the Raiders he really did nothing in that game. Most of his catches came after the Seahawks had already built a big lead. It was evident that Wilson started forcing the ball to Doug to get him back into rhythm. Hence the interception that Wilson threw in the end-zone.
Baldwin only has 12 catches for 133 yards this year. I am hoping that the bye week gives him the time he needs to fully recuperate. When healthy, he is still our best receiver.
Another thing that Seattle has going for it this season is the combination of Chris Carson and my boy Mike Davis.
After a slow and quite frankly odd start, it appears that Carson is finding his NFL legs. He is starting to run tough, read blocks, and finally protect the football. If he keeps running like this, he could become an elite running back in the NFL. He has 352 yards, is averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and has one touchdown.
Now to Davis. Davis is literally my favorite player on the Hawks. As I mentioned in a previous article, his running style reminds me a lot of former San Francisco 49ers great Frank Gore. I could write the rest of this column on how good I think Davis is, but I’ll just stick with the stats. He has 193 yards, is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, and has three touchdowns.
In all seriousness, I’m just glad that Carroll finally gave Davis a shot. He is a perfect compliment to Carson in the back-field.
Speaking of Carroll, it is obvious that the man knows how to coach a defense. I don’t think that this defense is top five in the NFL but I do believe that they know how to make crucial plays in big moments.
The Hawks’ D has been solid at home with the exception of the Rams game. Nonetheless, they have struggled on the road, excluding the London game which felt more like a home game in Seattle.
A Carroll-led secondary is always going to be elite; he played free safety in college and he truly understands what it takes to orchestrate a dominant secondary. He has shown an ability to replace Seahawk greats like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas with players who seemingly come out of nowhere.
Bradley McDougald, Tre Flowers, and Tedric Thompson have all shown the ability to play and thrive at the NFL level.
McDougald, in particular, looks like the next leader of the Seahawks secondary. He is a combination safety who can defend the pass and lay down a mean hit. He reminds me of some sort of weird hybrid of Thomas and Kam Chancellor. He will continue to be a game changer for Seattle.
In regards to the linebacking core, I don’t think we’ve learned anything new this year. All that we really know is that Bobby Wagner is an absolute monster. Wagner’s so good he could tackle people in his sleep. In my opinion, he is the best middle linebacker in the NFL.
Furthermore, the Hawks defense will be much improved with the return of K.J. Wright. Wright is vastly underappreciated as a football player. He is the perfect complement to Wagner. Wright has the ability to make plays in the run game and cover receivers with ease. I am excited to see him back on the field this Sunday.
The last group of defensive players we have yet to discuss is the defensive line. The only real stand out from this unit is Frank Clark. Nevertheless, I’m not sold on him yet. He has great statistics so far this season with 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles; however, I don’t know if he can keep it up.
I think that a lot of people believe that Clark is a superstar already I believe there wrong. He still has a lot more to prove before I consider him an elite defensive end.
Another emerging player on the d-line is Jarran Reed. I have not watched him enough to truly understand his effect on the team, but he has four sacks already and that can’t go unnoticed. I mean he went to Alabama so he’s probably good. I’ll have to pay closer attention to him throughout the rest of the season before I form an opinion.
In terms of the special teams, your guess is as good as mine. I love Sebastian Janikowski, but even the veteran kicker has not been reliable this season. NFL kickers this year are starting to perform like college kickers and that’s not good.
Oh yeah, our punter Michael Dickson is absolutely amazing, but I mean he’s just a punter so that’s all the love that he is going to get. Sorry, bro.
All in all, there is still a lot of football to be played. For now, it’s time to grab some popcorn, turn on the tv, and enjoy the games.