3 Factors That Will Make-Or-Break The Seattle Seahawks’ 2024 Season

The Seattle Seahawks have finished the past two seasons with a 9-8 record. They fell short of the playoffs this season but were a Wild Card team in 2022, ultimately losing the game to the San Francisco 49ers, 41-23. Life post-Russell Wilson for the Seahawks has not been as rough as a transition as many were anticipating, mainly because Wilson’s replacement, Geno Smith, has been exceeding expectations. 

But if Seattle wants to become a serious contender for a deep playoff run, it must improve in multiple areas on both sides of the ball. This offseason, Seattle made moves to address some of these weaknesses. However, the team’s success will heavily depend on the following factors.

1. Which Version of Geno Smith Do the Seahawks Get?

Geno Smith had by far the best season of his career in 2022, passing for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Smith was pleasantly surprising for the Seahawks as they moved into their post-Wilson era. Now 33 years old, Smith played his way into at least being the short-term solution at the quarterback position for Seattle. 

However, Smith regressed in the 2023 season, putting up middle-of-the-pack numbers: 3,624 passing yards for only 20 touchdowns while having a similar number of interceptions at nine. His completion percentage dropped from 69.8 percent to 64.7. Smith’s rushing output also decreased, as he wasn’t getting out of the pocket and making plays as a scrambler as frequently. 

This is to say that if the Seahawks have any hopes of making the playoffs, it starts with Smith. If he plays more like his 2022 self, Seattle can get out of the competitive NFC West.

Adding new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb is encouraging for Smith and should help him have a bounce-back season. Grubb was the offensive coordinator at the University of Washington for the past two years and played a considerable role in the Huskies, being amongst the league’s best-passing attacks in both seasons. 

ESPN Seahawks insider Brady Henderson thinks that Smith should benefit from Grubb’s offensive system and his emphasis on the quarterback getting the ball out quickly to playmakers, per Seattle Sports. One thing Smith has a lot of is playmakers to throw to at Seattle’s skill positions. Wide receiver Jaxson Smith-Njigba is someone in particular who could be in for a breakout sophomore season and complement Grubb’s offensive scheme well, which in turn should help boost Smith’s level of play.

2. Improvements in the Run Defense

The Seahawks were second-worst in the league last season in rushing yards allowed, behind only the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle allowed 2,352 rushing yards, while Arizona surrendered 2,434. The Seahawks also tied for second worst in rushing touchdowns allowed at 24 and tied for worst in the league on rushes of over 20 yards allowed at 18. 

There are multiple holes in the Seahawks’ defense, particularly in the run game, that they need to improve. From a free agency standpoint, some significant moves Seattle made to improve include signing linebackers Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson to one-year deals and veteran defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. They also invested their first and fourth-round 2024 NFL Draft picks into fixing this glaring weakness. 

With the No. 16 overall pick, Seattle selected defensive tackle Byron Murphy II out of Texas. And with the No. 121 overall pick, they took linebacker Tyrice Knight from UTEP. Murphy, in particular, should be a massive boost to their defensive line and help their run defense on day one. 

General manager and president of football operations John Schneider even went as far as to say that the Seahawks “had him as graded as the best defensive player in the draft,” according to Seahawks.com. 

3. Emphasizing the Run

One significant change Ryan Grubb should make to the offense in his first year as offensive coordinator is getting Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet more involved. This factor differs from overall improvements in run defense because the Seahawks weren’t necessarily bad at rushing the football; they didn’t prioritize running the ball enough. 

Despite averaging 4.1 yards per carry as a team, Seattle had the second least rushing attempts (359) last season, behind only the Washington Commanders (382). The Commanders make sense at the bottom of the pack because they finished with a 4-13 record, often played from behind, and had to pass more to catch up. But the Seahawks finished with a 9-8 record, making it more confusing why they weren’t prioritizing the run more on offense. 

The Seahawks have arguably a top-ten running back tandem in Walker and Charbonnet. They both possess big play potential and can singlehandedly change the outcome of a game with one carry. Even with the limited attempts, the Seahawks finished the season top ten in the league of rushes of 20 or more yards at 13, ahead of teams with elite running backs like the Giants, Falcons, and 49ers.

Additionally, it would help take the pressure off of Geno Smith, keeping defenses more honest while setting up the play-action for Seattle’s deep-threat receiving trio of Smith-Njigba, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett.

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About Reese Kunz 6 Articles
Reese has covered the NBA and NFL for four years, writing for sites including FanSided, Last Word on Sports, and Stadium Rant. He earned his marketing degree from the University of Arizona and is passionate about sports analytics. When Reese isn't watching or writing about a game, he's often outside exploring the Pacific Northwest. He also drinks way too much coffee.