“It feels like we are just getting started.” — Pete Carroll
Consider the Seahawks’ next Super Bowl window officially open.
A day after Pete Carroll led the Hawks to the playoffs for the seventh time in his nine seasons, he signed an extension keeping him in Seattle for three more years.
It does indeed feel like the Seahawks are just getting started — both this year and beyond.
Their 38-31 shootout win against Kansas City was the most complete game they had played all year — a sign they have a shot at some upsets in a playoff field that looks pretty wide open. And they will only get better after this season — assuming John Schneider does his part to stabilize and improve Carroll’s roster.
And don’t think Carroll is going to stop at age 70 after 2021. If this is Year 1 of the next window, he could well go beyond 2021 — assuming his teams are successful and any potential new owner wants to keep him.
Carroll said he takes it “one year at a time with the projection of I’m kind of on a five-year plan.”
We took a sneak peek at the future of the roster a couple of weeks ago — with the top priorities including re-signing Frank Clark, adding an impact pass rusher and run stopper, keeping the offensive line intact, and potentially extending Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Jarran Reed.
Carroll made it clear the team is going to keep Clark: “He ain’t going anywhere.”
But that’s all for next offseason, which is a ways off now that the Hawks are headed to the playoffs again.
First, the Hawks must treat Week 17 as a must-win so they can clinch the 5 seed, go to Dallas for the wild-card round and still have a slight chance at hosting the NFC title game (if they and the No. 6 seed managed to upset Dallas, Chicago, L.A. and New Orleans).
Other notes and observations:
Carroll said his new boss, Jody Allen, who re-signed the coach, is “really fired up about doing this.”
Doug Baldwin clearly elevates Seattle’s passing game. He made two amazing catches that gave the Hawks two touchdowns in their win over Kansas City. His future is up in the air, due to injuries and a high salary, but he certainly is doing everything he can to help the team now.
DOUG. BALDWIN. JUNIOR.
— NFL (@NFL) December 25, 2018
Chris Carson is Seattle’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Marshawn Lynch in 2014. Lynch got 53.3 percent of the carries that year; Carson has just 45.3 percent. The 2018 Seahawks have run for 2,378 yards to lead the NFL; they are within striking distance of the 2,579 yards of 2012 that rank second in franchise history to the 2,762 in 2014.
The Hawks lead the NFL in turnover margin and have been on a crazy “protect the ball” run since Week 3 (although a couple of Wilson’s turnovers were huge factors in losses). They can tie the NFL record for fewest turnovers.
The Seahawks are now 9-1 when Wilson targets his receivers at least half the time. Wilson played a great game against the Chiefs, running and passing with aggression and confidence he has not always shown in a pretty inconsistent season that still has him poised to break his team record of 34 TD passes and set a career low in interceptions (six). He does have two pick-sixes, though, which is part of why his season can be described as uneven. The win over the Chiefs was his best game of the season (or at least right there with the Carolina game).
This was a rare shootout win for Wilson’s Hawks, who are just 3-13 when the opponent scores 30, 3-6 when both teams go over 30.
Michael Dickson continues to amaze national observers (e.g., the NBC crew) with his drop kicks. He’s on deck for PATs and field goals, if needed, too.
While most national pundits and plenty of fans thought the Hawks would be under .500 this season, we were very confident they would win around 10 games. And here they are. In fact, the only game we have gotten wrong so far in our preseason predictions was the Chicago game. The Hawks are aiming for their 11th season with at least 10 wins.
The Seahawks’ 2019 opponents are set. Other than the six games vs. NFC West rivals, they will play home games vs. New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Minnesota and games at Atlanta, Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.