Seahawks Could Defend Super Bowl Title — If These Things Happen Now
The Seahawks are back at training camp this weekend in Renton. Fans, meanwhile, are looking ahead to the season with a big question on their minds: Can the team defend its championship?
“I think they’re in good position to do it, but it’s really hard,” said KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel.
The NFL places a premium on parity, he says. In other words, the league works to make sure the defending champ is knocked down a little to give other teams a chance.
But Art says the Seahawks have a few things working in their favor. For starters, the players, assistant coaches and front office are on board with head coach Pete Carroll’s system of running the team. And then there’s Carroll’s record of success.
“As coach at USC, he won seven consecutive PAC-10 championships,” Art said. “The ability to sustain this success is there. But they have to get over the championship hangover, and that’s going to be what’s difficult.”
Building The Offense
Art says the team needs to start training camp by addressing its offensive line, arguably the Seahawks’ biggest weakness last year.
“They wound up putting a lot of pressure on quarterback Russell Wilson, because he had to run from danger,” Art said. “There were so many young and inexperienced players filling in for Breno Giacomini, Russell Okung and Max Unger,” who were injured at various times last year, Art said. “You’ve got to keep Russell Wilson upright and healthy before anything else is going to work on the offense.”
The Seahawks drafted Justin Britt to play tackle, and other players are holding over from last year. Art says that gives them a chance to be respectable, but not great in the offensive line.
Luckily, Art says, “they just have to be better than they were a year ago.”
A Tough Schedule
By the records of this year’s opponents, based on last year’s numbers, the Seahawks have the sixth-toughest schedule in the league.
“That’s primarily due to the fact that they play in the toughest division,” Art said.
San Francisco, St. Louis and Arizona were good teams last year — and responsible for two of the Seahawks’ losses. This year, Art says all of them have improved.
“And it’s hard to say the Seahawks are much better than they were a year ago,” he said.
Art says it’s going to be tough to replicate last year’s 13-3 record. By having the best record, the Seahawks got two home games in the playoffs, plus a bye week.
“If they can get that this year, it would be a remarkable achievement,” he said.
Last year’s 43-8 Super Bowl win over the Broncos sets the stage for an exciting regular season game this year.
“Denver was embarrassed internationally by the Super Bowl result, and they’ve had to listen to every late night comedian make fun of them, and every sports writer,” Art said. “They were the metaphor for getting their back ends handed to them.”
The Seahawks aren’t avoiding the confrontation, either. Art cites Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner’s statement on ESPN earlier this month, claiming the Broncos were intimidated by the Seahawks in the first quarter of the Super Bowl.
“Just say that they had a bad game,” Art said. “There’s a real reason to think that Denver’s going to be No. 2, right behind the San Franciso 49ers, for hating the Seahawks.”
You can find Art Thiel’s work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.