The Top Five Questions On The Seattle Seahawks’ Season (And Offseason)

Well dear readers, it’s time to put this NFL season to bed, if you’re amongst the Seattle Seahawks fanbase. The “12s” have been through quite a lot this year, and while they deserved a better ending to a near storybook season, they have to look forward to next year and what the new season may bring them. While we didn’t expect to see them exit the playoffs so early after earning a spot and showing a lot of moxie doing so, they are home until training camp now, and will try to build on what turned from rebuilding year to promising season in to end credits very quickly.  

We at Fireside Sports (an unruly subsidiary of OSN) believe the Seahawks and their fans deserved a better ending, but we don’t get to write those scripts. We asked weekly lightning round contestants Casey Mabbott and Bryant Knox to grade and recap the Seahawks’ season, and offer insight on what we can hope to see next year.

Hopefully you enjoyed the season, and enjoy the rest of the playoffs even if your team isn’t present on the broadcasts. We look forward to telling you all about free agency and the draft in a couple of months.

Happy new year to those of you that made the trip, and without further ado, here is this week’s lightning round!

1.       The Seattle Seahawks finished their 2018-2019 season 10-6 in the regular season, and 0-1 in the postseason. How would you grade their season, given that most preseason expectations had them competing for a high draft pick?

(CM) They didn’t win their division or make it out of the wildcard round, so it’s tough to give them anything better than a B+, so that’s what I’ll mark down. They had a rough first half of the season, found a way to turn it around, went on a mini-skid to close the season, and raised some questions on what they could do in the playoffs. Turns out their strength all year (running game and defense) was their weakness in the playoffs, and their main weakness all year (passing game) was their bright spot that nearly pulled off a narrow win in a photo finish. They go home with an official record of 10-7, and enter next season with some very high expectations. Perhaps it will be enough to recall all-world safety Earl Thomas, but I won’t hold my breath.

BK: I’m gonna give this team a B. That may be disrespectful in the eyes of some, but I can’t ignore the 0-2 start, let alone the 4-5 record through nine games. The turnaround was excellent, and it’s what ultimately landed this team a spot in the postseason. But if we’re going to claim (as many have) that a recency bias shouldn’t kick in after the one loss to Dallas, we also can’t claim that it’s best to remain ignorant to the start of the year. If C is average, this team was a lot better than that. But it also was never in the top tier, even if the Hawks looked dangerous entering Wild Card weekend.

2.       After overcoming a sluggish first half and battling some questionable officiating down the stretch, Seattle was still in position to win their wild card game at Dallas in the closing minutes. If they had advanced to the divisional round, would you have a different view of their season? If they had advanced to face the Rams, how would you like their chances?

(CM) Questionable officiating? Come on, don’t take away from a really hard fought battle. Both sides played their hearts out, and the Seahawks just came up short in the end. There is a losing side in every battle, this just happened to be their loss. It sucks, but you bury it and move on, use it for motivation next year. You might recall that they lost a heartbreaker at Atlanta in 2012, and it doesn’t seem like that hurt them in the end if you look at what happened the next year. Maybe this will be the spark that will ignite the fire that will become their revolution. Even if they had won, it would have landed them in LA, and I don’t like them coming out of that game with a win. Winning or losing a two point game isn’t going to change my view of a team. They are a good team, but they have some work to do to become great.

BK: To me, a Wild Card appearance or a Divisional Round appearance wouldn’t have swayed my opinion one more than the other. That said, if the Seahawks had been able to advance beyond “Round 2” that’s where the team would have more of a case. I, personally, liked Seattle’s chances against the Rams. Los Angeles has looked human as of late and the Seahawks played up to their competition all year. That would’ve been a fun one. Here’s to Madden simulations.

3.       Which subject needs more focus in the offseason – playcalling or talent/depth in the passing game?

(CM) If I had to choose one, it would be depth in the passing game. They could hire Sean McVay to call their plays for all I care, it still wouldn’t fix some glaring issues. Sure the passing game had some big moments, but they also had plenty of duds. Until this team gets a legitimate number one wideout (Doug Baldwin doesn’t apply since he usually lines up in the slot), they are going to have to keep finding ways to make the script go their way when it shouldn’t on paper, instead of outplaying their opponent with scheme and route running. If they can draft a tall and fast receiver with great hands, something Russell Wilson hasn’t really had, this team could go from good enough to scary in a quick moment.

