The Humpty Dumpty Seahawks will find a way to put themselves together by Sunday, but you have to wonder how many more times they can do it before they finally have a great fall.
They were the most injured team in the league across the season, according to Man Games Lost. That includes losing their top tight end and center early in the season and their top three running backs in the final month, using six offensive line combinations, playing sick and injured at receiver in several games, never having a fully healthy defensive line and using a rotating cast at safety all season.
It all adds up to a team that has never come close to being 100 percent yet has won 12 games and is headed to Green Bay for a shot at the fourth NFC title game in franchise history. Give Pete Carroll some credit for yoking together this cracked egg of a club.
Back in September, we assessed the roster at about 64 percent, with receiver (inexperience), both lines (injuries) and the secondary (inexperience) all in the 40 percent to 50 percent range.
Well, four months later, the roster is not any stronger. Both lines are still problems, and tight end is weaker because Will Dissly has been gone for a long time and Jacob Hollister has been the only reliable guy. Running back is worse after losing Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise — though not as bad as it could be because Travis Homer has played excellently and Marshawn Lynch has returned and seemingly found the Fountain of Youth.
The positions that have improved since September are wide receiver (from 40 percent to 80 percent) and the secondary (40 to 75). In September, the Hawks had one proven receiver, Tyler Lockett. But D.K. Metcalf has taken big strides over the past month and David Moore and Malik Turner have offered value as the tertiary options.
The secondary was boosted at midseason by the arrival of Quandre Diggs, and the entire defense is significantly better with him in the lineup. Rookie Ugo Amadi has stepped up late in the season as well. (Now if only Carroll would trust second-rounder Marquise Blair to play more.)
As the Hawks head to Green Bay, they are still only about two-thirds of the group Carroll hoped he might have at this point.
Last week, when asked about Clowney playing injured, Carroll might as well have been talking about his whole team: “If this is what we’ve got, this is what we’ve got. We’ve got to work with it.”