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Seahawks look better than expected (but not good enough)

Ben Obomanu, Pete Carroll AP

We’re checking in with each team during their bye week to look at their state of the franchise.

We’ve written about the Titans, Chiefs, Broncos, and Chargers this week. The Seahawks are up next.

Season-changing win

Seattle’s Week Five win in New York changed the early complexion of the Seahawks season. Instead of looking like “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes entrants, Seattle may just be a steadily improving young team.

Pete Carroll’s crew looked poor as expected in losses to San Francisco and Pittsburgh.  They have won two of three since, with a narrow home loss to Atlanta.

No quarterback controversy yet

Charlie Whitehurst closed out the win against the Giants, but Pete Carroll made it clear that Tarvaris Jackson will keep the starting job if he’s healthy after the bye. Jackson has a strained pectoral, so that’s a big “if.” Jackson’s five games have mirrored the team. He looked awful early, but has steadily improved to “eh, not terrible”while showing some toughness.

More production from surprising places

Carroll and G.M. John Schneider have a knack for finding diamonds in the rough. Undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin leads the team in receiving yards with 330. Guys like safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker K.J. Wright have also stepped up.

Evaluating the offense

Sidney Rice has arrived as advertised: injury-prone and explosive when he plays. It’s surprising that tight end Zach Miller has been an afterthought. Last year’s success story Big Mike Williams disappeared even before he was hurt, and Golden Tate can’t get on the field.

The offensive line looked like a holy mess heading into the season. It still doesn’t look great, but things have stabilized.

Safeties lead the defense. The defense leads the team

Once again, Carroll seems to have an overachieving group. They have played like an average defense overall that is tough to run against despite below average talent.  (They are 17th in points allowed and yards allowed.)

Safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor have been the keys. Thomas is one of the best young players in the league at any position. Chancellor has played well. They help make up for a weak cornerback group and mediocre pass rush.

Stuck in the middle

The Seahawks may play too well to get near Andrew Luck, but it’s hard to see them getting over .500 with a tougher schedule this year.

Carroll seemed to tacitly accept the possibility of taking a step back this year with so many young players and Jackson at quarterback. It’s hard to envision them catching the 49ers.

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30 Responses to “Seahawks look better than expected (but not good enough)”
  1. dallasisgoingdowngary says: Oct 14, 2011 5:55 PM

    Remember when Marshawn went beast-mode on the Saints – and literally shook the ground around Qwest Field. That was awesome.

  2. ripcityhawkhead says: Oct 14, 2011 6:06 PM

    TJ is 18th in the league in passer rating, which is eh middle of the pack. Run D is stout and held Eli and the giants to eh 1-12 on 3rd downs. The first 2 games where a mess but we’re headed in the right direction. Seahawks will challenge for the division with at least 8 wins barring any major injuries.

  3. yaod says: Oct 14, 2011 6:15 PM

    This Andrew Luck better be good because you guys talk about him every day like he’s God.

  4. cliffordc05 says: Oct 14, 2011 6:18 PM

    I think this evaluation underestimates the improved offensive line play and how that affects everything else. During the pre-season and first few games, Moffit and Carpenter looked completely lost. Carpenter has actually blocked on a few pass plays the past two games. He was a human turnstile until the Atlanta game. I did not expect the line to be playing this well until the second half of the season and it has been the key to the team’s improvement. I now believe that this is a 500 club.

  5. eaglesdynasty says: Oct 14, 2011 6:19 PM

    the Seahawks are a consistent QB away from being a legit playoff team in that division. Jackson and Whitehurst are not the long term answers at QB but Carroll is right to stick with Jackson. If you have two mediocre QBs then you might as well go with the guy that has the best connection with the other players and the superior athletic ability.

    This upcoming draft is probably the most QB heavy we have seen since 2004 when Eli, Rivers and Ben all went high in the first with JP Losman not far after and Matt Schuab picked later. Luck, Barkley and Jones have a shot at being a even superior top 3 to the 2004 trio and also deeper than 2004 with legit prospects like Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin all likely top 64 picks. The Seahawks are too talented to be picking no.1 overall and tanking the season for Luck makes no sense. They easily could build confidence as a young team, win 7-9 games and still be in good position for a guy like Landry Jones.

    Pete Carroll is a great players coach and definitely got a raw deal with his first stint in the NFL. He may be a superior college coach but hes definitely a solid pro coach too.

  6. jimmygrahamchrisivory says: Oct 14, 2011 6:20 PM

    If only Seattle had a decent QB, that division wouldn’t look so terrible. It would be fun to see SF and Seattle compete for the division title, rather than SF run away with it at the start of the season as it currently stands so far.

  7. jeff061 says: Oct 14, 2011 6:22 PM

    While Zach Miller hasn’t been piling up the rcving numbers – he’s made a big difference in the run game and downfield game w/ his exceptional blockign skills…something that has been lacking w/ the Hawks for years.

