Seattle Seahawks; 2012 Offseason Breakdown

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Seattle Seahawks; 2012 Offseason Breakdown

By, Eric Hartvigson

 

Stadium: Century Link Field (outdoors)

Schedule Strength: 17

Postseason Weather issues: Home vs. Ari Week 14, Home vs. SF Week 16

Offensive Line Ranking: 25th

*Allow me to preface by stating this is my team.  Born and raised right here in Seattle.

 

Head Coach – Pete Carroll;     Playing Safety for the University of Pacific, Carroll’s early coaching career bounced around the college ranks eventually landing as the Defensive Backs coach in Buffalo and again in Minnesota.  Success earned Carroll the Defensive Coordinator’s position for the New York Jets.  After 3 seasons Carroll was promoted to the Jets head coach, but fired after only one season, landing as the Defensive Coordinator in San Francisco.  Carroll would be hired as the New England Patriots Head Coach the very next season following the departure of Bill Parcells. After three seasons of moderate success in New England, he would eventually be replaced by future Hall-of-Famer Bill Belichick. Carroll is most notorious for reviving a struggling USC program, and restoring the collegiate powerhouse back to greatness, including to two National Championships.  Hired by the Seahawks in 2010, Pete Carroll is one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL known for his youthful enthusiasm and “always compete” mentality.  Upon arrival in Seattle Carroll hired former Broncos OC Jeremy Bates and legendary O-Line Coach Alex Gibbs showing an obvious commitment to the Zone Blocking / West Coast Offense he picked up while briefly with the 49ers.  This mentality has since been substantiated after hiring West Coast offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and zone-blocking coach Tom Cable in 2011.  Also factor the signing of Matt Flynn and we have all the evidence we need displaying that Seahawks is indeed be a West Coast System.

Offensive Coordinator – Darrell Bevell;    As a collegiate Quarterback, Bevell led the Wisconsin Badgers to their first-ever Rose Bowl victory back in 1993.  After time spent as a college coach, Bevell was hired as an Offensive Assistant and eventually Quarterbacks Coach by the Green Bay Packers. While in Green Bay, Bevell also learned the classic Bill Walsh West Coast Offense led by then quarterback Brett Favre. After the Vikings hiring of Brad Childress, Bevell was brought on as the offensive coordinator and eventually reunited with Favre during the magical 2009 season.  Bevell’s hiring by the Seahawks in 2011 further substantiates Seattle’s strong ties to the classic Bill Walsh System of intermediate passing to open up other areas of the field.

QB – Matt Flynn;     Spending two seasons as the backup Quarterback in Green Bay, Flynn had the luxury of studying under Aaron Rodgers along with the leadership and tutelage of Head Coach Mike McCarthy.  While in Green Bay Flynn also learned the old fashioned West Coast Offense brining his knowledge to Seattle (I think there is trend developing here).  Starting only two games in two seasons, doesn’t give us much film to study when evaluating Flynn.  However, I watched each of those games and found a number of attributes desirable when evaluating any quarterback including; command of the offense, reading his progressions, poise in the pocket, ability to escape pressure, impressive accuracy and the ability to take a hit.  Examining both of those games we also find 913 yards and 9 TDs = 69 fantasy points.  Now for the bad part. As for Flynn himself, the lone knock continues to be mediocre arm strength.  However, an even bigger problem could be the lack of team talent at the Wide Receiver position.  The only real #1 WR on the Hawks roster is often injured Sydney Rice who is a vertical threat which doesn’t play to Flynn’s strengths.  Beyond that are two above average Tight Ends, and chain moving WR Doug Baldwin.  Also hindering Flynn’s production is one of the league’s youngest Offensive Lines, dealing with reoccurring injuries and still learning to gel. Entering the 2012 season Flynn will go through growing pains warranting little fantasy football consideration with a Player Rating of 7.5.

*On a side note; Flynn holds the Packers record for most TDs in a game at 6.

