February 1st, 2015 is the day that the Seahawks’ efforts to become a dynasty ended. Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell decided to put the ball in their quarterback’s hands, rather than feed the beast (Marshawn Lynch) on the one yard line to win the game. Some members of the team speculated that Carroll was “figuratively” handing the reins of the franchise to Russell Wilson. The team is transitioning from a physical brand of football to a team led by their quarterback. This coaching staff turned their back on the philosophy that had brought them so much success. The Seahawks were built around defense and running the ball. Choosing to pass it on the one yard line put doubt into the players minds (primarily their defense), questioning every decision that Carroll made. They slowly began to turn on him and could not buy into his coaching like they once did. I believe that this internal friction was a major factor for the Seahawks’ implosion. It seems that Carroll’s Super Bowl blunder has trickled down throughout their franchise including into their front office.
The Seahawks had hired Pete Carroll in 2010. This team was coming off another mediocre season going 5-11 in 2009. They needed an identity and believed that Carroll could give them one, allowing him to choose his own GM. He brought in John Snyder who was formally the vice president of player personnel of the Redskins. This tandem hit the ground running reshaping the roster. They traded for Marshawn Lynch, and selected pro bowlers Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Golden Tate, and Russell Okung in their first draft. Then in their next two drafts they brought in Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, KJ Wright, and Doug Baldwin. These are some of the best draft classes of all time which happened in a 3 year span under the same regime. The last pieces of this championship puzzle were veteran pass rushers Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Carroll and Snyder had built one of the greatest rosters of all time, which was validated by their 48-8 Super Bowl victory over the Broncos in 2014. However something changed after they lost to the Patriots the following year.
The 2015 off season started with a bang when the Seahawks traded pro bowl center Max Unger for pro bowl tight end Jimmy Graham. This trade looked great on paper because Graham was one of the best offensive play makers in the league. However, the Seahawks were a power football team that didn’t really utilize their tight ends. They gave up an important piece on that offensive line that was vital in maintaining their physical identity for a player that didn’t really fit their culture or scheme. The Hawks never figured out how to use Graham like New Orleans did. The poor personnel decisions didn’t stop there. Their drafts in the last 5 years have been awful. I understand that their place in the draft changed because of their success. However, most of the Seahawks’ core guys were later round picks anyway. They have let their offensive line go to shambles, and have devoted no real resources to fix it. They continue to ignore the foundation of their football team, and Russell Wilson is paying for it. For example, in 2017 they passed on Forrest Lamp who was one of the best offensive lineman in the class. They decided to take defensive tackle Malik McDowell who was talented, but had major character concerns. He might not be able to see the field because of a serious injury he suffered in a off the field ATV accident.
This past offseason the Seahawks parted ways with Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett, and lost Kam Challencor and Cliff Avril to retirement. These players have been major contributors for the Hawks. So it would be logical to believe that they were looking to replace one of them with one of their premium draft picks. Yet Carroll and Snyder traded back to draft a running back with their first round pick. If Russell Wilson wasn’t their quarterback, the Seahawks would be one of the worst 5 teams in the league. This roster (on paper) is abysmal. Even Russell’s elite talent might not be enough to bring this team to the playoffs. This regime’s draft mojo has worn off after Super Bowl 49. If they don’t turn it around, their days in Seattle are numbered.
- Wickersham, Seth. “Why Richard Sherman Can’t Let Go of Seattle’s Super Bowl Loss.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 25 May 2017, Accessed 4 July 2018. www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/19446657/seattle-seahawks-cornerback-richard-sherman-let-go-problem-nfl-2017.
- “NFL.com Draft 2018 – NFL Draft History: Full Draft Year.” NFL.com, National Football League, Accessed 4 July 2018. www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=4600&type=team.
- “Pro Football Statistics and History.” Pro-Football-Reference.com, Accessed 4 July 2018. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/.