When John Schneider dealt receiver Jermaine Kearse to the Jets in exchange for Pro Bowl defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, he solidified Seattle’s defense as the best in the NFL.
It was the third game of the preseason, but John Schneider’s enthusiasm made you think it was the Super Bowl. Doing his traditional pregame interview with Steve Raible, the Seahawks general manager let fans know that, despite his talented team, he was a long way from content.
Minutes before kickoff between Seattle and Kansas City, Schneider declared that the Seahawks’ front office would continue to be one of the most aggressive in the NFL — that they would make an already rich roster richer.
Great sound bite, but was it anything more than lip service?
When Schneider dealt receiver Jermaine Kearse to the Jets in exchange for Pro Bowl defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, he solidified Seattle’s defense as the best in the NFL. The Seahawks already had a top-flight front seven, but now it might be historic.
It’s not quite the Warriors adding Kevin Durant to a 73-win team, but if we’re talking specifically about NFL defensive lines, it’s close. Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark and Richardson? Kareem’s sky hook would be easier to block.
Granted, some people might ask “great, but can Richardson play left tackle, too?” The offensive line, after all, remains the Seahawks’ most glaring weakness, and is an area that might ultimately undo them in the playoffs.
But when the defense is that stacked? When a team that has led the NFL in scoring defense for four of the past five years got even better? The shortcomings on the O-line might be more forgivable.
A lot of people like to describe “Seahawks football” as 150-yard rushing attacks that wear opposing defenses down and turn them into mush. But in reality, Seahawks football — at least for the past five years — is keeping opposing offenses to single digits and driving them to madness.
As inconsistent as the Hawks’ scoring was last year, they still could have gone to the Super Bowl had Earl Thomas stayed healthy. And if the D stays relatively injury-free this year? It could be 2013 all over again.
Obviously there are still plenty of concerns offensively, as the running game remains tenuous. But you have to credit Schneider and Co., for making a good team even better.
Nabbing Tyler Lockett in the draft and getting Jimmy Graham via trade gave the Seahawks enough pass-catching threats to render Kearse expendable. Be honest — despite some of the most clutch receiving the Seahawks have ever seen — are you really going to miss him?
Jermaine managed a pedestrian 41 catches last year for 510 yards.
He was adored in the locker room and trusted by Russell Wilson, but the numbers say he was the embodiment of mediocre. To swing for a player of Richardson’s caliber was an executive master stroke.
It’s funny — Seattle sports fans had been waiting for a move like this over the summer. Except they weren’t waiting for the Seahawks to do it so much as the Mariners.
Unfortunately, the baseball team didn’t make the blockbuster move that would end its playoff drought. But the football team made one that might have it playing in February.
The Seahawks’ front office was in a bit of a dry spell before February.
After some of the greatest drafts in NFL history, it went a few years sans a real “wow” moment.
That changed Friday.
There’s no way to look at the Seahawks’ defense and not think it’s the best in the NFL. Short of the cornerback opposite Richard Sherman, there’s no weakness whatsoever.
The offense might still drive 12s crazy for much of the year, but the D will serve as the therapy they need.
No doubt Seahawks fans have gotten a little spoiled over the years. Understandable when, after decades of futility, you win a Super Bowl and fall a yard short of repeating.
But the fact they’ve won at least 10 games for the past five years is a testament to the front office as much as the talent and coaching.
Well, the front office delivered again. Expect the team to as well.