RB – Marshawn Lynch;    Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Being a diehard Seattle fan, a buddy and I continue to go round-and-round on the fantasy value of Marshawn Lynch. His argument is the obvious talent and powerful running style that Lynch displays earning him the nickname Beast Mode; of which I have no objection. My counter argument is; examining Lynch’s body of work we find after five years in the NFL, he’s only enjoyed success 1.5 seasons.  Not so coincidentally his best seven game stretch came in the second half of last season, which is the prototypical response for a player on a contract year.  My friend always returns with; “during time spent in Buffalo, and his first year in Seattle, Lynch had arguably the worst run blocking Offensive Lines in the league”.  Again, I cannot disagree.  But I always fire back “In years past we’ve also witnessed Lynch showing a tremendous amount of “quit” which is never a good sign for an NFL player just rewarded a four-year $31 million deal.  Lynch has earned his last payday, a situation lending itself to give less than 100% effort”.  A recent arrest only lends credence to my belief that Lynch does not have his head in the game, for which he could be suspended.  On the upside Lynch is one of the few 3-Down-Backs in the NFL producing enough value to warrant serious consideration.  At the end of the day Lynch is deserving of a Player Rating of roughly 8.7, just make sure to handcuff backup Runningback Robert Turbin as insurance should Lynch land on your team.

*Incidentally, I bet my buddy $50 that Lynch doesn’t make the Pro-Bowl.

WR1 – Sydney Rice;     Rice is the classic example of “loads of talent, zero durability”. After five years in the league Rice has only completed all 16 games once, just so happens that was his contract year. When we further factor that Rice’s greatest attribute is as a vertical threat, it doesn’t exactly play to the strengths of the West Coast Offensive System or that of Matt Flynn.  Rice could enjoy some early season success, but the inevitable injury is on the horizon equaling a player rating of 7.4

WR2 – Doug Baldwin;     As an undrafted rookie Free Agent out of Stanford, Baldwin showed tremendous athleticism in a number of areas including unseen categories such as punt blocks and 3rd down conversion.  Playing with the anemic Tarvaris Jackson under center, Baldwin still managed 788 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2011.  As an underneath receiver Baldwin fits perfectly into the West Coast offense, and with Sydney Rice’s injury virtually imminent, he could very easily lead the Hawks in targets by season’s end (remember, Opportunity is the catalyst for Production). Consider Baldwin a late round flier who could emerge as a solid WR3 by season’s end drawing a Player Rating of 7.6

TE – Zach Miller, Kellen Winslow Jr.;      Typically we find the tight end in the West Coast offense is a valuable piece in most fantasy football leagues. In their own right, each of these players would be an above average commodity. However, when factoring each will steal targets from each other means neither can be recommended (think Carolina Panthers 2011).  Both Miller and Winslow Jr. carry a Player Rating of 6.7.

Def – Seattle Seahawks;     To the outside world, Seattle’s defensive performance last season was unexpected.  Those of us living in the Emerald City already knew Seattle had a stiff run defense with the rotation of talented interior lineman led by Brandon Mebane, along with 350 pound defensive end Red Bryant. What many do not realize is the Seattle’s secondary is one of the best young groups in the NFL as both 2nd year safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor were elected to the pro-bowl, and rookie Cornerback Richard Sherman certainly deserved consideration. Two of the major hindrances entering the 2012 Offseason were a lack of outside pass rush, and the loss of David Hawthorne to the New Orleans Saints. Seattle hopes to have addressed their issues drafting Defensive End Bruce Irvin in the 1st round, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner in the 2nd round, and signing of veteran defensive end Chris Clemons.  Seattle is being kicked around in the media as a potential Sleeper defense, but examining the first 8 weeks of the season we find a number of prolific high scoring offenses including; GB, NE, Car, Dal and Det.  After week 8 the schedule gets much, much easier.  I am high on the Seattle’s fantasy value in 2012, but the best advice is to leave this unit undrafted, then swoop them up after their week 8 tilt with Detroit and ride them to the end of the season (baring injury). We should split the Hawks defensive rating into two parts; weeks 1-8 = Rating of 5.0, weeks 9-16 = Rating of 9.0

K – Steven Hauschka;     To believe in a Seattle kicker means you believe in the Seattle offensive of production. I’m not quite there yet (sorry Seattle fans) as Hauschka should be considered with a Player Rating of 7.2

About Eric Hartvigson