NFC WEST SEAHAWKS 2014 STRENGTHS: • Smashmouth running, efficient passing, dominating defense Seahawks Offense You know about Marshawn Lynch’s pile-moving runs (second in effective yards in 2013, according to FootballOutsiders. com). You’re well aware of Russell Wilson’s efficient passes off scrambles (overall, he finished fourth in the NFL with 8.2 passing yards per attempt) or scampers after scrambles (third among NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards). And of course, none of this could be accomplished without the heroics of left tackle Russell Okung and his Seahawk strong offensive line (ninth in run blocking, according to Football Outsiders). But today’s Seahawks have a new dynamic in 2014, with a wide receiver corps that enters preseason relatively healthy and ready to contribute to the offense as never before. First you have Percy Harvin, who battled injuries all season long and didn’t get to show Seattle his greatness until the Super Bowl game (Harvin only had 20 snaps all year). Now add Sidney Rice and expect 2014 WEAKNESSES: • Injury-prone receivers, iffy guard play and three D-linemen gone SEATTLE double servings this year since he only played half a season last year. So on top of these two big additions through injury subtractions, the Seahawks now also return a yop 15 receiver in overachiever Doug Baldwin (+33.3 percent Defense-adjusted Value Over Average receiver off 73 passes), a potential breakout star receiver in Jermaine Kearse (+23.5 percent DVOA off 35 passes) and a solid tight end in Zach Miller (5 touchdowns). Granted, the Seahawks still probably won’t become a primary-pass team right away—Seattle ran 55 percent of the time in 2013—but you can expect the quality of their passing attack and play selection to significantly improve. The 2014 offensive model is what brilliant Coach Russell Wilson HARRY HOW/GETTY IMAGES SPORT Pete Carroll has been striving for all along. Offensive Player to Watch Lynch may be the team’s heart and soul, but Wilson has become the unquestioned leader, bringing Seattle to the promised land as Super Bowl champs in only his second year as the team’s leader. Whereas Lynch goes into Beast Mode to keep the chains moving with clutch fourth-quarter runs, Wilson figures to be just as prominent, going into Feast Mode, when opposing defenses key in on any specific aspect of his game. The mistake-free Wilson is about sharing the wealth. Nine different Seahawks caught touchdown passes in 2013. His running back, Lynch, had a dozen plunges into the end zone. And on QB keepers, Wilson has a TD to his name. You never know where it’s coming from, but you do know it’s coming, typically to the tune of 26 points per game.
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