BROCK AND SALK

Huard: 5 Ways the Seahawks can get back to the playoffs

Feb 23, 2018, 11:05 PM | Updated: Feb 24, 2018, 10:38 am
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Seahawks' GM John Schneider will face an interesting challenge this year without a second- or third-round pick. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks finished 9-7 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2011. Thankfully, this team still has Pro Bowl-caliber players and a franchise quarterback, but a few things have to change if they want to make another playoff push.

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In my opinion, the quickest path back to success looks like this.

1.) Have the guts to trade again, and just as importantly, find the trade partner. General manager John Schneider had the guts to trade for Chris Clemons, Marshawn Lynch, heck, even the guts to do the Jimmy Graham deal.

As Mark Dominik said to us a few years back, Schneider’s nerve is his greatest asset — and the Seahawks are going to have to be bold moving forward. Have to let him play to his strengths here.

2) Young, Poor, and Hungry. That’s going to continue to be my theme this entire offseason, because that’s what I want to see from Seattle’s players. I’m talking the Red Bryant’s and Breno Giacomini’s as much as the young Kam Chancellor’s and Richard Sherman’s. The under-valued asset on your roster, or on someone else’s, who just needs right opportunity in the right spot or system to flourish. Bradley McDougald and Dion Jordan were the best examples from last year, but the Seahawks need more of those. I don’t want tired, I don’t want injured, and I don’t want old. And unfortunately, a few of the players Seattle signed in 2017 (like Michael Wilhoite and Terence Garvin) fall into that group. No more; the Seahawks instead need players who are three or four years into this league and who are ready to pop.

3) No more Malik McDowell’s, ever. You don’t need, and don’t want, a guy who doesn’t love playing this game — and if there is any question about someone’s love of the game, he cannot be here. The culture has to begin anew in that locker room, which means Pete Carroll and John Scheider should no longer lean on veterans to push for the most out of younger players with major red flags. Does that mean they shouldn’t take risks in the draft? Not necessarily. But I certainly don’t want as much of it in this turning point of the roster. Right now, large portions of this team are being rebuilt, and the Seahawks can’t afford that level of risk.

4) Put the credit card away and do not overpay. This one is going to be tough because most of the fans are going to want it once they see cap space free up in free agency. But trust me on this one. Luke Joeckel (whom the Seahawks paid $8 million for one year) and Lacy ($3 million) were busts. Free agency officially begins March 14, but you don’t need those early transactions. This is probably going to be as hard as ever as far as pressure from the outside, but Seattle showed incredible restraint and fiscal responsibility early in its run, and they’ll need to return to that practice.

5) Hit .444 in the draft. Just like the Seahawks did in the 2010-12 drafts, with a slugging above 1.000, they’ve got to knock the 2018 draft out of the park. They hit on four or five of their nine picks in each of those years. In 2013-17, though, Seattle had more misses than hits. The .222 of the last four years with slugging .600 keeps you out of the playoffs.

I know the historical success of the Seahawks’ 2010-12 draft classes is nearly impossible to repeat. Teams around the league aren’t often going to find a Bobby Wagner, and a Bruce Irvin, and a Russell Wilson.

But when you hit a .444 like the New Orleans Saints did last year, you change the fortunes of your club pretty quickly.

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Huard: 5 Ways the Seahawks can get back to the playoffs