Seattle Seahawks

OSN NFL Mock Draft

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OSN NFL Mock Draft

Welcome to NFL Draft Week! This is the week where dreams are made, hope is at an all-time high in the league, and there is always a surprise or two along the way.

This week the OSN staff got together to do a cumulative mock draft. Eight writers each took a specific division and drafted for the 4 teams in their respective divisions. Each writer brought a different angle and level of expertise to the table.

While there is no telling how the rollercoaster 3-day event will unfold in Philadelphia this weekend, check out how we see the 1st Round going on Thursday!

1 – Cleveland Browns – DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Doug Mackar – “The best player in the draft. Garrett is a potential All-Pro talent that will have an immediate impact. A move in the draft order may allow the Browns to snatch up a QB early in the first round, but #1 this year is all about the defense. A QB isn’t going to help the second worst defense in the league; an elite pass rusher with the ability to play DE, or LB if needed, will. Garrett has the quickness, skill and power to beat the best O-linemen off the snap. Any team would be happy to have this talent on board. The Browns should be absolutely ecstatic.”

2 – San Francisco 49ers – DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford

Jason Hartzog – “The 49ers need to add talent all across the board. I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade the number 2 pick – trading down a few spots while adding some picks. Their biggest need is at the QB position, but they will remain patient and wait for the right guy. The 49ers will highly consider corner Marshon Lattimore (injury history brings up a red flag) and Mitch Trubisky (not sold on as the future QB), but ultimately take the best talent that they can put on the field in Thomas. Thomas has a high motor. He’s very versatile, he can play inside or outside. He will help improve their front line wherever the 49ers decide to play him.”

3 – Chicago Bears – CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

Casey Mabbott – “Chicago needs a lot of help on both sides of the ball and could use the pick to add a playmaker to their #28 ranked scoring offense, but in order to keep pace with opponents in a pass heavy league, they need to keep adding on defense. This team gave up more points than 23 other teams in the league, that’s not going to get the job done as their offense goes through a massive transition. Lattimore is a pro-ready defender with great instincts who will add an immediate impact to a position of need, the Bears can’t ask for much more from a top-5 pick.”

4 – Jacksonville Jaguars – RB Leonard Fournette, LSU

Simon Teska – “The Jaguars have done a good job in recent years wasting top-10 picks on defensive lineman (that haven’t really panned out to be much) in an attempt to fix their perennial problems at DT and DE. Well enough of that crap. They haven’t had a legitimate RB since MJD took over for Fred Taylor. Fournette is the best back on the board and he geographically played close to the Jaguars fan base – although at SEC rival -Florida. Still though, Jaguars, don’t do anything stupid.”

5 – Tennessee Titans – S Malik Hooker, Ohio State

Simon Teska – “Ohio state players seem to be popular throughout all seven rounds of the draft every year and the Titans are throwing it back to 1996 when they took Eddie George out of OSU. This year, they look to add excitement on the defensive side of the ball.”

6 – New York Jets – QB DeShaun Watson, Clemson

Miriam Ludlow – “Established leadership and wins under his belt. Excellent pocket passer. He has championship experience. Meaning he can handle the pressures of the game. This is THE match as the NYJ are lacking QB talent.”

7 – Los Angeles Chargers – S Jamal Adams, LSU

Julian Rogers – “The Chargers have seen the past few seasons go up in smoke due to offensive line woes. Pro Football Focus ranked the Chargers’ line ahead of only the Seattle Seahawks’. They would love to go offensive line here, but the value just isn’t there. Instead, they’ll take the best player still available in Adams and add another piece to an impressive, young & ascending defense.”

8 – Carolina Panthers – RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

Darby Marioth – “With Leonard Fournette off the board, the Carolina Panthers settle, which I say with a grain of salt, for Stanford offensive Swiss army knife, Christian McCaffrey. While he may not be the speedy bulldozer that Fournette is, McCaffrey has a lot to show in terms of athletic ability, including a 4.48 40-yard dash and a 37.5 inch vertical leap. Where McCaffrey has Fournette unarguably beat is with his overall instincts. His ability to consistently find the correct lane is a prime example of this. A big reason why McCaffrey will fit in great with Carolina’s system is that he’s a sneaky-footed RB with a pass-catching ability that surpasses a great deal of wide receivers in the NFL. With the Panthers’ receiving corps in shambles and starting RB Jonathan Stewart only getting older at age 30, they’ll take out two birds with one stone by selecting McCaffrey.”

9 – Cincinnati Bengals – DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Doug Mackar – “Strengthening the D-line could take this team from average to fighting for a playoff spot. At 6’3”, he’ll need to take full advantage of his strength and quickness to compete with pro-level offensive lines. Solid against the run and an absolute nuisance to opposing quarterbacks, his speed will allow him to make plays outside the pocket that larger linemen may miss. Allen is a leader, a winner, and most importantly: a proven talent under pressure.”

10 – Buffalo Bills – S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

Miriam Ludlow – “A multifaceted player, the man can play all positions, offense, defense and special teams. The man can do it all! For a team that needs help in all positions he is the perfect match!”

11 – New Orleans Saints – DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Darby Marioth – “Wait, Derek Barnett is still available? It’s a match made in heaven. The New Orleans Saints are in dire need of a dependable edge rusher, and have been for many years. Barnett is specifically known for his freakish ability to stop the run and put terror into the lives of quarterbacks despite his not-so-freakish physical marks at 6’3”, 259 pounds. Not only will Barnett provide an instant three-down talent in the league, I fully expect him to end the season with more recorded sacks than first-overall draft pick, Myles Garrett.”

12 – Cleveland Browns – TE O.J. Howard, Alabama

Doug Mackar – “Howard will fit in with a team that despite a 1-15 record (that actually hurts to write) actually showed some signs of life throughout the season. Another elite TE will help the QB-starved Browns find some yards with more consistency both in the air and on the ground.”

13 – Arizona Cardinals – WR Mike Williams, Clemson

Jason Hartzog – “Williams is a top tier talent. He makes big plays down the field and can make plays between the hash marks. He’s a potential number 1 receiver. He passes the eye test with his athleticism, size and speed. He can come in next to Larry Fitzgerald and maintain their high powered offense. Eventually Williams will replace an aging Fitzgerald as their number 1. Cardinals are thrilled to see him drop to 13 here.”

14 – Philadelphia Eagles – WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan

Garrett Thornton – “The Eagles would absolutely love Christian McCaffrey here. Instead they go with another offensive playmaker. A lot of folks think that with the acquisitions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith that the Eagles won’t take a receiver here. False. Jeffery and Smith are on one year deals and Davis is a game changer. This guy can, and will, be a true number one receiver in the NFL.”

