NFL Nation: Seattle Seahawks

Looking at Seahawks' offseason needs

February, 25, 2015
Feb 25
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ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount talks about the team's outlook at several positions heading into 2015.
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll gave a long explanation about the Super Bowl hangover and how they are moving past the disappointment.

Carroll
Carroll
"We’re forging on," Carroll said Friday while speaking to reporters at the NFL scouting combine at Indianapolis. "We shared the experience with the world. And in that, I feel there is a responsibility for us to really extend the message of accountability. And that’s getting to the truth of what happened and being prepared to move onward constructively, productively and immediately as soon as you possibly can.

"We’re not into this world of blaming and fixing blame and trying to figure out what went wrong. That’s already been dealt with and now it’s time to move on. We’re charging forward. We feel like we’re just in the middle of everything. We have a very exciting football team and a very young crowd of guys."

Carroll said they will go through the same process as if they had won Super Bowl XLIX.

"I don’t feel any differently this year," Carroll said. "As soon as the game is over, regardless of what the outcome was, we go back to doing what we do. What we hope to do is not let what just happened affect our ability to produce at a really high level as we move forward, whether it was a win or a loss. I’ve been saying that for years.

"We want to always know how to deal with it, so this is one of those challenges. We’re a very unique team right now. You saw us win it all [a year ago] and you saw us go all the way to the last moment and not get what you want."

Carroll said only one thing matters now.

"What are we going to do now? Wait and see," Carroll said. "We’re going to go about it the way we always do. We have a very strong philosophy and a very committed approach to how we will use the mentality it takes to keep pushing and keep getting better. There is no other way. How we’ll respond, we’ll find out.

"This is an exciting, wonderful time for us. We’re going to make the very most of it and take it as far as we can. We are in a situation that’s notable because of the way our game finished coming off the Super Bowl. There’s a lot going on here for us to grow from and to learn from."
Chancellor
1. No surgery for Chancellor, but possible surgery for Simon: Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll confirmed to reporters Friday that strong safety Kam Chancellor will not need surgery on the torn MCL in his knee. On Thursday, Seattle general manager John Schneider said he was uncertain of Chancellor’s status. Carroll also confirmed that cornerback Richard Sherman will not need surgery for the ligament damage in his left elbow. However, Carroll said it’s possible cornerback Tharold Simon will need surgery on his shoulder, which he dislocated late in the season. That’s more bad news for a banged-up secondary that includes the upcoming shoulder surgery for free safety Earl Thomas and ACL surgery for nickelback Jeremy Lane, which likely will keep him out until close to midseason in 2015.

2. Richard will call the defensive plays: Carroll said new defensive coordinator Kris Richard will make the defensive calls next season. Richard, who was the secondary coach, takes over for Dan Quinn, who took the head coaching job at Atlanta. Richard is only 35, but widely viewed as a rising star in the NFL coaching ranks and a likely head coach in the future.

3. 'Big offer' to Lynch: That’s how Carroll described what they have told Marshawn Lynch's representatives about a contract extension. “I haven’t talked to Marshawn," Carroll said. "But we have been negotiating in earnest for a great deal of time now to get Marshawn back with us. It’s been an ongoing, long process and we’ve had big offers out there and continue to work with that. We’re excited about the future. He’s been an integral part of our program. We would like to move it ahead swiftly. It’s such a big deal to get our elite players intact and we’re working at that now.”

4. Miller recovering well: Carroll said tight end Zach Miller, who played only three games last season, is making good progress after undergoing two ankle surgeries. Carroll expects Miller to be ready for training camp. But is he coming back? Miller will be a $4 million cap hit in 2015. He could become a cap casualty.

5. Moving forward from the disappointment: Carroll admitted he was emotionally drained after the heartbreaking Super Bowl loss. “We’re not into this world of blaming and fixing blame and trying to figure out what went wrong," Carroll said. "That’s already been dealt with and now it’s time to move on. We’re charging forward. We feel like we’re just in the middle of everything. We have a very exciting football team and a very young crowd of guys. This is an exciting, wonderful time for us. We’re going to make the very most of it and take it as far as we can.”
Has there ever been a player who said less and was heard more than Marshawn Lynch?

