The Seattle Seahawks have their work cut out for them for the 2018 NFL season. After a disappointing 9-7 record and the departures of several key players such as Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, and Paul Richardson among others, Seattle must work to fix their glaring flaws that have only become more apparent over the past few years. These flaws extend to the lack of talent in their offensive line and secondary, as well as their inability to establish a running game.

However, there is one issue from 2017 in particular that they must amend: the constant inconsistency of quality play.

One of the most notable setbacks the Seahawks have dealt with over the past year is the slow starts of the team. Seattle took a while to get going in certain games and often picked up the pace in the second half, only to come up just short. The saying, “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” seems obsolete for the team when they cannot start strong enough to be down by less than two possessions most of the time.

This is because of the offense being anemic and largely ineffective. Seattle is known for elite defensive play and establishing a solid running game. However, the defense suffered injuries to key players, chiefly Sherman and Kam Chancellor, the latter’s future being in doubt with a severe neck injury. In addition, the offensive line could not create many running lanes for the backs to run through, leading to a running game that went nowhere.

However, both the defense and offense often sparked late in games before they were decided. The Seahawks never got blown out aside from the 42-7 shellacking at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams at CenturyLink Field in Week 15. Unfortunately for them, most of the late surges after the slow starts led to heartbreaking defeats more often than hard-fought victories.

This cost them a handful of their games and left questions about rectifying the situation lingering. To be fair, the Seahawks have almost always had an uninspiring offense in the Russell Wilson era, and the defense was unable to maintain their dominant status with so many injuries throughout the season. Russell Wilson had a great season in 2017 and bailed the team out to grasp victory more than once, but he has also been extremely inconsistent and is a major reason why the Seahawks were inept so often in the first half of games.

Missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011 has brought changes to Seattle’s coaching staff as they will look to fix the running game and restore the defense’s dominance to become more consistent throughout games. In addition, they are providing Wilson with more weapons to work with the hopes of improving the offense as a whole.

Seattle’s future success depends on rushing out of the gates with fury and keeping the gas on throughout the course of the season, as opposed to stumbling when the curtains open and getting back up to continue the show only to collapse at the end.