Let the scrutiny begin of snakebit Seahawks
Forget the playoffs, the Seahawks must use the rest of this awful season to evaluate what they need to do to get ready for 2010.
Seattle Times staff columnist
Detroit @ Seahawks, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13, 710 AM, 97.3 FM
For the slumping, snakebitten Seahawks, the only thing scarcer than victories is sympathy.
They must've used up their supply of understanding last season. If the public took the 2008 season as an aberration, it considers this one abhorrent. It's never pleasant when portions of a fan base start needing anger-management counseling. Everyone from Tim Ruskell to T.J. Houshmandzadeh is catching grief. One fan even put up an ad on Craigslist to sell his Matt Hasselbeck jersey.
No, outrage does not make for good business decisions.
The woeful Detroit Lions visit Qwest Field today, and besides wondering how cheap those Lions jerseys might go for on Craigslist (Fiddy cents going once, twice?), you're left to survey the early-season wreckage and ponder why you should even bother with the nine remaining games this season.
Well, for starters, to find out how this team responds now that seemingly everyone and everything is tugging against them?
How about to discover what the players are truly all about and which ones will prove useful as the Seahawks rebuild?
Coach Jim Mora had his say this past week, calling out his team, challenging his players, warning them about possible firings. Tuesday, the Seahawks released several players, including the struggling future Hall of Famer Edgerrin James. It was a move they likely would've made without Mora's strong words, but if the players took it as the organization sending a message, so be it.
"We've definitely been put on notice that the scrutiny is going to go up," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said.
Scrutiny is the perfect word to frame the remaining of this season.
It's all about scrutiny. Don't think about the last nine games from the perspective of whether the Seahawks can make a miracle save and return to the playoffs. Think of it as a long period of evaluation.
It's obvious the Seahawks will make significant changes in the offseason. But how many? And who will go? Who will stay? That's what we're about to find out.
In his lectures about accountability and competitiveness, in his warnings about changes, Mora is essentially sending out that message. The Seahawks are an indecipherable team right now. Even with the injuries, they have enough talent to perform better. But they're 2-5, and what's worse, they're not consistently good at anything. They're a hodgepodge of potential, frustration and misfortune — and everyone is tired of hearing about how unlucky they are and how they're just a few plays from being a solid football team.
That is a loser's lament. And the Seahawks are better than that.
I'm telling you, as crazy as it sounds, there are winners, many winners, in the locker room. If you could observe how professionally they prepare and how well they practice most of the time, you'd realize that claims of this team quitting are erroneous. But they're still losing.
So it's time to evaluate. Can Hasselbeck stay healthy and prove he still has it? Can Julius Jones defy the belief that he's not a legitimate starting running back? Can Houshmandzadeh figure out — and accept — his role in this offense?
Can the offensive line make progress? Can Patrick Kerney stay healthy? Can defensive end Lawrence Jackson keep up his strong start, and can Darryl Tapp be more consistent?
Will the secondary sort itself out? Will Deion Branch, who likely won't be here next season, finish his injury-plagued tenure strong? Will rookie linebacker Aaron Curry develop into a true force?
Who on this indecipherable team will stand up and be recognized?
Over the next nine games, we won't just learn what the Seahawks have. We'll learn what they don't have, and those players will be replaced. In addition to wins and losses, the Seahawks' record should include breakthroughs and breakdowns. The game within the game packs as much intrigue as the game itself.
This is the ultimate pride check.
When this season ends, fans won't be disappointed about roster turnover. After watching this team go 6-17 the past season and a half, they'll support any necessary changes, even if they involve their favorites. The losing must stop. The anger must stop before it shifts to apathy.
Who will go? Who will stay? The discovery mission starts now. The Seahawks have plenty to play for, and despite their record, the stakes are high enough to keep you invested.
Let the scrutiny begin.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or email@example.com, Twitter: @Jerry_Brewer
About Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
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