Depends on your perspective. Is your glass half full, or half empty?
The Seahawks are 1-3 and staring at the prospect of a second consecutive season of irrelevance.
But quarterback Matt Hasselbeck appears ready to return, and the Seahawks have two home games that add up to one big chance to get back to .500.
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Is Seattle hopeless or can it be hopeful?
Well, that depends on your perspective. Are you the kind of person who puckers at the sight of a certain yellow citrus fruit or the type who imagines a tall glass of lemonade?
Are you a bear or a bull? Pessimist or optimist? There’s room for both assessments, and one quarter of the way through the season it makes for a heck of a debate.
The Seahawks could be an older team that’s bottoming out again. Or they could be a team poised to rebound as some of its best players return from injury.
So hopeless or hopeful? Let’s hash out both sides of that assessment.
The glass-is-half-empty fan might say: The Seahawks are 1-3 and just got their teeth kicked in on the East Coast, which has become an October tradition. The quarterback’s a question mark and every time the coach talks to reporters he starts with an injury report that could double as a med-school textbook.
Just look at what happened Wednesday. Coach Jim Mora said he was excited to have only five starters out. Unless I’m taking crazy pills, this sounds like the same song, second verse of what happened last year.
To which the glass-is-half-full fan might respond: Well, it’s exactly the same except for the fact that Seattle has exactly zero players on injured reserve. There were five on that list this time last year.
The Seahawks have suffered injuries, but they haven’t been of the season-ending variety. Last year Hasselbeck had a tricky back ailment. This year it’s a rib, which is painful but not particularly complex.
Half empty: But don’t go trying to tell me that tackle Walter Jones is going to get better. Remember when he underwent microfracture surgery last December? Remember all that hullabaloo about it being a non-weight-bearing surface of Jones’ knee? Well, it’s 10 months later and he still hasn’t played in a game, and he won’t practice for at least another two weeks.
And even if he does come back, what’s reasonable to expect? He’s not going to be the automatic stopper he was before.
So what if Hasselbeck comes back? He won’t stay back.
Half full: Jones is not going to be the best player in football like he was in 2005. But he’s going to be better than anything Seattle’s trotting out there now.
And say he is done for the year. Sean Locklear will be back by November and Brandon Frye is a young player who’s going to get better. Seattle is down its two best tackles right now and it is two missed field goals away from being 2-2.
Half empty: But Hasselbeck doesn’t play defense, does he? Neither does Jones. So how do you explain away Seattle giving up four touchdown drives of more than 75 yards in Indianapolis’ first five possessions last week?
Am I really supposed to believe the absence of linebacker Leroy Hill and cornerbacks Josh Wilson and Marcus Trufant explains why the defense functioned like a speed bump?
Half full: Seattle looked bad on the road facing one of the game’s most precise passers while playing without two of its three best cornerbacks. If the Seahawks had to play 12 more games against Peyton Manning, last week’s game could be an indication of serious problems. But because it was Manning, it also just might be an aberration, especially if you consider Seattle started its backup quarterback and had its two best first-half drives derailed by penalties.
Half empty: Boy, you’re so optimistic you probably expected someone to trade for Brandon Coutu before Seattle cut him.
Half full: Ummm, no. Optimistic is not a synonym for unrealistic.
Half empty: OK, talk your way out of this stone-cold fact: Seattle has never made the playoffs after starting 1-3. Never.
Half full: But they weren’t always playing in the NFC West, either. Seattle has previously had eight seasons in which it began the year 1-3. The Seahawks finished with a winning record in two of those eight seasons (1979 and 1990). They finished with seven or more wins in five of those eight years, so chances are the Seahawks aren’t going to be this bad all year.
Half empty: Well, Seattle started 1-3 last year, which was the perfect indicator for the season.
Half full: There you go, dwelling on the negative again.
Half empty: And there you go ignoring it. For now, we’ll agree to disagree. Check back in two months to find out who was right.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or seattletimes.com“>firstname.lastname@example.org