15 – Indianapolis Colts – OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

Simon Teska – “It isn’t a flashy pick by any means, but somewhere on draft day Andrew Luck is breathing a sigh of relief. Christian McCaffrey has been off the board for a while, so they can find Frank Gore’s replacement later (sorry Dalvin Cook). O-line isn’t deep this year, but the Colts think they’ve got the best available and Ramczyk will either start right away or will certainly add depth to a group that needs it.”

16 – Baltimore Ravens – OT Cam Robinson, Alabama

Doug Mackar – “Alabama is taking the AFC North by storm in my draft. Simple fact is that Baltimore gets significantly better by adding Robinson to their line. By playing to his strengths and steadily improving on his weaknesses, the Ravens will have one less thing to worry about on their journey to top the Steelers in the North.”

17 – Washington Redskins – LB Haason Reddick, Temple

Garrett Thornton – “Haason Reddick is one of the most versatile prospects in this draft, and the Redskins would be shocked and excited if he were available at #17. Reddick could be a rush end, a stand up linebacker, or a hybrid pass rusher that can disrupt every play. The Redskins need playmakers in the front seven and Reddick would make an impact Week One.”

18 – Tennessee Titans – TE David Njoku, Miami

Simon Teska – “Now, it’s time for Marcus Mariota to add a weapon in the Titan offense. A WR, like Washington’s speedster John Ross is also here, but the versatility of Njoku at the tight end position gives Mariota a reliable, safety valve to help on those third downs while providing a deep threat in the middle of the field as well. He’s athletic, he’s fast and he can make an immediate impact in the Tennessee offense.”

19 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State

Darby Marioth – “Dalvin Cook is one of the most interesting prospects in this draft. He’s bounced around various mock drafts, seen anywhere between the Philadelphia Eagles at 14 and the late second round. His major red flags haven’t been a result of his play, but rather his somewhat troubled past. In the words of Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, “Mistakes make you grow.” Cook is a classic “made it” story. Tampa Bay will be ecstatic to have Cook drop to them at the 19 spot. Tampa Bay’s old school offensive system, which relies on a feature back, is in need of a makeover with the underperforming, often injured Doug Martin running the show. Former Florida State standout and starting quarterback Jameis Winston will be a fantastic positive influence for Cook.”

20 – Denver Broncos – OT Garett Bolles, Utah

Julian Rogers – “A true need pick. The 2016 Broncos’ offensive line performance had as much to do with the team’s fall from Super Bowl Champion to also-ran just as much as poor quarterback play. The Broncos shored up one offensive tackle spot by bringing in oft-injured Menelik Watson from the Oakland Raiders. But the right tackle spot still needs major help with Pro Football Focus’ worst-ranked offensive lineman of all last year, Donald Stephenson. With Watson’s side not yet determined, according to general manager John Elway, Bolles will compete for a starting spot at either right or left tackle.”

21 – Detroit Lions – LB Reuben Foster, Alabama

Casey Mabbott – “The Lions could use quite a bit of help on defense and pass rushers or cover corners are legitimate needs, but what they lack most is a leader in the middle. Reuben Foster was outstanding in his senior year at Alabama, earning All-American and Butkus Award honors as college football’s best linebacker. Foster has had some off the field concerns, most recently being dismissed from the combine and failing a drug test. If he stays out of trouble, he has the potential to be a Patrick Willis type of player and could be the leader on the field for Detroit from day one. Taking Foster this early could be risky, but getting a legitimate top-10 talent this late in the round is an opportunity the Lions need to take a chance on.

22 – Miami Dolphins – DE Taco Charlton, Michigan

Miriam Ludlow -Solid DE. Quick off the line.  6’6, 277 pounds of athletic ability and with the experience he has, having lead Michigan with 9.5 sacks among 13 tackles for loss, Taco could help the Miami Dolphins get to the next level.

23 – New York Giants – QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina

Garrett Thornton – “This is a case of best player available. Eli Manning is 36 years old and isn’t going to be around forever. Trubisky can sit behind Manning for the next couple years in a Brett Favre-Aaron Rodgers type situation. This would be a phenomenal landing spot for Trubisky! The Giants really need an offensive tackle, but the top 3 are off the board so they go with a quarterback and future leader of the franchise.”

24 – Oakland Raiders – CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State

Julian Rogers – “If the draft really falls this way, the Raiders would be thrilled to nab Conley in this spot. Considered by some to be the equal of Ohio State Buckeye teammate Marshon Lattimore, Conley is the type of cornerback the Raiders like most: fast, tall, experienced (three-year starter), versatile and adept at press-man coverage. Instant starter.”

25 – Houston Texans – QB Pat Mahomes III, Texas Tech

Simon Teska – “With Trubisky off the board to the Giants, the Texans have to “settle” for in-state option Pat Mahomes. It really isn’t settling, however, as Mahomes brings in play-making ability to the QB position. Whether he starts right away is yet to be determined, but the sooner the Texans move on from the Brock Osweiler debacle the better. Mahomes is smart and shows poise, but is a little undersized at 6’2″.”

26 – Seattle Seahawks – OL Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

Jason Hartzog – “The Seahawks need to bolster up an offensive line that gave up 42 sacks last season (6th most in NFL). Lamp should be a great addition. There has been trade talk of Richard Sherman this offseason. It’s hard to imagine the Seahawks with Sherman, but if that becomes more of a reality on draft day they may look a little hard into a corner. Washington’s Kevin King or Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey would be nice options at this point.”

27 – Kansas City Chiefs – DE Charles Harris, Missouri

Julian Rogers – “Harris is a bit of a conundrum in that he is lauded as an effective speed rusher, yet doesn’t sport a sexy 40 time (4.82). He will need to work on his run defense, but the in-state selection will be a nice addition to the Chiefs’ defense. They also could go cornerback or running back, but the draft is deep at those positions. The Chiefs will wait for later rounds to fill those needs.”

28 – Dallas Cowboys – DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

Garrett Thornton – “The Cowboys need secondary and pass rush help more than anything else in this draft. With cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Kevin King still on the board, I was tempted to go that way. In the end, I think cornerback is a deeper position and the Cowboys could get a quality starter in Round 2. Takk had an impressive combine, running a 4.59 40-yard dash. In comparison, that was faster than top wide receiver prospect Mike Williams, and faster than any top QB prospect in the draft. McKinley may not be ready Week One after a shoulder surgery post-combine, but will be a disruptive pass rusher as a rookie.”

