The Seattle Seahawks are not finished. They are not a one-and-done champion. They have not been the happiest crew throughout the first half of the season, and they may not embrace each other much through the second half, but this team is not finished, not just yet.
The reverberations from the Percy Harvin trade are just starting to settle down, and that’s a good thing. But there are other issues, and the biggest involves Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode set the tone for this franchise last year, especially on offense. But he is not a happy man at this point.
Lynch has good reason to be concerned, as he is a 28-year-old running back who has seven NFL seasons and a lot of hard miles on his frame. He also does not have a contract for the future. Lynch doesn’t talk to the media, but it’s not difficult to assume that there’s a problem. After all he’s done for this team, particularly last year when he helped carry them to a championship, he wants a commitment.
It’s not likely he’s going to get it. While Pete Carroll doesn’t care all that much that Lynch doesn’t communicate with the media – although that can’t make him happy – he does care about Lynch’s ability to communicate with the coaching staff and his teammates. Lynch is not exemplary in that area.
What matters most is how he carries the ball. He has not been as productive as he was in the past with 482 yards and three touchdowns after running for 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago. However, he’s starting to play a bigger role in the offense.
Lynch has 32 carries in the last two games, which is a far cry from the 10 rushing attempts he had in Week Six against the Dallas Cowboys. Look for Lynch to get at least 20 carries when the Seahawks host the Raiders on Sunday.
The Seattle offense has been in turmoil for much of the season, and that culminated with the trade of Percy Harvin to the Jets nearly two weeks ago. Harvin acted like a petulant diva this year, and he simply was not worth the trouble.
Carroll was largely to blame for all the problems the team had with the receiver. When the Seahawks traded three draft picks, including a first-rounder, to the Vikings for Harvin in 2013, they sent a message to their new receiver.
The message was that he was special and the team needed him. Together, the Seahawks and Harvin would climb to new heights in the NFL.
Carroll made things worse by celebrating Harvin last year, even though he was too injured to play. The Seahawks were rolling all season, but Carroll was more than happy to put a wistful look on his face when the subject was Harvin, and consider everything he could do for the offense.
While he made a contribution in the Super Bowl with a kickoff return for a touchdown and two carries for 45 yards on the Jet sweep, he wasn’t around for all the hard work prior to that game.
This season, Harvin was playing but he was not an impact player. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was not sending Harvin downfield to catch the ball. Instead, he was throwing him wide receiver screens and short passes, hoping Harvin’s explosive speed would lead to big plays.
Carroll stopped bragging about Harvin, and when the receiver/return man did not go back in the game vs. the Cowboys, the Seahawks decided to pull the plug on the receiver and trade him to the Jets.
Now the Seahawks have a chance to turn things around. They lost the first game without Harvin at St. Louis, but they bounced back last week with a comeback win at Carolina in which Russell Wilson led them on a game-winning drive.
That’s the first step. They have a game this week where they can continue to improve when the winless Raiders come to the Great Northwest. A week later, a vulnerable Giants team will provide a bit of a test, but it’s one the Seahawks should pass.
If that happens, the Seahawks will take a three-game winning streak into the stretch run portion of the season. At 4-3, they are two full games behind the Arizona Cardinals, but they still have two games left against Bruce Arians’ first-place team (Weeks 12 and 16).
As the Seahawks get their stride back on offense and get healthy on defense – middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (toe) and outside backer Malcolm Smith (groin) are both out – they can play the same kind of frenzied football that brought them the Lombardi Trophy last year.
Carroll has tried to rectify his mistakes by getting rid of Harvin. There is still time for the Seahawks to recover. If they can play to the standard they set a year ago, nobody in the NFC can stay with them.
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