...Keep Your Enemies Closer: Q & A With A Seahawks Insider

This week, I had an opportunity to get a little insight into the mind of a Seattle Seahawks fan and see their take on the game against the Bears on Sunday.  Check out the responses from HawkBlogger. Enjoy!

How do Seahawks fans feel about their playoff chances in a seemingly weak NFC West?

It’s a mixed bag. Seattle has gone through some pretty lean sports years, so it’s not the most naturally arrogant or optimistic fan base. I, for one, think they are the clear favorite. The Cardinals are horrible, and are a sure bet to finish below .500. The Rams are so injured at WR and are still a 1-15 team at heart that has their toughest games ahead. The 49ers are going to surprise people. They have five remaining division games, and may be favored in all of them. They need to find 3 more to get to 8-8, which probably wins this division. The Seahawks are entering their toughest stretch where they play 5 of 7 on the road. If they can stay around .500 through that stretch, nobody will touch them…until they get hammered in the playoffs.

What are the expectations for new RB Marshawn Lynch?

He’s going to get a shot to be the featured back. He can run inside and outside, catch the ball and block. Justin Forsett is an effective NFL running back, but will never make a Pro Bowl. Lynch already has, and at only 24, could very well return. Part of the excitement is that Lynch’s presence may convince offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates to actually run the bleepin’ ball. The Seahawks are 29th in the NFL in rushing attempts/game with 22. The Bears certainly aren’t a team you expect to run successfully on, but Lynch makes the idea less ridiculous.

Which receiver has the best chance at stepping up to fill in for Deion Branch?

Anyone. Branch was never an impact receiver here. Brandon Stokley showed some immediate chemistry with Hasselbeck in the loss at St Louis. He will take over in the slot, and is a clear upgrade since he played with Bates in Denver (with Cutler) and knows the open spots with this offense. Deon “There’s No I in Deon” Butler takes over as the starting flanker, and can be a dynamic player. You may also see a lesser known player in Ben Obamanu fill-in. Golden Tate is splitting time with Mike Williams on the other side, and is having enough trouble learning one spot. They don’t want to complicate his life any more.

What has the Seahawks biggest weakness been this year?

Offense. The running game has been non-existent and the passing game has been mostly a joke. This was an offense that was historically bad last season, and has more talent/potential this season. Most point to the offensive line instability as the major factor, but nobody on the offense is playing well.

Is Matt Hasselback still the right guy for the QB job?

Absolutely. Hasselbeck can still make all the throws and is a great leader, but his decision making has been suspect. This is his third offensive coordinator in three years, and that’s a killer for a guy who generally beats defenses due to his total command of his offensive options. The Seahawks line has been challenged enough that they have had to leave running backs and tight ends in block, and if the defense can cover two WRs, Matt is SOL. As much as I love Hasselbeck, I’ve got my fingers crossed that we can draft our franchise QB next season because I don’t want to bet the farm on Charlie Whitehurst.

What is the key to the Seahawks beating the Bears this week and winning their first road game of the season?

Any chance Cutler and Peppers can call in sick, or send pictures of their privates to the Commissioner? As I wrote about on my blog, Matt needs to play his best game, and the defense must force Bad Jay to make an appearance. The Seahawks run defense is for real, and their pass rush is not bad either, so a few forced Cutler throws are not out of the question. I think a key stat will be Matt’s QB rating. If it’s over 100, the Seahawks have a shot. That doesn’t have to mean big yards, but it will require touchdowns and not throwing interceptions.

How is Pete Carroll working out?  Will he be around for awhile?

Shockingly, he’s been phenomenal. He and his front office partner, John Schneider, have done an amazing 220+ roster transactions without having been here a full year. Very few, if any, of those moves were bad ones, and many were good-to-great. The draft is potentially the best in franchise history, although time will tell us that. As a coach, Carroll struggles with game management, often living in the moment too much and not thinking ahead before throwing a challenge flag to calling a trick play. The team seems genuinely bought into playing for him, and his impact on the defense has been profound. The scheme change they made to this hybrid 4/3+3/4 has been a revelation, and that was largely Carroll. He reports directly to Paul Allen, so he’ll be here for a long time.

Which player on the Bears would you most like to have on Seattle and why?

Jay Cutler. He’s a disaster sometimes with his decision making, and he came across as a total douche in the Denver deal, but he is a talented young QB who has Pro Bowl potential. Those are gold.

So there’s an insider’s perspective on the Seahawks. Now let’s hope the Bears have been paying attention and can come out of this week with a win.

Also, check out my responses to Hawkblogger’s questions about the Bears.

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