2005 preview: Seahawks

2005 preview: Seahawks
By Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports
August 26, 2005

Charles Robinson
Yahoo Sports
NFC West predictions
   1. Arizona
   2. Seattle
   3. St. Louis
   4. San Francisco
Seattle Seahawks
Head coach: Mike Holmgren, seventh season
2004 record: 9-7
2004 rankings: Offense, eighth (352.1 yards/game); Defense, 26th (351.3 yards/game)
2005 strength of schedule: 31st
From SportingNews.com: NFC West overview

The season of great promise was dropped – as if it had been thrown to Koren Robinson.

Seattle entered 2004 with the look of a team that could make a serious run at the Super Bowl, but it was exposed as a pretender. Beyond running back Shaun Alexander, the rest of the offense struggled, largely because Robinson and the rest of the wideouts couldn't seem to hang on to the football.

After starting 3-0, the Seahawks lost a 33-27 heartbreaker to St. Louis. They never looked the same again.

OFFENSE

Alexander is in the fold, and that should help Seattle stay in the top third of the NFL in offense. Robinson is gone, and that's a good thing. There just were too many distractions with his personal problems, and he had the worst hands in the NFL last season. It never really was discussed, but a lot of his drops took a toll on quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who grew frustrated and turned erratic as the season wore on.

The new receiving corps is a solid group with Jerome Pathon, Darrell Jackson, Joe Jurevicius and Bobby Engram. There probably is not a star among them, but with the way the Seahawks spread the ball around, they really don't need one.

The offensive line is very good, and the left side – with guard Steve Hutchinson and tackle Walter Jones – might be the best in football. Running behind that line, Alexander is my favorite to win the NFL rushing title after last year's near miss (he finished a yard behind Curtis Martin).

DEFENSE

The defense still lacks the depth to sustain a lot of injuries, and that's a major problem. Even with the signing of defensive end Bryce Fisher, Grant Wistrom must stay healthy.

Quarterback pressure will have to come from Wistrom and Fisher now that defensive end Chike Okeafor and linebackers Anthony Simmons and Chad Brown have gone elsewhere. Free-agent pickup Jamie Sharper helps ease the pain a bit, but he's the anchor of a linebacking corps that would be mediocre without his presence.

With cornerback Marcus Trufant developing and strong safety Michael Boulware looking like a future Pro Bowler, Seattle has one of the more imposing secondaries in the NFC. Boulware and free safety Ken Hamlin might be the hardest-hitting tandem in the NFL. Free-agent pickups Andre Dyson and Kelly Herndon fill out the No. 2 cornerback and nickel spots, respectively.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Bob Casullo takes over after Seattle had an awful year on special teams. But the talent isn't going to change much, with kicker Josh Brown and punter Donnie Jones retaining their jobs.

Casullo's job will be to coach up the coverage units, and his first act of business should be getting Alex Bannister back on the field. A former Pro Bowler on special teams, Bannister missed all but seven games last season with a broken clavicle.

PREDICTION

The Seahawks will finish 8-8 and second in the NFC West.

Charles Robinson is the senior investigative reporter for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Charles a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Updated on Friday, Jul 29, 2005 3:29 pm, EDT

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