The Seattle Seahawks hope to follow up last season’s dismal 4 – 12 record with a more stellar performance this season.
Last year’s poor record was not entirely due to poor performance. Injuries ran rampant, and the Seahawks found themselves more injury-plagued than they had ever been in the franchise history.
Every single starting offensive lineman at the beginning of the season was on the injured reserve by the end of the year. Joining them on the IR was quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. On offense, only Koren Robinson, Floyd Womack, and Walter Jones started 12 or more games the entire season, and none started all 16 games. The Seahawks capped off their injury-fest with an NFL high: seven wide receivers getting injured.
It was also a sad sendoff for possible Hall of Famer Mike Holmgren, who worked through his worst record in his 17 years as a head coach, and only the third losing season of his career.
The Seahawks also experienced a bit of controversy when they hired Jim Mora to replace Holmgren a full season before Holmgren was done. Some also speculated that this was reckless, as the Seahawks passed on whatever coaches would become available, which would include Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan.
The season also marked the end of Seattle’s streak of consecutive NFC West divisional championships at four years, and the perennial losers Arizona Cardinals took their place atop the division. “It kind of set in a little bit…when I was out there and realized, ‘man, the Cardinals are in the playoffs?’” Rocky Bernard said to KING 5 after their 34 – 21 loss to the Cardinals that ended their season. “It blew my mind”.
Going into the offseason, there weren’t a lot of holes that needed filling, and the Seahawks found themselves with a number four overall draft choice, their highest since they have the second overall pick in 1993.
Prior to the draft, however, they made a splash in free agency by signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh, widely believed to be the best wide receiver available, and one of the best overall players available. With the addition of Houshmandzadeh, Hasselbeck now has arguably the most prestigious target in his career.
Following a trade of Julian Peterson to the Detroit Lions for a fourth round pick, speculation ran wild with what the Seahawks would do with their pick. One leading rumor was that they would address an aging and possibly injury-prone Hasselbeck by drafting future replacement Mark Sanchez.
However, they would go on to draft Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, replacing the previously traded Julian Peterson. Along with Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill, who was cut and then resigned to a longer deal shortly after the draft, the trio forms one of the best young linebacking corps in the NFL.
Some players are returning, such as Hasselbeck, Walter Jones, Marcus Trufant, and Deion Branch. Some players have just arrived, such as Houshmandzadeh, Curry, Max Unger, and Deon Butler. Other players look to continue to establish themselves, such as John Carlson, Lofa Tatupu, and Julius Jones. While critics seem to disagree widely on how the Seahawks will fare this year, there does seem to be a consensus that it depends on Hasselbeck’s ability to stay injury free.