29 – Green Bay Packers – CB Kevin King, Washington

Casey Mabbott – “Green Bay can score points as well as any team in the league, where they fall short is slowing down opposing offenses, and that’s putting it nicely. Last year’s starting corners did little to contain opposing receivers, routinely allowing career high numbers whether they faced all-pros or guys you’ve never heard of. A veteran corner would have been nice, but GM Ted Thompson did nothing to improve his #31 pass defense after releasing Sam Shields (who was not able to pass concussion protocol after suffering his 4th concussion in 7 seasons during a week one contest at Jacksonville), so the team will once again look to the draft for help. The Packers will have to hope that Kevin King will be something like UW alum Marcus Peters, and use his speed and length to provide an immediate impact to a secondary in desperate need of help.”

30 – Pittsburgh Steelers – S Josh Jones, North Carolina State

Doug Mackar – “The Steelers are a Super Bowl contender as long as they stay healthy. A dangerous team on both sides of the ball, taking their average pass defense up a notch is a priority this year. If Jones is coached well and quickly develops the discipline of a pro, he can step in and be a difference maker from game one.”

31 – Atlanta Falcons – DE Jordan Willis, Kansas State

Darby Marioth – “If the Atlanta Falcons can display their patience, you’ll see them select Jordan Willis at the 31 spot. Willis is an explosive, speedy defensive end who will make a living as a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. His physical numbers are best compared to DeMarcus Ware. His potential skill set is best compared to, well, DeMarcus Ware. If the Dirty Birds can provide Willis with some coaching on his hand usage and technique, they very well could have the NFL’s next great edge rusher on their team.”

32 – New Orleans Saints – DE T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

Darby Marioth – “There are a lot of great defensive ends in this year’s draft, and it’s only right that the first round of the draft ends the way it started; with the selection of a DE. T.J. Watt, brother of J.J. Watt, is ready to make a name for himself behind some pretty promising numbers. The 6’4”, 252 pound defensive menace could be an instant impact player in NO, who ranked 27th in the league in sacks last season. After selecting Derek Barnett earlier in the first round, you’d expect NO to look elsewhere. While the Saints could take a cornerback here, maybe LSU’s Tre’Davious White, I think that finding a definite answer for their horrendous pass rushing is a top priority. if this project pans out, the Saints could instantly become one of the NFL’s top edge pressure defenses.”

Top Ten Players Still Available After Day One (According to CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler):

1 – DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State (#20 Overall on Brugler’s Top-100)

2 – WR John Ross, Washington (#21)

3 – LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt (#24)

4 – RB Curtis Samuel, Ohio State (#25)

5 – LB Jarrad Davis, Florida (#26)

6 – CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama (#27)

7 – TE/WR Evan Engram, Ole Miss (#28)

8 – QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame (#29)

9 – CB Tre’Davious White, LSU (#32)

10 – S Budda Baker, Washington (#33)

Who Should The Seattle Seahawks Draft This Year?

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Who Should The Seattle Seahawks Draft This Year?

BY TIM KEARNY

The Super Bowl is over and now the entire NFL is in offseason-mode. One of the next big events I look forward to is the 2018 NFL Draft in April. It is one of the most exciting parts of the offseason because it is so full of uncertainty. Every college player who has declared for the draft could be the next big thing, regardless of how they did in college and the scouting reports on them.

Every year I see late round draft picks turn into some of the most dynamic players in the NFL. Just this year the leader in passing yards was Tom Brady, a sixth-round pick; the leader in rushing yards was Kareem Hunt, a third-round pick; Antonio Brown led the league in receiving as a sixth-round pick; and Kevin Byard led the league in interceptions, he was picked in the third-round.

Seattle has been good at finding playmakers later in the draft, so it would be no surprise to see them find another gem in the later rounds. They have a habit of trading their first picks for more later in the draft and rely on their scouts to find Kam Chancellor and Ricard Sherman type players.

Here are three positions of need the Seahawks have and some prospects I would like to see them draft. I am looking at running back, wide receiver and edge rusher for these picks because it would take too long to go through everybody. They are picked because of how I feel they would fit with the Seahawks and they are in the range of the Seahawks’ selections.

 

Running Back

Sony Michel- Georgia

Michel largely played second fiddle to Nick Chubb in the University of Georgia backfield the past four seasons, but he has piled up very impressive numbers. We all saw how much more effective Michel was than Chubb in the championship game. He more than tripled Chubb’s yardage with four less touches.

He led the SEC in yards per carry this year at almost eight yards per tote. His explosion is extraordinary and the Seahawks could really use an influx of his playmaking ability.

Michel was used mainly as the speed to Chubb’s power but when given the opportunity he does not shy away from contact. Michel is a great athlete that can create his own space and does not only take what the defense gives him. He was not used much as a receiver this year, but over his career he proved he has natural hands and decent route running ability.

Seattle has been looking for a running back ever since Thomas Rawls regressed, and Michel could be a great addition to the backfield. He has had some problems fumbling in the past, but with some emphasis on ball handling I think he would clean that up.

 

Rashaad Penny- San Diego State

Penny has been one of my favorite players to watch for the past two years because he destroys opponents. He has video game numbers in some of his games that are astounding. On average over the past two years he gets seven and a half yards on every run play.

Penny returned kicks very efficiently during his career as well. In the past three years he has averaged over 30 yards per kick return and has seven kick return touchdowns. Penny has also returned two punts in his career and he scored a touchdown on one of them, proving he can score whenever he has the ball.

Penny posted six 200-yard rushing days in 2017, and five of them were in a row to end the season. He ended up doing so well he was 5th in the Heisman voting in 2017. This man can run the football. He could be a great playmaker to take the pressure off Russell Wilson, and possibly jump start the running game.

 

Wide Receiver

Dante Pettis- Washington

Dante Pettis holds the NCAA record for most punt return touchdowns in a career with nine. He is a smooth athlete whose best attributes are his field vision and route running ability. The Seahawks normally use smaller, faster wide receivers and Pettis does not fit that mold, but he would be a great addition to the receiving core. He is not a burner in terms of speed, so it makes it much more impressive he has returned so many punts for scores.

He has a great feel for the field and can make defenders miss in the open field. He just needs the ball with a little bit of space and he can score.

Pettis doesn’t just return punts, he is also a very accomplished and smooth receiver. In 2016 he had 15 receiving touchdowns with only 53 catches. That efficiency is ridiculous! He could provide a good infusion of playmaking ability to the Seahawks offense.

 

Michael Gallup- Colorado State

Gallup transferred from junior college, so he only has two seasons of major college football under his belt. He was a model of consistency during his time in Colorado, breaking the thousand-yard receiving mark both years. Gallup posted 21 touchdown catches and almost 200 catches in those two years too.

