Would Seahawks making playoffs actually be ‘worst thing’ for the franchise?

Dec 20, 2021, 11:10 AM | Updated: 4:38 pm
Seahawks Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll...
Seahawks HC Pete Carroll throws his arm around QB Russell Wilson as they walk on the field before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Seahawks have had a disappointing 2021 season overall, and they enter Week 15’s clash against the Los Angeles Rams with the slimmest playoff hopes.

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Last year, the Seahawks went 12-4 and won the NFC West, but they’ve already doubled their loss total from a year ago and currently sit at 5-8. With one more loss, Seattle will have a losing season for the first time since 2011.

FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Seahawks a roughly 2% chance of making the playoffs, but they’d need to win out over their final four games and get a lot of help from other games in order for that to happen. If they pulled that off, it would give Seattle its 10th playoff berth in the 12 years head coach Pete Carroll has been running the team.

While making the playoffs ultimately is a goal of every team and has become the norm for the Seahawks, former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps actually explained Friday that he doesn’t want to see that happen this season, and it’s all for the good of the franchise’s future.

“What is the best thing for this team? Honestly – is it making the playoffs by being able to win out and sneak into the playoffs? Or is it at this point for this team, I’m not saying lose every game, but for them to not be in a position where they can ride high, go undefeated through the rest of the way and say, ‘Hey, we can make all the excuses as to what happened in the season and not make any changes moving forward,'” Heaps told his co-host Stacy Rost during Friday’s edition of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy.

Heaps took it one step further, as well.

“I honestly think that going undefeated, making the playoffs probably is the worst thing for the franchise long term,” Heaps said. “I really, truly believe that way.”

Heaps believes that the team likely needs to miss out on the playoffs in order for the Seahawks to make necessary changes going forward.

“There are things within the franchise that are currently broken, there are things and practices going on right now and it’s just very clear, just very open,” he said. ” … From a player acquisition standpoint, that’s broken, it’s not working. A drafting perspective, that isn’t working. From an overall play standpoint, we’re running into the same issues, the same conversations for multiple years now. So to me, that is something that I look at and I say that there needs to be changes, there needs to be serious change in terms of the way that either the power dynamics are set or getting in new eyes and making a concerted effort to make sure that you’re improving rather than staying stagnant.”

Heaps said if the Seahawks win out to finish 9-8 and end the 2021 season on a high note, “it’s easy to sell and spin this thing” by pointing to injuries to quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Chris Carson as the reason they had midseason struggles instead of looking at the bigger picture.

“And although that is true to a degree, I don’t think it’s the true, real reason why the Seahawks are in the position that they’re in right now,” he said.

Rost responded that if you’re someone who thinks winning out and sneaking into the playoffs means 2021 has been a successful season, then you’re hoping for Seattle to crank out four wins in a row to end the year. But if you’re someone who is thinking like Heaps currently is, then “the last thing you need is someone to point to a winning record that’s still kind of mediocre for this franchise and say, ‘See, nothing’s wrong.'”

As for what Rost currently thinks, she admits she’s “kind of in between” in terms of how she wants Seattle to finish out the season.

“I think that there are big issues that this team needs to figure out,” she said. “I do not think that if you (keep) every single thing a carbon copy the exact way you entered this season that you’re going to find success. I think they need to do some soul searching and figure some stuff out.”

But that being said …

“I want to win, Jake … I am so empty of all hope for this Seahawks’ season that now all I want is for the Jets to choose as late as they possibly can,” Rost said.

What Rost was referring to with the Jets is a part of what makes this down year for the Seahawks even harder to swallow: they won’t reap the benefits in the 2022 NFL Draft because they traded their first-round pick to the New York Jets ahead of the 2020 season as part of a package for safety Jamal Adams, who by the way is out for the season with shoulder surgery. Currently, that pick is projected to be in the first 10, but the Seahawks can make it a lower pick by continuing to win.

“I don’t care if that’s stupid, I don’t care if it’s petty; that is my reasoning,” Rost said. “I want the Jets to pick as low as they possibly can possibly can.”

Heaps admitted that he’d get some satisfaction over that pick being worse for the Jets, but ultimately that’s not enough to sway his line of thinking.

“When it comes down to the long-term fixes of what has to happen, I’m sorry, but no one in that building can look me in the eye and say what has been transpiring over the last few years has been positive,” he said. “There has to be changes, there has to be progress moving forward.”

Heaps said that over the last four seasons, the Seahawks have been sunk by “similar mistakes made time and time again” and that similar issues “pop up time and time again.”

“There needs to be fresh eyes, there needs to be a revamp of your roster, something that has to change. Staying status quo with this group and, you know, putting your blinders on and saying that, ‘Oh, everything’s fine and we just had a few bad breaks here or there during the season,’ I don’t think that adequately describes where you’re currently at,” Heaps said.

Heaps believes that if the Seahawks want to return to being annual Super Bowl contenders, they need to make “some serious changes” this offseason. But by winning out and making the playoffs, Heaps is worried the team will rely on what has been the status quo.

“My fear is that if you win out and you get into the playoffs, you’re going to fall into this trap of being content and being complacent and saying, ‘We were fine all along and we’re not going to make any legitimate change to progress the franchise forward,'” he said. “And here we are next year having somewhat of the similar conversations.”

Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.

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