While disappointed his team didn’t make the playoffs, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll overall was pleased with the progress his young team made this season, even though the Seahawks finished 7-9 for a second straight year.
Still, when asked where he thought his team needed to improve at a season-ending press conference this week, Carroll said he wanted to add speed at linebacker, increase the team’s ability to pass rush off the edge and from the interior of the defensive line, and add a playmaker on offense
“You’re always looking for touchdown makers on offense,” Carroll said. “You always want to get guys that can score. So if there’s a wide receiver in the draft that would be cool, if there’s a big- time running back that would be cool.”
That said, here’s a position-by-position look at how the Seahawks graded out at the end of the year.
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Quarterback: CNot many expected Tarvaris Jackson to finish7-7 as a starter. Heshowed toughness playing with a torn pectoral muscle for most of theseason. Tabbed the team’s starter in 2012, Jackson’s failings to leadthe Seahawks from behind late in games could force the team to lookfor better alternatives.
Running back: B+Marshawn Lynch rushed for a career-high 1,204 yards and 13 total TDs.Both Lynch and fullback Michael Robinson were first-alternates for thePro Bowl. Now, the Seahawks have to decide how much they want to paythe soon-to-be unrestricted free agent to keep the team’s best player,Lynch.
Offensive line: B+They went through six different starting combinations and finished theseason with three-fifths of the team’s projected starting line on theinjured reserve. Still, Seattle effectively ran the ball at the end ofthe season, a tribute to offensive line/assistant head coach TomCable’s teaching skills.
Receivers: CHigh-dollar free agent pickups WR Sidney Rice and TE Zach Millerunderperformed, along with top returner Mike Williams. But undraftedrookie free agent Doug Baldwin shined, and Golden Tate showedimprovement in his second season.
Defensive line: BThe front four played stout against the run, but other than ChrisClemons’ team-high 11 sacks, this group still struggles toconsistently get pressure on the passer.
Linebackers: BFor a third straight season, David Hawthorne led the Seahawks intackles (115). Hawthorne could leave in free agency, along withveteran Leroy Hill. Rookie K.J. Wright proved the most versatile ofthe three, and a solid replacement for jettisoned Aaron Curry.
[caption id="attachment_12730" align="aligncenter" width="301" caption="Seattle Seahawks' Brandon Browner, left, intercepts a pass intended for Washington Redskins Jabar Gaffney, right, in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)"] [/caption]Secondary: A-Earl Thomas earned his first Pro Bowl invitation, while fellow safetyKam Chancellor and CB Brandon Browner were selected as firstalternates. Rookie corner Richard Sherman finished with fourinterceptions in 10 starts, and could join his teammates on that listnext year.
Special teams: CLeon Washington was solid, but not as explosive as last season. PunterJon Ryan had another good year, and kicker Steven Hauschka made peopleforget about Olindo Mare. The usually solid coverage units gave upthree returns for TDs and were one of the most penalized groups in theNFL this season.
Coaching: B+Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider have revamped the roster, with theSeahawks going from the seventh-oldest team last season to thesecond-youngest. Impressively, Seattle stayed competitive while doingso, and appears primed to make a legitimate playoff run in 2012.