BY SPNW Staff 05:41PM 11/07/2011

After 502 transactions, Seahawks In Reverse

Over the past two years, the Seahawks have made more than 500 player transactions. For all of that, they’re one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Behind Marshawn Lynch's 135 yards, the Seahawks finally got their running game going Sunday, but managed just one touchdown. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

The Seahawks have completed half their schedule with a 2-6 record and stand in a next-to-last-place tie with Arizona in the historically weak NFC West. The Seahawks have not only played themselves out of a playoff berth (San Francisco is 7-1) about as fast as a team can possibly do it, but are en route to one of the lamer seasons in franchise history.

The Seahawks might not duplicate the 1992 team’s 2-14 record, the nadir of 35 years of NFL football in Seattle, but that’s only because they have two games with 1-7 St. Louis (Nov. 20, Dec. 12) and a rematch with the 2-6 Cardinals (Jan. 1). Based on the way the Seahawks have performed — or not performed — so far, those are the only winnable games remaining on Seattle’s schedule.

When head coach Pete Carroll, soon joined by GM John Schneider, replaced Jim Mora Jr. following the 2009 season, they set about on a personnel purge unprecedented in NFL annals. In 2010 alone, the Seahawks made 284 roster transactions. This year, by our count, Carroll and Schneider have made 218 more.

That’s 502 player moves (signings, cuts, trades, etc.) and counting, one of the great feats in wheel-spinning that now has the team traveling rapidly in reverse.

The Seahawks are worse now than when Carroll took over and launched his re-build of a franchise that already started to come apart under the stewardship of former GM Tim Ruskell (not one of Ruskell’s first-round draft picks, taken between 2005-09, remain on the team).

When Carroll took the Seahawks to training camp last July, he cited what he believed to be significant progress, saying, “We’re bigger, we’re stronger. What we tried to do from the outset is to make the depth chart on this roster more competitive from the bottom up — and it feels like that. We have more choices, we have more opportunities where guys can battle and compete for jobs that are going to make everybody feel pushed. That’s a great thing.”

Carroll apparently got the competition he sought, but the resulting product is about as ineffective as it can get.

Among the NFL’s 32 teams, the Seahawks rank 29th in total offense (296.1 yards per game), 29th in points scored (119, and just two touchdowns in the past three games) and first in the NFC with 70 penalties, including 10 more (for a season-high 88 yards) in a 23-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday. At the rate the Seahawks are going (or not going), these Seahawks will obliterate the franchise’s single-season record for total penalties (128), set in 1984.

At 8.75 per game (the 2007 Seahawks were penalized just 59 times in 16 games), the 2011 Seahawks are on pace for 140. On a per-game basis, these are/were the most-penalized Seahawks teams:

Year Coach Penalties Yards Avg./Game Record
2011 Pete Carroll 70 523 8.75 2-6
1984 Chuck Knox 128 1,179 8.0 12-4
1998 Dennis Erickson 117 914 7.3 8-8
1994 Tom Flores 114 898 7.1 6-10
1996 Dennis Erickson 112 879 7.0 7-9
1992 Tom Flores 111 918 6.9 2-14
1980 Jack Patera 109 902 6.8 4-12
1997 Dennis Erickson 109 911 6.8 8-8
1981 Jack Patera 106 823 6.6 6-10
1979 Jack Patera 104 903 6.5 9-7

On Sunday, the penalties — eight players were flagged, distributed  almost evenly — four against the offense, two against the defense and four on the special teams — and covered a multitude of infractions: holding (3 times), false starts (2), unsportsmanlike conduct (2), facemask (1), illegal block (1) and pass interference (1).

Monday, Carroll admitted a certain bewilderment to the flags and conceded they are “holding the Seahawks back.

“Making mistakes with the penalty situations has caused us problems, particularly in the last three weeks,” he said. “So we’ve got to clean that up and get rid of the turnovers and get these penalties worked in a manageable number where it’s not disrupting drives and setting us back.”

