Found February 14, 2014 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Not one and done “Turn out the lights, the party’s over,” is a classic country music lyric sung by the great Willie Nelson. This also could be the song one could hear coming from the respective offices of both Pete Carroll and John Schneider as the team gets ready for Championship Offseason number two. A lot can be said that the NFL hasn’t seen a repeat championship team in over ten years, but the league also hasn’t seen a team this talented since the early days of the New England Patriots dynasty either. The Super Bowl party was a blast, as the 700,000 plus in attendance at the parade can attest. But, as the song lyrics allude, it’s time to get to work on bringing a second Lombardi Trophy to the great city of Seattle. Here are my five things that I think need to be done to make sure the Seahawks aren’t like so many other teams in the past that can’t seem to get it done the following year. 5: A cure for the hangover “The road goes on forever and the party never ends,” is another fitting country music lyric for this particular offseason. These words sung by Robert Earl Keen should be taken literal. As we know from past experiences when a team wins the Super Bowl, the party sometimes doesn’t end. Players lose their normal offseason rituals, the offseason is in fact shorter, and the celebrity status that comes with winning a Super Bowl can make a players already inflated ego inflate even more. Besides the obvious need to trim some salaries, re-sign key free agents and draft as well as PC/JS have done in the past, this is the one key step that will be out of the coaches and front office’s hands. This lies solely on the players themselves. In other words, starting now, every player on this team will need to get back to focusing on winning a championship, just like they did last year. 4: Is this Costco? Michael Bennett says he wants to stay, but for a price. (Photo: msn.foxsports,com) A week after Seahawks DE Michael Bennett said something along the lines that he was a Seahawk and he wanted to finish his career in Seattle, is changing his tune, a little. His Costco rant, that surfaced in the media on Wednesday, came as a surprise to a lot of fans, myself included, especially after he was so exited to stay and win another Super Bowl. Michael Bennett and Golden Tate appear to be at two opposite ends of the in-house free agent spectrum for PC/JS. Tate announced just days after the Super Bowl that he would take a home-town discount to stay in Seattle for the opportunity to win more championships. We’ve all heard the cliché that football is a business, and it’s true, it’s a cut-throat business that has no roots in loyalty or fan empathy. Players want to get paid, owners want to make money, and it’s often the fans that get left in the dust. My biggest question to Bennett is, you know what losing is like coming from Tampa, why would you take more money to end up in a place like that again that has no serious shot at winning? A question I often find myself asking during the free agency period of all major sports offseason’s. Situations like these are dynasty killers. If the player in question needs to go, cut the losses and let them walk. They obviously aren’t here for the team, they’re here for themselves. 3: Shore up some money With the Michael Bennett debacle comes another question of faith for PC/JS. There are a few players who are making a bit more than they should be, but are nonetheless important pieces to this teams continuing success. Namely Chris Clemons and Zach Miller. If the Hawks do decide to bring back Bennett for an amount that will be higher than they had hoped, it will be sayonara to Clemons most likely. Golden Tate wants to return at a possible discount. (Photo: fansided.com) If Bennett walks, there could be no change to Clemons contract, but we don’t know what is going to happen just yet. Clemons did have an off-year in the sacks department, but his ability to pressure the QB is something that will be hard to let go of. Restructuring his deal will be key no matter what happens with Bennett. Same thing with Zach Miller. Miller is, in my opinion, a vital part of this offense. More so than a lot of media will like to admit to. Some call him an over-priced blocker who isn’t used enough in the offense, but I strongly disagree with that notion. Yes, he is way over paid, and management will need to do something about that. Miller, just like Clemons, is too vital to this team to simply just let walk away. If both players agree to restructure, then the Hawks are on their way to becoming the Patriots of this decade. 2: Bring back key players This will be bigger than making a splash on the free agency market. Of course the above mentioned Tate and Bennett are a must in terms of explosive players who’ve made an impact with this club in the championship year, but there are other must’s too. Micheal Robinson is as big of a free agent the Hawks have this year. We saw what happened when he was cut earlier this past year, and the difference he brought to the team when he was added to the roster again late in the year. Mack Strong comes to mind when I think of the importance of Robinson with the Seahawks. Besides Robinson, there are a few other offensive players who the Hawks need to resign. Breno Giacomini, even though he cost the Hawks a few big plays late in the year with his holding mishaps, Giacomini is a huge part of the O-line that struggled to stay healthy last year. Doug Baldwin will be a bright spot for the future of this team if he is re-signed, which I also think is a must since Sidney Rice is all but gone. If the Hawks can’t sign both Baldwin and Tate, there could be some serious problems on offense next year. And then there is Tarvaris Jackson. Once again, a player that got cut previously by this team, only to be brought back. Jackson understands what Carroll wants from this team, and is more than an above average back-up to Russell Wilson. These players are must’s for the PC/JS regime. Sorry, don’t have enough space for the defensive players in this piece. 1: Keep doing what you’re doing Pete First and foremost Pete Carroll needs to keep this place a fun, but winning, atmosphere that players want to play in, and return to. Carroll and the Seahawks have everything in the makings to become the next great dynasty in the NFL, but it will take an army of talent, toughness and camaraderie to get back to the big game. Letting their foot off the gas pedal, even for a moment, will derail the hopes and dreams of all the 12′s everywhere who dream of a repeat next season.
THE BACKYARD
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