The Ringer NFL Show does a great job breaking down the entire league, which is why I was so surprised when Kevin Clark discussed how he expects Seattle to be in contention for the worst roster in the NFL this season if it wasn’t for Russell Wilson (this may have been on a Bill Simmons podcast, I don’t recall exactly). In previous years, I could just rationalize the national media’s claims as someone who doesn’t pay attention to teams on the west coast (which, by the way, have you ever been on the east coast and tried to watch primetime football? It’s impossible. Primetime games start at 8:30. I completely understand why there is an east coast bias). But The Ringer NFL Show was different. I respect all of the writers on there, leaving me flabbergasted by this take.
Anyways, let’s look at all of the notable departures from the Seahawks:
- Richard Sherman, CB (released)
- Kam Chancellor, SS (retired)
- Michael Bennett, DE (traded)
- Cliff Avril, DE (retired)
- Sheldon Richardson, DT (free agent)
- Jimmy Graham, TE (free agent)
- Luke Willson, TE (free agent)
- Paul Richardson, WR (free agent)
And let’s look at Seattle’s games from when they lost Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, Week 10 at Arizona and onward.
Do you remember that the Seahawks were already without Earl Thomas for the game in Arizona? Well, it’s true. They were without the entire LOB, Cliff Avril (as he went down in Week 4) and still won 22-16. Paul Richardson, Jimmy Graham, and Luke Willson combined for 7 catches and 70 yards.
I’m not going to comb through each game individually, but look at the games the Seahawks played last year (while still in contention) without Sherman, and Kam:
I see three road wins and a home victory against the Super Bowl Champions. While playing Jacksonville both Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright were injured, missing the majority of the game. Seattle still only lost by six on the road, nearly pulling out the win.
I understand 2018 is a completely different team than 2017, but I just fail to see anything that tells me this team will be worse than 8-8. In fact, I think they could be much better!
Other 2017 notes, from Week 10 on:
- Michael Bennett and Sheldon Richardson combined for 3 sacks
- Jimmy Graham averaged 3 catches per game
- Paul Richardson averaged under 2.5 catches per game
- Luke Willson had 4 games with 0 catches, 2 games with 1 catch, and 2 games with 2 catches, totaling 46 yards
It’s clear to me that Seattle has the talent to contend for a playoff spot even after losing all of those ‘big names’. In fact, they might be the ‘no one believes in us’ team that goes on to win 12 games. That feels far more likely than finishing under .500, unless you believe in Google, which has a much different take on the Seahawks this year: