With many eager to point out the calamities that befall those teams trying to defend their Super Bowl championship, we may presume that the Seahawks should prepare to scheme against plague, pestilence and famine as well as Niners, Cards and Rams.
But what if, for once, things go right for the defending champ? It has to at some point, right?
And really, for the Seahawks to have a terrific season it might not mean more than just everyone performing as they did last season.
We hear about overconfidence and distractions and being targeted by opponents. But have you seen this team? Have you seen them practice?
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So many of these players say that practices are far more competitive than most of their games. And it certainly looks that way in this preseason.
With so many of the key players back and in the early stages of their careers, doesn’t it seem that they’ll get better just by having another year of experience playing together in the same schemes?
Imagine what could happen with the fortune of good health and continued growth. Some amazing things are possible.
• Half a dozen of the Seahawks could vie for the MVP award. Surely, Russell Wilson, Percy Harvin, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas could be early candidates, and maybe Marshawn Lynch, too.
It’s unlikely that Wilson will have huge yardage numbers because the offense is so focused on the run, but wouldn’t another season of huge team success require that his excellence in martialing the forces be rewarded?
Here’s a bet: Wilson will complete 70 percent of his passes this season. Wilson was at 63.1 last season. San Diego’s Philip Rivers was at 69.5.
Wilson’s percent will rocket this season for several reasons. It’s clear he’s been working on his precision this offseason; not just getting the ball to the receiver, but getting it to him in the perfect spot. If his line is healthy this time around, he will not be as harried.
But the biggest reason is Percy Harvin, who returns to full health and competitiveness.
Harvin makes a living catching short passes and turning them into giant gains. Those are extremely high-percentage attempts. They will fuel the offense and elevate everybody’s offensive stats.
• Harvin will have the chance to prove himself as the most dangerous breakaway threat in the NFL. He’ll endanger Leon Washington’s record of three kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2010. It’s unlikely he’ll hit triple digits in receptions because of the nature of the offense and the number of other good receivers, but he’ll score as both a receiver and rusher.
His return means defenses have to vastly alter whatever game plans they’ve had for trying to slow Lynch and contain Wilson. Suddenly, they just won’t have enough players on defense to tackle everybody.
• Safety Earl Thomas will make his fourth All-Pro team by the age of 25. That remarkable combination of youth and acclaim could put him about halfway to the Hall of Fame at an age where he’s just now being allowed to get a rental car.
The redoubtable Ed Reed was an eight-time All-Pro safety, but he didn’t get his fourth until he was 29.
Healthful longevity will allow Thomas to establish a new standard at the position.
• Cornerback Richard Sherman is only a step behind Thomas. Sherman’s coming in as a fifth-rounder meant it took a season before Pro Bowl voters caught on to his talents.
His eight interceptions in each of the last two seasons, despite increasing avoidance from opposing quarterbacks, is the sort of thing that can lead to MVP consideration. Like Thomas, Sherman continues to study his business and push for improvement. Another season like the last two, and he’s also on his way toward lasting renown.
• The Seahawks had the best defense in the NFL last season, allowing an average of 14.4 points a game. But they had a couple stinkers in there, the 34 points allowed in a loss at Indianapolis, and 24 surrendered in a win over Tampa Bay at home.
Defensive end Michael Bennett said during training camp that the Seahawk defense isn’t content to be the best defense in the league, but is instead shooting to be the best in NFL history.
The 2000 Ravens allowed the fewest points per season, an average of 10.3 per game. Do the Seahawks have that kind of potential? Consider: The 2013 Denver Broncos were the highest-scoring team in NFL history. They managed eight points against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. It’s only a matter of keeping the throttle engaged.
• Another Super Bowl win would give coach Pete Carroll a matched pair. Despite his unconvincing start as an NFL head coach, this late rush would land Carroll in the Hall of Fame.
And it wouldn’t be just because of the Super Bowls, but as a recognition of the way he changed the way the game was coached. That’s how they judge the worthiness of the players, right? Did they set a new standard for their position?
Carroll’s management and motivation of personnel has been the key to the Seattle surge. And if a team needs to find the ways to stay hungry and focused enough to avoid the potholes on the road back to a title, Carroll could be the one to plot the path.
And that makes none of these developments seem too far-fetched.