The week after Wild Card weekend can be difficult for fans of teams that will be drafting in the first 20 spots the following April. The can also be full of optimism, pondering where there team stands and what they can do in free agency and the draft to make the playoffs next season.
Over the coming days, weeks and months, Bleacher Report will be dissecting and analyzing what the Seahawks can do to take back the top spot in the NFC West.
Pete Carroll's vision of competing in the NFL is mixing a big, fast, stifling defense with a conservative offense based on the run game and ball control. He took over a Seattle Seahawks team and led them to the playoffs in 2010 even though they failed to meet any of those goals.
Most analysts felt the 2011 team was going to be far from reaching those targets as well.
Early in the season, Seattle was attempting to prove them right.
The Seahawks surrendered 57 points in their first two games. It could have been much more if the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't shut down their offense in the second half of their Week 2 meeting.
However, there is more to the story. A special teams collapse contributed to 14 of those points in Week 1. The Seahawks were still working through personnel issues; this was exacerbated by losing two key special teams contributors to injury early in the game.
There were improvements thereafter, though it was clouded under a 2-6 start to the season. But the rookies were learning the NFL, and the new bodies on offense were beginning to gel.
After predicting a 5-3 finish to the season, many Seahawks fans called me overly optimistic. The fans of the San Francisco 49ers weren't quite so kind.
Seattle went on to win four of their next five games, much of that based on the play of their defense. They even took playoff hopes into Week 16.
The offense will need to be upgraded in the offseason, and a piece on that will follow next week. These pieces will also frame forthcoming discussions on free agency and draft needs, as well as supporting my initial full mock draft for the Seahawks.
Free agency will be important for Seattle, as they have 18 of their own bodies to deal with. Bleacher Report will publish a run-down on those players on Wednesday, including what steps Seattle should take for each. Seattle looks to be developing a "keep them here" philosophy with their talented young players, which will certainly be part of the analysis.