It looks like a long offseason for Seattle radio talk show hosts. To begin with, there’s no Seahawk playoffs to talk about for the first time since 2011. When Atlanta beat Carolina last weekend the Seahawks were eliminated from the annual postseason party. Just minutes after the Falcons knocked off Carolina, Seattle dropped a 26-24 decision to Arizona at home on a missed field goal by Blair Walsh.
For an entire week after that ugly turn of events all radio guys could talk about was the downfall of a once great football team.
Fans laid the blame on Blair Walsh since he’s an easy target and he did miss some key field goals. On the other hand his team should’ve never been in a position to win or lose on a field goal on so many occasions.
Between the radio hosts and the fans, Darrell Bevell, the Seahawks offensive coordinator, and Tom Cable, the offensive line coach, also took several hits and why not, coaches are easy targets and most people don’t have the time or interest to really research what caused the Seahawks to lose seven games overall and four at home, including three in December.
Here’s my take for what it’s worth, and believe me, it isn’t worth much. There’s no doubt kicker Blair Walsh had a problem in pressure situations this season but then so did Steven Hauschka in his final season. Once called, “Hausch Money” by Coach Pete Carroll, Hauschka was let go after last season and signed with the Buffalo Bills, who by the way, are in the playoffs.
Now to Bevell and Cable, both targets of unhappy fans on social media. The Seahawks won a Super Bowl in 2014 and nearly another a year later because of an effective running game. The offensive line was anchored by Max Unger, a solid leader who took pressure off of a young Russell Wilson in his early days with the team. Unger had Breno Giacomini, Russell Okung and James Carpenter on that line with him during the glory years. Michael Robinson, now a broadcaster, was an outstanding fullback who often got off a key block allowing Lynch to do his magic. Together they allowed Bevell to call run after run with Marshawn Lynch pounding the defense into submission by the fourth quarter. That’s one of the reasons the Seahawks were so effective in the second half and fourth quarter in particular.
The running game set up Wilson to do his magic with his arm and legs with a host of consistent receivers like Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and often Marshawn Lynch out of the back field.
During those glory years the Seahawks could keep a roster loaded with the perfect combination of players on offense and defense because they had a magnificent quarterback named Russell Wilson who was being paid the NFL minimum, allowing the team to have money to spend on other crucial elements needed for consistent victory.
Here’s what I’m driving at: The downfall of the 2017 Seahawks had little to do with either Tom Cable or Darrell Bevell. It had much more to do with the fact that offensive lineman in general are coming into the NFL unprepared to deal with the bigger, faster, stronger crop of defensive lineman and linebackers coming out of college.
Add to that the new contract for Russell Wilson and renewed deals for Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Doug Baldwin and others and you have a bit of a quandary. All those guys deserved the money but there’s only so much to go around. As a result, keeping a strong roster is a constant juggling act and sometimes it doesn’t work out.
Add to that an extraordinary number of injuries to key players in 2017 and you have a 9-7 Seahawks team watching the playoffs on television.
So after a week of hearing every talk show host in Seattle say the same thing for 13 hours a day, here’s my sports wish list for 2018.
1. Rams against Chiefs in Super Bowl. Rams win.
2. Max Unger for Jimmy Graham in reverse of 2015 trade.
3. More interesting Sports Talk radio in Seattle.
4. No Mariner hype until they actually deserve it.
5. Seahawks rebound to 13-3 next season.
6. UW Men’s hoops in NCAA tournament
7. Seattle gets pro Pickle Ball franchise.
8. Everett Silvertips win WHL title.
9. New chant replaces Sea-Hawks cheer.
10. Safeco Field re-named Niehaus Park.