I love the smell of angry Russell Wilson in the morning.
It smells like.. victory.
Put everything you think you know about Russell Wilson aside. Stow away the Namobubble water, his Tuesday visits at Seattle Children’s Hospital, his “Go Hawks” sign offs after every interview, his self promoting and branding, and put away his everyday sunny disposition.
Russell Wilson wants to destroy souls in 2021, and he’s got a locker room full of dudes behind him eager to make it happen, and a cagey culture building head coach ready to take advantage of it all.
Here is my 2021, position by position, Seattle Seahawks preview, and bold take prediction. Drink your coffee, chew your turkey jerky, and make sure your laces are tied. This is going to be a ride.
The Quarterback Position
Every superhero goes through a rebirth.
Iron Man went from egotistical womanizing booze hound to becoming a loving husband, best super hero dad in the MCU, and the guy who literally single handedly saved the entire universe. Thor went from a daft super jock to a Moses for his people. Superman went from a lovable and charming guy next door type to a disappointingly vengeful jerk by the time Zack Snyder got his hands on him. Times change, so do superheroes, and so does Russell Wilson.
Russell Wilson is shedding a bit of his squeaky clean nice guy persona for a little bit more of an impatient asshole type. Call it a mid-football-life crisis (or what have you), but he’s not cool with what has become the status quo of his team being decent but not great, and he’s become more vocal about that.
When you put yourself out there like that (willing to call out how the offensive line has been put together, etc), you had better respond by doing everything you can to take care of your own shit, to make sure you are always bringing your best version of yourself on the field. Otherwise, if you don’t, you can expect criticism to pour down on you in ways you have never before experienced in your lifetime.
By voicing out this off-season, Russell Wilson has put himself on the line like he has never been before. I’m sure that he knows it.
If you have seen footage or photos of him during training camp, you will have noticed that he appears the slimmest he has looked since his rookie season. If I am part of the coaching staff of the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, or the Los Angeles Rams, I’m a wee bit nervous about that.
We haven’t seen Russell Wilson in this new Shane Waldron offense yet. Some fans might be nervous how it’s going to go down. I am not one of them. I got enough glimpses from the three preseason games to envision what Russ will do by watching non world beaters Alex McGough, Sean Mannion, and Geno Smith run the show.
I am fully convinced that Waldron has put together an offense with will fit Russ like a glove. The tempo, the variations of personnel and plays, the balance of run and pass are all perfect for a quarterback such as Russ to operate out of.
If you have a quarterback such as Number 3, the last thing you want to do is run a system that a defenders can predict. His skill set matched with his height requires an offensive that is aggressive, and can hit you in the mouth in a multitude of ways out of the same looks to the point in which you second guess. I got enough glimpses in the preseason to rest my ease.
For the first time in his tenure in Seattle, this is truly going to be the Russell Wilson show with an offense designed specifically for him. Pete Carroll looked at that trade offer from the Bears last Spring that would have netted him all-world edge rusher Khalil Mack, another starter of his choice, three first round picks and a third, he sat on it for a minute, and he was like, “nah, I think I will just let Russ cook.”
Russell Wilson is going to have a monster, MVP caliber, year. Put it in the bank now.
A Seahawk hating friend of mine said that Seattle’s offense breaks without Russell Wilson and they better give Duane Brown whatever he wants. I couldn’t decide if this was trash talk, or just a simple statement of fact, but I fully agreed with it. Most offenses would break with their star quarterback going down.
I seriously doubt the Seattle Seahawks would go to the length they have to build it further around Russ in 2021 to not figure out the Duane Brown situation and have Russ play without his star left tackle. I expect the situation to be resolved within the next week or so.
And for those nervous that this could be the year injuries catch up to Russ, let me remind you of 2016. That was the season Russ played through a high ankle sprain sustained during game one, and a torn pectoral muscle sustained in October. Most quarterbacks would not have played through those injuries. Russell Wilson has never missed a game of professional football, and he has never looked more slim and fit as he does today.
And he’s pissed off.
I’m not nervous about Russell Wilson. This is going to be a fun season.
The Running Back Position
Perhaps the deepest unit on the roster. In a year where Russ is poised to cook like nobody’s business, it’s ironic that Seattle is choosing to keep five backs.
Here’s the truth about Russell Wilson cooking, y’alls. Russ needs to cook with a cooking run game, and this backfield offers enough versatility to make things happen in interestingly different ways. The Seattle Seahawks obviously want their backfield as deep and rich as it can be, and I dig it.
They got bangers who can run physical like Chris Carson and Alex Collins. They got a home run hitter type like Rashaad Penny. They got an interesting x-factor type in Deejay Dallas who has receiver skills to split out wide and looks worlds more explosive in 2021 than he did in 2020. They kept Travis Homer (to my surprise) who proved to be a useful third down back for Russ when he was cooking at is best in the early part of the 2020 season.