    Once the catches come – he’ll have an outstanding impact.

  8. dericivy says: Oct 14, 2011 6:28 PM

    D is also tied for the lowest ypa in running at 3.1, and according to football outsiders, they are 5th in the league against the run.

    Would have been even better stats with out Curry’s mistakes giving up a few long runs, and missing about seven TFL’s that ended up with minimum 3yrd gains.

  9. socalseahawker says: Oct 14, 2011 6:35 PM

    I was saying to start the year, don’t expect much of anything from this group until atleast after their bye week. Especially the OL. this is a very young team just learning to play together. With one year together, working as a unit, this line will be ready for the QB of the future next year. As much criticism as Pete gets, he’s heading this ship in the right direction.

  10. eaglesdynasty says: Oct 14, 2011 6:50 PM

    D is also tied for the lowest ypa in running at 3.1, and according to football outsiders, they are 5th in the league against the run.

    Would have been even better stats with out Curry’s mistakes giving up a few long runs, and missing about seven TFL’s that ended up with minimum 3yrd gains

    —————————————————————————————————-

    Brandon Mebane is hugely underrated against the run. Ive seen prior seasons stats with Mebane in the game and out and the oppositions YPC drastically jumps without Mebane in there. I think the Hawks are just more talented than some people realize. Plus they run a 4-3 D-line that is one of the bigger units in the NFL with Red Bryant, a 325 pound college DT, lining up at end.

  11. savannahrose44 says: Oct 14, 2011 7:06 PM

    “Seattle’s Week Five win in New York changed the early complexion of the Seahawks season. Instead of looking like “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes entrants, Seattle may just be a steadily improving young team.”

    Um duh. You don’t turn over 90% of your roster bring in a bunch of young talent and not improve. Not if you have a decent GM which Seattle does.

    “Carroll seemed to tacitly accept the possibility of taking a step back this year with so many young players and Jackson at quarterback. It’s hard to envision them catching the 49ers.”

    Start envisioning it. Seattle was underestimated last year as well and we all know how that came out. The 49ers are choke artists.

  12. savannahrose44 says: Oct 14, 2011 7:11 PM

    jimmygrahamchrisivory says:
    Oct 14, 2011 6:20 PM
    If only Seattle had a decent QB, that division wouldn’t look so terrible. It would be fun to see SF and Seattle compete for the division title, rather than SF run away with it at the start of the season as it currently stands so far.

    They haven’t run away with anything. Seattle is on Bye this week and the 49ers are not going to have an easy time in Detroit. They lose this week and Seattle is only 1 game back. Seattle is not out of it by any means.

  13. eaglesdynasty says: Oct 14, 2011 7:17 PM

    Um duh. You don’t turn over 90% of your roster bring in a bunch of young talent and not improve. Not if you have a decent GM which Seattle does

    —————————————————————————————————-

    actually doing that usually doesnt lead to improvement, at least not within the first couple seasons. Success in the NFL has so much to do with having experience, leadership and a strong bond in the locker room—–all things that are usually lacking bigtime with a huge roster turnover and youth movement.

    plus young talent isnt proven NFL talent, you have to be smart or lucky or both in the draft to be able to quickly fill holes left by departing veterans with really young players and have a smooth transition. Usually their are at least big growing pains and at worst those young players simply arent cut out for the NFL.

  14. mrlynch33 says: Oct 14, 2011 7:29 PM

    Best move they made was getting rid of Curry

  15. trbowman says: Oct 14, 2011 7:33 PM

    Marshawn Lynch is absolutely horrible. People are going to disagree on the basis of that one run against the Saints, but that’s it.

  16. cball77 says: Oct 14, 2011 8:06 PM

    Not a bad overview except when you said “no pass rush”. You clearly haven’t noticed that Chris Clemons is getting to the QB regularly and he’s already got a good sack total – defensive MVP so far.

  17. cball77 says: Oct 14, 2011 8:07 PM

    Sorry, mediocre pass rush

  18. 4d9erdynasty49 says: Oct 14, 2011 9:13 PM

    Wishful thinking savannahrose. Say what u want about the niners. U haven’t beat anybody u beat the cardinals and the declining nyg’s that lost the game themselves. U think u have a chance with t jack at qb. Umm no. U have a better chance with whitehurst. Give credit when credit is due. I don’t think the NFC west is decided. But if we play the way we been, were looking at 9 or 10 wins. I don’t see anyone in our division that can match. Some Seattle fans are in denial. Everytime I go on this website and see a blog about Seattle I always see these Seattle homers bloging ridiculous things with a bunch of likes to there comments. It kills me. We’ll see in a couple months. O yea, Harbaugh owns Carrol.

  19. marcsasharc says: Oct 14, 2011 10:04 PM

    its the 9ers division to lose. superior talent than Seattle and a better coaching staff.

  20. chazzmon says: Oct 14, 2011 10:41 PM

    Hello Carson Palmer, NFC West… can you sniff the playoffs with your Trojan brothers on Puget Sound? Mike Brown let’s make a deal!

