7 Overrated Seahawks And Storylines Of The 2015-2016 Season

7 Overrated Seahawks And Storylines Of The 2015-2016 Season

Unfulfilled potential and distracting headlines were Seattle's major downfalls this season.

This was the first time in the past three seasons that the Seahawks did not go to the Super Bowl. This year's team was wildly talented, but unfortunately, some of their top stars did not make the same impact they have in the past to propel a run in the postseason. A couple of these players made my "Overrated Players" list, alongside some storylines that were circulated throughout the season.

Some analytics I use to make my case include Pro Football Focus, who grade each player zero to 100 and rank them by position based on how they perform during a given play, not just the outcomes of those plays. You can also check out my list of underrated Seahawks here.

Now onto the list:

7. Richard Sherman, Cornerback.

According to advanced stats and Pro Football Focus (PFF), Richard Sherman had a season that matches the lofty expectations he set for himself by ranking as the third best cornerback in the league. While his coverage skills are as sticky as ever, he did not provide the amount of game-changing plays that people are accustomed to seeing, setting a career low in interceptions (two) and failing to force a single fumble this season. He was also unusually burned in some big moments this season, times where Sherman usually rises to the moment. One play in particular comes to mind: in Seattle’s home game against division rival Arizona Cardinals, Cardinals' quarterback, Carson Palmer, dropped back and threw deep to the back right corner of the end zone, trying to take advantage of the one-on-one coverage that Sherman had on Michael Floyd.

This is the type of play Richard normally feasts on, regularly getting pass breakups or interceptions as he possesses both great closing speed and ball skills. Instead, Sherman not only is beat by a step by Michael Floyd, but loses the ball in the air, allowing an easy touchdown to the Cardinals. Even though Sherman still made many plays in helping the Seahawks in victories this season, it was his slight fall from near perfection that allowed plays like these to slip through and hurt the team.

5 & 6. Deshawn Shead (top) and Jeremy Lane (bottom), Cornerbacks.

I paired these two together because they shared the unenviable role of playing opposite Richard Sherman as the team’s number-two corners. The Seattle defense is set up so that each player has a specific role, and they stick to that role. This is especially true of the cornerback position, as they never stray from their sides of the field. This allows opposing offenses to place their best wide receiver on the left side, opposite of Sherman. Ideally, this works well in the mind of the Seahawks, letting Richard Sherman shut down whatever wide receiver the other team sticks on him and hoping the number-two and number-three corners can make plays on the other parts of the field.

Seattle initially signed Cary Williams to play this spot, with the idea that his experience would allow him to play this part well. That ended up not being the case, as Williams was repeatedly burned and promptly released. This forced the Seahawks to turn to their reserves, placing backup safety Deshawn Shead as the starting corner. While he played harder and generally improved the spot from Williams, his limited athletic ability and inexperience only netted him as a marginally better corner than Williams, placing 94th out of 113 qualifying quarterbacks to Williams’ 97th finish.

Williams was benched in week seven, allowing Shead to be exposed by the high-flying offenses of Arizona and Pittsburgh, two of the biggest losses of the season. But a week 14 return to the starting lineup by Jeremy Lane freed Shead to step down to the less-prominent nickelback role. According to advanced metrics, the return of Lane provided a marked improvement over both Shead and Williams, as PFF ranked him the 51st best cornerback in the NFL. But just because there was an improvement doesn’t mean it solved the problem. Unlike Shead and Williams -- who at times were forced to play across from the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Brown, Calvin Johnson, and Golden Tate -- Lane’s toughest assignment across his four starts was a Larry Fitzgerald playing for an unmotivated Arizona team and Kamar Aiken of the Baltimore Ravens. By not playing the elite competition, Lane’s numbers could have been influenced by the level of competition he faced more than the actual skill he produced on the field, leaving Seattle’s number-two corner position a mystery heading into the 2016 season.

