One of the things the Seahawks absolutely must do if they are going to become a Super Bowl team again — and stop their slow but steady slide — is get their heads straight.
The last two years, they have been distracted and dysfunctional. In 2015, it was Kam Chancellor’s holdout and the residual disappointment from the Super Bowl XLIX debacle. In 2016, injuries and frustration held the Hawks back — stopped two wins short of the Super Bowl again.
Chancellor addressed the team’s misdirected angst right after the blowout loss to Atlanta in the divisional playoff, and Doug Baldwin added to those comments Tuesday on 710 ESPN, saying the team basically had run out of steam by the time it faced the Falcons.
“We had a lot of setbacks with the injuries,” Baldwin said, not needing to mention the long list of ailments that affected or sidelined Chancellor, Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas, Tyler Lockett, DeShawn Shead, Richard Sherman and the offensive line.
“It was very frustrating because we couldn’t get that consistency that we are used to,” Baldwin said. “We typically start rough, like all teams do, but we (usually) find our way. We were unable to find it. And I think it had a lot to do with our injuries, especially on the offensive side of the ball.”
The Seahawks didn’t look confident on the field, and Baldwin confirmed they didn’t feel it either — they basically were ready for the season to end in Atlanta.
“Knowing how hard we struggled throughout the course of the season, knowing how difficult it was just for us to maintain where we were at, it was kind of — I don’t want to say expected — but it was difficult just to get to that point,” Baldwin said. “So it was kind of like an exhale at the end of that game. It was difficult to keep our heads above water for most of that season.”
He said the frustration was evident at times, especially from ultra-competitive and emotional guys such as Richard Sherman.
Baldwin said the Hawks became Super Bowl champions and a perennial playoff team because the top players “wear their hearts on their sleeves.”
“Yes, there are times when it can become a distraction,” he said. “But we have guys on our team who are mature enough to know when to take it over the line and when to back off.”
He said the urgency to get back to the Super Bowl has accelerated but last season “the sense of urgency kind of wavered into the realm of frustration. We weren’t as successful as we know we can be. … Honestly, I was frustrated throughout the course of the year.”
So can the Hawks regain their focus and drive to win another Super Bowl?
“We’ve had our success and it would be easy and human nature to rest on that,” he said. “But you have these alpha males in this locker room, these true competitors who sometimes say crazy things that seems like we’re out of control. But the reason we’re so successful is we have those dominant competitors in our locker room. And we face adversity now. All of these guys are anxious … to get back on the football field and demonstrate how great they are.”