2014 preview: Seahawks face uphill battle

What is in store for the Seattle Seahawks in 2014?

With football season around the corner, FOXSports.com is providing a thorough analysis of all 32 teams heading into training camp. The offseason may have lacked some hard-hitting action, but franchise-altering moves have been made. Parity is excessive as ever. Every team looks great on paper in July. But it's the development and seasoning of a team that will matter in January and, yes ... even February. Goodbye, offseason!

Today, we continue the series with the Seattle Seahawks.

2013 record: 13-3 overall (4-2 in NFC West, beat the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII

Head coach: Pete Carroll (entering fifth season)

Key departures: CB Brandon Browner, LB Chris Clemons, DL Red Bryant, WR Golden Tate, WR Sidney Rice

Key arrivals: WR Paul Richardson (second-round pick), DE Cassius Marsh (fourth-round pick)

THREE QUESTIONS

1. Who is catching passes from Russell Wilson?

The wide receiver position appears to be the Seahawks' biggest weakness at this stage. Yes, Percy Harvin is the healthiest he's been in, say, his entire career? Though, in the past two seasons -- one with the Minnesota Vikings and one with the Seahawks -- Harvin only has played in 10 regular season games. Despite showing signs of life in the Super Bowl win over the Broncos, Harvin has done very little to show anyone that he's capable of being an NFL No. 1. Harvin, in 2010, his best season as a pro, recorded 87 catches for 967 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers hardly are terrible, but they aren't exactly No. 1 wide receiver numbers, either.

For Harvin to truly have a breakout season, the Seahawks will need Doug Baldwin, who signed a three-year extension in the offseason, to start the season strong so opposing teams will limit the number of times they throw double coverage Harvin's way.

After those two, it's pretty up for grabs at this stage. Jermaine Kearse has the upper hand for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart, but don't count out 2014 second-round draft pick, Paul Richardson. Despite dealing with a shoulder injury, Richardson has played very well in camp and likely can -- and will -- be a big contributor this season. Two more names to watch for are Chris Matthews and Kevin Norwood, two rookies. Matthews was the CFL Player of the Year in 2012. Norwood, the team's fourth-round pick, has looked good in camp, but his progress certainly will be delayed after having surgery this week to remove a bone spur in his foot.

Generally speaking, we usually know if an NFL quarterback has franchise-like qualities within his first three years in the league. While there's no doubting Wilson's performance through his first two seasons, he's yet to crack the top-five list of quarterbacks in the NFL. Some will argue that Wilson has been more of a game manager since entering the league. If there ever were a chance for Wilson to silence those critics, now is that time.

2. Can Marshawn Lynch return to his 2013 form after holding out?

Few players are as controversial as Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks' bell-cow back is "just 'bout dat action, boss." Though, Lynch was 'bout very little action during the offseason and in the first few days of camp. After ending his holdout last week, Lynch has been slow to get back up to speed, according to head coach Pete Carroll. It's worth mentioning that Lynch played very little during the preseason in 2013, and then he went on to have a 1,200-plus yard season. So there might not be anything to worry about. On the other hand, heading into the 2013 season, Lynch hadn't just come off a holdout and, more importantly, he hadn't just won a Super Bowl.

If Lynch is slow to get back into game shape, the Seahawks' offense more than likely won't skip a beat. General manager John Schneider seemed perfectly content to allow Lynch to pout over his contract due to the presence of Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, who both have been champing at the bit to see more action. Perhaps this could be the year.

For more on the Seahawks' upcoming season, visit FOXSports.com


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