Seattle Seahawks: Offense will be headlined by emerging group of players

The Seattle Seahawks are in the midst of re-tooling much of their roster, and that has started with the offense.

The Seattle Seahawks are entering unfamiliar territory as they are now being led by their offense, a twist from the typical Seattle teams of this decade. The Seattle offense made impressive strides last year and looks to continue that in the 2019 season. Here is a preview of what we could be looking at this year.

Russell Wilson

Let’s be honest, as long as the Seahawks have Russell Wilson, they have a chance to put up points and win some football games. Even with limited options and a porous offensive line, Wilson set a career high in touchdown passes last year with 35, all the while posting a passer rating of 110.9, good for third in the league. He continued to limit turnovers, tying a career-low seven interceptions. Wilson inexplicably failed to score a single rushing touchdown, though he was still very effective as a ball carrier, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Despite his surrounding cast, which included lackluster offensive playcalling, Wilson had another exceedingly productive year, cementing his status as one of the great quarterbacks in the National Football League. With the additions the Seahawks have made, Wilson is poised to have an even better year in 2019.

Additions

D.K. Metcalf

The most significant addition to the Seattle Seahawks this offseason was D.K. Metcalf. Metcalf has the measurables and athletic profile most receivers can merely dream of, resulting in seemingly unlimited potential. At Ole Miss, he was mostly used as a downfield threat, and that looks to continue as he develops the rest of his game. Metcalf was the consensus top receiver in his draft class, and his ability to separate with speed and physicality should translate well to the next level. Assuming he takes over most of the X receiver responsibilities, he’ll have a massive role in the offense.

Jacob Hollister

Tight end Jacob Hollister was traded to the Seahawks from the Patriots back in April. Hollister had an excellent preseason game against Jacksonville in 2017 where he had seven catches for 116 yards, but he is yet to contribute in the NFL meaningfully. The former Wyoming pass-catcher showed he had some upside as a receiver, though the full extent of those abilities is yet to be seen. He could be another reliable pass-catching option for Wilson to keep the chains moving. At the moment, he is buried on the depth chart, but I expect him to compete for a backup role in the coming months.

Mike Iupati

Mike Iupati was an intriguing add for Seattle as it filled a need, but inconsistent play and an ugly injury history present some risks. Now on his third NFC West team, Iupati looks to start at left guard. If he does garner a starting role, expect to see an efficacious run blocker with some struggles on passing downs. If he stays on the field, Iupati should be an upgrade over J.R. Sweezy at left guard.

Departures

Doug Baldwin

Doug Baldwin‘s career was cut short due to injury, as he retired this past offseason, only 30 years old. Baldwin was the most consistent wide receiver Seattle has seen in a while. Baldwin, a prolific route runner with after the catch ability and an affinity for the end zone, proved remarkable from the slot. From 2015-2017, he averaged nine touchdowns and over 1,000 yards per year. Baldwin will be missed and is a considerable loss for this Seattle team.

Bright Spots

Tyler Lockett

Tyler Lockett was sensational last year, as he had a breakout year with 57 receptions, 965 receiving yards, and ten touchdowns. Lockett showed that was he’s more than a shifty slot receiver. His playmaking ability came to the forefront of conversations after continuously showing off insane chemistry with his quarterback, a bond that resulted in numerous big plays. The deep threat abilities Metcalf brings to the table could help Lockett, who otherwise would have received additional safety help after Baldwin’s departure. It would be no surprise to see another statistical jump from Lockett.

The Run Game

Seattle had the best rushing attack in the NFL in 2018, averaging 160 yards per game. Chris Carson, Mike Davis, Rashaad Penny, and Russell Wilson make up the Seattle backfield that has racked up rushing yards in recent years. Chris Carson will continue to receive most of the workload after a 1,100 yard, nine touchdown season. Of course, former first-round pick Rashaad Penny (still a shocking statement) will look to increase his workload as well. With the emergence of the offensive line, Seattle has a good shot at repeating their ground game success.

D.J. Fluker

The re-signing of D.J. Fluker may offer an excellent return on investment for Seattle. He had a pretty good year last year, arguably the best of his career. Moreover, Pro Football Focus gave Fluker a 72.0 pass blocking grade, which was suitable for 28th of all guards graded. Seattle has struggled to get quality play from their offensive linemen, so re-signing Fluker after a breakout year is enormous.

Areas of Concern

The Offensive Line

Despite some improvements last year and upgrades over the offseason, the offensive line remains a massive question for this team. Seattle is banking on improved play, but an aging Duane Brown and Germain Ifedi don’t exactly inspire confidence. Keeping Russell Wilson upright is critical for the Seattle Seahawks to compete in a tough NFC West.

The Tight Ends

Quality play is expected from the skill positions on this offense, but their tight ends remain a concern. Nick Vannett and Will Dissly showed some promise, but both failed to complete the full 16 game gauntlet of the regular season. Since Jimmy Graham‘s departure, the tight end spot has been rather dry, but development here could work wonders for this passing attack.

Overall

The Seattle Seahawks have a good chance to be a top 12 offense this year. Success here will be imperative in competing with the elite playcallers the NFC West has to offer. They have the quarterback, pass-catchers, and run-game to do so. Paramount to this team’s ability to keep pace with their opponents will be the immediate impact of D.K. Metcalf and widespread improvement along the offensive line. These factors can contribute to a dangerous Seattle offense.

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