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Five questions: Seattle Seahawks

San Diego Chargers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

The defending Super Bowl champions are quickly closing in on the start of their 2014 season Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers.

The Seahawks were able to keep most of their young core in place this offseason and were able to sign Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin to contract extensions as well. While they did lose some key contributors off their championship team, an inevitability for any team in the salary cap age, Seattle has kept a roster together every bit as a talented as the one the won the title last year.

There aren’t many areas that remain in doubt for the Seahawks as the season gets set to begin. However, we take a look at five questions that could determine if Seattle is able to repeat as champion this season.

1. Could the Seahawks be even better than last season?

If the offense can translate its production from this preseason over to the regular season, they almost certainly will be better.

In 13 offensive drives led by Russell Wilson this preseason, Seattle scored on 11 of them with nine touchdowns, two field goals, a missed field goal and just a single punt. Richard Sherman said Monday that Wilson is being more decisive this season. Head coach Pete Carroll said Wilson has had a near-perfect offseason. With Percy Harvin fully healthy, the Seahawks offense looks much more explosive.

With a defense that looks to still be a force and a special teams unit that is strong as well, if Seattle’s offense can take several steps forward they could be tremendously difficult to beat this year.

2. Will Seattle’s offensive line hold them back?

The Seahawks offensive line was the one area of the team that underperformed consistently last season. Tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini missed a combined 15 games. Center Max Unger missed three more and the depleted unit struggled mightily in their absence.

This year, Seattle is going to start a rookie at right tackle in second-round pick Justin Britt and Okung is still working into game shape after missing most of the offseason following foot surgery.

On the positive side, left guard James Carpenter has lost a considerable amount of weight and looks more capable of moving adequately this year. Right guard J.R. Sweezy has appeared to take his game up another level as well.

The unit is much more adept at run blocking, which is still going to be the main focus of the team with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield and Percy Harvin potentially being used as a rusher at times as well. If they can adequately provide protection for Russell Wilson in the passing game, the offense should be able to accomplish much more this season.

3. Can the Seahawks get 16 games out of Percy Harvin?

Percy Harvin is noticeably exhausted about answering questions about his health. However, when you miss most of the last two seasons due to injury, it’s one of the only things to ask about.

Harvin has missed 22 regular season games over the last two years due to ankle and hip injuries. He’s only played all 16 games of an NFL season once in his career in 2011 with the Minnesota Vikings. But it’s already evident this preseason that the dynamic athlete that was firmly in the MVP conversation in 2012 is back.

Harvin says he’s as healthy now as he’s been since even before he got to college at the University of Florida. His presence on the field expands the field both horizontally and vertically for Seattle’s offense. The Seahawks are counting on Harvin being a big part of their offense. It’s now on Harvin to see if he can put all those questions about his health in the past.

4. Will the Seahawks run defense take a step back?

The Seahawks cut defensive ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons this offseason for salary cap reasons. However, both players had been important pieces of Seattle’s run defense the last few seasons.

In their absence, Seattle has toyed with moving tackle Tony McDaniel to end in rushing situations with Kevin Williams replacing McDaniel along the line. There are also some new young cogs in their defensive line rotation as well that will be called upon for increased roles.

The Seahawks allowed Tampa Bay and St. Louis to rush for 200 yards against them in consecutive weeks last season before making an adjustment and getting the run defense righted. With key pieces such as Bryant and Clemons gone, it remains to be seen if they can find similar performance up front against opposing rushing games.

5. How does Seattle handle being the team on top?

It’s a position the franchise has never been in before. Several key players got big paydays this offseason as well.

But Russell Wilson and Earl Thomas swear they will be able to keep the focus in the right direction this season. The two talk about how they are competing on a daily basis to see which one of them is the last player to leave the team’s facility each day. Both players obsess over every minute detail they can find on tape in hopes of being completely prepared for games.

That focus trickles down to the rest of the team and the players and coaches are convinced they have turned the page on last season. The only way to truly know now is to play the games.

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46 Responses to “Five questions: Seattle Seahawks”
  1. satanfromhell says: Sep 2, 2014 3:11 PM

    Ugh, I hate the seahawks

  2. seatownballers says: Sep 2, 2014 3:13 PM

    Its our division

  3. pw1265 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:19 PM

    Will they beat the Packers on Thursday?? Oh hell no!

