Because the Seahawks won the Super Bowl last season, it is easy to forget that half of their roster is comprised of players with less than three years of experience.
Starters Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, J.R. Sweezy and Jermaine Kearse are only in their third seasons, and 21 more of the 53 players on the roster have not yet played three seasons. Eleven others are in just their fourth seasons.
The Seahawks barely used any of their rookies in 2013, relying largely on veterans — and that’s a loose term, considering some of them had just one or two years of experience.
So, coming into this season, the Hawks in effect had almost two full rookie classes. And the questions were: Would any of the remaining 2013 rookies step up to replace departed free agents and would the 2014 class redshirt as most of the 2013 class did?
Due to injuries and one big trade, the answers are yes and no, as many young players have stepped forward in recent weeks.
The Seahawks have taken a number of injury hits over the last month, but some of those guys will be returning in the next week or two — with two notable exceptions.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner and tight end Zach Miller “are going to be awhile,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday.
Wagner has missed the past two games with turf toe, and Miller had ankle surgery during the Week 4 bye. Both met doctors on the East Coast while the Hawks were in North Carolina over the weekend, the coach said.
“Both those guys got updated on their progress and where they’re going,” Carroll said. “We were not given a timeline for them. Neither one of those guys are ready to come back this week. So we will have to wait and see what happens with those guys.”
The news is much better for kick returner Bryan Walters, center Max Unger and cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane.
Pete Carroll responded directly Monday to reports of a rift between himself and running back Marshawn Lynch, saying, “I don’t know where that came from,” and scoffed at the idea that the Hawks would consider trading Lynch.
Both ESPN and NFL Network reported Sunday morning that the Seahawks had grown tired of Lynch’s attitude and had already decided to move on from him after this season. The ESPN report indicated that the Hawks might have tried to trade him if Derrick Coleman had not broken his foot last week.
“I have no idea where that came from,” Carroll said. “We have nothing to say about that. At this point I don’t think it behooves us to try and respond to all of these kinds of things in the locker room. Our players have told you how they feel, our coaches have told you how we feel about it and we’re in a really good place right now.”
As for the report that Carroll and Lynch do not communicate, Carroll said he talks to Lynch “whenever I need to.”
Most of the game Sunday looked so similar to their three losses, but the Seahawks finally managed to overcome their own charity and clumsiness to get their first win in three weeks and a measure of feel-good amid swirling reports of bad team chemistry.
The 13-9 win at Carolina was just as ugly as the Seahawks’ wins the past two years — 16-12 in 2012 and 12-7 last season — but it was picture perfect for a team trying to avoid the first three-game losing streak in the Russell Wilson era and trying to prove it has not lost its mojo.
“It means a lot,” wide receiver Doug Baldwin told reporters. “This is a true character win for us, coming off two losses and all the things the media was saying about us. We showed resiliency.”
Some will say it saved Seattle’s season, which is a bit extreme and premature considering the many issues the Hawks still have.
Amid reports that some teammates are jealous of quarterback Russell Wilson and that the Seahawks are ready to part ways with Marshawn Lynch, coach Pete Carroll and Wilson declared Sunday after they beat Carolina that the team is not distracted.
“The things that have been said have been said on the outside. We have no problem. No problem,” Carroll said. “Whatever the conversation is, that’s the job of the media to try to figure stuff out. That’s not what’s going on here. I have no problem. It was not a distraction at all. Our guys don’t care about what’s being said.”
In the wake of the Percy Harvin trade and Mike Freeman’s incendiary report on Wilson, the latest revelation is that the Hawks’ relationship with Lynch has reached a breaking point, with the team finally tired of the running back’s antics and Lynch apparently so upset with the team that he is talking about quitting again.
Seattle might even have tried to trade Lynch by Tuesday’s deadline if fullback Derrick Coleman had not suffered a broken foot last week, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported. With Coleman out, though, the Hawks have to use No. 2 tailback Robert Turbin as their fullback.
A week after sending Percy Harvin to the New York Jets, the Seahawks reportedly are still working the phones ahead of the NFL trade deadline Tuesday.
The Hawks tried to pry tight ends free from Denver and Cleveland in the Harvin deal, but neither Julius Thomas nor Jordan Cameron could be had.
They reportedly are still in the market for a tight end and/or pass rusher, and they also reportedly have checked into what it would take to acquire Tampa Bay receiver Vincent Jackson. The Bucs reportedly want a second-round pick for the 6-foot-5 pass catcher, who would cost $5.3 million this season and $9.8 million in each of the next two years — if he was not let go before.
The Hawks saved $7.1 million this year in the Harvin deal, so they could absorb the rest of Jackson’s salary and still have a little left to roll over to 2015. But they then would have to decide whether to pay Jackson nearly $10 million next season — Harvin was due $10.5 million and will still count $7.2 million — or alter his contract or release him.
This is the second time the Hawks reportedly have checked into trading for Jackson. They called San Diego about him in 2011.