Pete Carroll. Geno Smith. Expected to be Defensive Rookie of the Year TARIQ WOOLEN. These guys banded together and led the Seattle Seahawks to one of the most unlikely playoff spots in the NFL.
Remember, before the 2022 season, the Seahawks were widely considered the worst team in the NFL. Right at the bottom of most power rankings. This year was supposed to be a tank job where they end up with at least one high first-round pick to get their franchise back on track following the Russell Wilson trade.
Except it worked better than anyone in the Emerald City could have imagined.
It was actually Wilson’s new Broncos team that had the year from hell. Meanwhile, Seattle overcame a 1-5 streak around its bye week that featured four losses in one possession, and won its last two to qualify for the playoffs thanks to Detroit’s triumph over Green Bay at Lambeau. Field Sunday evening.
I totally get why the Seahawks are lost in the larger NFL discussion right now. Aaron Rodgers’ future is at the forefront of all speculation, the spoiler-playing Lions have high hopes for them in 2023, coaching news is a huge topic, and aside from the Dolphins who may have to starting a third-string QB, Seattle is easily the biggest Wild Card weekend underdog. easy to write them down.
Just yesterday, however, was THIS’s birthday:
Marshawn Lynch’s Beastquake run shocked the football world as the NFC West champion Seahawks with their losing regular season record beat Drew Brees, Sean Payton and the mighty New Orleans Saints. Although Seattle missed the playoffs the following year, they quickly became perpetual championship contenders thereafter.
Point being, Carroll knows what to do in these situations. All the pressure is on the heavily favored 49ers this Saturday. They have already beaten the Hawks twice. Everyone expects them to go on a deep run in the playoffs. However, they start a seventh-round rookie in Brock Purdy at quarterback. Purdy has been great so far, but the playoffs are a whole different animal.
So while Payton is just returning to practice and Seattle’s division rival the Rams have a 36-year-old coach in Sean McVay who may be leaving, Pete Carroll continues to boast to be 71 years old. Carroll is preparing to face off with Kyle Shanahan, who was the young “it” head coach before McVay exploded onto the scene in Los Angeles. Unbelievable.
PETE DON’T LEAK FROM THE GRIND! Just kidding – I know McVay had a tough year for non-football reasons as well. I hope he’s not finished because damn it, what a start he’s had in his coaching career.
Back to the ‘Hawks. I blogged about them on my birthday last year, explaining my unique history with them, calling their Super Bowl victory a year too early, and why I thought they were in great shape:
NEVER imagined they would freeze so quickly. I also thought they would be in for a total rebuild with their Geno Smith-Drew Lock quarterback situation. Even beyond that, you can rarely count on recruits to fill the gaps in key positions. It looks like Carroll and John Schneider have another downright legendary draft class on their hands if early returns are any indication, much like what happened in 2012.
Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas stepped in immediately at left and right tackle respectively. Tailback Kenneth Walker III showed the potential to be a legit workhorse. Coby Bryant filled the key nickel cornerback role and forced four gropes.
But the crown jewel of the Seahawks’ 2022 draft is fifth-rounder Tariq Woolen. Jets fans, don’t attack me for saying he deserves DROY over Sauce Gardner. They are cordial with each other and respect each other. I love Sauce. I know Woolen won’t have the materials.
I really wanted my beloved Bengals to draft Woolen first or second turnso to see him basically become a bizarre athletic 2.0 version of Richard Sherman is pretty mind-blowing.
You have to credit the Seahawks personnel department for crushing it on so many draft picks. Also commend the players for working to provide such immediate feedback. Don’t forget Carroll and the coaching staff. Many saw the senior coach as someone who missed the game. Archaic diagrams. Too stubborn. Refusal to evolve. All of these perceptions were turned upside down in the space of about four months.
Suddenly the Seahawks should be a hot destination for free agents, and Geno Smith has emerged as one of the most compelling players on the open market. Just a few notes on how Smith’s stunning rise from backup mate to top echelon QB:
- Led the NFL in completion percentage (69.8%)
- Ranked 4th in TD assists (30)
- 5th in passer ranking (100.9)
- 8th in passing yards (4,282)
- 8th among QBs in rushing yards (366) on 5.4 YPC
Did Geno play his best game in Week 18? No, it could have been his worst of the season. But maybe, hopefully, he was able to knock all those bad pitches out of his system on Sunday to stun the 49ers. We’ll see what this man is really made of against the NFL’s No. 1 defense on the sport’s biggest stage.
Whatever happens, Seattle is in exceptional shape going forward and is already back in the playoffs. What a badass story. They’re playing with house money at this point, which should scare the 49ers and any opponents they come up against if they somehow escape San Francisco with a win.