The Rams will travel to the Pacific Northwest on Thursday Night Football in Week 5, before welcoming Seattle to the Coliseum on Sunday Night Football in Week 14. Games between these two are always physical and there is no love lost in this divisional rivalry.
The Seahawks keep the same main coaching staff intact, with HC Pete Carroll, DC Ken Norton Jr and an old favourite of Rams fans (sarcasm) OC Brian Schottenheimer returning with hopes of reclaiming the NFC West crown they last won in 2016.
Seattle chose to remain quiet in the first phase free agency, instead concentrating on retaining some of their own players, including re-signing Russell Wilson to an NFL record deal to keep him under center for the next 4 years. They did, however, lose the remaining member of the Legion of Boom, Earl Thomas, to the Baltimore Ravens and chose to trade their best pass rusher in Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs, rather than sign him to a long-term deal. They did go on to sign former Detroit Lion DE Ziggy Ansah, who adds much needed pass rush help, on a one-year deal.
The Draft brought a couple of headline moves for the Seahawks. The first was selecting LJ Collier in the 1st Round to try and help fill the void left by Clark on the edge of their defensive line. They also drafted Wide Receiver DK Metcalf, who had an impressive Combine but slipped to the end of Round 2. Metcalf is a limited route runner but is a big vertical threat, and the Seahawks will only see the benefit of his skills if their offensive line can hold off opposing defenders long enough for Wilson to find him.
As Rams fans are fully aware, Seattle’s offense runs through and mostly is, Russell Wilson. He is one of the best QB’s in the league and without him, the Seahawks would have never reached the playoffs last season. Wilson will need his offensive line to keep him clean if they want to see the best of him. They improved last year thanks to new coaching but will still need to find another level. They will be hoping for more out of last years’ 1st Round pick, Rashad Penny, at Running Back to help take some of the load off Wilson and open up the passing game. Speaking of the passing game, it will be interesting to see how the Seahawks go about replacing the loss of their #1 Wide Receiver, Doug Baldwin. He was the go-to guy for Wilson and unfortunately has had to end his career prematurely due to injury. He was a do it all receiver who can’t be directly replaced with the limited route tree of Metcalf. Perhaps last years’ free agent signing, Ed Dickson, can mitigate some of that loss by becoming more involved at Tight End this season
On defense, there are a lot of questions to be answered. This is probably, on paper, the weakest Seattle defense in many years. The once feared Legion of Boom is decimated and with the loss of Frank Clark, they have lost their main source of pass rush. LJ Collier will be asked to get after the Quarterback, but it’s a tough ask to expect a rookie to replace Clark’s 13 sacks from last year. Ziggy Ansah could help out here, but he has struggled to stay healthy the past couple of years. Linebacker will be the strength of this unit, with KJ Wright returning to partner the outstanding Bobby Wagner at the second level. The secondary is without any major names for the first time in years, with Shaquill Griffin being the best remaining player in the defensive backfield. Pete Carroll will be hoping that this group can outplay their talent level in the second year in Ken Norton Jr’s defensive scheme.
They also have a punter that they keep going on about even though he’s not even the best in the Division…
Seattle will still be a tough game for any opponent in 2019. They are a well-coached team with a QB that can win games on his own. Overall, it appears to be the weakest Seahawks squad in some time, although, many people thought that was the case last year and they still made the playoffs.