This man of few words certainly has a way of getting his message across to the people who need to know. And what is that message from the enigmatic Seattle Seahawks running back?

“I’m going to keep you guessing.”

Lynch didn’t actually say those words, but that’s his current mantra, open to interpretation, of course, from the man who is sitting back and playing a game of mystery about his intentions.

The guessing game on Lynch is whether he will walk away from the game saying, “I’m all about retirement, boss.” It seems like a preposterous notion for a player at the top of his game with millions of dollars on the table for him to return.

[+] EnlargeMarshawn Lynch
AP Photo/Matt YorkMarshawn Lynch is keeping everybody, including the Seahawks, guessing about his future.
But we’re taking about Lynch, a man who makes preposterous seem routine.

“He’s a guy that kind of just beats his own drum,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. “He does what he wants. He would never let you know one way or the other. There have been a lot of great running backs who just walked away. I have no idea. We’d like to know soon.”

Whatever you think The Beast of Bizarre will do, he will probably do just the opposite. In this case, that would mean he will quit because the vast majority of people think it’s all a bluff.

As unpredictable as Lynch is, I don’t see him walking away from more than $10 million of guaranteed money. Lynch is on the books for $7 million in 2015, the final year of his current contract.

The Seahawks, however, have made it clear they are willing to extend Lynch’s deal in some fashion to entice him to return. Without going into all the mathematical intricacies of how that might work, a new deal would guarantee him more money (probably $10 million to $11 million overall), whether he played past 2015 or not.

“He’s the ultimate teammate,” Schneider said of Lynch. “He’d really be missed. He hasn’t given us an indication that he would leave. I was asked if it would surprise me, and it wouldn’t, just based on the individual. That’s a hard job he has.”

Lynch might be hard to figure out, but he’s not walking away from that kind of money. It can help fund his foundation for underprivileged children in his hometown of Oakland, California, something that is near and dear to his heart.

Regardless of what Lynch decides, the Seahawks have to look to their future as a team without him. Lynch will be starting his ninth NFL season in 2015. In the past four years, he has 1,181 carries for 5,357 yards in the regular season, playing 63 games. That doesn’t include eight playoff games over that span, with 164 more carries for 784 yards.

For a man who runs with such a powerful and punishing style, it takes a huge toll on his body. Lynch has back issues that keep him from practicing most days during the season. It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to realize he can’t carry that workload and produce at that level much longer.

So the Seattle organization has to look ahead with two questions: Does it have the players in place who can get the job done when Lynch leaves? Does it need to draft a top running back for the future?

I'm of the opinion (a minority opinion, I realize) that this team can continue to play at a championship level without Lynch in the future.

Robert Turbin has rushed for 928 yards on 231 carries in his three seasons with the Seahawks. If you were to project that out over the average number of carries Lynch has had in those three seasons, Turbin would have rushed for an average of 1,201 yards per season. Lynch averaged 1,384 yards in those three seasons.

Consider the last two seasons with Christine Michael as the third running back. In that span, Turbin and Michael rushed for 564 yards on 126 carries. Lynch rushed for 2,563 yards the past two seasons. If you project the same number of carries for Turbin and Michael combined, based on their rushing totals in 2013 and 2014, they would have rushed for 2,600 yards as a duo.

Listen, I’m not trying to prove Turbin and Michael could be Lynch. No one can. He’s a once-in-a-generation type of running back, a relentless, fearless ball carrier who gives you everything he has on every play.

Nobody knows whether Turbin or Michael could handle the workload Lynch has endured. And some of their carries came at times when the game was decided. Turbin and Michael have not played enough to know what they could do, but the stats indicate they could play well because Seattle is a team built around a power-running offense with strong run-blockers.

“Robert’s a great player because he’s so knowledgeable about the position,” Schneider said Thursday. “He can just step in the game and roll. He has more experience than Christine, but we expect big things from him moving forward.”

