ESPN’s Mina Kimes details what Seahawks must address this offseason
The Seahawks may have finished the 2021 season on a high note with back-to-back wins and a 4-2 record over their final six games, but they still have a lot of work to do this offseason coming off their first losing record since quarterback Russell Wilson’s arrival following the 2011 season.
The good news is that Seattle moved in the right direction, playing perhaps its most complete game in a 38-30 win over Arizona last Sunday to show that there are pieces in place to build around to make a potential return to the playoffs next year. They don’t have a championship level roster yet, though, and the hope is that what they do this offseason will be enough to change that.
ESPN NFL analyst Mina Kimes joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy on Wednesday afternoon and shared her view on where the Seahawks stand and where their focus needs to be to make improvements, which she said needs to come on both sides of the ball.
“I think they’re much better than their record this year,” Kimes said of the Seahawks, who finished 7-10. “… Losing your starting quarterback in the middle of season (to a finger injury) and then you’re having him come back clearly injured, it really, really has to impact how you look at this team and recognize the challenges they were up against. But on an individual basis, looking at matchups, looking at the performance from players on both sides of the ball, there clearly are a lot of holes.”
On offense, Kimes said Seattle should put resources into boosting its offensive line, something she had hoped they would do in last year’s NFL Draft.
“I think the offensive line, particularly right side, center, is something you have to seriously look at,” she said. “Just kind of given Russell Wilson’s aging curve – it was awesome to see him looking more elusive in that final game and scrambling and using the legs the way so many of us remember, but you also have to prepare for a future where maybe that’s not the case in every game and against every defense. As he evolves as a quarterback, you can’t treat him like 23-year-old Russell Wilson. He does need more time in the pocket, so I think that’s something I would focus on. I was really disappointed (in 2021), I wanted them to take (Kansas City Chiefs center) Creed Humphrey during the draft. I think that’s something they obviously need to consider addressing, even without a high draft pick, which is disappointing.”
The lack of a high draft pick Kimes addressed was in regards to Seattle’s 2022 first-round selection belonging to the Jets due to the trade that brought star safety Jamal Adams to the Seahawks in 2020. The role of Adams, who set an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back in a single season in 2020 but didn’t have any sacks in an injury-shortened 2021 campaign, came up when Kimes spoke about the defense.
“You need a defensive coordinator who can help them figure out not only how to generate more pressure (on opposing quarterbacks) but also use Jamal Adams,” she said. “I think that was kind of one of the biggest failures of this season. (Adams) is going to be part of this football team, he’s an important part, and I think that’s something that really needs to get figured out moving forward.”
The pass rush that didn’t get much out of Adams was also a point of emphasis for Kimes. The Seahawks had a strong finish to the season in that area but still finished 22nd in sacks in the NFL, which was a disappointment considering the positive momentum the pass rush had coming out of 2020.
“This pass rush came on strong at the end. It was great to see some of the role players (playing well) and Carlos Dunlap being dominant, but it frankly was not good enough during the season,” she said, then continuing by pointing to a similar case with the offense. “And then the offensive line, you saw some decent performances, you saw obviously an incredible run game (down the stretch), but you gotta consider competition. And this isn’t to be gloomy and say this team can’t compete next year. They can, but what I’m saying what I believe is that the roster that they have is not a championship roster.”
You can listen to the full conversation with Kimes from Jake and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.