Seahawks strength of schedule: 'Tis the season for another reason to expect the season to be less than pleasin'
Seaside Joe 1127: How many games will Seattle win?
Sunday’s Seaside Joe was my coming out party as a villain in the Seahawks Onlinematic Universe. Is my crime that I blew up a hospital, like the Joker? No. Did I… sorry, I’m out of comic book references.
The point is that I think the Seahawks are presently a bad team and that drafting a quarterback will only serve to make the team worse.
But I was elated to find out that after posting part of my findings on Twitter, that a lot of Seahawks fans actually agree with me and do not want Seattle to draft a quarterback in the first round. I had a hunch that would be the case and if you are looking for a home to talk about how the Seahawks can improve around the quarterback position over the next 12 months, then welcome to Seaside Joe!
While I expected a lot more disagreement and hate-fueled rage in my replies—this is just how I view all tweets, honestly—there was at worst, moderate pleas to draft a quarterback anyway. One such reply that I want to address quickly here, then in a longer post later, is this one:
Setting aside that using any “analytics” measurement to rank quarterbacks is wholeheartedly inconsequential and distracting (I promise you that you could use something as rudimentary and useless as passing yards and make the exact same point—but in no way am I disregarding @cmikesspinmove’s relevant argument), does it become “necessary” to draft a quarterback in the first round if 75-percent of starting quarterbacks were drafted in the first round?
The Rams didn’t draft Matthew Stafford
The Bucs didn’t draft Tom Brady
The Patriots didn’t draft Tom Brady in any of the first five rounds
The Eagles didn’t draft Nick Foles in the first two rounds
The Seahawks didn’t draft Russell Wilson in the first two rounds
The Broncos didn’t draft Peyton Manning
(Pardon me, just recounting recent Super Bowl winning quarterbacks…)
The Titans earned the AFC’s top seed last season with a quarterback who they didn’t draft. The 49ers reached the NFC Championship last season with a quarterback who they didn’t draft. If all we are doing is organizing quarterbacks and then trying to link one thing they have in common, cherrypicking what helps a narrative and ignoring what doesn’t, then my narrative would be a lot stronger than the one that suggests that most good QBs are drafted in the first round:
Almost all Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks of the last decade were acquired by other means: Patrick Mahomes is the only QB to win the Super Bowl in the last nine seasons who was drafted by his team in the first round. Or in the second round. And the Chiefs were a 12-4 team that traded up to acquire Mahomes, not a rebuilding franchise that was looking for a savior.
The Seahawks, or any franchise, has to worry about how to win a Super Bowl under the terms of roster building in 2022 and 2023 and 2024. They can’t worry about how teams won Super Bowls in the 90’s and the aughts.
What do Pete and John have at their disposal right now to acquire a QB of the future? Believing that the only way to do that is through the use of a first round pick on a QB—despite my clear findings that roughly 80-percent of first round QBs in the last decade have been busts—is using a narrative that absolutely HAS TO fit your desire to see the Seahawks replace Russell Wilson with any quarterback who gives you hope. No matter how false that hope could be—like stretching players who are getting third round grades into ones who Seattle “should be selecting in the top-10” based on the most simple fact there is:
They play the position.
But Mahomes went to a team that was 12-4 before he arrived. Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Deshaun Watson all went to teams that were 9-7 the year before those quarterbacks were drafted. Perhaps the four most successful first round quarterbacks of the last 12 years (Mark Sanchez, famously a two-time starting quarterback in the AFC Championship, went to a Jets team that also went 9-7 the year before he arrived, proving that a good team can do WONDERS for a bad quarterback) and whether this makes me the bad guy or not… the Seattle Seahawks simply suck right now.
I know that you could call them a 7-10 team, because that’s what they were. I don’t find there to be any reasonable argument that the Seahawks would have done any better than 9-8 with a healthy Russell Wilson and a perfect set of circumstances. The talent hasn’t been found through the draft over the last five years and this isn’t even something that most fans dispute.
