This idea originated from ESPN's Mike & Mike; I will now preview the Seattle Seahawks.
1.) Can QB Matt Hasselbeck avoid another injury plagued campaign?
He is 35 and has Charlie Whitehurst breathing down his back (or is it neck?). Hasselbeck had over 3,000 yards just three seasons ago. Since then, he hasn't been able to stay healthy enough to have a successful season. I wouldn't be surprised if the Seahawks turned to Charlie Whitehurst midseason after Matt Hasselbeck struggles with injuries.
2.) Will former Jet Leon Washington be more explosive out of the backfield or in the return game?
It seems as if the Seahawks want to use him more for the return game because they have Julius Jones and Justin Forsett to run the ball. Those three will create some kind of trio, with a split of the carries. The leading rusher in 2009 was Julius Jones with 663 yards and Justin Forsett had 619 yards. Jones also had more carries with 177 while Forsett had 114. Leon Washington was hurt most of last season resulting in being traded from the Jets. I'd expect to see a trio in the backfield with Leon Washington being the return man and explosive third receiver.
3.) Can the Seattle defense make amends for back-to-back bad seasons?
Chris Clemons is playing the hybrid position of defensive end and linebacker. Clemons is a specialized pass rusher brought in from Philadelphia. E.J. Wilson will cover the other defensive end spot. Brandon Mebane and Colin Cole are stout against the run (which is their primary duty).
Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, and Aaron Curry provide the Seahawks best group. They are all Pro Bowl-caliber players and tackling machines. All three need to stay healthy, which has yet to happen.
The Seahawks ranked 30th in passing yards allowed in 2009. Marcus Trufant has been a Pro Bowl player but needs to stay away from the injuries. Prior to the draft, Deion Sanders told the world (on NFL Network) that Walter Thurmond was the sleeper of the draft. Thurmand will now try and beat out Josh Wilson for the second starting cornerback spot. Earl Thomas was drafted and is expected to be the playmaking safety like Pete Carroll constantly had at USC. Jordan Babineaux will hold down the strong safety position.
I like the additions this unit made and they should take a step up from the past two seasons.
4.) Will head coach Pete Carroll's return to the NFL be a bang or a thud?
This team should improve to about the middle of the pack, so it's not a "thud." However, I'm not really sure a 7-9 record will be a "bang" either. For me, it meets somewhere in the middle.
5.) The Seattle Seahawks' record will be...
7-9, third in the NFC West.
To make up for missing Thursday, I will preview the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers tomorrow. Monday I will finish this series with the Colts and Saints.