  4. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Sep 2, 2014 3:20 PM

    The biggest question for the Seahawks should be: Will the emphasis on PI and mugging of WR’s really be enforced like the NFL says it will.

    They were pretty clever and figured it out perfectly that the refs can’t call PI all the time unless they want the games to last for 4 hours, which would screw things up. If they do, this will have a huge impact on their defense.

  5. jdrewsy says: Sep 2, 2014 3:22 PM

    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Yes
    4. No
    5. Like you won’t believe! Back to back baby!!!!!

    Go Hawks!

  6. thebirdofprey2 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:23 PM

    Curtis Crabtree is one of the best sports writers out there right now. I read lots of articles from everywhere online/magazines and his articles are very informed and he doesn’t make himself or biases part of the story.

    I actually feel good about the offensive line coming into the season and even the young depth we have behind the starters with Bailey/Gilliam. Britt does really well in run blocking and I think by mid-season he’s pass blocking is up to par allowing things to really take off. Russell Wilson should be in the hunt for MVP this year.

  7. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Sep 2, 2014 3:24 PM

    We’re ready for the seahawks. 19-0 is not out of the question. Sorry, rest of the league. #notsorry

  8. allidoiswin55 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:24 PM

    The most concerning thing will be Seattle run defense replacing vets who were good against the run with younger cheaper options with the same skill set but much less experience .

    The OLine should improve mostly bc last year they had one of the most injured units in football . Played almost half the season missing 3 &4 offensive line starters .

    Seattle will excel being the hunted , despite trolls not acknowledging last season . Seattle was expected the SB preseason and from wire to wire was one of the top 3 nfl teams. They were brash, bragged and bullying people all season. If you think teams didn’t give them their best shot trying to atleast knock them off their egocentric high horse your poorly mistaking . They had a hard schedule and still won 13 games . It’s not like much has changes except they actually won the trophy. Seattle of all teams is the most likely to succeed being the hunter bc as many of them have said “We have bullets too”.

    Seahawks offense was ranked 2nd in scoring until week 14 (aka the week they clinched a playoff berth ) then scaled way back and ended up playing small ball and finished 7th in scoring . The Seahawks offense has been around top 10 for the past two seasons and it’s easy to expect progress with a qb who takes pride in his work habits and studying film . Add on te fact that they were 2nd in scoring for most of the season, despite missing 3-4 offensive linemen and both top WRS. With health the Seahawks should be arguably top 8 both passing and running . They won’t get credit bc the defense is so well known but they score early and often for a power running team. Just having healthy players on offense should help get rid of any doubt of their offense . Is be willing to bet if most teams had Seattles injuries on offense they would struggle even worse ( Atlanta ) .

    Seahawks go 12-4 win Nfcw

  9. logicalvoicesays says: Sep 2, 2014 3:25 PM

    1. How many needles will be used this year to inject PEDS?

  10. ctiggs says: Sep 2, 2014 3:26 PM

    1. Why do you cheat
    2. how much do PEDs cost
    3. why do your dbs hold so much
    4. why did the supersonics really leave
    5. Who’s got it better than us?

    #GoNiners

  11. skawh says: Sep 2, 2014 3:28 PM

    A fair and accurate assessment.

    Now, the question is, who in this league is going to cover Harvin? I’d throw it deep, and often.

    I hope he remains healthy, as he’s a game changer. Who doesn’t recall his speed and kickoff touchdown return at the opening of the SB’s 2nd half that literally took the life, and fight, out of Denver.

    Go HAWKS!!!!!!!!

  12. greenlantern75 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:31 PM

    I remember when USC was an unstoppable force in NCAA mens football…then Petey-boy left town and it all went to heck and it all came out…

    Maybe Seattle gets one more good year before it all crashes down though…

  13. scrp2 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:32 PM

    Seahawks lose to the Chargers and Broncos in Week 2 and Week 3. They will start out 1 – 2 record.

    Take that check to the bank and cash it.

  14. ariani1985 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:33 PM

    I think the Seahawks should have to face a real team week 1 and not some dog pile from Wisconsoooon.

  15. qdog112 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:34 PM

    The OL is questionable, just as it was last year. This team has no real holes anyplace else.

