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Brock and Salk: How the Seahawks should prioritize the offseason

The Seahawks and HC Pete Carroll and GM John Schneder have a big offseason in 2020. (AP)

The Seahawks head into a critical offseason with likely 11 draft picks, roughly $60 million in available cap space and a whole lot of question marks on both sides of the ball.

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The offense was ranked in the top-10 in nearly every major category in 2019, but slowed down towards the end of the season due to injuries to offensive linemen and running backs.

The defense, meanwhile, was one of the worst in the league and as evidenced in Seattle’s 28-23 playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, it struggled to generate pressure and get off the field on third down.

What should the Seahawks prioritize this offseason? Brock Huard and Mike Salk discussed this on the latest Brock and Salk Podcast, and had differing views.

Huard thinks quarterback Russell Wilson and his two top receivers, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, as well as running back Chris Carson, are a good foundation for an offense that should be the focal point of this team going forward.

“You look at your clay and say alright, I’ve got that for the next three years … can you not add one or two elite pieces to that side (of the ball) and maybe become elite-elite offensively because it’ll be easier to shape that clay than it would be to reinvent so much of what you’ve got to do with your defensive personnel,” Huard said. “That to me is the argument”

Salk thinks that staking the offseason on the offense would be hard to watch.

“You want to be one of those teams that throws the ball all over the yard and gives up a million yards back?” he said. “Because I’m out. Thanks. I think that’s a terrible idea.”

Huard thinks getting a reliable third option for Wilson to pass to would be a big step forward for the offense without getting entirely away from running the football.

“Just looking at the makeup of your team and saying, ‘Man, if we give Russell one more elite weapon.’” he said. “You know what? There are going to be games this upcoming season, maybe even in our own division, where we’re going to have to score 35 points and be able to do that and be OK with it.”

Salk agreed that a third option would be a big benefit for the team, but successful teams coached by Pete Carroll have had two things in common.

“Pete Carroll at his core, and whenever he’s had great success, it’s been because of his defense and his quarterback,” Salk said.

Some have suggested changes to the coaching staff, such as defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., but Salk thinks the team is in too deep to make dramatic moves like that.

“You’re not at a point where you’re going to bring in new blood at the top,” Salk said. “You’re not going to fire John Schneider, you’re not going to fire Pete Carroll, I don’t believe at this stage of their career. You’re committed to seeing where this thing goes, so you’re going to have to.”

Last offseason, outside of the move to trade for defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the team didn’t do enough to get the defense moving in the right direction. That needs to change this year.

“You’ve got a bunch of picks in this year’s draft, you’ve got a bunch of money to spend in the offseason, so you better go spend it appropriately and I think that means bringing in some guys who can play defense and means not looking for bargain basement Ziggy Ansah busts,” Salk said. “It means not waiting until the season starts to trade for Jadeveon Clowney. It means you can’t miss on an L.J. Collier or a Rasheem Green or a Malik McDowell (early in the draft). You can’t miss on those guys. You’ve got to hit on some.”

With Carroll and general manager John Schneider under contract through just the 2021 season, this could be the most critical offseason the duo have faced since they joined the organization in 2010. Salk would like them to keep a similar approach as to how they’ve built their teams the last decade.

“I think you’re going to have a watchful eye and this next year might end up deciding some of the future for John Schneider,” Salk said. “Whatever that (critical) time is, now is it and you’d better succeed in this draft and this free agent class because this is going to be sort of the last era of the Pete Carroll-John Schneider Seahawks and I don’t think it makes any sense for them to turn tail and go down a completely different road for the end of their run. Think about how ridiculous that would sound later … You’re asking Pete Carroll and John Schneider to try something totally different at the end? Come on! Nobody does that.”

Listen to the Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or in the player below. You can also watch the podcast, for the first time ever, at this link.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard and Mike Salk on Twitter.

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