The Seahawks start their off-season workouts today, in Renton. As they’re plugging away over at the VMAC, preparing for what we all hope will be a championship season, there are many questions that will need answering during the remainder of the off-season and the pre-season. These are the top five questions going into the draft.
1. Will Seattle be able to develop and maintain continuity on the offensive line?
One of the biggest hurdles the Hawks have had to overcome over the past years has been the deterioration of the O-line. For the first time in years, last season they showed progress up-front, bucking the downward trend they had been on since 2006. Developing as one cohesive unit could prove to be a problem again this year, with James Carpenter, John Moffitt, and Russell Okung all coming back from injuries. Tom Cable will have to get everybody on the same page, so the Seahawks can continue the domination upfront they developed toward the end of last season.
2. Where will the Seahawks develop a consistent pass rush from?
Defensively, it seems like Seattle has been looking for a pass rush since 1976. Chris Clemons has emerged as a leader in this area, but he can’t do it alone. Many of his sacks are coverage sacks, and all too often we see QBs pick apart our defense because they have all day in the pocket. Whether it’s drafting a DE or pass-rushing OLB, or using the interior rush of newly acquired DT Jason Jones, Gus Bradley needs to figure out where the rush is going to come from, so the DBs can use their size and quickness to create turnovers.
3. How will the Seahawks use Marcus Trufant?
Since being drafted in 2003, Marcus Trufant has been a fan favorite. And why not? A Wilson High School grad, and WSU alum, Tru has always had the support of the fans. There was a feeling of sadness from the 12s at the news of his release, and not surprisingly, joy at the news of his re-signing. But make no mistake; Marcus is entering his 10th year, and most likely won’t be starting. We’ll likely see him take over the nickelback role, being a third option and backing up Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, who are looking to improve on their stellar rookie seasons with the Hawks.
4. How much will the offensive approach change with QB Matt Flynn?
“Blah blah, compete compete, blather, Tarvaris Jackson, rah-rah, no guarantees, blah.” – Pete Carroll.
Ok, now that we’ve read Pete Carroll’s obligatory speech about competition for the starting QB spot, let’s take our attention away from Seattle’s head coach’s smoke and mirrors, and look at the reality of the situation. At three years, $26 million, Matt Flynn was brought in to be the Seahawks starting quarterback. There are no guarantees that he will pan out to be the quarterback of the future, but every hope is that he will. Let’s just say for a moment, that he is everything Hawks fans hope he’ll be and more. That he can throw for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns at will, and has the ability to stretch the field. Will he have that leeway in this offensive scheme? Darrell Bevell and Pete Carroll were VERY committed to the run last year, and have designed the offense to be smash-mouth upfront. Seattle committed four years and $31 million to Marshawn Lynch this off-season, and haven’t shown any indication that they will move away from the power rushing attack led offense. It will be interesting to see how the offense changes philosophically, if at all.
5. Who will emerge as the clear-cut No. 2 receiver?
The starting receiver job opposite Sidney Rice was Mike Willams’ to lose last year. And that might be exactly what he did. He followed up his 65 receptions for 751 yards in 2010 with a very quiet 18 catch 236 yard performance last year. With the improved play of Golden Tate, the rising status of Doug Baldwin, and the late season emergence of Ricardo Lockette, don’t be surprised if No. 17 doesn’t show up on the depth chart as a starter in 2012.