Seahawks Bye Week: Good news, Bad News Edition

Feb 26, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; General aerial of CenturyLink Field. The venue is the home of the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL and the Seattle Sounders of the MLS. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; General aerial of CenturyLink Field. The venue is the home of the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL and the Seattle Sounders of the MLS. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 2, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talks with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Seattle Seahawks defeat the New York Jets 27-17. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports /


Russell Wilson is a Tier 1 quarterback. There is no more debating it. Wilson, by virtue of not having his mobility to rely on, is proving to be a Grade A pocket passer to those that for some reason still deny it. When given a modicum of time to set up, his stats inevitably end up at or near the top of the league in terms of accuracy, yards per attempt and any other measure you want to use. He is an asset that the team needs to be more proactively focused on protecting for the future.

Doug Baldwin is playing like a WR1. He may not possess the height/weight/speed combination reserved for pass-catchers deemed to be ‘Number One wide receivers’, but his on-field performance is putting many of the so-called WR1’s to shame.

Forced to do even more because of the knee injury suffered by Tyler Lockett and the limitations of Jermaine Kearse, Baldwin hasn’t flinched in the face of pressure or head shots by opposing safeties. He is the unquestioned go-to guy for Russell Wilson and is earning every penny of the sizable contract extension signed earlier this year.

Jimmy Graham is a medical marvel. He ruptured his patellar tendon ten months ago. It was considered to be a debilitating setback from which he may never fully recover. To hear medical experts talk, it was likely a death knell to Graham’s football career.

Yet, last week Graham had his second consecutive 100-yard receiving day and part of it included an attempt to leap over a defender like some sort of Parkour addict.

This is not to be trivialized. If Graham stays as healthy as he is- or gets better- for the entire season, the Seahawks offense becomes far more difficult to defend than it is without him. He’s their only true jump ball threat and is a clear and present danger to the middle of any defense.

The Guard-Center-Guard combo could actually be a positional strength. In the interest of fairness, if I’m going to rip on Tom Cable for the litany of failures strewn across his offensive lines in Seattle (and I will, a lot), then it’s only fair to give credit where it’s due.

The Justin Britt Chronicles have been well-documented over the course of his first couple years, featuring a lot of whiffs and bad beats at right tackle and left guard. However, could it actually be that Britt has not only found a home at center but may actually thrive there?

The answer- shockingly- is yes! Britt looks like a star in the making at the pivot, where he is able to deftly help combo block with guards in pass-pro and is less often asked to win one-on-one in space. His size is prodigious in the middle for the position and lends itself to plus run-blocking where he can not only wall off defenders on either side of him but is also athletic enough to seek and root out 2nd level defenders.

Sep 11, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt (68) waits to snap the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Miami 12-10. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s the most surprising and encouraging development thus far for this team.

On either side of Britt is a big, strong guard with natural ability combined with good work ethic and freakish strength. As Glowinski, Britt and Ifedi play together and communicate better, they could turn what is currently a team weakness into the fulcrum of a strong offense.

As bleak as things look at the tackle position, it’s equally as promising inside.

The stars of the defense are keyed in and shining bright. All of the big-money, high-expectation players on defense are ballin’ out right now. Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are laser-focused and helping once again make this one of the toughest groups to score on in the league.

Contributions on the positive side of the ledger from Frank Clark, Deshawn Shead, and several others are only making things that much tougher on opposing offenses.

When the team returns to action next week, it will be fun to see how the fellas handle Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonte Freeman and a high-flying Falcons offense.  If the defense dominates next Sunday, best believe the rest of the league will get that eerie feeling that comes over you when a thick, ominous fog is approaching and there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it.

Special Teams are humming. Hausch Money continues to excel, Jon Ryan is having a nice bounce-back year after struggling last season, and thus far the long-snaps from Mr. Frese have been satisfactory. New acquisitions Neiko Thorpe and Dewey McDonald have acclimated nicely to coverage teams and when you add it all up, “Specials” are in mid-season form.

Guys are getting healthier and reinforcements are coming. The team will get a lot of talent back on the field soon that has been banged up. Thomas Rawls, CJ Prosise and Quinton Jefferson are a short number of weeks away from being able to contribute to the cause.

Wilson, Ifedi, Nick Vannett and Jarran Reed are currently playing through some significant bumps and bruises and if they can come out of this bye week with some additional pistons firing, it’s going to be fun to see just how good this team can be by the end of the season.

Despite all of the potholes in the road and hand-wringing, the Seahawks are 3-1. All other stats pale compared to this one. It’s the most important one, obviously.

Considering 3-1 is a pace that ends up 12-4, the pre-bye portion of the season has to be considered successful. Sure, the road will get a lot tougher in the weeks to come, but so will the resolve of the team.

Comparisons to the 2013 team are incredibly premature, but you can see there is enough talent on this edition of the Seattle Seahawks to propel it as far as necessary.

The two keys to the rest of the season will be the ability of the offensive to just be competent enough to not get in the way of a good thing and for the team to avoid major injury to its best players.

If the Seahawks can do those two things, a division title, top-two seed in the playoffs and third Big Game appearance in four years is well within reach.

Next: Three Reasons the Mariners Missed the Playoffs