Rost: 3 Seahawks who need a big finish to this season
(Editor’s note: This post was written before it was confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. For more on that story, click here.)
Who needs a big finish to the Seahawks’ season in the worst way?
It’s a tough ask for fans of the 4-8 Seahawks to avoid looking past this season. Every game matters to coach Pete Carroll and Seattle hasn’t been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, but you’d be forgiven for wondering what’s left to play for.
Turns out that for three particular people in this organization, the answer is a lot.
• Russell Wilson
Perhaps no other player can infuse the team and its fans with a better sense of momentum than the quarterback, and the opposite has been true as of late.
Wilson has been an inconsistent version of himself since the second half of last season, but his scoreless outing against the Green Bay Packers in his return from midseason finger surgery was the nadir. Questions about whether Wilson, who turned 33 in November, is advancing past the apex of his career are fair, though it’s important to note how unique this position is. Many franchise quarterbacks have played into their late 30s and have done so successfully; Tom Brady won league MVP at 33 while Aaron Rodgers won the same award at 37.
But something has clearly been amiss. Wilson is facing the possibility of his lowest passer rating since 2017. He’s made mental mistakes and, of late, hasn’t looked fully healthy. The good news? Sunday’s win over the San Francisco 49ers offered some hope that Seattle could be seeing an improving version of their franchise star. Wilson threw 30 of 37 for 231 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception.
It’s not just important that Wilson finishes strong to boost momentum for Seattle heading into 2022. Consider another hypothetical: If Seattle were to decide to move on from Wilson and turn instead to a rebuild, a return to top form over the final five games could boost that return.
• Jamal Adams
In case you needed a reminder that the Seahawks are without a first-round pick, which went to the New York Jets in exchange for Adams, consider this that reminder – plus an additional reminder that the pick is currently fifth overall.
Adams finishing the year strong would not only bump that pick down (doesn’t that feel a little better?) but also would bode well for Seattle’s slim (and when I say slim, I mean slim) odds to sneak into a wild card spot.
In reality, most Seahawks fans are eyeing 2022 already, a year in which Adams will still play a big part thanks to a four-year, $70 million extension he signed in August. And it looks like Adams’ next appearance won’t be until next season, either. He finished Sunday’s game on the sidelines in street clothes with what Carroll later called a sprained shoulder, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Adams needs season-ending surgery to repair that shoulder injury.
• Shane Waldron
One of the biggest new names for the Seahawks this season, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, has slipped slowly under the radar as the year has progressed. Blame that on Wilson taking much of the spotlight for himself with offseason comments, blame it on injuries to Wilson and running back Chris Carson, or blame it on defensive struggles to start the season, but either way, Waldron hasn’t been brought up much despite overseeing the league’s 31st-ranked offense.
First, some context here. There was the month the team played without Wilson under center, and now it’s been 10 weeks since the team has had Carson, who will miss the remainder of the season with a neck injury. Waldron drew heaps of praise in the offseason but is also a first-time offensive coordinator, and stumbling blocks were expected early in his campaign.
That being said, remaining near the bottom of the league offensively over the last five games feels inexcusable with Wilson, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf all active, even if the team is playing without its starting running back. Seattle is converting on 32% of its third down attempts, which also ranks 31st, and struggles there remain confounding considering it was an offseason focus for Waldron and Carroll.