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Seahawks #26 Seattle Seahawks
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Seahawks Pulse

Seahawks preseason ends: schedule set, development shows
As the Seahawks start week one, the schedule strength based on last year looks very average. Amazingly average in fact.

WK   OPPONENT      Power Rank
1    vs Cowboys      4
2    at Cardinals   32
3    vs 49ers       31
4    at Giants      15
5    vs Redskins    16
7    at 49ers       31
8    vs Jets        11
9    at Bears        9
10   vs Cardinals   32
11   vs Patriots    19
12   at Bills       14
13   at Dolphins    26
14   at Rams         1
15   at Eagles      26
16   vs Rams         1
17   vs Buccaneers  10

Looking at this schedule, it looks to me like this is not the most challenging schedule. It's right in the middle, with an average of exactly 16 in power-ranking. The two divisions that will decide how difficult this schedule really is are the NFC East, and AFC East, providing a full 8 games for the Seattle schedule.

Those two divisions provided a total of two 10-win teams, but only one losing season among the 8 teams. If those teams continue to be strong from top to bottom, it will be tough for any NFC West team to cross the 10-win threshold, and it would be unlikely for the Rams or Seahawks to provide a WC entry to this year's postseason.

The division that matters most will be the 6 games against the NFC West of course, with only the Rams being a challenge a season ago. With the Rams and Seahawks each aging a year, Seattle seems to have gotten the better of that deal and is primed to overtake the Rams. But the question is, are they ready to do it, and are the Rams going to actually fall back?

Player development
After the preseason, some of the players showed signs of their continued development. Development of youth has been the rallying cry for this team over the past couple of years, and seems to have just continued on into the preseason.

HB Jordan Howard +1 BTK
FB Tra Carson +2 AWR, +1 RBK
WR Ja'Conte Nix +2 AWR
TE Brigadier Younger +1 AWR, +1 RBK
LG Landon Turner +2 PBK
LT Ryan Ramczyk +2 AWR
LOLB Hans Nelson +2 AWR, +1 TAK
CB Harry Jones Sr. +1 AWR, +1 TAK

Notable starters or potential starters include Carson, Nix, Younger, Turner, Ramczyk, and Nelson. The average among those 6 young starters was over 2 progression points per players, yet another piece of good news to go along with the report of no injuries sustained in the preseason.

Bring on the Cowboys!
Forum Discussion (by N_StMarie on 11/10/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 13
Seahawks Training Camp: Onward and Upward!

Last year I wrote up a Training Camp article documenting my confusion over the previous year's horrid offense, and strong defense, after a year of the opposite. With the addition of Nix at WR, I predicted the offense and defense would both be too young to be elite, but would both be above average, and predicted a final record of 9-7. Looks like I was a little shy of the truth.

11-5 is a strong record, and broke a stream of 5 years without a winning season. And yet, when the Seahawks lost 33-20, it did not seem to be much of a surprise. That much winning seemed to be a year premature, but the arrow is pointed upward.

A winning season: Schedule
Seattle's record was boosted by a six games against 4 of the bottom 5 teams in the league, including a 57-7 win against the hapless 49ers in week 3. This was a perfect storm, as I wrote about, and more of a complete domination of the backup quarterbacks than anything else.

49ers QB's in total
26/48, 54%, 306 passing yards (277 after sack yardage), 7 sacks, 1 TD, 5 INTS

Based on this game and some other results, I stayed in the 3-4 most of the season. The 49ers were not the worst team in the league though, that was the Cardinals, who I found a way to lose to in week 9. That was the only win the Cardinals ever earned last year, going 1-15. The other two unfortunates discussed are the Falcons (#28) and Steelers (#29), whose defenses allowed 34 and 40 points to the Seahawks offense.

On the strong side of the schedule included two games against the Rams, ranked #1 by power rankings. We won one of those games, but lost against #2 Bengals, #7 Saints, and #10 Buccaneers. The next best wins were against #12 Lions, #13 Panthers, an #15 Giants, and only one of those wins was easy.

All in all, I thought the schedule was pretty forgiving, and that the Seahawks were a talented and good team, but not yet a great team last year. The easy thing to do would be to slot them between 10 and 12 with all those L's and W's distributed equally on both sides of that line.

That may be the right area, but that's not how football works. First, there are way too few data-points against good teams in a season. I wrote about 7 games above. Any one game swings on a couple of key plays that go one way or another. The Seahawks could have been anywhere between the 5th best and 15th best team last year and produced these results...and in all honesty could be even further from the middle.

