The Seattle Seahawks had a wild season full of overachieving players and incredible plays that culminated with their first road victory in the playoffs since 1983. Coach Pete Carrol had to make the tough decision of starting the undersized speedy rookie quarterback from Wisconsin Russel Wilson from day 1, and from now on, nobody will ever doubt his questionable decisions. Let’s check how Wilson did:
Wilson was outstanding. Wilson threw for a record tying 26 touchdowns and had only 10 interceptions on 3119 yards. His most dangerous trait is his ability on the run as well, where he got 489 yards on 5.2 yards per carry and 4 touchdowns. He was stellar all year, highlights that include a 3 rushing touchdown game vs the Bills, a 4 passing touchdown performance in a blowout against the NFC Champion 49ers, and 3 game winning plays against the Packers, Patriots and Bears, all with less than 1 minute on the clock or overtime, pretty good plays against some really good teams I might add. Wilson might not have had a better comeback moment than in the playoffs however. He brought the Seahawks from down 20-0 at halftime with 3 touchdowns and setting Lynch for another to ultimately take the lead at 28-27 with 31 seconds remaining. As we know, the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan miraculously used enough of that time to win the game 30-28 with a field goal.
So what could possibly help this team? This Seahawks team that was 31 seconds away from playing a team they had blown out 42-13, one week before to the playoffs, for a shot at the Super Bowl? What could Seattle be looking for in the Free Agency Market?
Well, the Seahawks added 2 incredible pass rushers and traded for a stellar wide receiver. Defensive Ends Cliff Avril from the Detriot Lions and Michael Bennett formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed with the Seahawks. Avril signed a two year deal while Bennett signed a one year contract, but if they produce, they will get the money they deserve at the end. The Seahawks knew they had to adress their need for more pass rushers and put them alongside Chris Clemons, their best Defensive end of the 2012 season.
What do they get in those 2 players?
Cliff Avril is a 26 year old, experienced pass rusher with 9.5 sacks last year and a combined 29.5 sacks the last 3 years. He is a tremendous pass rusher, sure to make things harder for most quarterbacks out there, but he comes with a little extra versatility. Avril played linebacker in college and has shown that he can drop back if needed and defend as a linebacker. Pete Carrol has to love the fact that he can play around even more with his defensive schemes, something he showed all year he was capable of making work. Avril best year came in 2011 where he got 11 sacks, with an interception and 6 forced fumbles.
On the other hand, Michael Bennett is a 27 year old, versatile defensive lineman that can play the position of pass rusher or run stopper as he proved in the 2012 season. He can play defensive tackle if need be as well. He had 9 sacks and forced 3 fumbles during the 2012 season. The Seahawks could use another deceiving player they can move around from the tackle position to rushing the passer from the outside.
Both these players complement the Seahawks very well, great addition to a team with Chris Clemons, 31 year old defensive end who got 11.5 sacks last season and has a combined 33.5 sacks the last 3 years. The biggest problem was the torn ACL he suffered on their playoff game, and though he says he will be back for the regular season, it is safe to know that both Avril and Bennett are healthy and durable, as theyve shown playing in all 16 games the past 2 years (14 for bennet in 11′)
The Seahawks however, added a even more versatile and dynamic player, one of the best in the game possibly. Wide Receiver and returner Percy Harvin was acquired via trade a few days before Free Agency started. Percy Harvin has had 5 kickoff return touchdowns since joining the league, the most by any player since 2009, and his dynamic play hasn’t stopped there. In only 9 games, with a terrible quarterback in Minnesota, Harvin managed to haul in 62 passes and get a total of 531 yards after the catch, good for 3rd in the league. With only 677 yards the whole year, it means that only 142 yards came in the air, everything else was all Percy Harvin. If that’s what he can do in 9 games, having him for a 16 game season must be scary.
The Seattle Seahawks just put themselves in the top of league. We know the Ravens wont be the same, the Patriots have some things to work out, the Texans, Falcons, Packers, have a few things to improve, but the Broncos and 49ers are still staying well rounded. The NFC West title is going to be one tough competition. Regardless, Pete Carrol must be giggling at home thinking about the endless possibilities and numerous different plays this team can run. Carrol is doing a fantastic job as a coach, Russel Wilson is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, Marshawn Lynch is always a threat on the ground, Percy Harvin is a dynamic play maker, and both Avril and Bennett join a defense that was ranked 4th in the league. As of now they are certainly my pick to go to the Superbowl, I just don’t know how this team misses at least a trip to the NFC Championship game if everyone of their players stays healthy like they can.
Well played Seattle, well played.