One bold hot prediction I got for you out of this group is this; expect Deejay Dallas to be a very interesting player for the Seattle Seahawks in 2021, and not just as a returner.
Supposedly, Russell Wilson really likes this cat a lot, and when Russ gets behind someone on this team, that’s usually a good sign. Dallas looks explosive with the ball in his hands, and my money is on Waldron figuring out a variety of ways to do it in this offense. I’m down for it.
The Wide Receiver Position
At the time of publication of this piece, the 2021 Seahawks will have only four receivers on the active roster. Expect that to change to at least five once the season gets going.
As for the four dudes currently on the roster, we all know what DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett bring as a starting tandem (I think they are tops in the league), but I’m also pretty excited about Dee Eskridge and Freddie Swain are poised to add. I thought Swain flashed underrated skill last year, but in the one preseason game that we finally got to catch a glimpse of Eskridge, his skill set was obvious.
You can see why Seattle chose to draft him in the second round over a center. Time will tell if that was the right move, but in two plays, you could see an aggressive style of player who looks willing to fight through holes and contact, and who leaped up to attack a highly thrown ball 19 yards down field in a very Doug Baldwin like way. This guy looks like a football player. He looks like someone who understands that this is a violent sport, and he is willing to bring it. He looks like a badass. I’m excited about this guy a lot in this offense.
The Tight End Position
I think I like this group. On paper, I like what Gerald Everett brings as a more athletic pass catcher who understands what Waldron wants out of the position, and I still like Will Dissly as an inline blocker and safety value receiver.
I’m intrigued by the size and pass catching abilities of Colby Parkinson, but I’m nervous about his ability to stay healthy.
As of right now, I have to be honest in saying that I didn’t see enough out of this group during the preseason to be able to get a good read. None of these guys really played, and the tight ends that did weren’t really featured. That could totally be by design to not reveal much of the offense, but I don’t know.
At best, I can say that I’m intrigued by matching Gerald Everett with Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf. His presence gives Seattle two big run after catch guys that defenses have to consider while mixed in with quicker jet sweep guys. It could get really interesting.
At worst, I just keep my fingers crossed that injuries don’t take a toll here.
I love the starting guards of Damien Lewis and Gabe Jackson. When we finally saw them play together in that final preseason game, I felt we saw what this offense can more accurately be on Sundays. They look physical and active. They look like the type of badasses you want your guards to look like.
I like the tackle situation with Duane Brown getting sorted out and Stone Forsythe developing behind him on the left side. I like Brandon Shell on the right side, but I really, really like un-drafted rookie Jake Curhan, and thought he was the quiet star of the preseason. Don’t be surprised if Curhan starts some games in 2021.
I’m nervous about center, but not deathly nervous.. yet.
Perhaps Kyle Fuller will be the surprise player on the line. Maybe one time starter Ethan Pocic will prove a valuable backup, but I would say that grabbing Dakoda Shepley off wavers from San Francisco could be a sign that Seattle isn’t totally settled at this spot heading into week one of the regular season.
Shepley had a solid Pro Football Focus grade during the preseason, and Carroll was surprised San Fran let him go. Sounds like a guy who could end up being the starter at some point down the line this year, if he picks things up fairly smoothly. Maybe that will be a blessing, like DJ Reed was last year at corner, but we don’t know.
Center is the one spot on this team that I have the most questions about. We will see.
Poona Ford. Poona F’ing Ford.
Poona, Poona, Poona.
Poona Ford is going to be the break out star of this defense, ya’ll. Cash that check right now.
I love me the edge rushers in Carlos Dunlap, Alton Robinson, Kerry Hyder, and Rasheem Green in his new stand up edge rushing role. I like that they will likely have Benson Mayowa and Darrell Taylor mixing in at LEO end, and SAM linebacker. It feels like they can send these guys in waves every game every week, and I’m excited about that.
I like the big DT’s they got in Al Woods and Bryan Mone.
I wish I liked more of what I saw out of LJ Collier during the preseason, but maybe a fire gets lit under him when the games start to matter, and he looks better. I worry that he’s a guy without a true position though, but we shall see.
I also think that, eventually, we are going to see a Geno Atkins type of signing happen to split time at 3 tech with Poona F’ing Ford.
But folks, let’s be real. This is Poona Ford’s time to shine as an every down DT. Pro Football Focus loves this guy. I love him, too.
Let Poona Cook.
Some folks are nervous KJ Wright isn’t coming back, and they are concerned about the linebacker depth. I’m not.
Absolutely no disrespect to KJ. He’s been one of my favorite Seahawks in the Carroll era, and I thought he had a fantastic year last year. But this defense is changing out of Carroll’s traditional 4-3 under cover three. It’s becoming more versatile to match what they have to play within their division, and I think it’s something they need to do, too.
