Now that the NFL season is officially over, let’s take a quick look at what the Seattle Seahawks need to focus on this offseason. Here are my top four objectives I think need to be addressed.
(1) Become faster on defense. The league is changing with each passing year, requiring defenses to constantly adapt. Getting faster on the defensive side of the ball would require a mixture of several changes, starting at the coaching level, leading down to acquisitions in the draft as well as free agency. And the greatest area of need is the middle of our defense, specifically at the linebacker and safety positions. They simply cannot keep up with today’s tight ends and receivers. It became obvious the latter part of the year when facing players like George Kittle and Davante Adams that we simply don’t have the athletes to competitively defend these playmakers. And don’t get me wrong, I love Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright, but they need more speed surrounding them.
(2) Become more versatile on offense. With the aforementioned changes in the league, our offense needs to evolve a little bit. And I do mean a little bit. I don’t think a full-scale overhaul is needed, but I would like to see us become less predictable. There doesn’t necessarily need to be major personnel changes. It was evident this year that in the first half, opposing defenses had a pretty good idea of what Brian Schottenheimer would draw up. That usually changed in the second half due to the original plan falling apart and needing to improvise with less predictable play-calling. I think becoming more creative in our play calls, with the dynamic players we already have, would make substantial strides towards taking that next step.
(3) Become deeper at tight end and offensive line. This one doesn’t need much explanation. Our offense runs so much more smoothly off play action, and a reliable tight end group and O-line is essential for that. Even when we had healthy running backs, it was difficult to set up this part of our game. Again, major changes are not needed here, just greater depth.
(4) Take more chances with your best player. We have one the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league, and so many times, it feels as if he’s hemmed in by a conservative game plan. I’m not saying to abandon the run, as that is essential to the fabric of our team, but letting Russell run drives more directly could lead to a more explosive offense with more misdirection utilizing the read-option more effectively. As I mentioned on point two, being more creative with our playmakers would go a long way. (And a short rant: after having lost our three starting running backs, bringing in a washed-up player who hadn’t played in fourteen months, being down two scores in the second quarter of a divisional-round playoff game, and then proceeding to run three straight run plays with that same washed-up running back, and not letting one the best players in the league even have a chance to make a play in a crucial spot is something that is indicative of some fundamental problems that need to be addressed.)
With all that being said, I am very excited for the 2020 Hawks. We have the two most difficult aspects to obtain for an NFL organization – an elite QB and a great coaching staff. I believe with the right adjustments this offseason, they will be right there once again playing for a spot in the Super Bowl at the end of the season.