Seahawks have highest expectations for 2013

Jun 9, 2013, 5:53 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2013, 12:53 pm

By Brent Stecker

The national perception of the Seahawks has been all over the place in the past year.

The team has been both a surprise contender and the hottest team in the football. It’s been a team that went from being known for making low-risk transactions to a big-time player in the free agent and trade markets. It’s even been both the top-ranked team in ESPN’S power rankings and the league leader in suspensions stemming from positive performance-enhancing drug tests.

The Seahawks have high expectations for 2013, even though defensive end Bruce Irvin will miss part of the season with a PED-related suspension. (AP)

USA Today NFL writer Lindsay Jones visited the Seahawks’ organized team activities last week, and as she said on “The John Clayton Show” on 710 ESPN Seattle, the national perception won’t match the team’s expectations for itself.

“They’re really embracing kind of all of the expectations,” Jones said. “When they hear that they’re a favorite team to win the NFC and make it to the Super Bowl, they’re not backing down from that, and they’re actually maybe putting more pressure on themselves inside the building than what’s going on externally.”

Jones said the Seahawks’ outlook is rare for a team that is as young as it is.

“You don’t really see that with a young team. A lot of times you’ll see coaches ramp down those sort of expectations and slow-play those kind of things, but they’re embracing this and going full-speed,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that they only have a second-year quarterback (Russell Wilson) and they’ve got a lot of young guys on that team. This is a group that expects to go to the Super Bowl, and if they don’t, 2013 will be considered a disappointment.”

Maturity is a key issue for the Seahawks, as they have been hit with five PED-related suspensions over the last three years, and Jones said the team appears to be taking the issue seriously.

“They understand that they do have some significant maturity issues they have to deal with, and I think it’s very telling that every guy who has tested positive in the Pete Carroll regime other than Brandon Browner have been in their first or second year in the NFL,” Jones said. “It seems like they’re doing the right thing. They’re not hiding from it. They admit that there’s an issue and that it’s a serious problem and they’re disappointed in every guy that it’s happened to.

“They’re working on stuff. They’ve hired more kind of specialist people to bring in in addition to their player development guys to work with players to make sure they understand really what the rules are, how you get medical exemptions for things, and then also some of the life skills kind of stuff, (which) was what (general manager) John Schneider was really preaching. They’re not just talking about it, but they’re actually taking action.”

Jones pointed out that the Seahawks are benefiting from Carroll’s ability to deal with players that have different types of personalities, something that may be a result of his success working with larger rosters at the college level.

“I think it’s just a match made in heaven for (wide receiver Percy Harvin) to be there with Pete Carroll. I think Pete understands what it’s gonna take to work with Percy,” Jones said. “I think he also understands that every guy is different, that he’s gonna have to handle Percy Harvin different than he handles Marshawn Lynch, who is a handful to deal with as it is, and who’s different than dealing with Russell Wilson, who’s different than dealing with Michael Robinson. I think that’s one of the things that gets overlooked – when these guys come from college, the way that they deal with the young players and get them to make an impact right away.”

All that, combined with a roster that isn’t too young or too old, have the Seahawks rising in the eyes of NFL experts.

“I think (the key is) you can’t be young everywhere and you can’t be old everywhere, and it seems like Seattle is really finding a nice mix,” said Jones.

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Seahawks have highest expectations for 2013