The 2022 Seattle Seahawks And The Importance Of Finishing Strong

So, I recently got into a back and forth with a friend who said she didn’t mind if the Seattle Seahawks tanked these last remaining games for the opportunity of four picks in the top fifty of next year’s draft. Admittedly, she is likely a much more casual Seahawks fan than I am, after all, it takes a special kind of devotion as a fan to start blog about your favorite team, but regardless, I couldn’t help but be surprised at the casualness of her reasoning.

I have seen other fans out there in Seahawks Twitter-Sphere sorta giving off a similar sentiment. These remarks can often be qualified with a “I don’t really care that much about the Seahawks these days because of the Mariners and Kraken, and I want them to suck so we get high draft picks to build this up right” – type of reasoning.

Here is what I would say the fatal flaw is with this sort of logic. I actually believe that these 2022 Seahawks are more talented than their record is indicating. I think Geno Smith is a pro bowl worthy quarterback, and I think he’s surrounded with enough talent on offense to score enough points to win more games than not. I also believe that while the defense has been bad lately, it actually has better talent on it than is given credit for, but that talent isn’t being matched by the scheme that coaches have been tasking them to run. I personally believe that’s on the coaches to adjust.

Therefore, I believe that it is vital for these Seahawks to finish strong this year so that team ownership knows it has the staff (or head coach) in place next year to build momentum off of, and whatever top five pick that Seattle might select by way of Denver will be properly coached up for success next year. People can think that Pete Carroll’s job is secure, and to many degrees I think that is probably accurate, but if Seattle goes 1-7 in their last eight games after a 6-3 start to the season, can anyone say for certain what Jody Allen might decide to do, especially with Sean Payton out there, or Dan Quinn? I cannot.

I also think it is equally, if not more important, for the returning players in 2023 to feel confident and bought into the program, and not feel like they will be coached by a 72 year old dude potentially on the hot seat, if brought back. Often times, when players sense the axe is near for their coach, they can check out even if it is not necessarily their intentions. Carroll doesn’t have a lot of his old guard with him anymore, and this is largely a new batch of young talent that hasn’t been with him long. Therefore, there’s not the connection to put it on the line for him like maybe there would be with other older vested players.

In my opinion, Pete Carroll doesn’t need the added pressure of going into 2023 with the feeling of playoffs or bust. If this guy is sticking around, I want him feeling the confidence of ownership behind him still, and if they slip to 7-10 to end this season after he had this team at 6-3 at one point, that could feel pretty shaky heading into the off-season, if they decide to bring him back.

Many fans have probably forgotten this storyline by now, but a year ago at this time, right around when Seattle lost to the lowly Chicago Bears at home, there was reports surfacing that Jody Allen was considering moving on from Pete, and the team fancied Dan Quinn as his replacement. Pete Carroll might have well made those reports moot in the following two weeks when Seattle handily beat the Detroit Lions, and then rolled over the Arizona Cardinals to close out the disappointing season with a flourish.

Because I remember these reports, and the feeling of mild euphoria watching Seattle smack the Cardinals down like that in the desert, and thinking that Carroll likely dodged a bullet, I have to be honest and say that part of me believes he might have to dodge a similar bullet this year, as well. That is my gut feeling when I hear thoughts of Seattle losing out.

The NFL stands for Not For Long, and Carroll has been here a looooong time, but if ownership feels like he didn’t do enough to prevent a lackluster slump through the second half of the season, he could be asked to step aside. After all, having a top five pick and a chance to select a rare blue chip player, one would think that ownership would want a coach around who isn’t being perceived as getting stale or out of touch. Selfishly, as a fan of Pete Carroll, I don’t want to see this happen to him.

Another reason why we want these Seahawks ending this show strong is to make key players on this roster want to stick around. Geno Smith has been a tremendously positive story this year in Seattle sports, but if this team continues to fall flat despite good efforts on his part, is he going to want to come back in 2023 if he feels like there is another team out there who is a veteran quarterback away from making a better run?

He is 32, after all, and might be feeling like his window to fulfill his dreams is a short one, and like Russell Wilson last year, doesn’t want to toil with a team that fell short of expectations and couldn’t figure it out. While he is likely tremendously grateful for the opportunity that Carroll gave him, he also needs to be looking at his own best interests now.

What if Tampa moves on from Tom Brady and is going to target Geno to replace him?

Geno Smith is from Miami and Tampa Bay is a heck of a lot closer to home than Seattle is. Tampa also has Vita Vea on defense and some nice receivers on offense.