Secondly, football is a matchup-dependent sport. How my front 7 matches up against the Bengals matters just as much as how my secondary matches up against the Lions, just one at a time. If my secondary was suspect, and front 7 stronger perhaps I shut down the Bengals running game and push them out of second place (remember, small sample size. One loss pushes them down the list) while losing to the Rams. Then these results change.

A winning season: 11-5
There are different ways to look at the caliber of a team. One is to look at the numbers, the production that tells us where in the league the team stands in offensive and defensive production.

PPG - 5th
Total yards - 6th
Pass yards - 2nd
Rush yards - 23rd
3rd down % - 14th

PPG - 9th
Total yards - 30th
Pass yards - 32nd
Rush yards - 3rd
3rd down % - 12th

Or one can look at the talent among the units, while also pointing out holes. From here it is easy to see why last year seemed to be an early breakout, while continued growth is expected.

Offensive stars
QB position - Old
LG Turner - 25
WR Nix - 22
WR Chance - 25
TE Younger - 22

Defensive stars
DE Aaron Donald - 28
DT Fritz Archeleta - 26
MLB Floyd - 25
FS Rice - 25
CB Hill - 29
CB Humphrey - 23

Either way, the youth in the offensive run game and defensive backfield stand out. So does that talent for the offensive passing game, and defensive pass defense.

What is surprising is how despite having 2/3 leading receivers as rookies, the passing game led this team to 11 wins. Period. The defense helped I'm sure, but sure didn't win 11 games.

Lastly, the biggest change not yet discussed has to be the QB. Last season was the first year without Cam Newton in almost the entire GZL's existence. Howard Christensen was so good that he has to be one of the final QBs considered for the MVP award. 3800 yards, 9.23 YPA, 23 TDs, 12 INTs, and 95.1 rating in 14 games with the Seahawks represents the best play they've had in a long time. Can we blame the WRs, or the QB? Possibly both.

This we should find out as the Seahawks transition back to...Cam Newton, who has returned this offseason while Christensen is looking for his next starting gig, and next starter's contract.

Offseason Recap
This offseason, the focus was on salary cap health in a very big way. Once Cam Newton was on his way in, the already mediocre cap situation became an issue. There is no other way to say it. So the Seahawks shed cap in a couple of areas, while keeping the youngsters employed as much as possible and signing no noteworthy FAs.

QB Howard Christensen - Cut
QB Lorenzo Sindle - Cut
RB Bobby Rainey - Cut
WR Anthony Perez - FA
TE Courtney Smith - FA
LT Earl Cote - Cut
LT Guy Schmidt - Cut
LT Bobby Gilbert - Cut
C Perry Howard - Cut
RG Jason Smith - Retired
RT Randy Schmitt - Trade (with Lions)
LOLB Casey Carter - Cut
SS Mike Greenfield - Cut
CB Jacob Reed - Trade (with Lions)
A couple of easy cap casualties became apparent with the slowdown of defenders Casey Carter and Mike Greenfield. Earl Cote has a lot left in the tank, but was also a casualty.

Perhaps a bigger deal, was the Seahawks had to let Courtney Smith & Anthony Perez go in FA without a fight, while cutting Christensen to make room for Newton. Tough decisions, and all of it led to allowing the new draft class to come in, while retaining a few members as well.

Actually, this is a good time to mention that the Seahawks added the Detroit Lions 1st round pick, as the centerpiece of a trade for Jacob Reed. Reed had his best season last year, starting probably 12-13 games. With Hunter Hill and Marlon Humphrey around for a long time, Reed was just too good to be the 3rd CB for a while, when a 1st round pick was on the table.

That pick turned into a Left Tackle.

Seattle turned around and made another trade with the Texans, where an early 2nd round pick was given up for this upcoming year's 1st round pick from Houston. This still left Seattle with a 2nd that turned into their hopeful running back of the future.

But that gives Seattle two first round picks in the upcoming draft, with an already up and coming team. The arrow is pointed upward once again.

HB Jonathan Cortez
WR Tashaun Leonard (5 year contract)
Cortez might be the odd man out at HB, but was retained at a one year rate of 930 thousand dollars.

Leonard stepped up into the #3/4 WR role Anthony Perez held. With TE Younger playing plenty of WR 3/4, Anthony Perez was not nearly the asset we hoped, just due to lack of snaps and routes run. Leonard taking that number of routes should still be an asset, just behind the big three receiving corps.

QB Cameron Newton - Trade (with Vikings)
HB Ivan Holmes - Draft
TE Ezra Beauchamp - Draft
LT Ryan Ramczyk - Draft
LT Aiden Green - Draft
LT Mike Washington - FA
LG Ben Shipp - Draft
C Dirk Walker - Trade (with Lions)
C Alberto Cousins - Draft
LOLB Sam Van Guilder - Draft
SS Blaine Ambrose - FA

So, I lied. Ambrose was a FA snag, and very surprising success. 5 years, 17.15M for a starting strong safety with a good mind, good athletic ability, and standing 6'1". How did this happen? Beats me.

