Seattle’s trade, and massive contract extension, for Jamal Adams have come under fire over the last couple weeks. The Seahawks are on pace to be the worst defense (according to average yardage allowed) in NFL history, and this is despite the commitment of draft capital and financial resources into bringing in the hard hitting safety
The Seahawks are allowing 450.8 yards per game this season — on pace to be the worst in NFL history.— StatMuse (@statmuse) October 8, 2021
Jamal Adams, the highest paid safety in NFL history, has 0 sacks.
While it’s easy to scape goat Adams, and even defensive coordinator Ken Norton, the biggest cause of the issues confronting the Seahawks is head coach Pete Carroll. Carroll is the winningest coach in franchise history, had the most playoff success in franchise history, and is one of the more interesting characters in the league. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that the defense has been allowed to decay under Norton to the point it has.
This is a defense that has consistently been in the middle to bottom third of DVOA for the last four years. It has consistently been the teams biggest weakness, while the offense has consistently been in the top third (including a borderline elite spot at No. 5 in 2019).
A year ago, I wrote that I wanted to see the team invest it’s surplus cap space — heading into 2021 — on the offense to get another playmaking receivers and shore up the offensive line. The idea was that adding to a unit that was already border line elite was the best route to contending for another Super Bowl. Instead, the franchise was content to use its cap space, and draft capital, to shore up an already leaky defense that has absolutely imploded through the first five games of the 2021 season.
At this point, it’s fair to wonder why Carroll has held onto Norton for so long. And why John Schneider has continued to try to shore up a leaky unit that hasn’t been anywhere near what it once was. The failure to adapt to what the team’s on field strength has been over the last four or five years is damning indictment of the franchise’s football operations under the Schneider/Carroll regime.
They’ve had the first elite quarterback in franchise history (by quarterback rating and QBR) and they’ve squandered the middle of his career with poor roster construction. Russell Wilson is a major part of the offense’s success during the last few seasons…and to see him and Carroll sniping at each other in the press a couple of weeks ago was absolutely disheartening. With Wilson’s finger injury on Thursday night, we’ll get to see what the offense — with a rookie offensive coordinator — looks like without its veteran QB at the helm.
If Wilson’s finger injury keeps him out for a few games, and the Geno Smith era goes the way I expect it too, then the Seahawks are facing a crucial decision this coming off season. Do they continue to hold onto a coaching staff and front office that have completely and utterly failed to build to the team’s strength? Or do they move on from the franchise quarterback that still has a handful of good seasons left in the tank?
To me, the decision feels rather obvious.
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