The reasons that I believe the Seahawks will be a threat once again in the NFC West this upcoming season goes on and on and on and on........
The Seahawks had the injury plague last season. Many NFL fans will simply look at the Seahawks record from the 08/09 season and say they are horrible. But, you really need to do your research before anyone goes and critically analyzes another fans team.
The Seahawks of 08/09 had the most injuries within a season in recent memory. That's not even mentioning the injuries that had already been lingering on from the previous season, such as Deion Branch and Bobby Engram.
First, lets start with the wide receiver core. Bobby Engram and Deion Branch were both unable to start the opening game of the season. In the first game of the season our final starter Nate Burleson was injured and had to have season-ending surgery as well as Logan Payne (a backup for Engram).
Then during a preseason game, Ben Obomanu (who was supposed to be able to prove himself with Engram out along with Branch) got injured and broke his collarbone and was out the entire season. So with those guys out we called up a man who had not played in the NFL for a couple of years....yup, Koren Robinson. He could not practice every week because he had a serious knee injury.
He was supposed to be our No. 1 guy. Then some good news in the injury department developed, and that was that Branch was going to be able to return to the field after the bye-week to face the N.Y. Giants. But, then Branch re-aggrivated his injury and was down for another five games (eight games total). So Engram returned with Branch and stayed relatively healthy the rest of the season.
But, it really doesn't matter how your wide receiver status is if your Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is suffering a serious back injury causing a disk to pinch his nerve. So Matt ended up missing nine games last season meaning it was up to the duo of Seneca/Frye. GREATTT!!!!!!!!
Then you move down to the O-line. Walter Jones' knees are getting bad and although he still performed up to the Pro Bowl material stuff everyone expected last year, you could see it slowly happening. Since he had to sit out many many practices last season due to his knees, he missed out on the Pro Bowl.
Sitting tight right next to him is Mike Wahle (a good acqusition) who was a pretty damn good linemen, especially lined up next to Walter Jones—which can't hurt.
But, then he injured his shoulder and had to have season-ending shoulder surgery making him miss 3-4 months. Then you move right over to the center where Chris Spencer was, Oh wait, no he wasn't there because he was injured as well. He was placed on the IR with a back injury so the unexperienced Steve Vallos stepped in for him (he actually did a reasonably good job).
Really the only one who did not have any problems on the line last year was Sean Locklear who is great and will continue to progress as he gets older.
Now lets move on to the defense. Marcus Trufant, who is no doubt a Pro-Bowl caliber cornerback, suffered a broken hand last year and was battling it basically all season.
And you guys probably already know that it is pretty much impossible to be a cornerback and put up the Pro Bowl stats that he has in the past with a broken hand. Although, he still did better than the other cornerbacks (Josh Wilson did show many bright spots though).
Lofa Tatupu, the heart and captain of the D, was battling a groin injury for more than half of the season and it showed in his statistics as well. We move to our most lethal pass rusher in Patrick Kerney. He was on track to have at least 11.5 sacks and 4.5 forced fumbles with the undersized line we had.
Many of you will say; well what is your excuse for the secondary, but I will have to give you that one in a way. Brian Russell is a hard hitter but not that great and pretty damn slow.
Deon Grant can be good egh....in some ways. But Kelly Jennings, OMG wow he is way undersized and got burned constantly. So the only one who really showed he has potential in the coming years is aforementioned Josh Wilson. Wilson had 76 tackles, three forced fumbles, four interceptions, and he is amazingly fast. And there is Trufant, which when healthy, the Hawks and the 12th man know what can do.
Now that I have proved my point on why they were so horrible last year, let me move on to why they will have a very good chance at taking back the NFC West.
One, T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He is a great route runner as many people already know. Decent speed (obviously not burn the cornerback speed), will hold on to just about anything that he gets his hands on, and is very very durable.
Plus he is not as old as many people make him out to be (31, not unbelievably old). Housh, Burleson, Branch, and John Carlson can be a great combo. Housh is great enough a player to be double teamed but at the same time Burleson, Carlson, and Branch have all proved to be too good to be left alone. So that will pan out great for them.
Two, they have beefed up there line with there most recent trade sending Julian Peterson to the Lions for Corey Redding and a fifth-round pick.
This makes sense because they were going to receive nothing out of it and have to swallow some of his due salary from this year. They instead get rid of the contract, regain the fifth-round pick they lost last year to the Broncos, get a player who adds the size up front which Mora wanted, and gives it all he has every time he steps out on the field.
Three, Hasselbeck has already said that his back feels stronger than it ever has, which can only be good news for a return of the Pro Bowl material stuff he has shown he is capable of in the recent years. Many sports analysts have already said that he is probably the best quarterback in the league behind Peyton Manning and Tom Brady overall.
Four, Greg Knapp, he has had his team finish in the top 10 for rushing stats in the NFL for five consecutive years when he was with Atlanta. And I'm sure if he can do that with McFadden, then he can figure something out with Julius Jones and "Big Boy" T.J. Duckett.
Again, many people will say; "Well look at Jones and Duckett's statistics last year," but again that leads back to the injuries the Seahawks O-line had to withstand last year.
Five, Gus Bradley has proven to be a great defensive-minded coach to go along with Mora. They will figure out how to use the big men the Seahawks have while still getting the quickness of the overall D involved.
In the end, the Seahawks will no doubt be a lot better than last season. With everyone healthy and a fresh new set of coaches and ideas. The Seahawks will have a great chance at stealing the division back.