The other big money names are Cam Newton, who returns to finish out his contract and perhaps career; Ryan Ramczyk, the first round LT, and Ivan Holmes, the 270 LB running back with no speed. Ivan may be the guy that steals my heart this year. The rest are all low contracts that allowed us to fill out our roster weeks ago. Did I mention we're stuck with a tight Salary Cap? We successfully stretched to $1.36 million in room. Injuries to starters will bring in some bad backups, or the IR will create the room to operate.

To be honest, this draft may have strengthened the running game long term but did little else but cap relief. Two players are expected to be anything at all.

Back to Cam. I really think Cam has carried a bad offense with bad WRs for much of his career, with good win numbers and good QB numbers to show for it. Now, the WRs are in place and Cam's giant arm should work well with these guys until he retires. The plan here is to get another ring, but this one with Cam actually on the field during the playoffs, not Levi Jones.

Often times I have one of the league's best offseasons, warranting a 1000-word write-up as I boast over the many awesome moves I made, like trading a 5th round pick for an awesome starting safety. I still got an awesome starting safety for cheap, but this year I can only boast of my restraint, which is certainly not normal for me.

If I cut no-one else for the year, Seattle will only have a 16M penalty next year, after being at nearly 25M this year. Furthermore, there are not huge cuts coming up that I have to make. Mathieu will be cuttable, but still a very good player after next offseason. Ditto with Okung. The other 7 players at 30 or older will have a combined 7 years left on their contracts, while all still being usable except Jake Long, who may retire.

Training Camp
The Seahawks training camp this year took place in a very unusual place. A High School gymnasium & track. Kickin it old skool was Head Coach London Fletcher, who wanted his guys to recapture the love of the game. Old Pull-up & Dip bars, pegboards, a rope hanging from the ceiling, all the things that make us nostalgic for our youthful athletic endeavors were present at Garfield High School. During this camp, a few of the fun events were conducted on those things, and even a timed 1-mile run.

(some) Results of the meaningless morale competitions:
1 mile run: HB James Frankel - 4:55
Fastest Rope Climb: Tyrann Mathieu
Best Pegboard posture: Brigadier Younger (the stork!)

Actual speed was built during the speed camp activities, with WR Joey Galloway brought in to oversee some phases of the training. Joey is not a personal trainer, more a celebrity and speed demon by reputation. But the guys seemed quite a bit more determined to work on their speed following some of the tape displays of Joey in his heyday, and the angles defenders tried and failed to use on him.

Those successes definitely sunk in with TE Brigadier Younger and Ivan Holmes. Though neither is known as a Joey Galloway, those same disappearing acts happen in short and intermediate distances between linebackers and safeties, and both focused hard on their training on sprint days, as well as in the weight room.

HB Homes not only added 10 LBs, but got faster by the end of the training camp. Younger did get faster as well, and is one of the fastest TEs the league has ever seen.

WR Nix also has been showing results, but his work has not just been in speed but in footwork, short area burst, and overall technique as an athlete getting in and out of the breaks in his route. Nix is one of those otherworldly athletes who's successes can clearly be traced to a supreme work ethic that others can't touch, while being blessed with a frame and musculature that are quite elite as well.

OLB Hans Nelson is the most noteworthy defender this offseason, as he competes with Younger to work on his closing speed while in coverage. Nelson and Younger have been inseparable during strength and conditioning days, and Nelson's speed work is working wonders on him.

All in all, these youngsters are quite impressive, and the training camp has brought out the best in them through competition and the daily gains they have earned.

Upcoming season
There are still several young players in key positions. While we count on growth from the young stars, the losses included experience at LT, and LOLB that we are replacing with far less awareness and skill (in some cases) than we had a year ago. Those 15-ish seasons lost from those two positions alone should have an effect on the offense and defense, while the growth at WR and in the defensive secondary will help tremendously.

Overall, I see the team improving. Simply too many stars and upcoming stars are playing together to predict anything mediocre for this team, especially while providing a two-deep QB group that can get the ball to the right place at the right time.

The defense overall should take another step towards shutting down the average team, and slowing down the great ones. With two 25 year old safeties, between 80-90 AWR, and two tall, athletic studs at CB, the pass defense will arrive. Three of those 4 are 6'1", and the 4th is 6'2", with the slowest guy in that group being SS Ambrose at 91 SPD, and the rest being 95 SPD or higher.