Gallup is a good athlete with reliable hands, he can beat the press well when jammed at the line and has very good acceleration. He has shown an ability to break tackles after the catch and has a good feel for breaking big plays.

He was only held to less than five catches in one game this year. He makes plays on a game to game basis, something the Seahawks need from more their wide receivers than just Doug Baldwin.

 

Edge Rusher

Lorenzo Carter- Georgia

Carter is more of a projection than any of the other players I have talked about so far. He is a great athlete, with a long frame and can flash big play ability. He came into college as a five-star recruit but did not progress the way many people thought he would. I like to think that means he has untapped potential as an edge rusher.

He is not great in coverage, but I think he could start out as a third down rusher and strong side linebacker on running downs.

Carter is 6’6” and 245 pounds, but his frame shows he could add more weight and really benefit from the added power. One of the strengths of his game is setting the edge on running plays. Carter shows a tenacity to not let offensive linemen get outside of him.

It is hard to see Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril back next year, so pass rush and defensive line will be a priority for the Seahawks again. And with Carter’s versatility playing linebacker and his athleticism I could see him being someone Seattle would like.

 

Chad Thomas- Miami

Thomas has very good athletic ability especially for someone who is 6’6” and almost 280 pounds. He is a better run defender than pass rusher at this point of his career, but his size and speed shows he has the tools to be a terror on the edge. He needs to learn how to use his hands better when sparring with offensive linemen.

Most of his tackles are tackles for loss, which makes me believe he takes plays off when he thinks he won’t make the play. Thomas does use leverage very well, he is tall but is often underneath his blocker’s pads making himself harder to push around.

If Michael Bennett is still on the team next year, he would be the perfect teacher for Thomas. They are about the same size and have similar athletic traits, this could be a best-case scenario for Thomas to learn from one of the best.

So, if the Seahawks are reading this you don’t have to scout these guys. Give me a call on draft day for more information on them if you need it. I’ve got you covered.

And I will be a happy camper if any of them are taken by Seattle.

Russell Wilson traded.....to the Yankees

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USATI

Russell Wilson traded.....to the Yankees

It's not the trade anyone in the Northwest was pondering, given the impending NBA trade deadline but today Russell Wilson got traded.

To the Yankees. 

No, not a typo. The Texas Rangers traded Russell Wilson to the New York Yankees for future considerations, according to Jerry Crasnick.

Wilson released the following statement about the situation today:

I want to personally thank the Texas Rangers and John Daniels for drafting me and giving me the chance to experience professional baseball again. Growing up taking grounders, hitting BP, and throwing deep post routes in football early in the mornings at 6 am with my dad and brother is where my love of sports came from and those memories stick with me every morning I wake up. During my two springs with the Rangers, I was reminded just how much I love the game.

While football is my passion and my livelihood, baseball remains a huge part of where I came from and who I am today. I’ve learned so much on the baseball field that translates to my game physically and mentally playing Quarterback in the NFL. I thank the Rangers and their great fans for making me feel at home and a part of the family! While I embrace the chance to be a New York Yankee, I will forever be grateful to be a part of a world class organization like the Texas Rangers.

What's different about the Seahawks '18 off-season?

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What's different about the Seahawks '18 off-season?

BY 

You can feel it, right? Is it the end of an era? The answer is “yes.” And “no.” There are still some foundational elements still in place on the Seattle Seahawks’ 2018 offseason roster: Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Doug Baldwin…. The rest? Well, change is coming. Good and maybe not-so-good.

Let’s stipulate right now that the usual, top-down changes from management will take place: Rosters will turn over through executive feats of executiveness. Rosters will further churn due to player decisions to move on or possibly retire (forced or unforced). Others are just going to wash out of the league.

Not being defensive

And then there’s the 2018 Seahawks.

From the above categories, the Seahawks will almost certainly say goodbye to cornerback Richard Shermansafety Kam Chancellor, defensive end Cliff Avril and, according to Michael Bennett, defensive end Michael Bennett. Subtract four top-level starters from the Seahawks (or anyone’s defense in the NFL) and you have a serious makeover underway.

Add in a possible fifth defection in safety Earl Thomas, who openly petitioned the Dallas Cowboys to “come get me” if they can, and you have full on tumult. Thomas has one year remaining on his five-year, $44.725M deal at $8.5M. In the NFL, this means “time to negotiate a long-term deal or time to deal the player,” particularly if said player is agitating to join another team and/or threatening (or is it “musing” about) retirement. Bet on the latter circumstance.

It’s offseason makeover time in Seattle. And that’s just the defense. It’s also just the known departees. There will be more.

And before we flip over to the offense, do you think the Seahawks might be in the market for a new kicker, as well? I’ll step out on that shaky limb and say, “Yup.” I hate to kick a man when he’s down, so in an act of benevolence I’ll hire Blair Walsh to kick himself.

No offense, but …

On the offensive side of the ball, you can count on one hand the sure-fire keepers: Wilson, Baldwin, uh …, hmmm. Tyler Lockett (one year left on his rookie deal)? Paul Richardson finally emerged … just in time to be a free agent. Ditto for much-hyped tight end Jimmy Graham, who put up his best season as a Seahawk just in time to get paid on the free agent market. Speculation is rampant that he will be elsewhere next season, as the Seahawks deal with the inevitable, but unenviable position of grappling with a highly-paid (at the top) roster of aging / oft-injured veterans who may be exiting and thus accelerating dead money onto the salary cap.

On the offensive line, most of the remaining starters look OK right now simply because they don’t have a game to play on Sunday and thus cannot put Russell Wilson in clear and present danger. There are some draft pedigrees to admire among this group. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that. (This is how I imagine John Schneider and Pete Carroll pump themselves up in the mirror before heading off to their roster meetings.)

And then they remember 2017.

Justin Britt looks good primarily because he’s not any of Rees Odhiambo, Ethan Pocic, Luke Joeckel, Germain Ifedi or Oday Aboushi. Duane Brown was a mid-season improvement over his predecessors, but is rapidly aging out (32) of the left tackle position. There are few, if any, sure-fire answers on the offensive line for 2018 and beyond. Put the over/under at three new offensive starters on opening day. I’ll take the over.

The running backs group are henceforth known as the Itty Bitty Impact Committee. Not only is it painful to be a Seahawks running back, it’s painful to watch the Seahawks running backs continuously get dinged up by opponents greeting them in the backfield, play after play. None of the current crop of Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, Thomas Rawls, Chris Carson and Tre Madden could stay healthy or effective. Supposed saviors Lacy and Rawls were often healthy scratches on 2017 game days.

