The Seattle Seahawks have a talented team, but they’re plenty of obstacles between them and the NFC West division crown.
Last season, the Seattle Seahawks surprised a lot of analysts by going 10-6 and claiming a Wild Card spot in the NFC. Despite some significant changes, such as the losses of Doug Baldwin and Frank Clark, the Seahawks are still in place to compete this coming season. Now that the team’s younger players have more experience, it could be argued that the expectations and ceiling for this team are even higher than they were last year.
However, there’s already a Super Bowl caliber team in that spot and whether Seattle will be able to take control will come down to several key factors.
A tale of two running backs
Heading into 2019, Chris Carson and Todd Gurley are trending in different directions. Before you freak out and jump into the comments section, hear me out on Gurley. Maurice Jones-Drew recently revealed on NFL Network that Gurley got hurt as early in Week 1 of 2018, but he played through the injury.
As we all know, by the Rams’ second playoff game Gurley was seeing very little action and wasn’t operating in his normal, effective manner. While we can never say for sure, Gurley not being his normal self had an effect on the Super Bowl and now the Rams are worried about how Gurley will look in 2019.
Gurley’s injury issues with his knees have been capturing headlines lately. On June 3, Ian Rapoport said on NFL Total Access that, “The days of Todd Gurley just being the straight-up, every-down bell cow are probably over, just based on his knee, his age, the position, the amount of carries he’s had.” (H/t to NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman for the transcription in a separate article.)
While I do believe that Gurley’s limitedness will be over-emphasized by the media, clearly his knees are an issue. The injury likely played a role in the Rams drafting Darrell Henderson in the third round this year. Hopefully, Gurley will be able to come back from this issue and return to his Hall of Fame-caliber form, but his stock is falling right now just as Carson’s is rising.
Carson was taken by the Seahawks with the 249th overall selection back in 2017. Now he’s going to be the team’s starting back going into 2019 after putting up a borderline Pro Bowl season. In 2018, Carson finishes with 1,151 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns on 247 carries. He finished fifth in the league in total rushing yards and finished fourth in rushing yards per game among backs with a minimum of 50 carries.
Gurley was ahead of him in both of those categories, but Carson is only going into his third year as a pro and still has room to develop. Depending on what Gurley (and David Johnson) we see come the fall, Carson might be the best running back in the NFC West this year.