Playoff watch? ‘Don’t count us out yet’

“Feels good to be back in the winner’s column. Don’t count us out yet.” – DeeJay Dallas

While pretty much no one outside the Seattle locker room expects the team to make the playoffs, they kept their minuscule hopes alive when their offense suddenly reappeared in a typically dramatic win against the 49ers.

Their fourth win of the season – just their first in four games since Russell Wilson returned and their second in the last eight games – bumped their playoff chances to a still laughable 4% (per FiveThirtyEight).

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Wilson wakes up & other observations from a rare win

Russell Wilson had a good value-rebuilding game, snapping out of the worst funk of his career as he hit 30 of 37 passes – his best percentage (81) of the season.

He also nailed a quick RB screen to Rashaad Penny that gained 27 yards – the most successful screen play Wilson has executed in memory (Geno Smith had a decent one earlier this season, but the Seahawks largely stink at these — as everyone knows).

Even with two third-stringers playing on the line, Wilson looked a lot more like the resilient player we have long seen. We’ll see whether he can keep it going.

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What if Carroll does get fired or retire?

Jody Allen fired the Portland Trail Blazers’ longtime general manager Friday, leading some to speculate she might do the same with the Seahawks’ coach and/or GM after this season.

But Neil Olshey was fired for violating the Blazers’ code of conduct, not because the team may miss the playoffs for the first time in nine years. So, it seems quite unlikely Allen would fire Pete Carroll and John Schneider after one losing season, especially when she just extended both of them and neither has any personal black clouds hanging over his head.

But let’s play “What If” anyway.  

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Time to start shopping Wilson, who has hit his ceiling in Seattle

The Seahawks’ season is over. With six games left.

We haven’t said that this early in a season since 2008, when Mike Holmgren’s final squad was stuck on two wins all the way until Week 14 and ended up 4-12. (Jim Mora’s pitiful 2009 band was 4-7 before collapsing to 5-11.)

The Hawks (3-8) have a minuscule shot at the playoffs if they could get to nine wins, but they certainly are not going to win six straight with this quarterback, who showed his ineptitude again Monday in a 17-15 loss at Washington.

So, it’s time to get ready for big change in the offseason.

Continue reading Time to start shopping Wilson, who has hit his ceiling in Seattle

Pass rush: How did Hawks turn strength into weakness?

Next to the offense’s total faceplant, the lackluster pass rush has been the biggest surprise of the Seahawks’ season.

Although the defense has improved markedly in key areas since Week 4, it has been somewhat stunning that Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder and the rest have not been able to get to quarterbacks. This unit was easily the strength of the defense entering the season – yet has underperformed expectations.

But it is not simply a matter of those guys suddenly stinking. A lot of the blame lies with Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Jr. They have eschewed the pass rush at times and simply have not created any chemistry because they keep mixing and matching rotations.

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It’s adjust or bust

A year ago at this time, the Seahawks were in the midst of an offensive meltdown that had started in Week 9 and dragged on for most of the rest of the season because Brian Schottenheimer and Russell Wilson stubbornly refused to play ball the right way.

The only time they altered philosophy was in a Week 15 game at Washington, where they used a quick, short passing game to pull off a 20-15 win.

Now, nearly a year later, the offensive funk has protracted across a new offensive coordinator as they head to Washington again. Will Shane Waldron and Wilson make the adjustments like Seattle made last year – and then sustain them?

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Lockett & Wilson see failure differently, which explains a lot

In the wake of a familiar pathetic offensive performance in a 23-13 loss to Arizona, Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson’s words illustrated exactly why the Seahawks are struggling.

Lockett spoke the truth: The Seahawks rely on big plays and are not good when those fail because they are bad at making in-game adjustments.

Lockett also told FOX 13 Seattle that defenses are playing the Seahawks differently than they play everyone else, based on the film the Hawks watch in preparing for each game. “They’re not giving us the same looks that they’re consistently giving every other team.” Lockett said the Hawks then do not adapt quickly enough.

Wilson, on the contrary, said he didn’t see the Cardinals do anything different, that it was all stuff he had seen before and adjustments were not the problem. “We just didn’t play clean,” he said.

The difference in viewpoints explains a lot about why the Seahawks are failing on offense.

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Last chance for Wilson to prove he has not hit his ceiling

In the wake of Seattle’s embarrassing shutout loss in Green Bay, the topic of Russell Wilson’s future with the Seahawks came back to light – with numerous national media revisiting the prospect of a split after this season.

While plenty of fans and media still cling to the myth that Wilson has been failed by the franchise and is a victim of mismanagement and poor coaching and personnel, that’s the bass-ackwards way of looking at it. Wilson is a double-edged sword who always has been half the problem, and he needs to adjust his play if the Seahawks are going to flip things around over the final eight games.

We do agree with all of those people on one thing though: This should be the final test of whether Wilson should stay Seattle’s quarterback going forward.

If he can’t adjust – if he and Shane Waldron cannot agree on how to proceed, if he remains a one-dimensional passer, if it becomes clear he has hit his ceiling — it may indeed be time to trade him.

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Wilson’s ego leads to shutout as Waldron continues to struggle

Russell Wilson’s ego led to the first shutout loss of his career, and Shane Waldron did not do his part to stop it.

Waldron put the game in the hands of Wilson, who was Russ-ty as he came back from a month off and played in frigid weather in Green Bay. The result: 17-0, the first shutout loss of Wilson’s career.

The Hawks were running the ball well and needed to do it a lot more. Alex Collins was over four yards a pop. Lanes were there.

But Waldron let Wilson throw air balls, wobblers and end zone interceptions instead of mixing in the run to keep it manageable for the still-recovering QB.

Continue reading Wilson’s ego leads to shutout as Waldron continues to struggle