No Russell Wilson? No problem! That’s because there are no predictions here, either.
Yes indeed, the time has arrived for my eighth annual Seattle Seahawks non-predictions column!
Well, that initial statement isn’t exactly accurate. Russell Wilson will be present when the Seahawks open the season against the Denver Broncos at Lumen Field, he’ll just be on the other sideline. But getting that detail wrong is in character, because I’m the world’s worst sports prognosticator. For example, the Mariners can thank me for believing they needed one more year before they threatened to end their playoff drought. Therefore, instead of predicting what will happen with the Seahawks, I predict what won’t happen.
So here’s what won’t happen for the Seahawks in 2022:
— Speaking of Wilson, the way Seattle’s quarterback situation plays out over the course of the season won’t matter. Seattle’s preseason quarterback battle between Geno Smith and Drew Lock was the source of endless speculation, analysis and consternation, and Seattle initially going with the safe veteran option in Smith over the rough-around-the-edges young gunslinger Lock has generated more hot takes than an insufferable ESPN sports talk show. But as the old adage says, “If you have two quarterbacks, you have none.” Whether Smith holds the starting job or Lock eventually takes over, the Seahawks’ quarterback of the future isn’t on the roster, and the process of finding the next franchise quarterback won’t begin until the season is over.
— However, now that Wilson is gone, postgame press conferences won’t be as tedious. During Wilson’s tenure in Seattle there were two certainties about postgame press availability: 1) Wilson would take an interminably long time to get cleaned up before hitting the podium, and 2) Wilson would then conduct a lengthy press conference during which he answered most questions with a series of cliches, interspersing a list of teammates to praise at random moments. Beat writers should now be able to finish their stories and get out of Lumen Field in a more timely fashion.
— Abe Lucas’ consecutive start streak won’t end anytime soon. The Archbishop Murphy High School graduate, who was selected by Seattle in the third round of this year’s draft, compiled an impressive streak of 42 consecutive starts at right tackle during his four active years at Washington State University. This week he was listed by the Seahawks as the starting right tackle on their initial depth chart to confirm what was apparent in preseason: that Lucas beat out Jake Curhan for the starting job. This will begin a long and successful NFL career for the Everett native.
— The Seahawks won’t be acquiring Lester Hayes’ old jar of Stickum. But perhaps they should, given the number of drops Seattle’s receivers had during the preseason, as well as the number of missed tackles by Seahawk defenders.
— The switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense won’t be as big a deal as it may seem. Ever since Pete Carroll arrived in Seattle in 2010 the Seahawks ran a 4-3 base defense. However, the defensive inconsistencies of the past few seasons prompted a rethink, as defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was fired and replaced by Clint Hurdle, and a 3-4 scheme was installed. In theory, deploying three down linemen and four linbackers should make the defense more flexible, especially against the pass. But teams are using nickel and dime packages, when a team adds fifth and sixth defensive backs, with increasing frequency — according to Football Outsiders, teams spent 75% of their snaps in nickel and dime last season, though Seattle was on the low end at 62%. As a result the identity of the base scheme is spiraling into irrelevance.
— Pulling out the action green uniforms for Monday’s opener won’t rescue the season. Apparently the Seahawks are 4-1 when using the specific day-glo uniform combination they’re set to use against the Broncos, and maybe Wilson will get distracted and forget which color he’s supposed to be throwing to. But the only thing those blindingly-bright uniforms really accomplish is giving spectators a headache.
— The Seahawks won’t be getting back above .500 this year. Don’t be fooled, folks. No matter what Carroll and John Schneider say publicly, this is a rebuilding season in Seattle. The quarterback situation isn’t the only indicator. This regime has not been afraid to make a blockbuster offseason deal to bring in what it considered to be the missing piece (Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, Jadeveon Clowney, Jamal Adams, my goodness the list is endless). This year? The so-called missing pieces headed out the door instead, as Wilson was traded and defensive captain Bobby Wagner was released. Seattle also has traditionally been one of the most cap-strapped teams in the league, but currently the Seahawks are in the middle of the pack in terms of remaining salary cap space. Then there’s the willingness to start rookies at both tackle spots and the implementation of the new defensive scheme. Seattle doesn’t have the horses to contend for a Super Bowl this year, and the bigwigs know it.
There you go, everything that won’t happen for the Seahawks this season. Though given my track record, we can now expect Wilson to make a triumphant return and lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February.
Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.