If one thing can be said about the Seahawks during the Pete Carroll Era, it is that they are never boring.
Take the past year. Between the decision to throw the ball on their final play of Super Bowl 49 and the extended hangover wrought by Heartbreak Pass, 2015 packed the kind of melodrama usually witnessed with a $7.50 tub of buttered popcorn. Remember Marshawn Lynch’s mother blasting Hawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevill on Facebook?
“The worst playcaller ever,” Delisa Lynch wrote of Bevill in a post notable for its timing: The defending NFC champions were one game — one! — into a season that would conclude with them scoring 24 unanswered points during a playoff defeat on the road.
From the sluggish September start to that frantic finish last weekend, Team Turmoil faced one crisis after another. More often than not the crisis involved Mr. Lynch, but there were other issues.
Kam Chancellor’s holdout, the attempt to assimilate Jimmy Graham into the offense before the tight end’s season-ending knee injury, the dumb attempt to replace Max Unger with a center who didn’t know how to play center. …
I could go on, but you get the idea.
If the Seahawks hope to be at CenturyLink Field for next season’s NFC championship game, they should realize that while nothing is more boring than watching loaded tank cars trundle along a train track, nothing is more calamitous than the derailment of those loaded tank cars.
Boring works. Boring is the way to go.
How to dial down the drama? Begin with general manager John Schneider and his fascination for established, dynamic receivers. Two years after the Seahawks traded their first-round draft choice to Minnesota for Percy Harvin, Schneider sent a 2015 first-round selection, along with Unger, to New Orleans for Graham.
Graham’s injury precludes any judgment on that deal, but the Harvin acquisition was an expensive failure with long-term consequences. If the GM wants to stay out of the news for a few months, I doubt any Seahawks fans will complain.
Here’s a thought: Instead of arranging another predraft trade for an explosive playmaker, sit still and settle on a soft-spoken, 6-foot-5, 325-pound offensive tackle whose knack for pancaking pass rushers turns into nine Pro Bowl appearances and a plaque in the Hall of Fame.
Walter Jones fulfilled any definition of “boring,” but how good would some version of a 23-year-old Jones look in a Seattle uniform next season? (Imagine: A Seahawks offensive tackle with actual college experience as an offensive tackle.)
Boring works. Boring is the way to go. Which brings me to Lynch, who has made it his life’s mission to be perceived as the antithesis of boring.
Schneider’s tone about Lynch’s future with the Hawks is delicate and diplomatic — “we’re going to treat him with as much respect as we possibly can here and give him a little leeway to find his way in terms of what he wants to do,” the general manager said during a Friday radio interview — but the salary cap numbers just don’t fit for a running back whose 2015 injuries raised questions about his durability next season, when he turns 30.
Schneider knows this, and Lynch knows this, and yet the silly standoff will continue because the Seahawks are wary of turning their fragile relationship with Beast Mode into a public hissing match.
In other words, because the team wants to keep the drama to a minimum, it is perpetuating the drama.
Only the Seahawks.
When training camp convenes in the summer, I’m holding out hope — oops, wrong phrase; let’s try this again: I’m keeping hope — that everybody scheduled to show up shows up, and that there’s a sense of tranquillity befitting a team with championship-caliber talent.
When training camps adjourns, I’m keeping hope that the offensive line positions will be occupied by offensive linemen, that any mothers critical of Darrell Bevill refrain from posting on Facebook, and that the next time we see a Seahawks’ 24-0 outburst in the second half, it won’t be about saving faces and preserving pride.
Most of all, I’m keeping hope that a team that savors the thrill of hanging by its fingertips on the edge of a balcony goes inside, closes the window door, and contemplates the many-splendored benefits that solace provides.
Boring works. Boring is the way to go.
Crashing into wild waves can be a blast, but so is skipping a stone on still water, counting the bounces — 13, 14, 15 — until the stone disappears.
John McGrath: firstname.lastname@example.org