Peter King’s annual training camp tour stopped in Seattle on Thursday afternoon, and he had several interesting things to say about the 2019 Seahawks.
Off the top, he compared them to the Pittsburgh Steelers. King referenced the former distractions for both clubs – great players (Marshawn Lynch and Earl Thomas were the two he mentioned by name) who were “a handful” and have since moved on to other franchises.
“I think Seattle is the Pittsburgh of the NFC,” King said. “I think these are two very similar teams – teams that have had a lot of outside distractions the last few years. Now Pittsburgh is rid of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, and they might not be a better team, but they’re a more placid team and a more football team. Seattle is basically the same way.”
Seattle has put all of its eggs in the Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner baskets. King spoke with both players after practice and said they are the perfect pair for the franchise to have invested in long term.
“When your team leaders are Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson, those are ‘football guys’ who don’t let a lot of the outside stuff ever bother them,” King said.
King also echoed the common concerns surrounding the Seahawks. He, too, is curious who will replace Doug Baldwin’s production and wonders how much Seattle will get out of Ezekiel Ansah.
Rashaad Penny is who King tabbed as his breakout candidate. He called Penny the “1-B to Carson’s 1-A,” and he anticipates that the second-year running back will get every opportunity to make a big impact in 2019.
Finally, and most notably, King predicted a 10-6 record for the Seahawks this season. He cautioned fans from setting their expectations much higher than that given the overall strength of the NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams should both be contenders to win the division.
Heck, even the two games against the Arizona Cardinals might not be cake walks depending on how the Kyler Murray-Kliff Kingsbury experiment unfolds in Year 1.
“If Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t slip on a banana peel in September, if he plays 16 games, then the 49ers are going to be good. In my opinion, it’s a three-team division now instead of two,” King said. “I’d be happy with a 2-2 split between the four games against the 49ers and the Rams. I think there are three teams in this division that could all play deep into January.”