At the same time, the 25 year old star MLB has plenty of help in front of him, and to his right in stuffing the run. The DL is the most experienced and highest-awareness group on the defense. This defense should be top 5 or better.

On offense, I expect nothing but growth from the passing team. Even though OL isn't in a perfect place, Cam is smart, decisive, a strong runner, and has insanely great athletes to throw to at WR. In the running game the blockers will progress another year at most positions, while the LT is the only immediate downgrade. Ivan may be as well, but as big and strong as he is I imagine he'll be an asset from the beginning, perhaps greater than Jordan Howard has been so far. At 6'3", Ivan is BUILT for destruction, and is hopefully the next Brandon Jacobs or LaGarrette Blount for me.

Special teams continue to be among the league leaders in available talent, and shows no signs of falling off.

I am excited to see this team perform, and am expecting a similar result to last year's team, a team that needed some luck to bound our way to get to 11-5. This year I'll predict a 12-4, but really an 11-5 season would be very successful for us. I suspect that 11-5 was a bit of an over-successful season last year, and that playing a true 11-5 this year would still be a step forward.

I will add, that from where I sit, looking at the ages of these up and comers, that the best chance at another SB trophy appears to be with a version of this roster.
Forum Discussion (by N_StMarie on 11/01/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 14
Seahawks end quiet period, sign one FA starter
Up against the Cap, the Seahawks made a flurry of moves to start the offseason, and since then have made a series of cuts to continue to keep their young talent around and clear space for the draft. They have almost completely ignored free agency, but in the past week have awoken to make some moves.

FA Signings
FS Blaine Ambrose - 5 years, 17.15M Salary, 3.7M Bonus
RG Russell Okung - 3 years (Re-sign), 19.24M Salary, 4.08M Bonus
MLB Denver Wakefield - 5 years (Re-sign), 6.11M Salary, 890k Bonus

Ambrose was one of two safeties that Seattle targeted as a long-term SS for their rebuilt secondary. Freeman likely received an appropriately large contract, but Ambrose is younger and more likely to earn the full 5-year contract Seattle has offered. Ambrose is a former 5th round pick that is a good athlete for the position, with strong abilities to play the safety position.

The biggest downside for Ambrose is quite the downer for a safety. Injury resiliency is not high.

Okung returns for probably the last years of his career, making nearly 6M this season. He will continue to start at RG for this team. Wakefield is an obscene athlete, while undersized. This makes him a star at special teams, while a very nice addition to the defense when needed. He could be a star on the field if he holds up to the physical needs of the position. A perfect backup for the price.

FA Leavings
LT Bobby Gilbert
WR Anthony Perez
RT Jason Smith
TE Courtney Smith

Courtney Smith is one of the best TE's the GZL has seen, and after an entire career in Seattle, finds himself priced too high for the current roster. Seattle may attempt to bring him back still. Anthony Perez is the big name here though, as he got star money from the Colts.

2 years, 27.5 million salary, 11M of it is bonus money.

The linemen aren't starters, and would be more expensive than Seattle can afford right now for backup linemen.

RFA Signings
LG Randy Schmitt - 1 year, 930k
HB Jonathan Cortez - 1 year, 930k
C Perry Howard - 1 year, 930k
WR Tashaun Leonard - 5 years, 15.13M Salary, 2.55M Bonus

Leonard has been a pretty nice WR/PR for the team over his first three years, a very nice deep threat for a 5th round pick. He's averaged over 15 YPC on 104 catches, with 8 TDs, and another 29 Yards per kick return, and 4.5 yards per punt return on a combined 33 returns.

The other three have been and are slated to be backups, although Cortez had a loud and successful rookie year. Ultimately, only Leonard has long term security from this group.

After all of this, Seattle has a bit less than 5M in cap room, and may see another cap casualty or two during or after the upcoming draft.
Forum Discussion (by N_StMarie on 09/22/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 18
Seahawks make big moves: Prepare to launch
Oh boy, some big moves are being made in Seattle. Sentiment in some cases, and cold calculation in others, big money and big players have moved off and onto the roster, and a first round pick added.

Seahawks trade: Patriots 5th
Vikings trade: QB Cameron Newton
After an emotional separation last season, Newton is brought back, costing a mere 13.5M this season. More palatable than his number would have been previously, but not an efficient process the way it worked out. Plus, money is tight this year, so this will bring on a domino effect

Seahawks trade:
CB Jacob Reed
49ers 2nd (2.3)
Patriots 3rd (3.13)
Future Seahawks 7th round pick

Lions trade:
Lions 1st (1.11)
Future Lions 3rd round pick
This is a blockbuster, the big one of the offseason so far. Seahawks have spent some development time on Reed after acquiring him a couple years ago, and he had a breakthrough year a season ago. But Seattle ended up with three top CBs, but not the playing time for all of them. The Lions give up 1.11, which could be a more talented CB, but get a polished starter now, plus an early 2nd round pick and a swap of a current year 3rd for a future 3rd.

