Fan Noise: "Danger Zone"

There are troubling signs afoot off the playing field that next year's Seattle Seahawks might be vastly different than the team playing on the field we watched on Monday. And change, in this instance, will not necessarily be a good thing.

The Seattle Seahawks are in serious trouble. Deep, deep, trouble.

I’m not simply referring to the recent collapse on Monday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys.

The team is quite frankly in a crisis of epic proportions. Some of them are game play related, others are much more sinister. Let’s go over the game play side first.

We’ve all seen the games. The blown leads. The debacles. The embarrassments. The defense and special teams have reverted to Keystone Cops stand-ins. The offense is the only saving grace to what otherwise would’ve been the titanic collapse all around. The few bright spots rested mainly on the offensive side of the ball. Thirty-nine points scored by anyone in this league is usually good enough to win a game, but unpardonable gaffes by both the defense and special teams have mired this team into yet another blown year of “what could have been”. True, most of the issues are injury related, but not all of it. The much debated decision during training camp and the off season to rest our fortunes on three average middle linebackers has come back to haunt the team. That’s a front office problem. Now, our front seven features three players that are quite frankly playing way over their heads – and quite badly to boot.

The season is over. Oh, sure, the team will continue to play, and make an effort to resurrect this long-sunk ship, but let’s face it, this team’s defense and special teams just won’t be able to stop anyone, and our offense, as awe inspiring as it can be, won’t be able to generate enough points to overcome any deficit the other two thirds of the team leaves them.

Having said all of this, the real crisis isn’t the fact the season is over – it’s the fact that come this off season, we’re going to lose the best players of the remaining one third of our team that has been lovingly built and actually performing well.

The Monday night game displayed what our team is capable of when the receivers are the play makers. I don’t recall seeing one dropped pass by our receiver corps that was due to lack of focus. We had our featured number one running back drop two inexplicable passes, and a young receiver have the ball stripped from him, but the tandem of Jerry Rice and Darrell Jackson simply had the best games of the year. Matt Hasselbeck had a career day as well. The offensive line provided decent protection. The running game had problems, but only because Dallas focused on stopping Shaun Alexander so much. Five hundred yards of offense (with 80 per cent of it through the air) is an amazing display of timing and execution.

So, please bear with me, if I shiver in dread as to what could very well happen once free agency starts next spring.

How would you like to see next year’s offense hit the field without your current starting quarterback, running back, left tackle, tight end (Mili), center, and right guard? Would you REALLY want to see Koren Robinson back as your #1 receiver? Our offense is arguably better without him, if the game against Dallas is any indication. And finally, to complete the puzzle – do you, as a fan, have any faith whatsoever that Trader Bob Whitsitt will find a way to keep this offense largely intact? Why, for Pete’s sake? Why would you think that, when the defense has so many problems in so many key positions? The cap space isn’t going to allow that to happen.

The only constant in the NFL is change. That’s ok when issues occur when they are out of your control. It is frankly criminal, however, to allow little problems balloon into huge issues through neglect. That’s where this team is headed.

If this team finishes out the season 6-10 (highly likely) does it spell the end of the Holmgren Seahawks era? It very well could, and that would be the most criminal act of all. While a lion’s share of the blame could rest at Holmgren’s feet – after all, the majority of player decisions (draft picks, FA signings, etc) have been his, the future of this team isn’t. Holmgren is an offensive genius, and has admitted that he doesn’t know (or care) about defense and special teams coaching – it’s not his forte. He has built a juggernaut of an offense (when the players actually focus and execute) and to fire him AND tear it all apart means the Seahawks faithful will have yet another dark period of hopelessness to face. More rebuilding. More mediocrity, at best.

So, what does this all mean? It means, dear readers, all of our hope and faith rest on one man’s narrow shoulders to fix things, and fix thing right. And I shudder at the mere thought of having someone of Trader Bob’s – ahem – business prowess holding all of the keys. The fact that with only four regular season games remaining, and not one of the Seahawk’s free agents have been signed can only mean one thing. At the end of the season, this whole team will be blown up, from top to bottom, and we’ll start over, yet again.

Face it, Mike Homgren is fired. Matt isn’t offered a contract simply because he was a product of Mike Holmgren’s system. Walter Jones isn’t tagged and walks chasing his rainbow payday. Shaun Alexander – ditto, wanting to play some place where he’ll be more appreciated in both fan adoration and Benjamins. Chike Okeafor signs somewhere else. Poor Grant Wistrom is left to anchor yet another pathetic defensive line that can’t generate a pass rush at a Norstrom holiday sale. Our special teams manage to get back up to mediocre (from dreadful). Bob Whitsitt goes on a spending spree, blowing what little we have left of our cap space on a handful of free agents but with so many holes to fill, it’s like tossing a handful of sand back in the ocean.

It’s also the height of irony that Vinnie Testaverde is directly responsible for two Seahawks head coaches losing their jobs over bogus officiating.

But, as a Seahawks fan, can you expect anything else?

Glenn Geiss writes the Fan Noise column for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to send him feedback at Top Stories