The Seahawks aren’t the only team that’s been snake-bitten with major injuries this year, but according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, they’re one of the teams who are feeling their losses the most. Worse still, Seifert argues Seattle has yet to feel the brunt of its injuries – which is why the final stretch of five games could be a trying time for the perennial contender.
Seifert joined John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle to talk about why, in a league where players regularly see their seasons end too early, this year’s rash of injuries feels especially unique.
“It’s a weird team to have on the list because they’re 7-4 and right in that playoff race,” Seifert said of Seattle, which is placed third on his list of teams most impacted by injuries behind the Packers and Ravens. “But what has happened does not bode well, in my opinion, for the rest of the season in terms of that secondary just getting deteriorated and also the running back situation.”
The Seahawks lost two starting members of their famed Legion of Boom in Week 10 when cornerback Richard Sherman went down with an Achilles injury and safety Kam Chancellor suffered a stinger. (Head coach Pete Carroll made Chancellor’s status official Monday when he told Brock and Salk the Pro Bowler would not be returning this year.) Rookie Shaquill Griffin was starting opposite Sherman, though a concussion in Week 11 kept him sidelined. One the defensive line, a group that looked to be one of the most imposing in the league lost defensive end Cliff Avril to a neck injury in Week 4.
The offense has also taken a hit. Seattle had a promising group of young running backs to kick off training camp in August, but injuries to Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise – and discouraging numbers from Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy – have left the Seahawks thin at the position. Seattle remains the only team in the league without a running back who has rushed for 250 yards or more.
Meanwhile, stars from around the NFL have found themselves on Injured Reserve; it’s a list that includes Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson, Whitney Mercilus, Eric Berry, Joe Thomas, Andrew Luck, David Johnson, Spencer Ware, Julian Edelman, Dont’a Hightower and more.
“The impact of injuries has been more significant than any I can remember in the last few years,” Clayton said.
Unsurprisingly, Seifert argues that sentiment results from the sheer number of Pro Bowl and All-Pro players on that list – the 2017 season has become a year in which many of the league’s brightest stars are watching from home.
“Not only have there been injuries, like there are every year, but there are some teams who have just… if you made a list of three players on a team that could not get hurt in order for them to be competitive, they’re losing those players,” Seifert said.
For now, the Seahawks’ fate is in their own hands. The NFC West is theoretically in reach – Seattle sits just one game behind the division-leading Los Angeles Rams – and winning three of its final five games would put it at 10-6, which may be enough for the sixth Wild Card. But according to Seifert, their biggest test lies ahead.
“I really feel like the big part of my analysis with the Seahawks was not so much what’s happened to this point. Because again, had the Rams lost the other night (the Seahawks would) be back in first place in the division (and) they’re very much in the playoff race when you look at the schedule – and the fact that they’ve already beaten the Rams once. But I don’t think it can be minimized – the impact of losing two of the members of the Legion of Boom, and also the amount of pressure that’s been placed on Russell Wilson to carry this offense because of the lack of productivity and the injuries at running back… You just wonder (how competitive they can be with) an offense that one-dimensional and a defense that has had a good part of its heart gutted.”