Lefko: Seattle Seahawks’ best and worst case scenarios for 2023

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We’re going through some of the toughest times for NFL teams. There’s a month and a half between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp, but at least the Seattle Seahawks are heading into this summer full of hope and anticipation.

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A better-than-expected offense, and a slew of draft picks that make significant contributions in 2022, naturally lead to predictions and speculation about what might happen to this team right now. They also command the respect of those in state authority.For example, NFL.com’s Eric Edholm On Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob a few weeks ago, he explained why he ranks the Seahawks as one of the 10 most complete teams in the league and a top-four finish in the NFC.

The top four teams in the league come down to a divisional berth in the playoffs, a step up from where the Seahawks were a year ago. However, it is possible for them to go beyond that and turn a step forward into a full-scale leap. Conversely, if the unknowns don’t play a role, the Seahawks could well stagnate or even regress.

So let’s break it down in terms of best-case/worst-case scenarios for the Seattle Seahawks this season in three key areas.

Seattle Seahawks defensive line

best case

An overhaul of the defensive line resulted in the right personnel in the scheme the Seahawks wanted to run. A returning Jarran Reed nearly replicated his 2018 form, while Seattle’s biggest offseasn addition, Dre’Mont Jones, finished with double-digit sacks and validated why the Seahawks wanted him as part of the Russell Wilson trade in the first place.

Rookie tackle Cam Young put together a strong camp, as Abe Lucas and Tariq Woolen did a year ago as draft picks, becoming another non-first-round pick to win in his first year. starting position, and found success while doing so. Pass rushers Uchenna Nwosu and Darrell Taylor maintain steady production at the edge, while depth waves from Derick Hall, Boye Mafe, Tyreke Smith and others. Elevate the Seahawks defense to a top-five defense in the league (they’re eighth in 2022) and a top-half run defense in the league.

worst case

Young didn’t earn the forward spot, but because he was the starter, because the Seahawks had no one else at that position. The inexperience showed itself early on, and the handful of new players on the line didn’t gel together quickly enough to avoid growing pains.

Miscommunication continues to plague the run defense, and the Seahawks remain one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL.

Seattle Seahawks Offensive Line

best case

A year of training in Charles Cross and Abe Lucas has allowed the two tackles to excel in their rookie seasons. A younger, healthier option at right guard would bring stability inside, and true competition at center means whoever shows up has to win the job, rather than simply being the only viable option.

A cohesive frontcourt set the foundations for the Seahawks and handed the game over to opponents. The strong O-line also gives quarterback Geno Smith time in the pocket to tinker with his rich options in the passing game.

worst case

A new center means a learning curve and early growing pains. Lacking protection and not enough time for Smith to get in the pocket, the Seahawks’ offense started to stagnate at times like it did during last year’s long offensive scoring drought.

A year-long film about Cross and Lucas showed the sprinters how to beat them. The sophomore slump ensued, making it more challenging to win at the line of scrimmage, whether opening holes for running backs or allowing receivers enough time to drive downfield.

schedule

best case

Geno Smith’s entire offseason as the starting QB, combined with an increased offense, allowed the unit to hit early before other teams started finding their rhythm. In Year 2, things slowed down for Clint Hurtt as defensive coordinator, and any potentially fatal defensive flaws were identified and ironed out at the start of the season.

The Seahawks started 4-0, 3-1 at worst, took advantage of an easy start to the season, then took advantage of the extra week off to devise a pass-happy Cincinnati offense before visiting the Bengals in Week 5. Defensive strength. Seattle didn’t lose to an underdog all season and went 12-5 into the playoffs.

worst case

Many young players and rookies make up the bulk of the Seahawks’ starting roster, and this inexperienced group took more time to grind than initially expected, leading to a Week 1 loss to a team led by quarterback Matthew Stafford. A now-healthy Rams offense led by Dehe and catcher Cooper Kupp.

The defense needed field game reps to get up to speed and fix communication issues, and couldn’t do so fast enough to slow down the Lions’ powerful offense in Week 2. Rinse and repeat back-to-back road games with the Giants and Bengals and Seahawks tied 1-4 after five games.

An early bye week plus the end-of-season challenges of the 49ers, Cowboys, 49ers and Eagles proved too much for a tired team that has seen some key contributors Hitting the rookie wall, the Seahawks have won just two of their final eight games.

Those are two extremes of how the Seahawks’ season will go, and the answer will likely be somewhere in between. Keep in mind, though, that at this time last year, there wasn’t even a reasonable reason to think the best-case scenario could get to this level, so who knows what’s going to happen this season.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

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• Bumpus: The two most prominent Seahawks rookies
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• Can the Seattle Seahawks have the NFL’s top WR room in 2023?



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