As we approach the start of the 2009 campaign, one cannot help but throw out some predictions for the season. Here is my attempt to predict who could have a career year and who could surprise us all.
Matt Hasselbeck will throw for over 4,000 yards and 25+ touchdowns
In his illustrious career, this is the one thing Matt Hasselbeck has never accomplished. He came close in 2007 when he passed for 3,966 yards and 28 TD’s.
This season the Seahawks really shored up the WR core this season with additions of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and third round pick Deon Butler.
Deion Branch and Nate Burleson should also be back from their respective injuries and look for them to have monster years.
Hasselbeck could enjoy a career year with these newly acquired WR’s. I predict Hasselbeck throws for at least 4,000 yards and 25 TD’s.
Julius Jones will rush for less than 1,200 yards
I really like Julius Jones, I think he will fit well into the zone blocking scheme. However, I just don't see him rushing for that many yards this season.
The Seahawks do not have a daunting schedule, however they do face seven teams who finished better than they did in rushing defense last season: Minnesota, Chicago, Tennessee, Dallas, Jacksonville, San Francisco, and Arizona.
With Jones sharing the load with T.J. Duckett and possible Justin Forsett, I cannot see him rushing for over 1,200 yards this season. It really depends on how well the offensive line develops this season.
The Seahawks defense will be in the top five in sacks
The Seahawks made it a point to upgrade the defensive line this offseason, trading Julian Peterson to Detroit for Cory Redding and signing free agent Colin Cole.
The Seahawks were 10th last season with 35 sacks, but were missing Patrick Kerney for most of last season. Kerney lead the team in 2007 with 14.5 sacks.
With Kerney coming back from shoulder surgery, the emergence of Lawrence Jackson, and consistent play from Darryl Tapp the Seahawks could have a dominating pass rush in 2009.
Only one Seahawk wide receiver will have double-digit touchdowns.
I do not know which receiver will have 10 or more touchdowns, but I predict only one will have more than nine.
When Matt Hasselbeck is at his best, he is usually spreading the ball all over the field, giving every receiver a chance to get involved in the game. Against the New York Giants in 2006, Hasselbeck threw for five touchdowns to four different receivers.
In 2007, he threw for four touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals to four different receivers. If Hasselbeck is on his game everyone will get involved.
Max Unger will replace someone on the offensive line four games into the season.
Max Unger could be the X-factor for the Seahawks this season. The former center from the University of Oregon gives the Seahawks a versatile option on the offensive line.
At 6’ 5” and 300 pounds, Unger is a big body with a tenacious attitude that could bring toughness to the offensive line in ’09. He led an Oregon rushing attack that was one of the best in the nation in 2007.
Both Chris Spencer and Mike Wahle better impress in the first four games this season. The Seahawks will not hesitate to plug in Unger.