    Barring a string of injury misfortune, they are the best by a wide margin.

  16. bleedingfacemask says: Sep 2, 2014 3:36 PM

    Last season Wilson attempted 322 passes from inside the pocket, while attempting 153 from outside the pocket. Quite a few of those passes outside the pocket were broken plays, due primarily to the patchwork offensive line all season.

    If the offensive line stays relatively healthy this season, we’ll likely see about 40-50 more pass attempts from inside the pocket.

    Here’s what kept defensive coordinators up at night last season: Wilson completed 68.1% of his passes from inside the pocket, notched 20 TDs to 5 INTs, for a passer rating of 104.7. Flushing him from the pocket dropped his passer rating into the upper-90’s.

    If the O-line is better and Wilson can maintain his completion percentage while throwing more, he’ll likely eclipse 35 TDs this season. He was on fire this preseason with a completion percentage in the mid-70’s, and (as if this were even possible…) showed more command of the huddle than he did his first two seasons.

    Let the games begin.

  17. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Sep 2, 2014 3:36 PM

    I get a kick out of all the fans of the Seahawks honks here that are going into year 2 as a fan. You guys are going to really fall in love the the NFL game if you stick around for a couple of years and follow the game closely.

  18. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:36 PM

    Seahawks will be very tough again this year, no question about it.

    And if Harvin is “noticeably exhausted about answering questions about his health” then he should take a page from the Pats playbook and answer every single one of the with “I’m day to day, ask the coach if you want to know anything more”. Don’t even think about it just shove that one line down the media’s collective throats 200 times and they’ll find someone else to badger.

  19. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Sep 2, 2014 3:40 PM

    Seahawks fans apparently don’t even know what they have in Harvin. He is not a deep threat, he’s a slot WR who uses his explosiveness in underneath routes, not deep one’s. Apparently some of the “new” NFL fan’s don’t know that because last year was the first time they paid attention to the NFL.

  20. trolltoll11 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:42 PM

    Seattle nation is about to get knocked down a few pegs. They had their year last year. Great team ran by great leadership however they aren’t good enough to repeat. Rarely any team is.

  21. icallbs81 says: Sep 2, 2014 3:48 PM

    so when you say Sweezy is stepping up his game, does that mean he will refrain from chop blocks, or he will actually write an apology letter to the guy he chops down this year?

  22. whiteknightblackheart says: Sep 2, 2014 3:52 PM

    I still think the Saints take the NFC this year.

  23. shotgunnoblitz says: Sep 2, 2014 3:58 PM

    Funny thing about the Pass Interference/Holding rules with point of emphasis… no team has been flagged less this preseason for it than the seahawks. No argument for that, proceed to talking about PEDs again. 49ers arguments all rely on stuff that happened in the past. Mostly because the present day just has them getting suspended for domestic assault or DUI or illegal firearms or running around an airport talking about bombs. In fairness to them, most of that was Aldon Smith.

  24. SeahawksAreNothingNowThatTheyAreCallingPassInterference says: Sep 2, 2014 3:58 PM

    It’s pretty obvious that the Packers are the class of the NFC this year. Needs were addressed and Rodgers is healthy. Lacy will pound this team into submission tomorrow.

  25. SeahawksAreNothingNowThatTheyAreCallingPassInterference says: Sep 2, 2014 3:59 PM

    I meant Thursday, not tomorrow. But he’ll probably also do it tomorrow as well.

  26. pacificnw7722 says: Sep 2, 2014 4:12 PM

    Watch the “NEW” WR Paul Richardson with BLAZING Harvin type speed light up the GB defense like the 4th of July.

    MARK IT!

  27. golforepar says: Sep 2, 2014 4:27 PM

    #6 How many more fines will the Sea-chickens get this year?

  28. cribbage12 says: Sep 2, 2014 4:31 PM

    0-1 to start the season.

  29. Marshawn Lunch says: Sep 2, 2014 4:48 PM

    I just can’t wait for Thursday so everyone can talk about actual games that count and trolls can be even more readily seen as complete invalids. Keep pretending that Seahawks fans are all new. Every superbowl winner picks up those kind of fans. So, they do exist. But most folks who love the Seahawks have loved them their whole lives- through thick and thin. I don’t know whether or not this Seahawks team will make it back to the big game. And I don’t know if they’ll repeat if they do manage to get there. But I do know that this team is still hungry and they make watching football fun.