When you trade Wilson out for Drew Lock, when you cut Bobby Wagner, when you don’t seem to have any upgrades at any position, when you don’t re-sign either starting tackle, when you are playing in a division with perhaps the two best teams in the NFC… I don’t see the Seahawks as being “9-8 at best” anymore. As I’ve said, we need to be honest about Seattle’s current position relative to the other teams before we can start to see improvements that put the Seahawks back on top.
It really doesn’t matter to me if you’re arguing Lock, Baker Mayfield, Malik Willis, or Colin Kaepernick—any of those quarterbacks would be the fourth-best in the NFC West. Seattle also ranks fourth in offensive line, fourth in cornerbacks, fourth in edge rushers, and probably fourth in linebackers. If everything goes Pete Carroll’s way, then maybe the Seahawks leapfrog the Cardinals for third.
That’s as far as I can see it going.
But another potential roadblock between Seattle and seven wins next season will be the schedule. Here is one way to look at it, but Twitter user @mrcaseb, and he has the Seahawks ranked as the 10th-hardest schedule in the NFL next season:
It’s always critical to note that “strength of schedule” is misleading, especially in April. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t use it as a guidepost and open up a round of questions that ask: Does this team have a harder than average slate of opponents?
I’ve already been mulling it over and despite a round of games against the NFC South, I can’t envision the Seahawks losing less than 10 contests next year.
I believe the Seattle Seahawks could go 0-6 against the NFC West, and I don’t need to detail why again. We’ve already been over that. The Rams are better and always beat the Seahawks; the 49ers are better and often lose to the Seahawks, but that was with Wilson and Wagner; the Cardinals are a little better and Kyler Murray will eventually come back to the team because: money.
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I believe the Seahawks could also go 0-4 against the AFC West, which is now the best division in football.
If the Seahawks are starting from 0-10, then they only have seven remaining games to make a respectable show of the 2022 season: Lions, Saints, Falcons, Giants, Jets, Panthers, and Buccaneers. That looks to me like a list of six winnable games and Tampa Bay. If Seattle splits those six games, then we’re looking at a 3-14 season.
If they take four of those games and two from the NFC West, then the Seahawks would go 6-11. I see that as the high road.
Accept that the Seattle Seahawks can’t even support a quarterback right now if they wanted to, accept that the team needs to get better at a number of positions where you know that there will be great prospects (unlike the 2022 quarterbacks), accept that quarterbacks are often found in a myriad of different routes, and accept that 90-percent of the NFL is in a better position to succeed next season whether that’s by talent, schedule, and of course, a combination of both.
Now you can move forward beyond this desperate plea to do “something” at quarterback and into the world where you just want the Seahawks to do “something good” at literally any other position.
As expected, Seaside Joe subscriptions have leveled off since the big Russell Wilson trade news. Please give us a hand by sharing, subscribing, or upgrading as we head into the home stretch before this monumental draft. Watch my interview with former Seahawks o-lineman Kristjan Sokoli!
Great analysis. I'd be alright with the Seahawks taking a flier on a QB they believe overlooked in a later round. A day three pick. Even that's a strategy I'd find questionable given the many holes we have to fill. I'm with you in thinking this isn't the year to take a QB. Next year could be another story. At some point we'll have to get someone with talent under center. Without wasting precious draft capital or salary cap space.
I've often felt that Pete Carroll wasn't the ideal coach for Russell Wilson. He may be an excellent coach for where we are now. If he can prove himself to be strategic and patient. Which would mean he plans on coaching for a while longer. More than just another year or three.
Crazy that right now on April 5th is the first time I've faced the reality that we are probably going to really stink this season. I'm still convinced Pete and John thought they had a shot at Watson. Pete's "2nd chances" presser felt like bracing us all for it. Then the Browns made him an offer he couldn't refuse and now we're left with a team with little depth and below average starters and no superstar qb to save us. I'd have picked another team to pull for if Watson was acquired, but I do truly believe that was the plan when they traded Russ.