Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/19/14
Go big or go home Wrapping up a team’s season is never a reality. Teams work around the clock all year long to make moves in order to bolster their chances at that elusive championship. As each team enters the offseason, though, they know it’s their time to make the biggest impact possible. Through free agency, trades, and the NFL Draft, all 32 teams look to make a splash. In the case of the Seattle Seahawks, they made that big splash. More than once. After an 11-5 season that saw the team challenge the 49ers for the NFC West and fall 30 seconds short of the NFC Championship game, the Seahawks went right to work trying to lay the groundwork to replicate that effort and then some. The words “championship offseason” have been thrown around A LOT in Seattle, making this not just a dream, but a reality for the Seahawks and the beloved 12th Man. Despite a few bumps in the road, the Seahawks have only made themselves better since the season ended in Atlanta. Personnel Losses Percy Harvin made the Seahawks a lot more dangerous The Seahawks lost 6 players this offseason. The biggest loss, however, may not even be a player at all. The 2 biggest player losses are arguably Marcus Trufant (Jaguars) and Leroy Hill (Free Agent). While Trufant wasn’t quite a starter, the tandem of him and Hill were the 2 lone pieces remaining from the Super Bowl team Seattle had in 2005. We all knew Hill was on his way out with his slew of off field issues as well as him being beaten so badly in coverage last season. And while Trufant became a situational guy, his veteran leadership and ability to play a big role in nickel defense situations made him completely necessary. Gone are Jason Jones (Lions) and Alan Branch (Bills) who combined for 7 sacks in their 3 total years of service in Seattle. Gone is Matt Flynn (Raiders) after losing the starting QB competition to Russell Wilson and never seeing more than a few garbage time snaps in any game in his lone season as a Seahawk. While this loss hurt a little more, it was a given considering one of the offseason moves the Seahawks made. Leon Washington is taking his stellar kick return services to New England and hopefully, will get a crack to get more carries each week in a less crowded RB system. And lastly, gone is Seattle’s defensive coordinator Gus Bradley who moved up the coaching chain to take over the reigns as Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. As we all know, Seattle’s defense was gaining reputation pre-Russell Wilson and it was because of Bradley. Personnel Additions The Seahawks have added immensely to the roster this offseason, making it hard to keep track of all the moves. First they traded for Percy Harvin from Minnesota who is reunited with Sidney Rice. Then they went out and stole 2 ferocious pass rushers in Cliff Avril (via Lions) and Michael Bennett (via Buccaneers). With Trufant on his way out, the Seahawks went out and got the best CB to cover the slot in the NFL – Antoine Winfield (via Vikings). They also signed DT Tony McDaniel (via Dolphins), QB Brady Quinn (via Chiefs) and re-signed our old friend QB Tarvaris Jackson (via Bills). And for the record…while I know he is NOT going to start, I STILL support T-Jack. To replace the departed Bradley, the Seahawks went out and grabbed Dan Quinn. Quinn was the Seattle D-Line coach before going to the University of Florida to take over as their Defensive Coordinator. Now he returns to Seattle as the new Defensive Coordinator. Cliff Avril will finally know what it’s like to win after coming to Seattle from Detroit NFL Draft The Seahawks drafted 11 players in this year’s NFL Draft. They came from across the country and were quite diverse in relation to offense/defense. It’s normally tough for a rookie to crack the squad, but with a roster as deep as the Seahawks currently have, it’s going to be extra difficult. Round Pick Position Player College (2) 62 RB Christine Michael Texas A&M (3) 87 DT Jordan Hill Penn State (4) 123 WR Chris Harper Kansas State (5) 137 DT Jesse Williams Alabama (5) 138 CB Tharold Simon LSU (5) 158 TE Luke Willson Rice (6) 194 RB Spencer Ware LSU (7) 220 G Ryan Seymour Vanderbilt (7) 231 LB Ty Powell Harding (7) 241 G Jared Smith New Hampshire (7) 242 T Michael Bowie N.E. State (OK) My Analysis The loss of Trufant and Washington really hurt. They were fan favorites and absolutely clutch when they needed to be. The sting was lessened, though, because the Seahawks replaced them with better personnel (as much as it pains me to say that.) With Antoine Winfield taking the slot receiver, the Seahawks shored up their biggest problem on defense. With the addition of Percy Harvin, the Seahawks ensured that not only do they have arguably the most dynamic WR in all of football, but also one of the top returners in the game. Oh yeah, he can play running back, too. Jesse Williams should make an immediate impact, especially in defending the run (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) The added pass rush of Avril and Bennett is a huge boost, especially with Chris Clemons coming off a serious injury and Bruce Irvin out the first 4 games due to suspension. It will be a good experiment at first then working in a 4 man rotation will keep the pressure on opposing quarterbacks all game long. Tony McDaniel actually fits well with the losses of Branch and Jones, but rookies Jessie Williams and Jordan Hill will make a huge push for immediate playing time at DT – Williams in the run and Hill in the pass. The running game won’t skip a beat if Marshawn Lynch goes down, because we are all aware of his backup, Robert Turbin. Behind him, now, is Christine Michael, who is a replica of the 2 in front of him. Throw in Harvin and rookie RB/FB Spencer Ware and you have yourself a bruising line of rushers. The addition of Luke Willson via the draft turned out to be a good immediate decision, with the injury to Anthony McCoy this offseason. It gives Russ a second receiving TE capable of blocking effectively, too. One of the more underrated moves is the addition of undrafted free agent linebacker John Lotulelei. With Malcolm Smith in line to take over Leroy Hill’s starting role, if Lotulelei works hard enough at it, he could become an immediate platoon player at the position. CB Tharold Simon’s drafting proves the Seahawks have their prototype secondary guy – a tall, strong, physical guy who can interrupt plays in multiple ways. And the addition of WR Chris Harper adds even more depth at receiver making the back end of the depth chart a true position battle. He WILL make this team. Conclusion Seattle has been clamoring for attention in the national spotlight. The Pete Carroll/John Schneider era has been a big turning point in this franchise’s history not only in mentality and physicality, they have also built a winner with a strategy that was sketchy at best to most. They have proven their model and have made these Seattle Seahawks legit contenders once again. With the heated rivalry with the 49ers as well as rivalries budding with Green Bay and Atlanta, it is going to be a fearsome foursome at the end of the season in the NFC. With all of these offseason moves, Seattle has put themselves a step ahead of that big 4. Now they just have to go out and prove it. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG PAGE IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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