Frequently asked questions by Hawk fans at the end of both the 2008 and 2009 NFL seasons included:
"Why did I spend that much money on season tickets?"
"Will they start selling those paper bag masks at the game or do I have to make my own next season?"
"Coach won't be around for another season, will he?"
"At least we'll be one of the first to draft, right?"
With a new head coach/coaching staff, a new GM, and two first round draft picks in this year's draft, there seems to be an episode IV type of new hope in Seattle. It feels like the offseason questions of the 12th Man have shifted from a lazy exhaustion to an excitement that we haven't felt in a years.
What Will Be the Identity of the 2010 Seattle Seahawks?
One of the big problems that Seattle has faced over the past few years is a lack of identity.
An identity is made up of not only offensive and defensive tendencies/schemes, but it is also made up of individuals. The Superbowl Seahawks can be identified with a run first offense, an undersized, quick defense that could apply pressure, and comprised of wholesome individuals... you know, the type of guys that read Dr. Seuss books to elementary school kids on their off day.
Pete Carroll has already said he wants to make the team bigger. Most fans can guess that under Carroll both sides of the ball will play much like Carroll's Trojans. The Trojans have almost always been identified under Pete as having great depth at running back, a chill surferesque QB to control the game, and hard-hitting, fast, playmaking monsters on defense (this is the main reason I could see us picking up Mays at 14 if we pick up an OT at 6).
It's safe to say Carroll will attempt to install those aspects into the new Seahawks' identity. The main identity question is: Will we stick with the guys that are safe off the field or will we bring in players that have had some issues?
The Righteous or the Dirtbags?
This past week has me completely scratching my head. By flying Brandon Marshall in for a sleepover and following that up with setting up a workout with Tim Tebow, the Seahawks have officially confused an entire region.
On one side of the spectrum you have Brandon Marshall, who can't seem to stay out of jail. On the other you have the NCAA's poster boy of faith, decency, work ethic, and integrity. There is a strong possibility with the draft approaching that Tebow is simply a smoke screen. If that's the case and the interest in Marshall is real, then say goodbye to putting morality above talent. Hello Dunlap, hello Blount.
Why the Lack of a Splash in Free Agency?
With an uncapped season ahead and Paul Allen's checkbook, many fans expected to see Seattle dive right into free agency. With decent corners, Antrell Rolle (who at safety had more interceptions than any Seahawk last year), and good quality pass rushers in Peppers, Kampan, and KVB, most fans were incredibly surprised to see them all come off the board without any mention of Seattle interest.
I know the immediate response is frustration. Kampman could've really helped. Peppers could have helped. Key conjunction: COULD'VE. Peppers (30) and Kampman (coming off of season-ending knee surgery) would be like putting a bandaid over a broken leg. Free agent stars are for contenders, not for teams rebuilding. This will probably be the biggest rebuilding season Seattle has seen in nearly a decade and needs to find the youngest possible players from either trades or the draft.
Will This Be the Year Carroll Gets His Quarterback of the Future?
It really depends on the five teams in front of us in the draft. At this point Carroll has three viable options: Jimmy Clausen this year, Sam Bradford this year, or Jake Locker next year.
Even if Bradford and Clausen are gone before No. 6, I'm not so sure Carroll goes after either of them. With the quick departure of Mora, a complete makeover including GM this year, and the complete downfall of the Seahawks as a contender Carroll knows he'll be given sometime to get this team winning before he gets canned. This means unlike other coaches on trial, he doesn't NEED to get the QB of the future this season. He could and might be excited enough to be back in the NFL to go for it this year, but if he's smart he'll use his high picks to put some very talented youth on both sides of the line, and wait until next season.
Many people think Carroll will be going after Clausen in the draft because Carroll wanted Clausen out of high school. I'm a little skeptical. It's been nearly four years since then. Since that time Carroll has also been quoted saying that Jake Locker is the best quarterback he's EVER played against. Bradford would be a possibility and a very compelling one at that.
If the Seahawks plan on going after Locker next year and pass up on Bradford/Clausen in this draft I can see them going after someone like McCoy or Tebow to build up and possibly be the QB of the future but most likely to trade at a later point in time to a team in need.
If We Draft a RB Who's the Best Fit?
There's a bandwagon doing circles around the Great Northwest picking up tons of people who say C.J. Spiller is the running back Seattle needs from this year's draft. I'll agree he's probably the best, BUT we have his style back in Forsett.
So if we draft Spiller at 14 (I really hope we don't) then we better draft a power back in a later round. Other fans are saying we should pick up Dwyer with that pick. Getting warmer Seattle. Good choice as far as installing the type of back we need. Dwyer's a powerback and a great one at that. The only issue is that at 14 I think we have bigger issues than the person running the ball. The big problem is the line (both offensive and defensive). If we address OT with 6 I think we can more than afford to wait until later rounds to pick up a power back (Big Toby or my personal favorite Blount).
I honestly think Blount would be the best answer. The only reason the guy isn't a second (possibly first round pick) is because of the off-field issue which crazily enough happened on the field. Sure it wasn't the smartest thing to do, but it wasn't a cop or a woman. He punched a warrior of opposition just moments after the heat of battle. Give the guy a break. At least he has the passion.
Who's Going to be the No. 6 Pick?
If Berry's still on the board, it'll be hard to pass him up. If Bradford/Clausen are still available, it'll be hard to pass them up. I believe the Seahawks' best move is to take Bulaga here. Stud pass blocker!
Who's Going to be the No. 14 Pick?
If we would've put a bandaid on the DL in free agency I would've said Taylor Mays. I don't care that he didn't have the statistical year he was expected to. The guy is a monster and will improve any defense he's on. I'd take him over Berry any day just because Berry misses tackles. There's nothing more devastating to a defense than a safety that can't wrap up. Anyways, since they didn't address it, the best move here is DL. Depending on who's still available I'd take the following: Morgan, Pierre-Paul, Dunlap.
(And Finally) Where Will the Seahawks Place in the NFC West?
I don't care what AZ says, they're completely out of the race. I don't care who you are if you lose a HOF QB, star WR, ILB/defensive leader, and your playmaking safety you are a COMPLETELY different team.
At this point it's safe to say San Fran has it unless we draft smart. If we get someone who can give Matt some time to throw, Forsett and (hopefully) Blount a hole to run through, and a defensive lineman who can put pressure on the QB, then all of a sudden everyone will see Hass still has a year or two in him and that our secondary isn't as terrible as it looks. The lines make every other position fail or succeed, so an upgrade in those two positions would mean a possible NFC West championship, but without that I think we're looking at second behind the 49ers.