Well, we are three-quarters of the way through the NFL season. Damn, that went by fast.
To the surprise of many experts, the Seattle Seahawks are having a very solid season. The Hawks currently are 7-5 and control their own playoff destiny.
We are at the point of the season where we have learned some things about this year’s version of the Hawks. First off, this team only has two difficult games remaining on their schedule. If Seattle can win one of the games against the Kansas City Chiefs or the Minnesota Vikings there is a solid chance it will make the playoffs.
The game this upcoming Monday night against the Vikings is a huge NFC matchup. A win in this game almost ensures a Seahawks wildcard spot. This is assuming that the Hawks beat the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals; however, Pete Carroll defenses usually demolish young inexperienced quarterbacks.
A Josh Rosen-led Cardinals team and whoever that third-string quarterback is for the 49ers are not a real threat to Seattle.
In terms of their actual play on the field, it appears that the Seahawks are starting to find their rhythm. The biggest improvement this year is the rushing attack. They are the best running team statistically in the NFL. The Hawks have rushed for 1,786 yards this season and average 148.8 yards per game.
This newfound rushing attack is led by guard D.J. Fluker. Ever since he joined Seattle’s roster, the Hawks look like a different team.
There are also suddenly actual holes for the running backs to rush through. This is a vast improvement from last year when our running backs would constantly be harassed behind the line of scrimmage.
It is also important to note that the trade for Duane Brown last season is a huge piece to this puzzle. The combination of having two good experienced linemen is a game-changer.
Nevertheless, somebody actually has to run through these holes and Chris Carson has proven that he is more than ready to accept this challenge.
Carson is a hard-nosed running back who punishes defenders when they try and tackle him. He has brought back physicality to the halfback position that Seattle hasn’t seen since the disappearance of Marshawn Lynch. He is no Lynch, but he is still a physical presence that the other team must account for—or else they will be hit in the mouth.
But he is not the only productive running back that we have on our team.
Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis are also important pieces in the running attack. Penny is just now finding his footing in the NFL and is starting to show flashes of greatness. His quickness and speed give Seattle a home-run threat at the halfback position. With more experience he can become a perfect compliment to Carson in the backfield.
Davis is a solid player who does all the little things right. He is a solid blocker, a hard runner, and has good vision. He does not possess the natural physical tools that Carson and Penny have but he does have an innate ability to make plays. He is a great backup.
Now, the receivers.
Goodbye, Brandon Marshall; your spot has officially been taken by David Moore. Moore has burst onto the scene this year and just finds a way to make plays. Yes, he is strong but he is not a physical specimen. His ability to catch contested balls is what separates him from our other receivers.
That TD on 4th-and-three against the Carolina Panthers is a perfect example of what he brings to the Seahawks.
Now, the quickness.
It’s official: Tyler Lockett has finally recovered from his gruesome leg injury. Lockett has put up phenomenal stats so far this season. He leads the team in all receiving stats with 44 receptions, 713 yards, and nine touchdowns.
He has proven this year that he is worth the big-money contract he received in the offseason. He has become an elite route runner, which has taken his game to the next level. At this current moment, he has become our best receiver. His speed is what separates him from the other receivers on the Hawks.
Now, good old reliable.
Doug Baldwin has had an up-and-down season so far. Baldwin has been slowed by injuries and his statistics are far lower than what they have been the last couple of years. However, you cannot fully judge him based off of his statistics.
He does all the little things right. His intangibles are unmatched and he brings a world-class work ethic to the locker room every day. Even though he doesn’t have any spectacular moments so far this season, something is telling me that he will come up with a critical play in a big moment. Never sleep on him; he has been underrated his entire football career.
One of Baldwin’s best friends on the Seahawks is Russell Wilson. Wilson is a very confusing football player; let’s just hope he continues to do good things on the field. Some games he looks like an average quarterback and other games he looks like an elite playmaker.
Now, onto the defense.
The Seahawks secondary has come to play this year. They do not have the same talent as the original “legion of boom” but they do show a bend-don’t-break mentality.
Bradley McDougald has emerged as the new leader of the secondary. McDougald continues to make big play after big play. An example of this was the interception in the red zone against the Carolina Panthers in which he tipped the ball to himself.
He also can lay down a vicious hit. He makes wide-outs think twice before running is his direction.
Shaquill Griffin has had an up-and-down season so far. Griffin is still the best cornerback on the Hawks roster, but he has not been consistent. He needs to continue working on his athleticism and defensive concepts before he becomes an elite corner in this league. He is a player with huge upside but he needs work to fulfill his potential.
Now onto the Bobby Wagners—also known as the linebackers.
This is the simplest part of this article.
Wagner is a freaking beast. He is arguably the best middle linebacker in the NFL. No writing can do him justice. Just watch the games and it becomes quickly apparent how good he is. All Seahawks fans should be grateful that this guy plays for the Hawks. Without him, our defense wouldn’t be the same.
We do have other very talented linebackers on this team such as K.J. Wright, but Wagner is the glue that holds the linebacking core together.
The last part of the defensive unit to discuss is the d-line. This is the part of the team that has impressed me the most this year.
It appears that Frank Clark has become an elite defensive end in the NFL. Clark’s stats are absolutely incredible this year with ten sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception.
His speed off the line is the fastest on Seattle’s roster. This man has clearly been eating his Wheaties.
The jump in his progression from last season to this season is truly remarkable. He is clearly the most improved player on the entire Hawks defense.
The last defensive player who deserves attention on the Seahawks roster is Jarran Reed. Reed has emerged as the defensive tackle that the Hawks have been looking for—for quite some time.
His big body clogs up the middle on run plays and he has a quick first step that he uses to pressure the quarterback. He has accumulated 6.5 sacks so far this year.
The combination of Clark and Reed will be a force to be reckoned with if both players remain on Seattle’s roster.
As the season winds down, all that’s left to do now is grab a six-pack of beer and enjoy the games. We’ve made it to the home stretch, Hawks fans, and it’s time for the holidays and some winter football.
Safe travels and Go Hawks!