Seattle Seahawks Predictions: 7 Keys to 2011 Season

Alex Shoemaker@!/MrAlexShoemakerAnalyst IIAugust 31, 2011

Seattle Seahawks Predictions: 7 Keys to 2011 Season

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    We’re already three-fourths of the way through the preseason and it seems like there are more questions now than the start of training camp.

    When the Seahawks kickoff the season on Sept. 11th in San Francisco, the team will look incredibly different from the playoff team of last season.

    With so much change from the coaching staff to the depth chart, the Seahawks have a lot of new faces in big places.

    Here are the seven keys to success for the Seahawks in the 2011 season.

Limit Penalties

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    The Seahawks have had a somewhat sloppy preseason. But hey, it’s the preseason.

    In two of Seattle’s three playoff games they totaled 10 penalties, with many of those being silly delay of game or false-start penalties.

    The fact that the Seahawks have had dumb penalties can be looked at as a positive or negative.

    Either the Seahawks are just getting out the early-season jitters and will have those communication issues ironed out come the start of the regular season, or the Seahawks have a big problem on their hands. If the coaches, quarterback and linemen are all on different thought channels, it could be a long season. I’d like to think it’s just the jitters, though.

Zach Miller and Sidney Rice Have Big Seasons

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    The Seahawks two biggest free-agent signings were to help whichever quarterback Pete Carroll and the coaching staff chooses to go with.

    Tight end Zach Miller comes over from the Raiders and big time receiver Sidney Rice comes with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson from Minnesota.

    For the Seahawks’ quarterback to have any chance of succeeding in 2011, the wide receivers (namely Miller and Rice) will need to help him out.

    If the receivers don't do their parts and then some, the offense will be terrible.

Marshawn Lynch and the Running Backs Improve

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    With the passing game looking like it’s going to be a major problem for the Seahawks, the running game is going to have to improve from last season.

    While Marshawn Lynch is great at breaking tackles, his 3.9-yards per carry average is pretty pathetic. Lynch’s great run against the Saints in the playoffs last season might be the momentum the Seahawks need.

Have a Positive Turnover Ratio

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    The Seahawks in their three playoff games have a 4-1 turnover ratio with that one being a dropped pass for a pick-six.

    The offense isn’t going to be good enough to put up a ton of points this season, so they need to execute well and not make stupid mistakes.

    The same goes for the defense.

    Getting stops is great and will help keep the offense in the game, but getting turnovers and giving the offense good field position will be key.

Strong Special Teams Play

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    Doug Baldwin has probably been the biggest surprise for the Seahawks this preseason.

    Baldwin has been absolutely on fire in the return game.

    Against San Diego, Baldwin returned a kick for 41 yards that almost broke out into an even bigger run.

    Then against the Broncos Baldwin continued his success with a 105-yard return for a touchdown.

    With the kickoff being moved up to the 35-yard line (previously the 30) far fewer returns will happen during the season, and the Seahawks return will need to take advantage of those opportunities.

Offensive Line Plays Consistently

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    The offensive line has been really disappointing this preseason.

    The Seahawks have major concerns, namely the large number of dumb penalties, Russell Okung’s injury and the inability to give Tarvaris Jackson enough time in the pocket.

    In three preseason games, the Seahawks have given up eight sacks, several of those on third down situations.

    It’s not always the quarterback holding the ball too long, the line has to give him time for the receivers’ routes to progress.

    The line will need to really improve for this unit to have any success.