While Carroll acknowledged that penalties — and turnovers — were at the root of Seattle’s loss, quarterback play has been atrocious since a 36-25 win over the New York Giants in Week 5 that now almost defies belief, given that the Giants are leading the NFC East with a 6-2 record after beating Tom Brady and New England Sunday, 24-20.

After producing a more-than-respectable 86.6 passer rating against the Giants, Jackson (left in the third quarter with a pectoral injury) dropped to 69.1 against Cincinnati (34-12 loss in which he threw 40 passes), and to 40.4 against Dallas. Jackson threw three interceptions against the Cowboys after throwing six in his first six games.

“I had three turnovers and that’s just unacceptable,” Jackson said. “I just feel very sick with how I played.”

The (pec) injury might have had something to do with it, but Jackson, the 66th of Seattle’s 218 transactions this year, has pretty much tanked.


YourThoughts

  • Hawk_Eye

    If you knew anything about the Seahawks, they are a vastly improved from the team Ruskell left us with 2 years ago. They are bigger and faster. We have been in every game this year with the exception of the Pittsburg game. To say we are in reverse, you don’t know what the crap your talking about!

  • Hawk_Eye

    If you knew anything about the Seahawks, they are a vastly improved from the team Ruskell left us with 2 years ago. They are bigger and faster. We have been in every game this year with the exception of the Pittsburg game. To say we are in reverse, you don’t know what the crap your talking about!

  • Cruddly

    I don’t know what you guys were expecting this year.  I guess that fluke playoff run last year raised everyone’s expectations — everyone except Carrol and Schneider, they knew better and blew up the roster.  Since then we have seen great improvement in many positions, except the most crucial, quarterback.  And this huge flaw could eventually bring this franchise down if something isn’t done about it. 
    That huge problem aside, I love seeing the Seahawks finally emphasizing  defense and giving  the 12th man something to make some noise about. There is just something cool about having a team known for its defense, even in this age of the elite quarterbacks.
    Nobody likes losing, but to suddenly accuse this franchise of going in the wrong direction is just short sighted.  Everyone agrees that even the much maligned and rookie laden offensive line showed improvement in the losing effort against Dallas by not giving up a sack, and by allowing Lynch to run for over 100 yards.  
    Okay, so they aren’t going to the Super Bowl this year.  Relax, the Mariners are just around the corner.

  • Cruddly

    I don’t know what you guys were expecting this year.  I guess that fluke playoff run last year raised everyone’s expectations — everyone except Carrol and Schneider, they knew better and blew up the roster.  Since then we have seen great improvement in many positions, except the most crucial, quarterback.  And this huge flaw could eventually bring this franchise down if something isn’t done about it. 
    That huge problem aside, I love seeing the Seahawks finally emphasizing  defense and giving  the 12th man something to make some noise about. There is just something cool about having a team known for its defense, even in this age of the elite quarterbacks.
    Nobody likes losing, but to suddenly accuse this franchise of going in the wrong direction is just short sighted.  Everyone agrees that even the much maligned and rookie laden offensive line showed improvement in the losing effort against Dallas by not giving up a sack, and by allowing Lynch to run for over 100 yards.  
    Okay, so they aren’t going to the Super Bowl this year.  Relax, the Mariners are just around the corner.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure why the total number of transactions is such a “go to” line for pundits. Who cares really? Sure, Seattle is one of the worst teams in the league. But Hawk_Eye and Cruddly hit the nail on the head by basically responding with, well, duh! That’s kinda what happens in year 2 of a complete rebuild. The question worth writing about is whether Schneider and Carroll are building the team the right way.

    The vast majority of Schneider’s transactions have been to raise the baseline level of talent–the talent at the bottom of the roster. Our defensive ends used to be Lawrence Jackson and Darryl Tapp, backed up by Jason Babin. Now our ends are Red Bryant and Chris Clemons, backed up by Raheem Brock. In terms of performance relative to price I’d say we made out rather well. LoJack and Tapp have done nothing. Babin has been a revelation now that he’s in a scheme with no run responsibility, but I’d say he’s offset by what we’ve found in Bryant (who is playing at a near Pro-Bowl level).