  21. savannahrose44 says: Oct 14, 2011 10:42 PM

    @4d9erdynasty49

    And who exactly have the 49ers beaten? They barely beat the Seahawks week one by taking advantage of a young offensive line that had no off-season to work with eachother. If not for special teams seattle takes that game. Week 2 Cowboys…have been playing terrible nothing to write home about and they still lost to them. Week 3 Bengals took on a team with a rookie QB and a mostly made over roster, and had to make a 4th quarter comeback to win. Week 4 Eagles…we all know how they have been playing this year that one was almost a gimmie, and they still had to make yet another 4th quarter miracle happen to pull it off. The only game they actually made a statement in is the week 5 matchup against the Bucs who haven’t exactly been stellar this season. That game is the 49ers only claim to fame this year otherwise they have been mediocre. Wishful thinking? Maybe but at least Seattle has been improving steadily and you cannot deny that. How long have the 49ers sucked? 9 years thats right 9 years of suckage. It’s only a matter of time before they step on their own feet yet again. The 49ers come to CenturyLink Dec 24th and I promise you week one will still be fresh in their minds. You can go ahead and think Seattle is nothing to worry about if you want. We like being underestimated. Also I wouldn’t count on Harbaugh owning anything. This is not College this is the NFL completely different ball of wax.

  22. eaglesdynasty says: Oct 14, 2011 10:44 PM

    yea. I gotta give the Niners credit….they look good and are only looking bettter. Harbaugh is a QB guru and finally has Alex Smith playing effecient QB. Aldon Smith is adding some pressure, carlos Rogers is playing well, offseason additions are making impacts. Alot Eagles fans keep saying we gave the 49ers the win. I couldnt disagree more—-the Eagles came out and played a great first half but Harbaugh’s team adjusted at halftime while Reid’s team predictabley did not and the 49ers just took it to us and beat us down in the 2nd.

    The 49ers will win that division, they are built on coaching, defense and the running game—which makes for a resilient team. Plus as little as 8 wins could win that division this year–so the Niners are already halfway there. This week vs. Detroit will be a true indicator of how improved the Niners really are

  23. dgleighton says: Oct 14, 2011 10:53 PM

    4d9erdynasty49 says:
    “Everytime I go on this website and see a blog about Seattle I always see these Seattle homers bloging ridiculous things with a bunch of likes to there comments.”

    Sounds like the 49er fans for the last several years. This is your first seemingly successful year in how long and only 5 games in. Hold your water dude the seasons not over yet…

  24. mrlynch33 says: Oct 14, 2011 11:09 PM

    Carroll @ Harbaugh: Can you please just leave me alone??? I’m sick of you kicking my butt. You’re better than me at everything. First games and now turning around professional franchises???

    WHAT’S YOUR DEAL?!?!?!

  25. hillbillyjim says: Oct 14, 2011 11:44 PM

    And San Fran will lose the division, that’s why you haven’t won it once since Seattle has been in the NFC West.

    Getting rid of Curry was a good move, the best move was getting rid of Kelly Jennings.

  26. forever8young says: Oct 15, 2011 1:16 AM

    LMFAO @ all you bitter Seahawks fans.

    Let’s face it: your team has sucked since it’s inception in 1976.

    The Niners OWN this division.

    Jim Harbaugh OWNS Pete Carroll.

    Carry on.

  27. forever8young says: Oct 15, 2011 1:21 AM

    savannahrose44 says: Oct 14, 2011 7:06 PM

    “Seattle’s Week Five win in New York changed the early complexion of the Seahawks season. Instead of looking like “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes entrants, Seattle may just be a steadily improving young team.”

    Um duh. You don’t turn over 90% of your roster bring in a bunch of young talent and not improve. Not if you have a decent GM which Seattle does.

    “Carroll seemed to tacitly accept the possibility of taking a step back this year with so many young players and Jackson at quarterback. It’s hard to envision them catching the 49ers.”

    Start envisioning it. Seattle was underestimated last year as well and we all know how that came out. The 49ers are choke artists.
    —————————————————-

    Damn what is it with you miserable Washingtonians?

    Come by Niners headquarters some time and I’ll show you what a Lombardi looks like.

    4949 Centennial Blvd
    Santa Clara CA 95054

  28. sweetnlow44 says: Oct 15, 2011 1:36 AM

    “Everytime I go on this website and see a blog about Seattle I always see these Seattle homers bloging ridiculous things with a bunch of likes to there comments.”

    And this isn’t true about 49er fans?

  29. lookatthefarside says: Oct 15, 2011 2:45 AM

    The Seahags should have stuck with their original goal and sucked for Luck. Imagine Charlie Whitehurst or T-Jack taking the dirty birds to the super bowl! ROFL!

  30. savannahrose44 says: Oct 15, 2011 10:41 PM

    @forever8young

    Keep clinging to that security blanket.

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