Saying a team will go to the Super Bowl before training camp starts is usually a dreamer’s mentality. No one can predict what can happen through a 16-game season that can ruin a team’s playoffs hopes. But the Seahawks made moves during this recent offseason to limit the problems they might face in 2017.
Whether it be getting younger at positions, retooling a position group or not breaking up the core players of the team, the Seahawks accomplished it this offseason. Here are three reasons why the Seahawks will make it to Super Bowl LII.
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Younger, Healthier Legion of Boom
The Legion of Boom has been questioned if they are the same dominant group that they were in years past. 2016 was one of the worst season the LOB has had in years. But they were still ranked in the middle of the league in net passing yards allowed in a “bad” year. The secondary faced injuries to their key secondary players that contributed to this poor season.
Richard Sherman played with an injured MCL that limited his play for most of the year. He was not the same explosive athlete that Seahawk fans had seen in years past. Kam Chancellor suffered a groin injury that made him miss four games. This was the third straight season he missed two games or more. Earl Thomas suffered a broken leg in a Week 13 that ended his season. But the Seahawks addressed the position during the offseason to keep these key players healthy.
Seattle signed Bradley McDougald and drafted four defensive backs, two in the third round, during the 2017 NFL Draft. Having players that Carroll and defensive coordinator Kris Richard trust are important if they want to spell Sherman, Chancellor or Thomas for a drive to keep them rested and healthy. But with these younger players and McDougald, they have more depth in case of an injury to Sherman, Chancellor or Thomas. With a retooled secondary, a potential injury to one of those three players will not have the same dramatic effect as it did in 2016.
Improved Offensive Line
The Seahawks offensive line in 2016 was an embarrassment. When a team has a franchise quarterback like Russell Wilson, the goal is to keep him on his feet and keep him healthy. But it seemed that almost every passing play, Wilson was being chased around the pocket. Wilson was sacked 41 times with 293 yards lost due to sacks. The run game also suffered because of the poor offensive line play. The Seahawks had the eighth fewest rushing yards in the league in 2016, which is terrible for a team that prides its offense on its power run game.
But unlike in 2016, the Seahawks made an investment on their offensive line this offseason. Signing Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi will bring veteran presence to a young position group. Also drafting Ethan Pocic, who can play anywhere on the line, will bring versatility in case of injury. With this infusion of new talent on the line, it will create competition from all players. With more of an emphasis on the offensive line from coaches and management during the offseason, the group is bound to improve.
Keeping Wilson upright and not chased being around every other play will be very beneficial to the offense and help create big plays downfield. It will also help the running backs from being hit in the backfield and have more open field to make plays. Which leads us to our third reason why the Seahawks will make the Super Bowl.
The New “Beast Mode”
The Seahawks will not have Marshawn Lynch in 2017. However, they are going to recreate him with Eddie Lacy. Lacy is the perfect fit for Seattle to run the ball down defenses throats. At 5’11 and 250 pounds, he has the size and strength to run the ball through the middle of the field. But some wonder if he can stay fresh at his size. That is where the Seahawks running back depth comes in handy.
Two years ago, Thomas Rawls made a name for himself while filling in for an injured Marshawn Lynch. He rushed for 830 yards in 13 games during his rookie season. But after battling injuries last year, he had a miserable 3.2 yards per carry. Rawls will not have the same workload that he did last season. His role in 2017 will be to spell Lacy for multiple series to keep him fresh for the 4th quarter. C.J. Prosise will also be brought in situations where they can use him as a receiver.
Being able to keep Lacy fresh will allow him to be able to run strong through traffic a whole game. Seattle is able to give him more time off the field than the Packers could. Seattle has a deeper stable of running backs than Green Bay had. Lacy will also excel in Seattle’s style of offense compared to Green Bay’s spread style of offense. Lacy will be a completely different player than he has his whole career, and it will help Seattle get back in the top ten in rushing in 2017.
These reasons are the main three that will help Seattle get to play at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. All of three of these factors will make the 2017 Seattle Seahawks look very similar to the last two Seattle teams that made the Super Bowl.