The Seahawks fans can stop screaming now. The two men they constantly criticized are gone.
Tuesday’s big coaching staff moves by the Seahawks are only the beginning. Firing offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and offensive line coach Tom Cable were popular moves for many of the fans.
Bevell never completely recovered from the infamous interception at the goal line in the Super Bowl three years ago. Cable, who also was the assistant head coach the run game coordinator, has been the ire of the 12s for years over an offensive line that consistently underperformed.
No doubt Tuesday was an extremely difficult day for Pete Carroll, as loyal a head coach as you'll find. But it was time to move on and get a fresh start with his assistant coaches.
Other coaching staff changes could happen depending on who gets offered what from other teams. Defensive coordinator Kris Richard’s future is uncertain.
More changes are coming. Big ones. Probably some that fans won’t like. This isn’t a rebuild for the Seahawks, but it is a retool and a significant change of direction. A team that has Russell Wilson at quarterback and Bobby Wagner at middle linebacker will remain a playoff contender if the right moves are made around them.
Here are 10 things the Seahawks need to do moving forward:
1) Draft a top-tier running back -- This is an outstanding draft for talented running backs. Do whatever it takes to get one of the best _ Shaquon Barkley, Bryce Love, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, etc.
The Seahawks have the No. 18 pick in the first round, but don’t have a second or third round pick. That usually means trading down for more picks. Don’t do it unless it’s still possible to draft one of these running backs. Barkley likely will be gone before the 18th pick, but the Seahawks should take Love if he’s available at 18. Get additional picks by trading players.
2) End the zone-blocking scheme -- This is the system of O-line blocking that Cable used and Carroll endorsed, but it doesn’t work in today’s offensive systems and current rules where a lineman’s blocking options are limited while moving laterally. The Seahawks need to hire an O-Line who will go with a man-blocking scheme.
3) Give up on Germain Ifedi at right tackle and let Luke Joeckel leave -- After two full season, Ifedi still hasn’t progressed and continues to make too many mental mistakes. He was flagged 20 times in 2017, the most of any offensive lineman in the NFL. It isn’t working and it isn’t going to work.
Joeckel wasn’t worth the $7 million the Seahawks paid him to play left guard in 2017 and continuing knee problems make it obvious the team should look elsewhere to fill that spot.
4) Let Graham go: Jimmy Graham had 10 TD catches and was a real asset on post-up passes in the end zone, but the negatives far outweigh the positives.
The man is a big negative in blocking, something that is essential if the Seahawks hope to return to a power-running team. And he drops too many passes in the middle of the field.
Even if those things weren’t true, the Seahawks can’t afford him now. He’s a free agent who will want $10 million a year in a multi-year deal, and truthfully, he likely doesn’t want to stay.
5) Accept the retirement of defensive end Cliff Avril and safety Kam Chancellor: Both men had outstanding careers, but serious neck injuries in 2017 leave their future in doubt. Chancellor has hinted he might want to continue playing. He shouldn’t, but if he does, it should be elsewhere. This is one of those difficult cap-space moves the Seahawks must make.
6) Move on from defensive end Michael Bennett: He deserves accolades for playing 2017 with a plantar fascia foot injury and a bad knee. But the Seahawks need to get younger and Bennett will be 33 at midseason of 2018. This is another area where the team can save cap space.
7) Add a quality No. 2 receiver: Doug Baldwin is headed to the Pro Bowl, and deservedly so, with his ability to get open and make big plays at key moments. But the Seahawks are below average at best with the rest of the receiving corp. They need a big-body receiver opposite Baldwin, which Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett are not.
8) Keep Thomas and Sherman, unless…: Earl Thomas made himself look ridiculous by running to the Cowboys locker room after the Seahawks victory and telling Dallas coach Jason Garrett, “Come get me.”
Thomas is a flaky dude, but he also is the best free safety in the league. He will be in the last year of his contract and wants top dollar (probably four years at $50 million) in a new one. If another team is willing to part with top-line players and at least two top draft picks, let Thomas go. If not, the Seahawks need him, especially if Chancellor’s career is over.
Sherman is in a similar position. He’s still a top cornerback, but coming off Achilles tendon surgery makes his trade value an all-time low. It’s unlikely the Seahawks could get enough to justify trading him.
9) Make a major upgrade at kicker -- Blair Walsh is gone and the Seahawks signed former Jacksonville kicker Jason Myers. Not good enough. Bring at least half a dozen kickers in, including the top guys from college.
CenturyLink Field can be a tough place to kick because of rain and wind. Find a guy with an edge who isn’t intimidated by the conditions.
10) Emphasize field discipline – The Seahawks led the league in penalty yards (1,342) and penalties called against them (148). They averaged 84 yards in penalties per game. That equates to one free trip to the red zone for the opponent.
There was a time when this team could get away with the over-aggression. They lived off the physicality and the intimidation, but so many of these flags were senseless mistakes that cost the Seahawks dearly in field position.
Carroll has said cleaning up the careless penalties is a priority for 2018. Bring in more players who know the difference between physical play and childish penalties.
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