4. Bobby Wagner, Linebacker.

Bobby Wagner was both elected to the pro bowl and voted the AP All-Pro second team this year. However, he makes an appearance on this list because, based on both his stats and analytics, he took a noticeable step back from a year ago, when his play warranted an MVP vote, even after missing five games. He only recorded 10 more tackles than last year, playing four more games, a decline in per game average of 9.5 to 7.6. He also lost out in the team lead for the same stat, edged out by K.J. Wright by two, 116 to 114. This was not the only time that K.J. was listed ahead of him this season, as Wagner was listed by Pro Football Focus as the 30th ranked linebacker, 24 positions lower than Wright (sixth) and 15 lower than Seattle’s other starting linebacker Bruce Irvin (15th). PFF specifically knocked him on his pass coverage abilities, ranking him as replacement level in this category. Bobby Wagner’s poor pass coverage abilities this season was one of the reasons Seattle was ripped by some of the game’s more premiere tight ends, such as Greg Olson (131 yards, one TD) and Tyler Eifert (90 yards, two TDs). Even with his struggles this season, Wagner is a terrific linebacker, and it would be easy to predict a bounce back to his normally elite status next season.

3. Resurgence of the offensive line.

If you listened closely to broadcasters in the latter part of the season, you know they mentioned the improvement of the offensive line. This is true to a point, as before a week 11 insertion of Patrick Lewis into the offensive line, Seattle gave up 32 sacks in nine games, an average of 3.6 per game. Over the next seven weeks with Lewis in the line-up, the Seahawks gave up 13 sacks and only 1.86 per game. These stats do not take into account that the first 10 weeks of the season, Seattle faced teams ranking in the top half of the league in number of sacks six times. In those final seven, they only faced three such teams. In two of those games, the Seahawks blew out their opponents, taking away the opportunity of must-pass situations by the Seahawks and protecting the offensive line from the other team’s pass rush. Besides the level of competition, PFF ranks Patrick Lewis 25th out of 39 qualifying centers, one spot below the man he replaced, Drew Nowak (24th).

There were also multiple bad snaps in the games that Lewis played in, tossing the ball badly back to Russell Wilson at inopportune times. It also did not help that Lewis was placed in between the 64th and 75th ranked guards in the league, J.R. Sweezy and Justin Britt. The tackles were not much better, with Russell Okung ranking 33rd and Gary Gilliam ranking 68th. In the end, the offensive line was not good all season, and it could be argued it was only the brilliance of Russell Wilson that really solved Seattle’s offensive woes in the second half of the season.

2. Kam Chancellor, Safety.

Out of everybody on this list, this name pains me the most. Kam Chancellor has been a rock in the Seattle backfield for the past three seasons, delivering the hits that inspired the nickname "The Legion of Boom." But it was a rocky start this season, as Chancellor held out and was a part of the Seattle’s 0-2 start. When he returned, he was noticeably out of sorts and proved a liability in coverage against tight ends. Despite making a couple big plays this season -- forcing Calvin Johnson’s fumble at the goal line and forcing an Adrian Peterson fumble in the wild card round of playoffs -- he still directly caused the loss in week five to Cincinnati with the inability to cover Tyler Eifert on the final drive of the game. This same instance nearly happened again in the wild card round, with Kyle Rudolph burning Kam on two huge pass plays to bring the Vikings into field goal range with less than a minute remaining in the game. If it wasn’t for the shank by Blair Walsh, Seattle would not have competed in the divisional round game. These types of moments in big spots came to define Chancellor’s season with mixed results. He teamed with Bobby Wagner to create Seattle’s biggest weakness, covering the middle of the field.

