The Seahawks certainly have the parts in place to win it all again. Will they? Too many things have to go just right in order for that to happen. There are no guarantees, but no team in the NFL has a better chance than Seattle.
Ratty worries that Red Bryant and Chris Clemons won’t be replaced. I see that the Seahawks have plenty of defensive line depth; they still have Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane from 2013. Benson Mayowa showed enough drive and talent to make the team last year as an undrafted free agent, yet he logged almost no playing time. Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams were both drafted in 2013, but were injured. Mayowa, Hill and Williams are among the players Pete Carroll considers to have “red-shirted” last year. Seattle added veteran Kevin Williams, plus rookies Jackson Jeffcoat and Cassius Marsh.
Seattle is silly deep on the defensive line. They know rotating ends and tackles to keep them fresh is the key to a relentless pass rush.
Ratty is also concerned about the loss of Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond, as they both lost significant playing time to injury and suspension. When they were out, Byron Maxwell did a great job; he covered as well as Browner with fewer penalties. Plus, Tharold Simon, another of Carroll’s “red-shirt” guys, is healthy and looking great in camp. Rookies Dion Bailey and Eric Pinkins will benefit from the tutelage of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.
I agree with Ratty that Marshawn Lynch‘s age and mileage are an issue, but the Seahawks are prepared for life without him. Robert Turbin is a seasoned veteran now, and Christine Michael is revving in the garage waiting for his chance.
Unlike Ratty, I don’t think Golden Tate‘s move to the Detroit Lions will disrupt the offense too much. Now, I’ll miss Tate, I appreciate all he did for the franchise, and I wish him well playing beside Calvin Johnson. However, I think Doug Baldwin fills the same role as Tate, and of course a healthy Percy Harvin will keep us distracted. Some say he’s fragile, but I don’t think he’s more of an injury risk than any other NFL player. He has only hurt an ankle and hip in his career; all other lost time was due to illness, migraines or concussion.
Rookie receivers Kevin Norwood and Paul Richardson have been making plays at camp, and Sidney Rice is healthy again. Getting on Seattle’s squad as a wideout will be very tough. I’ll call it right now: at least one WR cut by the Seahawks will end up immediately on Gus Bradley‘s Jacksonville Jaguars.
Furthermore, I feel good that Breno Giacomini is being replaced at right tackle by either Michael Bowie or Justin Britt. The competition is fierce and both players are improving because of it. For my taste, Giacomini got flagged too often for holding or personal fouls.
The road back to the Super Bowl will be a tough one, but Seattle now has experience with the journey. In the NFC, they’ll still need to get through the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints. The Philadelphia Eagles in their second year with Chip Kelly and Nick Foles will be a dangerous group. The Carolina Panthers are hurting at receiver, but can still shut you down on defense. If the Seahawks can avoid a playoff loss to any of those teams, they can get to the Super Bowl once again.
Remember, last year they were one tip away from perhaps losing to the 49ers. And if they get to the big game, the Denver Broncos are better than last year.
It won’t be easy, but Seattle still has a machine built to win it all.