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Seahawks Will 'Start Slow But End Strong' This Season

Seahawks2015preseason.jpg
Stephen Brashear
/
AP Photo
Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) celebrates with wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (83) after Lockett ran for a touchdown after catching a pass from quarterback Russell Wilson against the Oakland Raiders, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Seattle.

The Seahawks begin their regular season Sunday against the Rams in St. Louis. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel expects great things from the team this season, just not right away.

'Hardest Year Yet'

"This is the most difficult task that Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have faced," Thiel said.

"They have to accommodate in this roster big payment to (quarterback) Russell Wilson. That was a huge deal that he got - $87 million over four years.

"The NFL rivals have been waiting for this because the Seahawks had such a great deal with Russell Wilson for three years (under his rookie contract) and now that advantage has gone away."

Hawks' Roster: 'Like Life'

"The issue for the Seahawks is they have 11 guys that are paid top dollar at their position, a very small middle class of players and a whole bunch of undrafted free agents and seventh-round draft choices.

"In fact, the majority of the roster is made up of those kinds of players," Thiel said.

"It's almost like life: where a few people are getting rich, a lot of people aren’t and the middle class just isn’t there."

Thiel said there is a lot of inexperience in key spots.

"The center, Drew Nowak, was a practice player and a former defensive lineman and he’s starting in place of Max Unger - one of three guys who are new to their positions this year.

"That's a real big burden to the Seahawks starting out Sunday," he said.

The Kam Factor

Strong safety Kam Chancellor did not report to training camp and will not play on Sunday as he holds out for a revision to his contract. Thiel said it was not a good move.

"Pete Carroll has a real good idea about how he wanted to take this team through, both from a talent standpoint and a psychological standpoint, to get over that loss - the worst in Super Bowl history and maybe in the history of American sports.

"But he didn’t count on Kam Chancellor not showing up," Thiel said.

"He thinks that he deserves a rewritten contract, some improvements. The Seahawks say ‘Hey, we can’t do that in the second year of a four-year deal because of the precedent that it sets.’ Both sides are dug in."

Thiel said the first game might shake something loose.

"If the Seahawks win, Kam Chancellor may find the urgency to come in. If the Seahawks lose, he may have some leverage. We'll have to see on that."

Prediction For Season: Slow Then Strong

"I think the Seahawks aren’t going to start out well. But I think they’re going to be better at the end than at the beginning," Thiel said.

"That's typical for a lot of champions who have to do the same kinds of thing to their roster that the Seahawks are doing: pay top dollar to stars and make do with newbies.

"I think the Seahawks are going lose their first two games…before they start to get a rhythm.

"I'm guessing they’re going to be 10-6 this year, which I think will be good enough to win the division. But I don't think it's going to get them a first-round playoff bye, which they have benefited from the last two years.

"I still think they’re going to have the talent in January to be a real threat. But it’s going to look real slow – and maybe even real bad – at the beginning."

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You can find Art Thiel’s work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between historylink.org and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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