Taking Flight: Seattle Seahawks Look To Bounce Back

Anthony LanzaContributor IMay 7, 2009

RENTON, WA - MAY 2:  Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks throws the ball during minicamp at the Seahawks training facility on May 2, 2009 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The 2008 NFL season was one to forget for both Seahawks fans and players alike. Injuries plagued the team from the start of the season. By the end of the season the majority of the offensive was on the shelf, joining both their leader Matt Hasselbeck and a plethora of receivers. 

Although the wheels fell off for the Hawks in 2008, this season will be anything but a rebuilding period.

Look for Seattle to return to its high perch as the leader of the NFC West this season, and a playoff team once again. Accolades for this turnaround can be given to various hands in the organization.  

The offseason began with the departure and retirement of head coach Mike Holmgren. The helm was replaced by a younger Jim Mora Jr. and with him a new coaching staff and a fresh approach to the game. More then a third of the coaching staff will be different from a season ago.

The changes continued in free agency.

The biggest splash for the Seahawks in free agency came at the beginning of March when they won the sweepstakes for the top available receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. T.J. will return to the Northwest where he played college football for the Oregon State Beavers.  Another key signing was Ken Lucas who will provide security opposite Marcus Trufant. The secondary was an issue last season and this can only help.

As the story goes for many NFL teams, to gain something you have to give up someone in the process, so the Seahawks said goodbye to Pro Bowler Julian Peterson as they traded him to Detroit for Cory Redding a much needed defensive tackle. Colin Cole added depth at the position as well when Green Bay placed him in free agency. 

The draft brought much excitement to the Northwest as possibly the best player in the draft landed in Seattle's lap at four. Expect rookie Aaron Curry to make an immediate impact to the defense and fill the void left by Peterson.

Max Unger will be another immediate impact player to the offensive line that saw one injury after another.  In the third round the Hawks added depth to their receiving core by drafting Deon Butler, a Bobby Engram prototype.

The division should have an interesting battle now that Arizona is coming off of an improbable Super Bowl run. Expect a much improved team in the 49ers as Mike Singletary has instilled a new attitude in the Bay area. Look for both of these teams to provide an interesting race in the division, and a serious obstacle to overcome. Remember, they went 1-3 against these two teams last year.

The health of the team and the play of the three impact rookies will be key entering the season. If they can stay on the field, and if the rookies can be immediate contributors, the Seahawks will be a ten win team this season. That would make them a serious playoff contender with the great home field advantage that they have at Qwest.