The season concluded with the stalwart Mike Davis (brought up from the practice squad mid-season) and the occasionally electrifying J.D. McKissic manning the position in a supporting role to the Seahawks’ true leading rusher: Russell Wilson.

The Seahawks may have something in McKissic. However, it would be cruel to try to make the former receiver an every-down rushing threat at 5’ 10” and 195 lbs. Davis proved capable at times and can get some hard yards. Lord knows the yards are often hard in the Seahawks’ backfield. But he proved to be not immune to getting dinged as any human would in that environment.

There is no Superman in the running backs room, nor in the offensive line rooms in Seattle (OK — Renton). Much work remains to be done this offseason. A running back will surely be drafted high in April. Peace be upon him.

Who?

But who’s going to do all the reshuffling in Seattle? For the first time, rumors abound that 66-year-old head coach Pete Carroll might be ready to hang up his clipboard. Given the major sea change underway on both sides of the ball … could you blame him? But he says he isn’t going anywhere. Take that for what you may. He may be sincere or not, but he does have to say it regardless of whether he means it or not.

But wait, there’s more. Even general manager John Schneider is no lock to return — thanks, in part, to the current vacancy for the much-coveted general manager position in Green Bay, Schneider’s home state. Schneider used to have an out clause in his contract that allowed him to move back to Green Bay should the GM position become open. He gave that clause away in his most recent contract, but let’s face it: This is his one and only shot to get his dream job.

Think discussions aren’t being held on this topic? It’s the offseason in Seattle. Everyone’s being discussed.

Apart from Wilson, Wagner, Baldwin and a handful of others, who might we still recognize wearing college navy, action green and wolf grey on the Seahawks sideline in week one of 2018? This one offseason is not like the others.

The hope is in the hunt: Seahawks' playoff picture

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The hope is in the hunt: Seahawks' playoff picture

The Seattle Seahawks (9-6) remain in the playoff hunt. On this holiday weekend, the Seahawks traveled south to face the Dallas Cowboys and the return of rookie running back sensation Ezekiel Elliott. What was gearing up to be a ground game disaster for the Seahawks defense, Elliott was held to under 100 yards rushing. While the Seahawks offense continued to struggle, the defense stepped up giving up no touchdowns, four field goals, and snatching a pick-six.

Richard Sherman, the Seahawks' star corner who is out for the year due to an achilles injury suffered back in November, called out all the fans who didn't believe the team would get this far. 

While some would call this season "disappointing" after not claiming a division title and a 9-6 record, the Seahawks are taking a hit without Sherman and star safety Kam Chancellor in the secondary. But depsite the injuries, the records, the bad losses, and no title, their playoff hopes remain alive.

Seattle can clinch a wild-card berth this upcoming weekend with a victory over the Arizona Cardinals (7-8) and an Atlanta Falcons (9-6) loss to the Carolina Panthers (11-4).

2017 Seattle Seahawks Are A Team In Transition

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2017 Seattle Seahawks Are A Team In Transition

BY JULIAN ROGERS

The LOB may very well be DOA — but they’re not the only ones

Maybe we saw the end. Maybe that was it. There sure wasn’t much fight in the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday with the NFC West on the line (until after the game, that is). Don Meredith, remind us again how that goes?

“They say all good things must end …”

Turn out the lights, the party’s over

The Seahawks’ Legion of Boom is certainly an era of the past. Richard Sherman is done for the year and almost certainly won’t return due to age, injury & cost. Ditto for safety Kam Chancellor. Figure one more year for safety Earl Thomas (one year remaining on his five-year, $44.725M deal at $8.5M), and Thomas will likely move on to another team if he doesn’t retire. Thomas is not immune to the injury bug that has plagued his mates in the defensive backfield.

Other likely departures: Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett … does that sound like enough defensive turnover?  But fear not, this is not another post mortem on the Seahawks’ golden era. In fact, this is about the good company the blue birds are now in when it comes to trying to regain their playoff luster. Because misery (or mediocrity) enjoys company.

Arizona Cardinals

Sometimes it only takes one injury to derail a season. The Arizona Cardinals aren’t in that category, however, although they did lose their top offensive threat in do-everything running back David Johnson to a week one injury. Of the seven running backs the Cardinals have had to employ this season running the ball, none could muster as much as four yards per carry, except for Elijhaa Penny, who squeaked out 4.1 YPC on 15 carries. No depth beyond Johnson, in other words.

In reality, their problems were more manifest than just one dislocated wrist. The aging Carson Palmer hit the wall early in 2017, playing sub-.500 ball (3–4) and tossing seven interceptions against nine touchdowns. His replacements, Blaine Gabbert (2–3) and Drew Stanton (1–1) similarly underwhelmed. All-world Larry Fitzgerald is nearing the end, but his pedestrian 2017 numbers can surely be blamed on the quarterback play. The question remains: What would he want to stick around for? The Cardinals are rebuilding a mediocre offense. The defense is clearly ahead of the Seahawks’ at this stage, but are allowing 24.1 points per game in 2017 — an average the rebuilt offense of the 2018 Cards will be hard-pressed to beat.

Green Bay Packers

Sometimes it only takes one injury to derail a season. With Green Bay, it was over when Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr took Aaron Rodgers to the ground on Oct. 15, breaking his collarbone. The Packers are officially eliminated from the playoffs as of week 15 and have subsequently sent Rodgers back to injured reserve to give him more time to recover.

It did not help the Packers that they also had to place three of their top four tackles on injured reserve (one returned late in the year) and suffered a host of other injuries that decimated their cornerbacks and outside rusher positions. What the run of injuries revealed, of course, is that the Packers’ defense is far from being a contender without serious upgrades in 2018 (23.8 ppg allowed). Given the history of Packers General Manager Ted Thompson, those additions will come via the draft, as opposed to free agency, so the Packers are looking at another youthful rebuild that may take more time away from Rodgers’ remaining peak years. The Vikings and Detroit Lions have more reason for optimism in 2018 and going forward in the NFC North.

New York Giants

Sometimes, all it takes is one train wreck to derail a season. In the case of the 2017 Giants, they ran off the rails early and often, costing second-year head coach Ben MacAdoo his job. Their 10-loss (and counting) season came after a season that saw the Giants capture an NFC Wild Card berth in MacAdoo’s first year at the helm with an 11–5 record.

Eli Manning was benched, then reinstated. His future with the franchise is in doubt going forward, as are the fortunes of one of the league’s richest and most venerated franchises. Injuries wiped out the Giants’ wide receiver corps early in the season and they could never recover. It’s difficult to know what they have beyond Odell Beckham, Jr. at this stage.