    As for Jackson/Whitehurst, they couldn’t have made it more obvious that they’re both “Mr. Right Now” unless they hung a sign around them with those words. Right now, I’d rather have TJax doing no worse than Kevin Kolb for what Arizona paid. 

  • dcrockett17

    I’m not sure why the total number of transactions is such a “go to” line for pundits. Who cares really? Sure, Seattle is one of the worst teams in the league. But Hawk_Eye and Cruddly hit the nail on the head by basically responding with, well, duh! That’s kinda what happens in year 2 of a complete rebuild. The question worth writing about is whether Schneider and Carroll are building the team the right way.

    The vast majority of Schneider’s transactions have been to raise the baseline level of talent–the talent at the bottom of the roster. Our defensive ends used to be Lawrence Jackson and Darryl Tapp, backed up by Jason Babin. Now our ends are Red Bryant and Chris Clemons, backed up by Raheem Brock. In terms of performance relative to price I’d say we made out rather well. LoJack and Tapp have done nothing. Babin has been a revelation now that he’s in a scheme with no run responsibility, but I’d say he’s offset by what we’ve found in Bryant (who is playing at a near Pro-Bowl level).

    As for Jackson/Whitehurst, they couldn’t have made it more obvious that they’re both “Mr. Right Now” unless they hung a sign around them with those words. Right now, I’d rather have TJax doing no worse than Kevin Kolb for what Arizona paid. 

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  • zippy

    right on for the offense- bu why does every story ignore significant progress on the defense– half the game, right?
    they find an elite slinger in the draft (seahawks have never had one) and they are right back in the mix. There likley is a franchise QB somewhere in the draft other than Luck- the trick is to figure out who that will be– I’m thinking Foles.

  • zippy

    right on for the offense- bu why does every story ignore significant progress on the defense– half the game, right?
    they find an elite slinger in the draft (seahawks have never had one) and they are right back in the mix. There likley is a franchise QB somewhere in the draft other than Luck- the trick is to figure out who that will be– I’m thinking Foles.

  • thxNJ7Z

    As for the roster rebuilding, I remember Sonic fans crying foul over Sam Presti’s demolition and rebuilding “the’re ruining the team on purpose so they can get out of town!” – No, they had a plan, and now the Thunder are a playoff calliber team. The Seahawks are on the same path, we will just have to wait and see if they get simmilar results. As for the coaching, young teams make mistakes, but the lack of apparent discipline is concerning.

  • thxNJ7Z

    As for the roster rebuilding, I remember Sonic fans crying foul over Sam Presti’s demolition and rebuilding “the’re ruining the team on purpose so they can get out of town!” – No, they had a plan, and now the Thunder are a playoff calliber team. The Seahawks are on the same path, we will just have to wait and see if they get simmilar results. As for the coaching, young teams make mistakes, but the lack of apparent discipline is concerning.

  • http://twitter.com/kingwabbit Jeff Shope

    Can’t blame this mess on Ruskell anymore

  • http://twitter.com/kingwabbit Jeff Shope

    Can’t blame this mess on Ruskell anymore

  • http://twitter.com/kingwabbit Jeff Shope

    The vast majority of Schneider’s transactions have been to raise the baseline level of talent- dcrockett  u mean like at QB?  Trojanman and Bo Duke gave up how much again for clipboard jesus who can’t beat out Tjack who is the worst so called starter in the NFL? 

  • http://twitter.com/kingwabbit Jeff Shope

    The vast majority of Schneider’s transactions have been to raise the baseline level of talent- dcrockett  u mean like at QB?  Trojanman and Bo Duke gave up how much again for clipboard jesus who can’t beat out Tjack who is the worst so called starter in the NFL? 

  • effzee

    “There likley is a franchise QB somewhere in the draft other than Luck- the trick is to figure out who that will be” – I think they found him. :D