Seahawks fans had got used to seeing their team pushing for Super Bowl glory, so to watch them finish 9-7 and miss out on the playoffs altogether in 2017 was a shock. It was the first time since 2011 that they hadn’t appeared in the post-season, and it inevitably sparked talk of a decline or even the need for a major overhaul ahead of 2018-19.
However, the fact remains that this is a strong collective. The roster still features Pro Bowl-quality players as well as a franchise quarterback. It’s not that long ago that the Seahawks were the most feared team in the NFL, and if they can improve in one or two areas, sports betting experts could be tipping them to be Super Bowl contenders once again next season.
How do Seattle put last year behind them and get back into the playoffs where they belong? Here are five steps that the franchise needs to take this spring.
General Manager John Schneider has some of the best instincts in the business, and he needs to be allowed to trade freely. Let the guy who had the courage to trade Marshawn Lynch and Chris Clemons do what he does best.
Youth over experience
Seattle should focus on bringing in players who are young and hungry. The likes of Michael Wilhoite and Terence Garvin, whatever their merits, are not going to give the team the boost that it needs to get back into the playoffs. By focusing on players who are maybe three or four years into their NFL careers but undervalued by their current franchises, the Seahawks can benefit from talent that is about to peak.
The draft always comes with an element of risk, but the Seahawks should avoid taking unnecessary risks, and that means avoiding players with potential attitude problems such as Malik McDowell. The dressing room culture is important, and this team cannot afford to have people in there pulling in different directions. Players who have red flags against their name should be avoided, no matter how much potential they may have.
Seattle fans may want the franchise to spend big money, particularly given the salary cap space that has opened up, but a key factor in the Seahawks’ rise was restraint and responsibility, and they need to maximize their return on every investment.
Get the draft right
From 2010 through 2012, the Seahawks got their draft strategy right, and four or five of their picks turned out to be good moves. Since then, they’ve had more misses than hits. Replicating the success of drafts that brought Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, and Russell Wilson to Seattle may not be possible, but if they can get their strategy right and find more successes than failures, the team can start moving forward again.
The Seahawks are not far away from being back in the playoffs, and if they can handle this transitional period right, by focusing on young, hungry players and going back to the recruitment approach that worked so well a few years back, they will soon be a force to be reckoned with in the post-season once more.