Seattle loses a favorable contract. Reed was being paid like a 3rd CB, while coming with the skill of a 2nd CB. Instead it has to re-sign Hunter Hill and is paying 1st round money to Marlon Humphrey over the next 5 years.

An interesting amount of draft capitol changing hands on both sides, plus a blue-chip player. But what need is Seattle aiming for with 1.11?

QB Howard Christensen
OLB Casey Carter
SS Mike Greenfield

The two defenders were making a little over 10M, but both had lost a step and thus became quite overpriced. Christensen may be the league MVP, but was pushed out to make financial room for Newton.

All together, these three cuts represent nearly 20M in cap clearance.

CB Hunter Hill got himself a very nice contract. However, I don't recall the terms of the deal at the moment, as it has been a while since it was signed. If I recall, he was reupped for 7 years, or until he's 35.
Forum Discussion (by N_StMarie on 08/24/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 20
Seahawks: 2022 is over...what To-Do next?
Energy and disappointment, and disappointed energy are swirling around the front office for the Seahawks this time around. More analysis will be done I'm sure, but a preliminary look is warranted for such a critical upcoming season.

On the offensive side the WRs will continue to grow into their dominating selves, but the offensive line is patched together with old guys. It worked well as a pass-blocking force but the run game was only ordinary. This article is more of a to-do list than a retrospective, but the first cannot come without a bit of the other.

Re-sign the OL while being able to afford it
Upgrade at HB could be desirable
Replacement at #2 TE

On the defensive side the play was higher for much of the year, but a couple of spots have been vacated without a prospective player in place. The pass rush from the 3-4 generated a good amount of pressure and turnovers, assisted no-doubt by the young, re-built secondary. Outside of replacing things, my biggest concerns are health at key positions (CB, DE, MLB) that lack great backups.

Find SS starter
Upgrade over LOLB Nelson

Finally, the most important part. Cap Health. It looks to me like the Seahawks have about 5M in room, prior to cutting about 10 million in slowed defensive players. However, they are discussing bringing back Cam Newton, looking at some of their key FAs, and of course, signing draft picks and free agents.

This looks like a squeeze year for the Seahawks, and it couldn't come at a worse time when the team is on the rise. There really are two ways to go about this:

1. Ride it out for cap health. Building nearly 25M in cap bonus penalties is most of the reason we're in this predicament. Limit ourselves to about 10M this year and next year will be healthy.

2. Cut big numbers down, and go all-in with this young team. Too much talent to wait it out a year.

So which path will it be? Wait and you'll see.
Forum Discussion (by N_StMarie on 08/03/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 13

All Team News Stories

At A Glance

GM N_StMarie
Head Coach L.Fletcher
Offensive Coordinator A.Gates
Defensive Coordinator M.Trgovac
Special Teams Russ Purnell
Salary $148.2M
Cap Penalty $24.8M
Cap Room $1M


NFC West
#3 Rams y-Rams 12-4-0 0.75 5-1
#26 Seahawks Seahawks 7-9-0 0.44 3-3
#28 Cardinals Cardinals 6-10-0 0.38 4-2
#31 49ers 49ers 1-15-0 0.06 0-6

1 Sep 10 vs Cowboys Cowboys #7
Won 31-19
2 Sep 17 at Cardinals Cardinals #28
Lost 30-31
3 Sep 24 vs 49ers 49ers #31
Won 28-24
4 Oct 1 at Giants Giants #19
Won 26-23
5 Oct 8 vs Redskins Redskins #11
Lost 24-28
7 Oct 22 at 49ers 49ers #31
Won 19-13
8 Oct 29 vs Jets Jets #16
Lost 20-23
9 Nov 5 at Bears Bears #25
Won 16-10
10 Nov 12 vs Cardinals Cardinals #28
Won 38-33
11 Nov 20 vs Patriots Patriots #17
Lost 10-16
12 Nov 26 at Bills Bills #15
Won 27-20
13 Dec 3 at Dolphins Dolphins #29
Lost 29-30
14 Dec 10 at Rams Rams #3
Lost 6-34
15 Dec 17 at Eagles Eagles #10
Lost 16-33
16 Dec 23 vs Rams Rams #3
Lost 7-33
17 Dec 31 vs Buccaneers Buccaneers #6
Lost 3-20

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