2018 Seattle Seahawks Are Better Than Expected

The 2018 Seattle Seahawks Are Better Than Expected

They have definitely exceeded expectations.

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The Seattle Seahawks have exceeded expectations for the 2018 NFL season. After a year where they finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, the team is playing like a competent football team that looks to contend for the playoffs. I think it is safe to say that few fans and media analysts expected this. After parting ways with several defensive veterans like Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett and sporting a seemingly anemic offense and predictable attack scheme, many thought the Seahawks were doomed. After a slow start, Seattle proved all the naysayers wrong with a surprising turnaround.

Perhaps the most unexpected feature of the new-look Seahawks is their vastly improved running game. In the 2017 season, Seattle sported one of the least efficient running games of all time if quarterback Russell Wilson's rushing yards are excluded. They now have three dynamic backs in Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis, but the offensive line's run-blocking is also a huge factor in their success.

New offensive line coach Mike Solari replaces Tom Cable, and it has paid dividends to say the least. One of the primary reasons for Seattle's poor offensive display last season was their offensive line: they could not open holes for the backs to run through and they could not protect Wilson. Solari's arrival resulted in a drastic change in quality: the offensive linemen actually block and open holes now, and to a consistent degree at that.

Meanwhile, Wilson has been more efficient and thorough than in previous years and is having one of the best seasons of his career. The improved offensive line certainly helps, but he is being more confident with the ball and dropping beautiful passes to his receivers more often than usual, which is encouraging for Seahawks fans to see.

Speaking of the receivers, Tyler Lockett looked washed last season, but has reverted to his speedy rookie form and is now a touchdown machine. Doug Baldwin is limited by injury but still produces when needed. Jaron Brown has been a reliable red-zone threat, and David Moore is showing some flashes. Overall, this unit has improved vastly.

The defense has largely been compromised without the stars from the vaunted Legion of Boom squad but has occasionally managed to finish the job when the offense cannot. The special teams unit has improved overall as well, especially with star rookie punter Michael Dickson. The shaky Sebastian Janikowski may prove to be a liability, but he has occasionally delivered when necessary.

Overall, the 2018 Seattle Seahawks are a far better team than many people envisioned, especially in a supposed rebuilding year. What a difference having an altered coaching staff, scheme and roster can make.

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Why I Love Basketball

I will never stop playing what I love —​ this sport that is my comforter, my teacher and my companion in life.
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The squeak of the court, the swish of a shot, the smack of a block, the shared laughter of teammates — these moments and memories last forever. Ever since the 7th grade, basketball has been one of my favorite aspects of life. I’m not an incredible player, but it has never made a difference. I was easily the worst player on my team in middle school, yet it never changed how much I loved the sport. Endless hours, which were well spent, were put into my practice with the school team, with friends or just by myself. Be it an actual game, practice drills, or imagining I was actually a great player hitting a game winning shot, I would always use my spare time to play.

Even though I love every aspect of basketball, there has always been one part of it that sits as king above all the rest — playing a real game. Those who’ve played on a team know exactly what I’m talking about. There is absolutely nothing like the nerves you get right before a game, the hype that rises within you as you listen to your music during warm-ups and the rush of adrenaline as soon as that jump ball starts. Once the ball goes up, you know what’s about to go down. All that matters in that moment is playing the game.

Reflecting on all this, it becomes clear to me that I love basketball not because it’s a sport but because it represents so much more. It’s my release, the opportunity for me to just set aside any worries or troubles, even for a moment, and to focus on just playing my heart out in a game that brings me so much excitement and joy. I get connected to those I play with, not only growing closer with teammates but also developing respect for those I play against. Basketball forces me to trust my teammates, teaches me to be a team player and pushes me to get back up and keep playing, no matter how bad the score may be or how bad of a game I might have had. The next game can always be different.

Even with all the losses, the injuries and the frustrations that may arise when playing basketball, there remain endless memories of sheer happiness, joy, contentment. I wouldn't trade any of it away because it has made me who I am today. Without basketball, I wouldn’t have had the determination to keep moving forward, the opportunity to meet new people or the feeling of freedom from burdens and responsibilities. To imagine my life without this sport and all that comes with it would be impossible.

I could simply go on forever about the reasons why I love basketball, which I’m sure by now is pretty clear. I dread the day when my body can no longer handle running on the court or handling the ball, but until that day comes, I will never stop playing what I love — this sport that is my comforter, my teacher and my companion in life.

Cover Image Credit: Artie Markosov

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Will The Seahawks Extend Bobby Wagner?

The star veteran linebacker will turn 29 in June.

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The Seattle Seahawks have made a few notable moves so far in the 2019 NFL offseason. They traded star pass rusher Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs for significant draft capital and made quarterback Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in NFL history after his self-imposed April 15 deadline for a contract extension. In addition, they selected Ohio State wide receiver D.K. Metcalf in the 2019 NFL Draft after he surprisingly fell to the 64th overall pick at the end of the second round. However, there are still a few questions to be answered. Most notably, will the Seahawks extend veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner?

Seattle drafted two linebackers in Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven in this year's draft. However, Wagner has been one of the NFL's top linebackers throughout his seven-year career and is considered by many to be the best along with Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly. Although a versatile player, he is perhaps most known for his elite tackling ability and efficiency in that department. In the 2018 season, he missed only one tackle out of 139 attempts and was given a 139.0 tackling efficiency score from Pro Football Focus, more than double the score of runner-up Jon Bostic. However, he is entering a contract year and approaching his 29th birthday, so Seattle must make a decision on his long-term future.

Wagner is expected to become the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL after being overtaken by five other players of his position since he signed his initial four-year, $43 million contract extension on August 2, 2015. He has been one of the most consistent linebackers in the league and has stayed relatively healthy throughout his career with few character concerns. After Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley set the market for the position with his five-year, $85 million contract, the Seahawks will have to offer a significant amount of dough to their star to keep him. Wagner has stated that he will play the 2019 season as if it is his last in the Emerald City and reports say that he is not keen on taking a hometown discount to stay with the team.

The Seahawks were in a similar situation with veteran safety Earl Thomas last offseason when he held out for a contract extension that paid him his perceived value. We all know how that turned out. Could the same scenario happen with Wagner? All we know for sure is that Seattle has another large decision to make for another veteran star player.

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