Competition, Pete Carroll's mantra, seems to ooze from his person like sweat from a linebacker's skin. In 2010, the Seahawks can expect to face a rebuilding year as well as the challenges that come with learning a new system under a new coach.
There are five keys to success that the Hawks will need to succeed in 2010.
1. Keep Matt Hasselbeck Healthy at All Costs
Hasselbeck is the best and most experienced quarterback in the division and there isn't a more important player on the roster. This team will be young and inexperienced so Hasselbeck's leadership will be valued at a premium. If he goes down for any amount of time, the team will be left in the hands of Charlie Whitehurst or J.P. Losman, both of whom are nothing to get excited about.
2. Rookie Assimilation
The Seahawks' reclamation project will depend on the quick development of rookies in key positions. Russell Okung and Golden Tate will have to contribute immediately if the Seahawks are going to have any success.
Luckily, Okung is a large man with large feet because he has some big shoes to fill after the retirement of Walter Jones. Okung has the task of keeping Hasselbeck's blind side safe. I point to Okung as being the most important rookie the Seahawks have drafted for a number of years.
Golden Tate is likely to land as a slot receiver and should continue to find space in the zones, make catches, and rack up the YAC yardage like he did at Notre dame.
Under Mike Holmgren, the Seahawks were never known as a great defensive team and that must change under the defensive-minded Carroll. The offense will struggle at times this season so the defense will need to pick up the slack and carry the team. All three layers will need to embrace Carroll's attacking defensive philosophy and rise up and play smart, hard, and together.
4. Running Away?
The Hawks will need to find someone who can run the ball.
The tandem of Julius Jones and Forsett simply did not get it done last year and unfortunately, that is what the Seahawks are left with to start 2010.
Draft day brought in LenDale White and Leon Washington, but excitement turned to frustration when White was dismissed from the team for apparent attitude and substance problems.
Washington has some potential but will most likely start the season on the injured list, which once again leaves Jones and Forsett to carry the load. Forsett is simply a third-down back at best and Jones has proved to be just an average back. The Hawks will need to bring in another back to compete for playing time and push the others to produce.
The team has been boring and stagnant over the past few years. Injuries forced the Hawk's hand in their play calling for the most part in 2009, but 2010 offers to be much more exciting.
The defense has some deficiencies along the line and they will need to show creative blitz packages to put pressure on the opposing offenses. The Hawks have a gluttony of athletic and strong linebackers at their disposal to use in special situations.
On offense, the team will need to scare defenses with the athleticism of Golden Tate. They need to move him around the field and mix up the looks that they show defenses. If they show up with vanilla looks on either side of the field, it could be a long season for Carroll and the Hawks.