1. Seattle's number-one-ranked scoring defense.

The Seattle Seahawks finished the year ranked number one in average points allowed, a measly 17.3 points per game. It marked the fourth straight year that Seattle led the league in this category. As great as it sounds, it is a very superficial stat. Breaking down the Seattle schedule will reveal that there was a great discrepancy in the teams the Seahawks faced, especially the starting quarterbacks that headed those teams. Nine of the teams Seattle lined up against had losing records and quarterbacks that averaged 32nd place out 38 qualifying quarterbacks, or didn't play enough to receive a ranking, according to PFF. This group included names such as Colin Kaepernick, Matt Cassel, Johnny Manziel, and Jimmy Clausen (twice). In those games, Seattle allowed 11.7 points per game.

In contrast, when Seattle played quarterbacks on teams with a winning record, they allowed an average of 23.3 points per game. To narrow the category even further, Seattle played six games against quarterbacks rated in the top 13 QBs by PFF and gave up an average of 26.2 points. The numbers show that when Seattle faces anyone that is considered to be in that elite tier, Seattle’s defense becomes very average. When you watch these games, you see quarterbacks such as Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton regularly moving the ball up and down field, something that Seattle fans did not see the past two seasons. This proved to be a major reason why the Seattle Seahawks did not reach the Super Bowl 50.

There's definitely a trend here, considering six of these rankings were on the defensive side of the ball and three of them were in the defensive backfield. Seattle's identity for the past three years has been defense, and that reputation followed them into this season where they did not reach the same level that they have been on in the past. This is the first year in the Pete Carroll era where you can say the offense outplayed the defense. Here's to hoping for an improvement next season.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.heraldnet.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=DH&Date=20150201&Category=SPORTS&ArtNo=201009999&Ref=PH&NewTbl=1&Itemnr=1&maxw=400

Popular Right Now

​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Adesanya Gets Whittaker To Unify The Championship

It Has Been Announced That The UFC Middleweight Championship


After a fight that could be easily considered as the fight of the year at UFC 236 as "The Stylebender" Israel Adesanya has his eyes set on recovering and then facing the UFC Middleweight Champion Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker to unify the interim title with the one "The Reaper" holds. The Stylebender has plenty to look forward too as his championship career in the UFC with a stacked division that has all eyes on him if he gets past the undisputed champion.

Dana White confirmed that Israel Adesanya will indeed face Robert as it is the next fight to make. It is just a matter of where this fight as it will more than likely happen in Australia. Israel has expressed his interest in bringing the UFC into a stadium for this fight as it would be huge and guaranteed to sell out. It will be interesting to see how the champ Robert Whittaker approaches this bout as Israel has shown he only continues to improve.

With the 5 round war that took place at UFC 236, it was a bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya that really could of went either way if Adesanya did not continue to rock and put a brutal beating on Gastelum in the 5th round. Israel displayed everything in that fight as he faced adversity when he was rocked in the fight as he was met with a nasty head kick from Gastelum that could have ended the fight if Kelvin did not attempt a takedown. Israel Adesanya showed off a fantastic submission game too as he locked Gastelum into a Triangle Choke but he survived and broke out.

He would then put a beating on Kelvin Gastelum in the 5th and final round that ultimately won the decision of the judges as Kelvin Gastelum was left bloodied by the end of the 5th. With this huge victory, Israel Adesanya has skyrocketed in the organization. He has already had a target on his back but if he is able to finish off Robert Whittaker which will more than likely be in the summertime if Israel does not take an extended vacation the target will be even bigger.

The new UFC Interim Middleweight champion Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya has already caught the attention of the numerous top contenders in the division as there are a few fighters we seem to not be impressed by Israel Adesanya's rise through the UFC. Names like #2 ranked UFC middleweight Yoel Romero and rising star top contender #7 ranked Paulo Costa. #4 ranked Jacore Souza could potentially earn himself a title shot in his upcoming fight at UFC On ESPN 3. He has also received criticism from someone who many people would consider to be the best fighter in UFC and mixed martial arts history the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon "Bones" Jones.

The Stylebender has received harsh criticism from some but received plenty of praise from his peers and along with the fans in the mix martial arts community. More importantly, he has a fight with Robert Whittaker the UFC Middleweight Champion in Australia in a Stadium in the future,

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