Jake and Stacy: Do the Seahawks have the makings of a Super Bowl contender?
The NFL Draft is just under a week away and the Seattle Seahawks have three picks to use, the fewest ever under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll. Seattle is on the board for the first time on Friday, day two of the draft, at pick No. 56 overall in the second round.
Before any more moves are made, though – either in the draft or in free agency – let’s check in on the state of this team. Do the Seahawks have the makings of a Super Bowl contender today?
My co-host Jake Heaps and I have been asking ourselves this question throughout the offseason and will continue to do so as Seattle’s squad grows and evolves. After all, with months to go until Week 1, cuts will be made, rookies will be drafted, stars extended, and veteran additions signed. There will be a handful of new faces for fans to learn about next week and plenty of training camp surprises.
Here’s where both of us stand right now on the outlook for the Seahawks 2021 Super Bowl odds:
Jake Heaps: Offensive philosophy can make all the difference
“I do believe they are in a much better situation roster-wise, offensive-philosophy wise, heading into this year than they were a year ago,” Heaps said. “The reality of the NFL is that you need to be a part of the top tier, you need to be part of the pool. And if you’re a part of that top-tier group, you’re in it. You’re competing for a Super Bowl every year. And that’s where the Seahawks have been able to place themselves. But their roster hasn’t had the compete depth, the top to bottom talent, to compete at the highest level when it comes to advancing further into the playoffs. And I feel at this stage they’re in a better situation to do that. They’re going to make more additions… I believe there’s going to be about two to three more moves the Seahawks that the Seahawks end up making through the free agent market before it’s all said and done.”
Heaps also pointed to the tight end production (or lack thereof) from 2020 and said new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron may be able to find a way to utilize those options.
One reason to think the defense could be better? Heaps points to the chemistry the defense built in the second half of last season, noting that some of that work is out of the way now and could make for a quicker start.
“We saw them start to play with better speed last year in the second half of the season when defensively they came together in terms of their rules and responsibilities. They started to stop thinking so much and just play and react. If they can start the season that way, I think the (rough start) will dissipate when they come into the season knowing what they’re responsibilities are.”
Stacy Rost: Still one big question on both sides of the ball
Let me start by saying this: I agree with Jake in that the Seahawks are regularly part of a group of contenders, and most of those teams are contenders because they have franchise quarterbacks. When you’ve got that, you have one of the rarest commodities in football and your best weapon in your path to a Super Bowl.
Ultimately though, I’m saying no, they’re not right now – but it’s complicated.
The Seahawks can be in any game. They’re one of the winningest regular season teams in the last decade. Against any team I think they’ve got a shot, and against a lot of teams I think they’ve got a good shot. But it’s about getting through the postseason against really good teams, and I don’t know if they can right now.
There are two big concerns I have: One on offense and one on defense.
On defense, they need more speed. Brock Huard joined us on Jake and Stacy the other day for a draft preview and said that if he were a parrot (a 6-foot-5 parrot, mind you) on Schneider’s shoulder in the draft room, he’d call for more of that on both offense and defense.
You get the feeling the Seahawks know that. They surely know, for instance, that despite K.J. Wright being one of their best defenders last year as well as a beloved leader in the locker room, Jordyn Brooks is a faster option at weakside linebacker. I’m also waiting to see whether they improve at corner and what Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson, and Kerry Hyder look like on the defensive line.
It’s vital that these pieces not only come together but also form a unit that can limit increasingly fast and efficient offenses. Three separate teams averaged 30 or more points last year including the Super Bowl winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers – and three more were just below that at 29.
On offense, the biggest issue was one of adaptability. The good news is that they got a new offensive coordinator. So, there’s every reason to think they’ve changed that. We just haven’t seen it yet. And at the risk of not giving Shane Waldron the benefit of the doubt – which does feel unfair – I’m going to say no for right now, because I still want to see the change.