The Giants’ defense is ranked 32nd in the NFL. The offense is ranked 24th. It’s not good and unlikely to suddenly get good by next season, no matter who is holding the coach’s clipboard.

Denver Broncos

Winners of the AFC West in 2015 with a 12–4 record and just missing out on the playoffs last year with a 9–7 record, the needle is pointing decidedly down for the current and future Broncos. The quarterback situation was a somewhat predictable mish-mash that has entertained (using that term very loosely) three different starters in Trevor Siemian (5–5), Brock Osweiler (0–3) and Paxton Lynch (0–1) in an ongoing output of sub-mediocre quarterback play. Only Osweiler has managed to amass more touchdowns than interceptions (5–4).

The bigger surprise is the fall-off of the formerly fierce defense. The Broncos fell well short of expectations on this side of the ball in 2017, having been the NFL’s second stingiest defense a year before (second only to the Seahawks of yesteryear). The 2016 Broncos allowed a stellar 18.6 points per game. This year’s unit is allowing 23.4 points per game (ranked 20th).

With no quarterback solution, a defense that hemorrhages points, a 14th-ranked rushing offense (that needs young backups) and a 21st-ranked passing offense, a return to the playoffs next year looks unlikely. It looks like mediocrity for the foreseeable future for second-year head coach Vance Joseph.

Cincinnati Bengals

New regime, incoming. The formerly routine playoff entrants fell back to also-ran-land in 2017 and 2016. One of the longest tenured head coaches, Marvin Lewis, decided / was nudged into making a career change and the hunt for a new head coach has commenced.

The quarterback situation is either totally in hand or totally in flux, depending on whom you believe. The reliable-ish, if unsexy, Andy Dalton is signed through 2020, but the still developing and intriguing A.J. McCarron has a year left on his deal. The new regime needs to decide on who their guy is going to be and then live with it, because the loser of this derby will be elsewhere.

Can either be a savior? The winner will need to be. Dalton was one of the top field generals when he had a credible complement to A.J. Green. The past two seasons, which saw the departures of Mohamed Sanu (Atlanta Falcons) and Marvin Jones (Lions), have left defenses able to focus on Green. Not good for Dalton, whose QB rating went from a high of 106.2 in 2015 to a more pedestrian, (slightly below his career average) 87.0 in 2017. Has the 30-year-old peaked? Will a new regime help, hurt or send him on his way?

The defense is mediocre (21.8 points per game allowed) in 2017. But they do get to play the Cleveland Browns and the faltering Baltimore Ravens four times a year. They’ve allowed 90 points in their past three games, so they may be tailing off. Whoever is leading the Bengals in 2018 will want to focus on the 32nd-ranked rushing offense first.

Join the crowd

So the Seahawks are looking at an offseason of change. As this season winds down in almost certainly a playoff-less year, the issues piling up for the blue birds include rebuilding the once-vaunted defense, still hunting for a credible running game (blockers and backs, please apply here), and probably investing in a new kicker.

The Seahawks do have the all-world Russell Wilson on offense and a dominant Bobby Wagner as centerpieces. Jimmy Graham had his best season as a Seahawk — by far — just in time to be a free agent next year. He’s going to get paid. Will it be in Seattle? No. 1 receiver Doug Baldwin is signed through 2020.

Things could be worse. You could be the teams noted above, or the no-hopers, like the Browns, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Indianapolis Colts. The Seahawks aren’t those teams. But what they are is a team in transition.

Will The Seattle Seahawks Pass The Torch On Sunday?

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Will The Seattle Seahawks Pass The Torch On Sunday?

BY: JULIAN ROGERS

This is the game. There is no larger match up looming on the 8–5 Seattle Seahawks’ season. Sunday, Dec. 17 at 1:05 p.m. (CenturyLink Field), the Seahawks will host the 9–4 NFC West-leading Los Angeles Rams.

The Seahawks, division winners of four of the last seven seasons, find themselves one game behind the Sean McVay-led Rams in the NFC West standings for the first time in, well, forever*. The Seahawks have never been looking up at the Rams in mid-December in the entire Pete Carroll era. So this is new. The edge of tomorrow.

Too dramatic? Hardly. In fact, the Seahawks defensively passed the torch already this season — exactly where and when can be debated — but what cannot be debated is that they came up short compared to their defensive counterparts in the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday as they got pushed around by the upstart Jags. And lost their poise in the process. To wit:

Defensive bullies no more, the Seahawks are now forced to rely upon the fourth-quarter magic of Russell Wilsonand the offense. And yes, Wilson was called upon and delivered again in the fourth quarter last Sunday, with 14 points via two bombs to Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett in the last stanza, to losing effect.

The Seahawks could merely slow the second-half Jaguars, when they needed a stop. A disastrous, 21-points-allowed third quarter was the blue birds’ undoing.

Where are they?

The latest practice reports are more grim news, on top of the already well-known defensive personnel shortages: Linebackers Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and K.J. Wright (concussion) did not practice Thursday and are uncertain for Sunday’s game against the Rams. To compensate, the Seahawks added practice squadder Paul Dawson to the linebackers group.

Should Wagner’s and Wright’s absences linger, the defensive talent lost this season (Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Dion Jordan, Nazair Jones, among others) coulda woulda shoulda been a stout defense. A Seahawkian defense.

As of now, it’s a patchwork affair making the Seahawks’ offensive line a model of continuity by comparison.

This is not the look you want when the division leaders come to town with a score to settle. To contrast, the Rams are getting some key players healthy just in time for meeting the Seahawks at the Clink. McVay said that wide receiver Robert Woods and outside linebacker Connor Barwin are expected back in the lineup after missing time recently, and tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein are expected to return after they had to leave last Sunday’s game against the Eagles.

This Sunday, it’s not “just a game.” Might as well call this one the crown game, here in week 15. This one is for the NFC West — and given the defensive turnover the Seahawks will endure in the offseason — maybe for the next few seasons to come.

But the Seahawks can win

Indeed, they can. The outlook could be quite rosy: Complete season sweep of Rams on Sunday, and they reclaim first place in NFC West with prospect of entering playoffs with the NFC’s best healthy quarterback. Lose, and the division is all-but lost and the Seahawks’ Wild Card prospects more grim than ever with tiebreaker disadvantages from several opponents.

This is the game.

* (Actually, the Seahawks were behind the Rams in the 2010 season up until the final game, when the Seahawks tied the Rams at 7–9 with a week 17 victory and took the NFL’s lamest division with a losing record.)

Weekend wrap: Seahawks lose their marbles -- but haven't we all?

Weekend wrap: Seahawks lose their marbles -- but haven't we all?