Even if Seattle does want to look at adding a quarterback in this draft (or the next), the ideal scenario for this team to win next year is for Geno Smith to come back into the fold, and I think Seattle needs to show him his best interests are to remain up here. Anyone arguing against that is either overthinking things, or they are just going to carry it to their graves that Geno Smith isn’t very good even though all of his passing numbers this year say otherwise.

If Pete Carroll is coming back, he is going to want Geno Smith back, and I think that is pretty certain. If he doesn’t come back, then I think, if you are Seattle, you most likely aren’t looking at bringing Geno Smith back with a new head coach. I think you are most likely taking a quarterback next Spring with that very first pick.

If that last sentence perked you up with your coffee, and that is exactly what you want as a Seahawks fan (a new coach and quarterback scenario), I would respond by that with a classic “careful what you ask for” retort.

And let me say this, if you think there’s a better coach out there right now for Seattle other than Pete Carroll, who is it? Are you honestly going to say Dan Quinn or Sean Payton? Stop if you are, and examine, for a moment, all three of those coaches records together, and tell me who has done best in this league.

And yes, I imagine you could throw out a bunch of names of coordinators on winning teams right now, but allow me to remind that, at this time of the year last year, Nathaniel Hackett was a popular name being thrown out by some on Seahawks Twitter as a replacement for Pete. Yeah, that guy in Denver who’s everyone’s favorite boob right now, he was labeled as a bit of a genius last year when he had Aaron Rodgers and DeVante Adams to play call for.

So, sure, maybe this is exactly what a growing number of people want these days for the Seahawks. They want a new coach who will be the next Sean McVay and they want a shiny rookie quarterback who they think will be the next Patrick Mahomes. Good luck with finding either of those guys, though. There is not a Mahomes in this draft class, and there’s not exactly a Sean McVay tree to pluck another Sean McVay from.

Bryce Young from Alabama might be the next Kyler Murray (if you are into short and slight, and twitchy but maybe also potentially injury prone at the next level), and Anthony Richardson from Florida could develop into a Cam Newton type in time. Will Levis and CJ Stroud are both prospects that feel overhyped to me and will probably go in the first round but will struggle to even play up to expectations, as many quarterbacks taken in round one often do.

No, in my mind, the best path forward into 2023 for these Seahawks is to undeniably finish this season strong, and build on that momentum moving into next year. It’s important for this offense to feel like a well oiled machine again, and it’s important for this defense to better turn the corner.

It’s important to lock down their quarterback situation for the foreseeable future, and build around him, in my opinion. You do that by finishing strong, but you risk putting all of that in jeopardy by continuing to struggle and not have answers for it.

These Seattle Seahawks need these next three games to find answers. They don’t need to win all three of these games, or even sneak into the playoffs, but they need figure things out on both sides of the ball, and yes, I get that it won’t be easy with the Chiefs and Jets remaining and being without Tyler Lockett. Tough, a lot of teams are down key players now.

This is a great opportunity for them to finish strong, and truly show that they are on the positive way up instead of continuing to dwindle around in the inertia of subpar scheming, and bad discipline and fundamentals. This is the time for the coordinators to show that they can get it together, and for the players to prove they can carry it out.

Maybe the loss of Lockett forces Shane Waldron to devise more creative ways with mixing the run with the pass again, and we see better offensive balance, and execution. Maybe now Clint Hurtt adjusts his defense more into players strengths again up front instead of asking Poona Ford to be something he isn’t. Maybe now DK Metcalf won’t lose his poise at critical times in games. Maybe now Darrell Taylor won’t jump offsides in his opportunities to pass rush.

These are some of the things Seattle should look to do in these games. I could make a longer list, but the point has been made enough. I think Seattle lost games in this last month that they should have won. You can say that I’m being harsh, but Pete Carroll would say it the same way, and basically has.

What is in the past is in the past, though. Now it is in front of them to seize the opportunity to still make this season close out in the right way. Play hard, play strong, play smart, and let the chips fall where they may.

I think it is possible for them to still make a decent go at it, and push for the playoffs. I believe that is out there for them, and whether or not they get into the post season is immaterial in my mind. What’s important is that they close this out with a feeling that 2023 is going to be special instead of another pile of who-the-fuck-knows with this team.

I want to wake up the morning after that last game against the Rams feeling like “oh hell yes, we are onto something special for next year.” That’s the feeling I want most of the Twelves to feel, and I’m sure that the team wants that, as well.

So, yeah. I think finishing strong is hugely important. I think it’s vital.

Go Hawks.


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