Last year's Seattle Seahawk team was fantastic. Expectations were exceeded and a new power was born in the NFC West, arguably the strongest division in football now. (OK, now would be the time to crawl out of you Mom's basement an hit me with a burning missive about how wrong I am about that last statement.)
The bottom line is this: The 'Hawks are poised for a great season.
Fans know this, media knows this and Vegas, who is consistently smarter than everyone knows this. What we now have to ask ourselves is, now that they have all the pieces, what are the possible pitfalls and stumbling blocks that could derail this team en route to its first championship season. Remember how people all over the media and on this very site sang the praises of the unbeatable Philadelphia Eagles last preseason? That worked out as well as a Barack Obama guest appearance at a Hank Williams Jr. concert. These Seahawks lost to the Lions last year. The Lions. That means you've got holes to fill.
Worry or potential pitfall number one: Can Russel Wilson live up to the monster expectations that we have for him after a magic 2012?
I loved him since he came out of Wisconsin and the Seahawks stole him in the third round. Arm, feet, brain,leadership, work ethic.....the guys got it all. That being said, what does he do for an encore? Last year he was a dark horse - never will be - too short guy from a weak passing team, or so we were told. Expectations were low, even after he won the starting job. This year however, people are saying Super Bowl week one, not week fifteen. There is REAL pressure to out-perform last year's stellar season. This could be tricky.
Worry number two: The inconsistent defense.
The Seahawks defense destroyed people last year, if you watched the right game. If you watched the wrong game, you saw them beaten by the likes of Sam Bradford and Titus Young. This is after mauling Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Tony Romo. I know the home-away thing has something to do with it, as does injuries to key positions (Chris Clemons comes to mind) but no Twelfth Man does not absolve you of the responsibility to play like the top five defense you are. RG3 was beating them like a rented mule until his knee gave out and the total lack of a pass rush on Matt Ryan was the killing stroke in a game that they should have won. I know they have added pieces, but they just seem to come out flat at away games, regardless of personnel. I quote Vince Vaughn, "Rule number one: Play like a champion." All of the time.
Worry and potential fantasy football reach number three: What will Percy Harvin bring to the team? How will he fit into an already solid offense?
Again, expectations are almost ridiculously high. I have seen a least three NFL power rankings where the Seahawks jumped the 49ers (previous to the Crabtree knee fiasco) based solely on Harvin's presence. Yes, he is dynamic, explosive and probably the most dangerous guy in space in the league (his early season numbers reflect this, haters) but this talent and ability thing hasn't always guaranteed success, sometimes it just doesn't work. There are just too many examples of this to list without becoming redundant.
Worry number four: What will become of Marshawn Lynch's possible suspension?
Yes, I know they are loaded at the position, but there is no denying that Grillpiece is a special player and not easily replaced. When he took his first NFL carry, got his helmet knocked off and then trucked two more dudes with no hat on, I was hooked. My fanboy BS notwithstanding, his off the field behavior, though tame in light of what recently transpired in New England, shows a willingness to be a repeat bonehead. He has been suspended once already, the second is always longer and more harsh. Despite the petitions for dismissal, it still looms as I write this from a remote gold camp 190 miles west of Anchorage, Alaska. The Internet rules.
Last, but not least, number five: Richard Sherman-Adderall. Bruce Irvin-Adderall. Little discipline cracks.
Pete Carrol is in no way a taskmaster or heavy handed disciplinarian. If you allow your players to do stupid crap or act like the rules don't apply to them because you yourself have been, how shall we say it... a little lax in following the rules from time to time. This would be the worst way to fail, to blow it because talented men couldn't stay focused and disciplined. Don't go out like that, Pete. This is as close as the Northwest has come to big one since the violent hosing at the hands of the refs in Super Bowl XL. It still stings Pete. Don't piss this chance away.