Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks say they are far from buried--and they have reason to believe that

Here's something to help the morning coffee go down more smoothly:

Sure, these aren't the same Seahawks who blew threw last regular season to get home-field advantage for the playoffs en route to Seattle's first Super Bowl championship.

Not even close -- the Seahawks (3-3) have as many losses in their last five games as they had in all 19 of the 2013 regular and postseason.

Yet there are many reasons the champs are not KO'd entered Sunday's game at Carolina (3-3-1), many reasons for the team to believe Russell Wilson's "adversity is opportunity" comment from Sunday after the 28-26 loss at St. Louis.

As I wrote in today's News Tribune, the Elias Sports Bureau and pointed out Tuesday how league history shows the Seahawks being at .500 after six games gives them a 38-percent chance of qualifying for the postseason.

But how many division leaders at this point in a previous NFL season had a starting quarterback with a throwing shoulder that only sometimes works and was missing half its defense because of injury? That’s where Arizona (5-1) is right now. Carson Palmer has a nerve condition in his shoulder that sometimes keeps him out of games, sometimes doesn’t — and often prevents him from attempting a pass down the field.

The Cardinals play Philadelphia (5-1) and at Dallas (6-1) the next two weeks. After a game with the Rams (2-4), they play the hot Lions (5-2) and the NFL’s top defense, and then are at Seattle.

The Seahawks are even in the loss column with San Francisco (4-3), and Seattle could pull even after Sunday as the 49ers are on their bye.

The Seahawks have five division games remaining, including two each with Arizona and San Francisco.

I still say the teams with the best talent in the division are Seattle and San Francisco. And they will be the ones going for the division title through the final days of December.

“The margin of where we are versus what we could be is so slight that the hope is very strong,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday. “To see the big improvement on the offense this week was really encouraging and exciting. So we’re going to keep punching at it. And it’s a long season. It’s a lot of stuff that has to be determined, a lot of games in division.”

The last two times the Seahawks were 3-3 were in 2007 and ’04. They won seven of their final 10 games in ’07 to win the NFC West and then a first-round playoff game before losing in the divisional playoffs inside a Green Bay snow globe. Ten years ago they won six of their final 10 to win the division before they lost at home to the Rams in the first playoff round.

So while the offensive line remains porous, the defense is currently in flux trying to find ways to revive a flat-lining pass rush and at least four starters remain injured, there's still a long way to go before anyone can declare the champs are finished.
--TNT columnist John McGrath has a hidden scapegoat to the Seahawks' bungling that fake punt return for a touchdown by the Rams on Sunday.
To see that play unfolding from high atop the Edward Jones Dome, where the press box angle from catwalk level looks almost directly down over top of the playing field, was like watching those plastic players you could never completely control on that old-school electric football game wildly splay away all over the field -- anywhere but to where the foam ball had been kicked.
--Even The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are weighing in on the "laboring" Seahawks. But in doing so The Times adds this: Among the 23 teams since 1990 that won 12 games in a season and then began the next one with a 3-3 mark, 14 (61 percent) wound up returning to the postseason.
The rest of The Times' article is here.
The WSJ article examines the issue I wrote about here yesterday, and in yesterday's paper: the lack quality depth on the defensive line limiting the pass rush this season. The Journal writes:  "Last season, the Seahawks sacked the quarterback 12 times in the fourth quarter. This season, they are on pace to do it twice."
--The Seahawks are back on the practice field this morning and this afternoon following yesterday's players' day off. We have Panthers conference calls with coach Ron Rivera and (we think) quarterback Cam Newton just before noon, with Carroll's weekly Wednesday press conference and one for Richard Sherman after noon.