WEEKEND WRAP-UP -- A summary of what I had my eye on for the last couple of days.

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  • ARMY-NAVY FOOTBALL : Fun game. Love seeing those kids caring so much about who they are and what they're doing. And what they're doing is preparing to protect us for a good portion of their lives.
  • YANKEES MAKE TRADE FOR GIANCARLO STANTON: Derek Jeter sent his former team a very nice Christmas present. Obvious bottom line to that deal was the group Jeter represents did not have enough money to buy and operate the Miami Marlins. When you have to come in and practically give away your best player and one of the biggest gate attractions in baseball -- along with laying off some very long-tenured people in the front office -- you probably shouldn't have made the purchase in the first place. And oh yes -- I am NOT one of those people who think baseball's better when the Yankees are great again. Just the opposite for me. I grew up watching them dominate the game and am still sick of it.
  • THE SEAHAWKS LOST A GAME SUNDAY -- AND THEN LOST THEIR MARBLES: Michael Bennett deserves a suspension for seemingly trying to hurt another player. And, confidential to pro players, I don't care if fans are throwing beer at you (and they obviously shouldn't be doing that) just keep walking to the locker room. Do you think you can climb into the stands and beat somebody up? Does that really sound like a good idea? You can't win by doing that. Go tell a security guard and keep moving. It's harder to hit a moving target.
  • THAT GOT ME THINKING:  I think everyone has lost their marbles these days. Literally. I haven't seen a marble in decades. Do they still exist outside of grandpa's attic?
  • ALAN TRAMMELL AND JACK MORRIS GO INTO THE HALL OF FAME courtesy of the Modern Era Committee. I would have voted for Trammel but not Morris. I would've voted for Dale Murphy, too -- but you already knew that. Murph being left out again proves that you can keep people out of the Hall for reasons of character and/or integrity, but those qualities won't help you get into the Hall.
  • BAKER MAYFIELD WINS THE HEISMAN TROPHY:  I had a vote again this year and Mayfield got it. Was really impressed with his accuracy, especially on the deep ball. I had Bryce Love second and that's where he finished. I voted San Diego State's Rashaad Penny third and he finished fifth. If you never saw him play, you missed out. He's a very exciting running back. And by the way, I'm still one of the stubborn guys holding to the rules of Heisman voting -- not revealing my vote until after the winner is announced.
  • CARSON WENTZ OUT FOR THE SEASON WITH A TORN ACL:  NFL quarterbacks just have to figure it out -- stop with the unnecessary running. Know who you are. Instead of dropping your head and trying to power for an extra yard, hook slide. Duck and cover. Marcus Mariota, in the midst of his worst season as a pro, has been playing through injuries all season due to his penchant for running.  Just sit back and throw the ball until you're in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl, guys.

The Seahawks' gift to the NFC is a playoff contest

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© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks' gift to the NFC is a playoff contest

By 

They’re givers, the Seattle Seahawks. ‘Tis the season of giving and give they shall. Call it the gift of interest, for those interested in the NFC playoff contests.

Continuing their December magic in the Pete Carroll era (22–9), the blue birds of the Pacific Northwest gave the top-heavy NFC a tumble by taking down the previous conference leader, the (now) 10–2 Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 3, 24–10. By bolstering their record to 8–4, and thanks to Sunday losses by the faltering Atlanta Falcons and up-and-down Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks vaulted from out of the playoffs to the conference’s No. 5 seed.

So yes, they gave a gift to themselves, first off, but gave a gift to the rest of the conference hopefuls by taking down the top dog and making every other remaining division leader (New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings) legitimate hope they can snare the top spot, or at the very least the other penultimately important second seed and its accompanying first-round bye.

Heck, the blue birds might even have a shot at a bye themselves if they can continue their December magic against next Sunday’s (playoff-bound) opponent, the 8–4 Jacksonville Jaguars and again at home the following week against the NFC West-leading Rams.

Look what we got

Apart from doing themselves a solid, let’s examine who else benefited from the Seahawks’ surprising win against the Eagles.

Minnesota Vikings

Easily the jolliest of gift recipients, the surprising Vikings are now the conference’s No. 1 seed — tied with the Eagles, but nudged ahead for now with a tiebreaker (strength of schedule). The unexpected, magical season of the Vikings got its latest boost from the Seahawks the same weekend the Vikings enjoyed a listless outing in Atlanta from the faltering Falcons.

It all seems to be lining up purple right now. Despite losing yet another starting quarterback (Sam Bradford, injured reserve) and their starting rooking running back (Dalvin Cook), the Vikings have quietly cobbled together a credible offense with journeyman Case Keenum having a career year, to go along with the NFL’s second-stingiest defense in terms of both yards allowed and points.

It gets even better, if you’re feeling purplish: The Vikings, now with the inside track to the conference’s No. 1 seed, are the NFL’s greatest threat to be able to play the Super Bowl in their own stadium on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Without Seattle’s December magic, they’d still have a shot, just not the best shot.

New Orleans Saints

One of the NFL’s other major surprises of 2017, the Saints have made mincemeat of their division opponents (3–0 so far) and have been on an absolute tear since staring the season 0–2. Their only loss since week three was to the also 9–3 Rams, and they did lose to the Vikings in week one. Homefield is almost certainly not in the cards for the Saints, but a possible first-round bye is reasonable now that they’re only one game out.

The Saints get the faltering Falcons twice, the faltering Buccaneers in Tampa and a home date against the also surprising, but middling, New York Jets. They can win out and possibly get the No. 2 seed, thanks to the Seahawks.

Los Angeles Rams

Like the Saints, the Rams are one game out of a round one bye. All they have to do is not be their traditional selves, which includes a number of late season swoons (2016 ended with seven straight defeats). Nothing the Rams have put on record this year suggests this is the same old Rams.

The Rams have won six of their last seven since losing to the Seahawks on Oct. 8. They will face three straight playoff-caliber teams in the Eagles, Seahawks and Tennessee Titans, so their work is cut out for them. They are one game out of the top spot, and can make a strong case for themselves if they take care of business at home against the Eagles and make a winning statement in Seattle on Dec. 17. They could also play themselves totally out of the playoffs. But having trimmed the top off the NFC, the Rams can thank the Seahawks for their extra incentive.

Thanks for nothing

The NFC teams that did not smile at the Seahawks’ most recent win include the 6–6 Green Bay Packers, who have only an outside shot at the playoffs and would prefer to be able to use their week one victory over Seattle as a tiebreaker, if needed. That’s no longer likely. The 8–4 Panthers are neck-and-neck with the Seahawks and currently behind in the tiebreaker criteria, so they would have preferred the Eagles won while they trail the Saints in their division—whom they can’t catch due to being swept. It’s Wild Card or nothing for the Panthers.

