Rost: Reality is Seahawks have no choice but to be a playoff team
Dec 5, 2023, 12:32 AM
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
You might read this as a sugarcoating of the Seattle Seahawks’ season, but consider it instead a dose of reality.
We need to talk about where the Seahawks are this season.
Seattle is 6-6 and on a three-game losing streak. That skid doesn’t seem likely to end with an upcoming game Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, a team that just dealt a wildly lopsided loss to the NFC-leading Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s been a disappointing run so far. Few expected Seattle to topple San Franisco for the West, but they did expect improvement. And why not? Seattle was 10th in scoring on offense last year despite third-down struggles, and it added a first-round wide receiver and another running back to the mix. The defense was 30th against the run but saw the development of promising young corner Riq Woolen and an offseason that brought a complete facelift for the defensive line.
Oh, and they had the No. 5 overall pick – the highest ever under head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider – and used it to add a tough, physical cornerback (Devon Witherspoon) to a group that was going to get safety Jamal Adams back healthy.
So yes, expectations were rightfully high in and outside of the building.
As you know now, they haven’t been met.
Those third-down struggles have only been made worse with shuffling and injuries along the offensive line. For a good chunk of the season, Geno Smith looked less like the quarterback who won Comeback Player of the Year and more like the inconsistent version fans saw late last year. One of the better receiver tandems in football hasn’t been able to deliver, and a team that wants to run the ball hasn’t done so consistently. And that defense injected with new talent struggled mightily against the Dallas Cowboys in a Week 13 loss.
But despite all of that, the Seahawks are not and cannot be in rebuild mode.
There’s no answer at quarterback coming to save your team (mind you, Smith just threw for three touchdowns and ran for another against a tough Dallas defense). With six wins already, there’s no No. 1 overall pick in your future. You’ve traded a second-rounder for a defensive lineman who might not be with you next season (Leonard Williams). You’ve invested money in Adams, Quandre Diggs, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, and they’re only getting older as another year goes by.
I’m not telling you the Seahawks are a playoff team because I want them to be or need you to believe it; I’m telling you they’re a playoff team because they have no choice but to be one.
It’s what makes this upcoming game against the 49ers – one you may have, fairly, already written off as a loss – so hugely important. It’s what makes the primetime Eagles game to follow a huge opportunity. It’s also why it’s so vitally important that the Seahawks push to complete their plan to get to the playoffs and see just how far they can go.
They don’t look like a Super Bowl team. But they’ve won some games. And spent. And traded. So they’ve made their bed.
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