Readiness factor: No team in the NFC West faces more roster-related work than Seattle once the league reopens for business. The team is entering the second season of a massive roster overhaul. More than two dozen players are headed for free agency, in many cases by design. The quarterback situation remains in flux. The lockout prevented the Seahawks from continuing their trend for draft-day trades under coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. That avenue for improvement was lost for good. Seattle will need some time to work through personnel changes.
Biggest challenge: The Seahawks could have a hard time upgrading their quarterback situation. Matt Hasselbeck appears on his way out, with Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson as a possible addition via free agency, according to ESPN's John Clayton. Charlie Whitehurst is unproven. Kevin Kolb could be too expensive for Seattle's tastes in terms of trade compensation and contract demands. I don't get the sense the Seahawks are all that concerned. They're building for the long term. My sense is that Carroll doesn't value quarterbacks the way he might if his background were on offense. Still, addressing the position is important. The task presents challenges.
What surprises await on the injury front? Seattle has suffered more than its share of injuries in recent seasons. A few top contributors, including left tackle Russell Okung and pass-rusher Chris Clemons, played through painful conditions last season. The lockout has prevented players from training and rehabbing at team facilities. Injury-related news updates have been scarce. Will the Seahawks be as healthy as they need to be given the state of their roster?
Key players without contracts for 2011: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, kicker Olindo Mare, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, tackle Sean Locklear, center Chris Spencer, cornerback Kelly Jennings, safety Lawyer Milloy, defensive end Raheem Brock, defensive tackle Craig Terrill, fullback Michael Robinson.