    Go Hawks!

  30. iamdinguskhan says: Sep 2, 2014 5:00 PM

    I’m not a Seahawks fan but before the 49ers fan talk they should at the train wreck their team is becoming. Seahawks are the Super Bowl Champs until someone unseats them and half their team didn’t get locked up or caught up in some shady activity in Miami hotel rooms. Barring injuries Seahawks will contend this year and I don’t see a team even close at this point to challenge them in the NFC ( yes this means you too overhyped Eagles). In the coming years though the Rams and Cardinals are building some pretty solid teams that will challenge the Seahawks and 49ers for the division which should be fun to watch.

  31. golforepar says: Sep 2, 2014 5:16 PM

    You never heard as much as peep out of half the Seahawks fans, not since Largent played, until the last couple years.

  32. beardinals says: Sep 2, 2014 5:23 PM

    #2 YES. Although, it’s kinda fun watching Wilson get the snap and then immediately start running 15 yards backwards while looking for a receiver. SOME certain teams have figured this out.

  33. seabrawk12 says: Sep 2, 2014 6:11 PM

    It’s so much more annoying to listen and read about people complaining about Seahawks fans than the Seahawk fans themselves. Get a life. GO HAWKS – Loyal 12

  34. loyalraven says: Sep 2, 2014 7:25 PM

    The only questions that should be asked here are who supplies their PEDs and How do you think they’ll feel this year after being exposed in front of the entire nation as the frauds they truly are now that they can’t hold and illegally interfere with every pass thrown their way..

    The P.E.D.Hawks carry a stain on their Lombardi but…still not quite as heavy as Tom Brady’s asterisks***

  35. oldlthrneck says: Sep 2, 2014 7:36 PM

    I take it as a source of pride that every other fan in the country wants to tear the Seahawks down. The Hawks are right up there with the Pats and BB, in that regard. That means we have joined a pretty good group. The Pats have driven everybody crazy for years, by just winning, and I hope that the Seahawks continue to do that for many years to come.

  36. nflgiant says: Sep 2, 2014 7:37 PM

    Se@hawks 41 ….packers 17..

  37. 5to46hawkfan says: Sep 2, 2014 8:26 PM

    New Niner chant….”who’s has more criminals than us? Nobody!”
    GO HAWKS!

  38. icebowler says: Sep 2, 2014 9:42 PM

    You’re now “The Hunted”.

    We’re coming after you!

    You’re going to get everyone’s A-game.

    Good Luck with that!

  39. dukeearl says: Sep 2, 2014 9:56 PM

    As soon as rodgers steps back to pass the clock is ticking…
    Will the pass rush get him? Will the defense get more interceptions?
    Rodgers will have a tougher time with Seattle defense than the hawks offense will have against GB defense.

    Seahawks.. first 50 burger of the season… GB will have a respectable 30 points.

  40. hawksrock12 says: Sep 2, 2014 10:48 PM

    Keep the hate comments coming, trolls. It just validates the Hawks as a legit force to be reckoned with.

  41. redandgoldhitman52 says: Sep 2, 2014 11:49 PM

    packers 34
    seattle 16

  42. RegisHawk says: Sep 3, 2014 4:54 AM

    1 Yes
    2 No
    3 Yes
    4 No
    5 It’s called “managing expectations” and PC was talking about it 10 minutes after the Super Bowl ended.

  43. hdavid55 says: Sep 3, 2014 8:42 AM

    The O-Line may be the big surprise this year…look for marked improvement and depth…Seattle’s has the most explosive WR’s group I have ever seen here…..Seattle’s D has some interesting new faces I think will be sound contributors….the RB mix…will add some new wrinkles…Seattle still has one of the best special team units…and have since 2012.

  44. gohawks7 says: Sep 3, 2014 11:49 AM

    Sea 35 GB 14. GB won’t have any idea what hit them. They will look like a deer in the headlights…

  45. beardinals says: Sep 3, 2014 1:22 PM

    #6 Could the bandwag…. uh…. Fans be any more insufferable?

  46. 12hawksfan1976 says: Sep 3, 2014 6:52 PM

    “Ugh, I hate the seahawks.”

    I feeling is mutual, no doubt.

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