Seahawks Preview

Seattle has always been known for its gloomy weather and the birthplace of grunge.  But now, the Pacific Northwest has been reborn and is back on the map with the rise of the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle stunned plenty of people last season, starting off with a 4-4 record for the first half of the season, but finishing strong, winning 7 of their final 8 games to make the playoffs.  These wins were made possible by a hell of a running game with Marshawn Lynch and the surprise quarterback play of their third round pick, rookie Russell Wilson.  He was able to lead the Seahawks to the postseason, while tying Peyton Manning’s rookie touchdown record (26).

After a heartbreaking loss in Atlanta last January, the Seahawks enter the 2013 season with high hopes.  Many football analysts have the Seahawks Superbowl bound come February.  Head coach Pete Carroll leads this young squad into 2013 with a “rah-rah” approach that players have embraced and believe in.  Along with GM John Schneider, Carroll has built a young, hungry team eager to win right now.

The Seahawks were able to bolster their defensive line in free agency by signing Cliff Avirl and Michael Bennett in hopes of increasing the pass rush.  The biggest offseason acquisition and loss came during this years draft, when Seattle got creative by trading their first round pick to Minnesota for Percy Harvin.  Who was meant to be yet another weapon in the Seahawks arsenal, until word of a torn labrum came out, which will keep Harvin out until around Thanksgiving.

Despite the setback, Russell Wilson is key to the Seahawks success.  After being the 6th drafted quarterback in the NFL Draft, Wilson developed a chip on his shoulder.  Being told he’s too small to play the position, 5’10”, this added fuel to an already burning fire Wilson has had since he buckled up a chinstrap.  Every coach, player, and reporter to talk with Wilson comment on the maturity and drive he possesses.  This along with athleticism, strong accurate arm, and ability to read defenses will make him the franchise quarterback the Seahawk fans have been screaming for.

Wilson is entering his second season after Carroll handed over the keys of the offense to Wilson after a battle in the preseason last year.  This season Wilson will need to prove that there is no such thing as a sophomore slump.  Wilson is the hardest working person on the team, arriving to the facilities before the coaches arrive, and leaving when the janitors are cleaning up.  His work ethic and preparation is what helped the Seahawks reach the playoffs and will ultimately be what brings them a ring in February.

On the defense side of the ball, it all begins with the fan proclaimed “Legion of Boom.”  This is a secondary led by free safety Earl Thomas, who quickly becoming one of the top safeties in the league with his quick speed and sure tackling.  Next to him is Kam “Bam-Bam” Chancellor, a beast at strong safety, standing 6’3” and 240lbs.  Both who put fear in the hearts of tight ends or slot receivers coming across the middle.  The cornerback positions feature two of the tallest, Brandon Browner (6’4”) and Richard Sherman (6’3”).  Browner known for his press coverage, blankets receivers closing any window for a quick pass.  While Sherman is more finesse, playing off receivers, trying to bait, or rather dare, quarterbacks to throw in his direction.

One of the biggest factors leading to the success the Seahawks have enjoyed has been the change in culture.  Pete Carroll always wanted to change how players were coached in the NFL.  Rather than be all over players, berating every mistake, Carroll chooses to support each player.  Taking an interest in the person as well as the player.  His thinking is happy players are better players.  The translation to the field has yielded results so far, and it seems that players are all in.

One of the biggest challenges facing the Seahawks is a few hundred miles south of them, the San Francisco 49ers.  A hostile rivalry has been created between these two teams, from the coaching staff to individual players.  Together along with the offseason improvements to the Rams and Cardinals, make the once weak NFC West division one of the toughest in the NFL.

Brian Zeidan

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