Perhaps this is a different conversation if Cam Newton scores from the 1-yard line or the Vikings get that late-game first down. Maybe a yard here or a penalty there changes this particular narrative.
But as the Seahawks sit at 7-3 with the NFL’s easiest remaining schedule, the following rings true: Seattle’s front office looks like as wise as it ever has.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider built himself a reputation over the past decade by making some of the most impactful draft choices in NFL history. He snagged Earl Thomas in the first round, Bobby Wagner in the second, Russell Wilson in the third, K.J. Wright in the fourth, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor in the fifth and Chris Carson in the seventh. In addition to acquiring Marshawn Lynch from Buffalo, those moves paved the way for a Super Bowl win and another appearance in the Big Game.
But what he and his team have done recently also deserves acclaim. Despite the departures of myriad Pro Bowlers and future Hall of Famers, the Seahawks just keep piling up victories.
Have there been some missteps? Sure. Seattle hasn’t had a standout first-round pick in years. But the constant retooling or reloading or whatever “re” you want to use has kept the Seahawks near the top of the league.
For starters, there was the drafting of receiver DK Metcalf two Aprils ago. In hindsight, the fact that 63 players went ahead of him looks like a collective failure by the rest of the league’s GMs, but there were concerns about Metcalf’s route-running ability. Nonetheless, Schneider banked on his potential.
Now, DK is sixth in the NFL in receiving yards per game (86.2) and tied for fourth among receivers in touchdowns (nine). It’s hard to think the Seahawks would be second in the NFL in scoring (31.8 points per game) without him.
More recently, there was the acquisition of defensive end Carlos Dunlap. It seems just about every year Schneider makes a midseason move that elevates the Seahawks. In 2017, it was trading for Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown. Last year it was getting safety Quandre Diggs. This year, it was picking up Dunlap from the Bengals.
Before Dunlap came, the Seahawks had nine sacks in seven games. Since he has arrived, they’ve had 13 in three. Is it all him? No — Dunlap has three and a half sacks over that span. But his presence has reinvigorated a pass rush that once went a whole game without a quarterback hit.
In between the aforementioned moves was the signing of running back Carlos Hyde in May. This may not have seemed like a particularly deft transaction at the time, but without Hyde in the lineup, the Seahawks probably would not have won their game last week against Arizona. His 79 yards on 14 carries gave the Seahawks the run/pass balance that has eluded them for most of the season — as first-string running back Chris Carson has been out because of a foot injury — and likely re-established the “Seahawks way” of establishing the run before getting pass-happy.
And, of course, there was the trade for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams. Yes, like nearly every other member of the Seahawks’ secondary, Adams has battled injuries throughout the season — but he has been impactful when healthy.
The former Jet leads the team with 5.5 sacks in just six games and has 10 quarterback hits. Did Seattle give up too much to get him (two first-round picks, a third-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald)? Some might argue yes given Adams’ injuries. Healthy, though, Adams is as good a safety as there is in football and will be paramount if the Seahawks are to make a deep playoff run.
All but two of Seattle’s victories this season have been decided by one score. And every player listed above has been influential in at least one of those close wins.
Add the fact that Schneider and Co. smartly locked up Wilson and Wagner to long-term contracts and parted ways with the now team-less Thomas, and a golf clap is in order.
It’s possible, if not probable, that the Seahawks are 11-3 four games from now. Three of their next four opponents (the Eagles, Giants and Washington) have lost at least twice as many games as they’ve won, and the Jets are winless. If that happens, they’ll be primed to win the NFC West title and secure a high playoff seed, and from there … who knows?
The bottom line is that the Seahawks are in position for success once again. Credit the players, but make sure to credit the people who got those players to Seattle.