The Falcons can still make a run at a Wild Card, particularly since they have a head-to-head victory over the Seahawks, but they’ll need Seattle’s help, not more of the blue birds’ usual December magic. The 6–6 Dallas Cowboys also have no shot in their division, so they’re not happy to have to try to catch Seattle, now two games ahead. Ditto for the 6–6 Detroit Lions, who, like the Cowboys and Packers, are hoping for some serious losing streaks by Carolina, Seattle and Atlanta.

Of course, the Seahawks could still win the NFC West. If they’re going to, it starts Sunday in Jacksonville, on the road against the NFL’s stoutest defense (14.8 ppg) and perhaps a more surprising seventh-highest scoring offense in the NFL (24.9 ppg). Will the Seahawks continue their giving tradition this holiday season? They’re underdogs in this one, but that didn’t matter last week. It’s December, after all.

Are The Seattle Seahawks … Mediocre?

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Are The Seattle Seahawks … Mediocre?

BY JULIAN ROGERS

3 reasons why they are and 1 reason why they aren’t

Meh. Middling. Also-runs. Is that what we’re seeing from the current Seattle Seahawks as they prepare for their week 13 Sunday Night Football contest at home against the Philadelphia Eagles — 2017’s league darlings? If there ever were a contrast between a team on the rise and a formerly great team on the decline, this Sunday night’s game is the showcase.

Reason #1: Playoffs? We’re talking playoffs?

Let’s start there. As the Eagles attempt to hold on to the NFC’s No. 1 seed, the Seahawks are currently on the outside looking in in the NFC Playoffs standings. ESPN estimates the Seahawks’ chances of making the postseason at 47.4 percent.

True, they’re tied with the also 7–4 Atlanta Falcons, but they lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. The blue birds’ best path to the postseason is probably to overtake the NFC’s No. 2 darling team, the 8–3 Los Angeles Rams, whom they did manage to defeat earlier in the year. The also 8–3 Carolina Panthers are the other NFC team a single game ahead of the Seahawks, but they will not play each other in the remainder of the regular season. The Seahawks will get a shot at sweeping the Rams on Dec. 17, should their playoff goose not already be cooked.

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This makes the Eagles game loom ever larger. There no longer is any wiggle room for the Seahawks if they are to be considered a playoff-caliber team. Oh, and winning out? As of now, the Seahawks are favored in only three of their remaining five games. Merely meeting those expectations probably won’t get a playoff invitation.

Reason #2: The Legion of Whom

Well. That escalated quickly. The formerly fearsome foursome known as the Legion of Boom suddenly is the unit of yesteryear.

Previously felled by you-can’t-pay-everyone contract-itis, (safety Kam Chancellor’s 2015 holdout, that rotating #2 cornerback spot of the past several seasons), now the Seahawks’ former foremost position of strength has seen the likely last of stalwarts Chancellor (neck, out for the season) and cornerback Richard Sherman (Achilles’ heel, out for the season). Not only are they out for the rest of the year, they’re almost certainly out of Seattle entirely in the coming years, due to increased injury, age & cost factors.

To make matters worse, Earl Thomas may not be long for the unit, as well. Thomas’ devastating, season-ending (there’s that phrase again) broken leg of last year nearly caused him to call it a career. He’s bounced back nicely this season, but the remnants of the LOB are now resting too heavily on his repaired legs. Leg injuries knocked him out of weeks 9 and 10. He has one year remaining on his 2014 blockbuster deal ($8.5M) after this season, and will be hard-pressed to resign as an increasingly oft-injured, aging player.

For now, it’s Thomas and the best duct tape Seahawks defensive backs coach Andre Curtis can find. He found some, apparently in former LOBer Byron Maxwell and almost-former LOBer Jeremy Lane.

The Legion of Boom is now the Legion of retreads, don’t want ‘ems, and who-dat young guys. Plus Earl.

Meh.

Reason #3: The Seahawks offense, Russell Wilson, excepted

We don’t need to hammer on the Seahawks’ offensive line any further. They’d almost certainly break. Equally inept at pass protection and run-blocking, the Seahawks’ revolving door of injured linemen has become less of an excuse for the just general, ongoing ineffectiveness of the five guys that get the offense started.

OK, I guess I could pile on a bit more.

The Seahawks’ tried and true formula of running the ball like in the Beast Mode era never got off the ground this season. Plug in anyone: A supposedly revitalized and healthy Thomas Rawls (a healthy scratch two weeks ago; one play from scrimmage against the San Francisco 49ers), a supposedly revitalized and healthy Eddie Lacy, a promising rookie upstart in Chris Carson (injured reserve) and a (yes, we’re getting repetitive again) supposedly revitalized and healthy C.J. Prosise (injured reserve, again) … it’s just gone like that.

The Seahawks did make Mike Davis a real roster player and quickly received dividends. He’s now injured, of course.

The Seahawks’ seventh-ranked passing game outpaces the Seahawks’ rushing game by a wide margin (20th). When you consider that the blue birds’ top rusher is quarterback Russell Wilson with 401 yards on 65 attempts, you can hardly be surprised when I tell you that the team has no rushing touchdowns by a regular running back yet this year. Hybrid runner/receiver J.D. McKissic has one rushing TD and Wilson has the other three.

“Mediocre” might be kind. However …

Reason why the Seahawks are not mediocre

Russell Wilson has proven to be a once-in-a-generation talent. Not only has he been required to be the sometimes only playmaker, he’s accounted for more yards from scrimmage than anyone else in the league.

From ESPN: “Pete Carroll says of how much the Seahawks’ offense has relied on Russell Wilson this season, ‘I don’t know how you could carry it much more numbers-wise.’ Wilson has accounted for almost 86 percent of Seattle’s scrimmage yards. Per the NFL, that would be the highest percentage for any player in the Super Bowl era.”

Enough said.

Wilson’s 3,029 passing yards outpace Sunday’s opponent, wunderkind Carson Wentz (2,657), but he trails Wentz in touchdown passes to date: 23 to 28. Wilson’s best buddies on offense are his receiving corps, which has seen Jimmy Graham come on of late (49 receptions, 447 yards, 8 TDs), and a solid 58 receptions, 698 yards and 4 TDs from No. 1 receiver Doug Baldwin. Speedster Paul Richardson has finally shown promise with a stellar 16.7 yards per catch average and 5 TDs. Tyler Lockett has not been much of a factor from scrimmage.

Is it enough help for Russell Wilson? The biggest test of the year comes this Sunday night. It’s make-or-break time for the middling Seahawks.