The 2009 Seahawks will have a lot to prove, not only to the fans, but themselves. After a disappointing 4-12 season, the expectations for the Seahawks is at the top of the chart. There will be new faces, not only on the field, but on the sidelines as well. The most contributing factor to Seattle's demise last season was the receiving corps, that was ravaged by injuries. With the return of Nate Burleson and Deion Branch from injuries, both of whom combined to miss 23 games, and both are eager to show they are fully recovered and able to contribute. The addition of free-agent receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh adds to the arsenal for Matt Hasselbeck. All eyes are certain to be on these three, as they work to regain the NFC West title. Rookie receiver Deon Butler should also give Seattle some added depth at the position, something they desperately needed last season.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck also returns from injury, and is ready to prove he still has it in him to be an elite quarterback in the league. Odd years have proven to be a good thing for Hasselbeck, after making to the Pro Bowl in in each of the past three ('03, '05, '07), and he's hoping 2009 will carry on with that. Despite having healthy receivers for the time being, he has a new head coach and coordinator that he will have to adjust to.
Expectations will be high for rookie linebacker Aaron Curry as well. After Seattle traded away Julian Peterson, the Seahawks selected Curry with the fourth overall pick in the draft. Add him into the mix with Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill , and you have a corps of linebackers that will be hard to penetrate.
The players are not the only one's in the radar this season. New Head Coach Jim Mora is hoping to make an immediate impact, as he did in his previous head coaching stint in Atlanta. Mora has been around the organization for a couple of years now, and that has given him time to build the players trust, which should hopefully help him with the transition. After a dreadful 4-12 season, Mora is poised to get the Seahawks back to glory and regain the NFC West crown, which was snapped by the Arizona Cardinals after four straight seasons.
Offensive Coordinator Greg Knapp reunites with Mora once again. Knapp and Mora were in the same positions at Atlanta from 2003-2006, and Knapp's forte is the West Coast offense which fits nicely with the Seahawks.
The teams expectations for this year exceed the previous years, simply because they finished a dismal 4-12 and lost the NFC West crown to Arizona. In the previous four years, the Seahawks never lost more than seven games and were NFC West champs all four. Throw in an NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl, and it was given they would be the team to beat.
The Seahawks want to prove two things; 1.)they belong atop the NFC West, and 2.) 2008 was just an off year linked primarily to injuries.
There is no doubt that all eyes will be on the whole organization for 2009.Both Jim Mora and Team President Tim Ruskell be be under scrutiny as the season gets started. Seattle will need to return as a contender to prove otherwise.
How effectively Matt Hasselbeck and Walter Jones bounce back from injuries, may be the key to this season. They will both have to prove that they can carry the load, despite the injuries, and return to Pro Bowl status.
The Seahawks will definitely be better than they were a year ago, but are there days as a playoff contender over? Only time will tell.