Seattle Seahawks: Five Lingering Questions Heading into 2009

Zachary HabnerCorrespondent IJune 17, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 23:  Wide receiver Nate Burleson #81 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at Qwest Field on December 23, 2007 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Ravens 27-6. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

As we continue our march towards training camp, we can’t help but have questions of a team that was poised to win its fifth-straight NFC West title only to fall flat and finish 4-12. 


The Seahawks tried to answer many of those questions during the off-season, signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh and drafting Aaron Curry.  However, there are still questions that need answers as we head into 2009.



Can the Seahawks run the ball effectively?


The Seahawks have not had a decent rushing attack since the 2005 Super Bowl run. They went from third in the league the previous season to 13th in the 2006 season.  In 2007 and 2008, they ranked 20th and 19th in the league, respectively.


The rushing attack has really stalled since the departure of Steve Hutchinson.  The Seahawks thought they had the solution this past season, but Mike Wahle only made it through 10 games after suffering a shoulder injury.


The Seahawks enter 2009 with a revamped offensive line.  The addition of rookie Max Unger could help open holes for this rushing attack.  However, with the regression of Chris Spencer and the inexperience Rob Sims, this rushing attack could suffer again in 2009.



Will Matt Hasselbeck make it through all 16 games in 2009?


Matt Hasselbeck has led us to believe his back is perfectly healthy this season.  All indications is that he is ready to come back from his herniated disk that allowed him to only play seven games in ’08.


Although, it could prove tough for Hasselbeck once he returns to the field for the regular season.  One vicious hit could send Hasselbeck back to the IR, leaving us with Seneca Wallace running the show.


The Seahawks could also be in trouble if Matt Hasselbeck shows any ill effects of his back injury during the season.  Remember, the Seahawks had an opportunity to win a couple of games last season only to watch the game evaporate with an ill-timed Hasselbeck interception.


If Hasselbeck can play all 16 games for the Seahawks, they have a good chance to return to the playoffs.



Will Casey “Gus” Bradley’s defense make us forget John Marshall?


Casey Bradley has a very tough job ahead of him, as the Seahawks were an abysmal team on defense last season.  John Marshall’s defense fell to 30th in his final season as defensive coordinator and the Seahawks felt they need a change of scenery.


Bradley comes from Tampa Bay, where he apprenticed under one of the best defensive minds in football, Monte Kiffin.  Bradley implements his version of the Tampa 2 this season and fans should be excited about the defense in 2009.


However, if the front four cannot get pressure on the QB, the ghost of John Marshall may haunt the Seahawks defense again this season.



If the wide receivers suffer injuries like last season, will the passing offense be ok?


Hear me out first: I do not believe that the Seahawks will suffer that many injuries to the WR core this season. 


But you have to wonder, if a player like T.J. Houshmandzadeh was to go down or if Branch and Burleson are unable to come back, can the Seahawks passing game survive?


The Seahawks need to be at least four or five wide receivers deep to help curb the issues they faced last season.


The Seahawks hope that Deon Butler or Ben Obomanu can emerge as that fourth or fifth option just in case the injuries start to pile up again.


If they are able to have a decent array of backup WRs, the Seahawks passing attack should be fine.



How many games will the Seahawks win in Mora’s first season?


The Seahawks are a trendy pick to be a comeback team this season. 


They can return to the postseason if the injuries are minimal, Matt Hasselbeck stays healthy, and the defense can return to the top 15 of the league.


But how many wins will they have?  If we examine the schedule the Seahawks have many games that could go either way, especially the games in the NFC West.


I earlier predicted a 10-6 season for the 2009 Seahawks, but I believe the margin of error is +/- 2 games. 


If their defense plays well and Hasselbeck returns to his 2007 form, we could see a 12 win season.  However, if Hasselbeck is ineffective this could be just a .500 team.