BK: Talent beats all else. And while the Hawks don’t need a complete makeover in the receiving corps, developing a big, fast target in someone like D.K. Metcalf (Ole Miss) or N’Keal Harry (Arizona State) would do wonders for both short- and long-term success. Harry wouldn’t necessarily be a speed demon, but his 6’4” size, ability to play through contact and NFL-ready hands could eventually lead to him becoming Russell Wilson’s ultimate target.

4.       This team created some unexpected parallels to the 2012 Seahawks. Given that the 2013 team won it all, should we expect them to be in contention for the Super Bowl next year or do we need to walk some expectations back?

(CM) I really hope they experience a surge next year, but we have to hold off expecting 2013, this team was scary good in that year and they may not have the right pieces to pull off another huge year by taking the title at the end. There is a plethora of talent on this roster and a lot of hungry players to go with it, but don’t expect underrated players to turn in to future hall of famers overnight just because it happened five years ago. Shaq Griffin is good, but he’s not quite 2013 Richard Sherman yet. Bradley McDougald could be Earl Thomas, but he doesn’t have a Kam Chancellor yet. Is Chris Carson able to become the next Marshawn Lynch? David Moore was a fun surprise this year, but is he the next Jermaine Kearse? So many things went right in 2013, they may not click the same way in 2019. But I will be happy to be wrong if they take the league by storm next season.

BK: I don’t think anybody in the Seahawks’ organization would want to temper expectations after the midseason surge. This squad proved itself to be ahead of schedule this year after watching the defense disband and the backfield enter with promise yet inexperience. Going forward, fans know what this team is capable of, so a slow start in 2019 (should it happen) would be more annoying than concerning. That said, I’m inclined to deem this team one year away from being one year away. Seattle needs that aforementioned wide receiver target, the backfiend must continue to grow and the defense can always jell to another level. A Super Bowl in 2020? That’s another story. But next year, you’ll likely see them take one small step in anticipation of the giant leap to come.

5.       Did Pete Carroll win your vote for coach of the year, and did Russell Wilson earn your vote for MVP?

(CM) They both absolutely did enough to be in the conversation for these awards, but if forced to wager if they will win them, my answer is no. Anthony Lynn is most likely going to win coach of the year, and Patrick Mahomes is going to snag MVP honors. It doesn’t make it right or fair, but I just can’t see the media giving either award to either person from the Seahawks. It doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to win the award, I just think folks across the country have been too enamored with Lynn and Mahomes to change their tune now. If I were given a vote, I would gladly give it to each of them. They haven’t asked me my opinion though, so I doubt anyone from the NW is being considered as a finalist.  

BK: Nah, but that’s not a knock on them. Those awards are very hard to win even if you performed at a tier-1 level all season—there’s just too much competition. Although I don’t have an official prediction, I could see a scenario where Sean Payton wins Coach of the Year because Pat Mahomes is the runaway MVP despite Drew Brees’ and the Sains’ incredible season. (Yes yes, I know it doesn’t exactly work like this, but voting is subjective and voters can justify their decisions however they please—even if it’s making up for another vote.) If anything, Carroll and Wilson kickstarted their campaigns for next season. 2019 should be a year where they ride plenty of momentum from the season prior to earn the votes they barely missed in 2018.

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About Casey Mabbott 254 Articles
Casey Mabbott is a writer and podcast host born and raised in West Philadelphia where he spent most of his days on the basketball court perfecting his million dollar jumpshot. Wait, no, that’s all wrong. Casey has spent his entire life here in the Pacific NorthWest other than his one year stint as mayor of Hill Valley in an alternate reality 1985. He’s never been to Philadelphia, and his closest friends will tell you that his jumpshot is the farthest thing from being worth a million bucks. Casey enjoys all sports and covering them with written words or spoken rants. He has made an art of movie references, and is a devout follower of 80's movies and music. I don't know why you would to, but you can probably find him on the street corner waiting for the trolley to take him to the stadium or his favorite pub, where he will be telling people the answers to questions they don’t remember asking. And it only goes downhill from there if he drinks. He’s a real treat.