Now, more than ever, we are going to see the line blurred between a 4-3 and a 3-4 look on base downs with what will be a Bear Defensive look. The outside linebacker and defensive end positions will be more blurred. I am putting Benson Mayowa and Darrell Taylor in the linebacker group as likely featured pass rushing types at strong outside ‘backer, which is what KJ played last year.
KJ did a great many things for this defense but he was not a pass rusher at the SAM. This is why he wasn’t coming back to Seattle.
That said, Seattle will likely spend the majority of it’s time in what will be a 4-2-5 look in order to get its talented group of safeties on the field together in the ever pass happy nature of modern NFL football. The linebackers to fill those two inside roles are Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, and Cody Barton, who are all fast as f***.
Barton, for me, was maybe the best looking and most consistent looking defender during the preseason. It seems like that light switch has turned on for him going into year three. I’m intrigued.
Given the fact that all-world hybrid defender Jamal Adams will factor in with the linebackers, I think this could be a sneaky good part of the team this year. I’m pretty hopeful here.
Best of luck to KJ, though. My God, he’s almost going to make me root for the Raiders some.
Ain’t gonna lie. This is the group that concerns me most outside of the center spot on the offensive line.
Do I think they will suck? Nope. Not there with those feelings yet.
Do I see potential for any world beaters out of these guys? Nah. Not really.
Hopefully, DJ Reed stays healthy and shows that he can be a number one corner. Hopefully, Tre Flowers locks down the left side. Hopefully, Sidney Jones picks up the scheme quickly and pushes one of those two guys for playing time.
Hopefully Tre Brown continues to show the scrappiness he had as a cover corner in college, and factors in positively when called upon.
Maybe newly acquired Nigel Warrior looks as badass as his name suggests.
I just hope that John Schneider has Richard Sherman’s number on speed dial. I’m serious about that, too, even with the brush up with the law. I still maintain that Sherman returning to the Seahawks would be a huge positive for this club, and I want it.
Jamal Adams. Quandre Diggs. Marquise Blair. Ryan Neal. Ugo Amadi.
Folks, the Seattle Seahawks have the richest looking safety room in the league, and it ain’t close. I expect A LOT of three safety looks out of this team this year.
They are so deep here, if they do make some sort of splash mid season trade, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these players is dealt. They are DEEEEEEEEP.
The idea of having a healthy Marquise Blair on the field with Adams and Diggs is mind boggling-ly exciting. Holy crap in your pants, Batman. That’s a lot of explosive skill at safety.
I dig this group lots.
Michael Dickson is a golden footed punting football god, and Jason Myers ain’t too shabby either.
Watching Deejay Dallas returning kicks will be fun all season long
Pete Carroll is a master culture builder to which the writers of Ted Lasso owe a lot of credit towards. He is also showing that an old dog can learn new tricks by giving Russell Wilson a style of offense that he wants, and adjusting his defense out of the standard cover three look that the league has figured out pretty darn well.
Shane Waldron is in position to put forth a stellar offense that could have him a strong head coaching candidate not before long. It wouldn’t hurt Seattle if there is some sort of handshake deal in place for him to become Carrol’s heir apparent to keep him around, and keep Russ happy.
Ken Norton Junior will work with Carrol to continue adjusting their defense to fit Jamal Adams, and expect that defense to become more versatile and better in 2021. Cornerback doesn’t feel ideal, but I suspect that they have pressure packages in place with the personnel they have up front to mitigate that lack of starter talent. We shall see, but I think they are onto something. I’m cautiously very hopeful.
Prediction for 2021
What year is this for Pete Carroll in Seattle now?
It’s year 12.
What ranking did Russell Wilson have on the NFL Network’s Top 100 players?
He was ranked number 12.
You can laugh all you want about the superstitious natural of numerology, but I know better. I am part Native American, and I was raised Catholic. If there’s two things that I know, it’s that you never want to build on tribal burial ground, and you don’t want to mock the numbers.
I call it like I see it, and I see a special year for the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seattle Seahawks hang onto their NFC West Division title by fending off a tough San Fransisco 49er club. The Rams will figure out what Matt Stafford is, and that is an overrated quarterback with a really pretty arm, and the Cardinals will fire their playboy head coach to hire Doug Pederson in 2022.
Russell Wilson will get MVP votes for the first time in his decade long career, but will lose out to Patrick Mahomes. Seahawk fans will be annoyed by that, and some will find ways to blame Pete Carrroll for it (and call for his firing on the Twitter).
That’s all cool, though, because Russ will out-dual Mahomes in Super Bowl LVI and he will hoist the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl MVP (the only MVP that really matters).
And you read it all right here first.
GO HAWKS!!!!!! 12, 12, 12, 12, 12………
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I’m down with all of this Curtis. A bit of a stretch making Waldron the next head coach but if he does what we want and need, who knows !
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Yeah, I don’t think Carroll will likely want to hang it up before 2025, but maaaaaybe if the Waldron offense sores and they get a couple titles before then, he will feel ready to ride out into the sunset and the Waldron era begins. Go Hawks!