If the Seahawks feel unsure of the capabilities of those two backs, they could look toward the draft this year.

“I personally think this is a pretty good crop at running back this year,” Schneider said.

Todd Gurley of Georgia is a Lynch type of runner and would have been the first running back taken in 2015, but he’s coming off ACL surgery. Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin likely won’t be around when Seattle picks at No. 31, but Indiana running back Tevin Coleman is rising on draft boards as a bruising runner with unlimited potential.

Lynch is going to keep everyone guessing about his future for a while longer, but whatever he decides, Seattle has to move on and make decisions about the future without him.

“He’s a heartbeat guy," Schneider said. “When you have a guy like that, you are going to do everything you can to let him go to work. He needs a little time to hit the reset button. I’ve talked to his people a bunch. He knows we want him to play.”
1. Lane needs more surgery: Along with the horrible arm fracture nickelback Jeremy Lane suffered after his interception in the Super Bowl, he also injured a knee and will need surgery that could cause him to miss the start of the 2015 season. Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider told reporters Thursday that Lane injured his knee on the same play.

[+] EnlargeMarshawn Lynch
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsThe Seahawks do not know what Marshawn Lynch plans to do next season.
2. Thomas could miss part of training camp and the 2015 preseason: Schneider said free safety Earl Thomas hasn’t had the surgery yet to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but the rehab probably will cause Thomas to miss part of training camp and the preseason. But Schneider thinks Thomas will be ready to go by the start of the regular season. Schneider said they still don’t know if strong safety Kam Chancellor will need knee surgery on his torn MCL. Schneider said it’s “iffy” that wide receiver Paul Richardson will be ready to play for the start of next season after undergoing ACL surgery last month.

3. Still no decision from Lynch: Schneider said it’s still a waiting game on whether running back Marshawn Lynch will play in 2015 or retire.He’s a guy that kind of just beats his own drum,” Schneider said. “He does what he wants. He would never let you know one way or the other. There have been a lot of great running backs who just walked away. I have no idea. We’d like to know soon.”

4. Maxwell could be a goner: Schneider admits it will be tough to keep free agent cornerback Byron Maxwell. “Byron’s one of ours and it would be hard to see him leave, but I would think his market would be pretty strong,” Schneider said. With Maxwell’s possible departure and all the injuries in the secondary, expect for the Seahawks to look hard at cornerbacks and safeties in the draft.

5. No franchise tag: Not a surprise, but Schneider confirmed Thursday that the Seahawks will not use a franchise tag on anyone this year. They have two big-money contracts on the horizon, the likely $100 million deal for quarterback Russell Wilson and a new contract for middle linebacker Bobby Wagner that could exceed $40 million.
1. No Fitzgerald in Seattle: There were rumors that the Seattle Seahawks might be interested in signing wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald if he didn't work out his contract situation with the Arizona Cardinals. That speculation ended Wednesday when Fitzgerald agreed to a new two-year deal with the Cardinals. Fitzgerald and Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman are close friends and would have loved being teammates, but it's not to be.

2. No Harvin decision yet by Jets: The Seahawks are waiting to learn if they will get a fourth-round draft choice or a sixth-rounder from the New York Jets, depending on the decision the Jets make on receiver Percy Harvin. The Seahawks traded Harvin to the Jets last October for a conditional draft choice. If the Jets keep him for 2015, the Seahawks get a fourth-round pick this year. If they don't, it's a sixth-round choice. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said they haven't decided, but they might try to restructure Harvin's deal to keep him. Harvin is scheduled to make $10.5 million in 2015.

3. University of Minnesota TE will talk to Seahawks: Maxx Williams, regarded as one of the top tight ends in this year's draft, told the Seattle Times that he will meet with Seahawks officials this week as one of 21 teams talking to him at the combine. Williams (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) is viewed as an excellent pass catcher with good speed. He had 36 receptions and eight touchdowns last season, including nine catches of more than 25 yards. He is viewed as a late first round of early second draft pick.

Receiver, running back among Seahawks' needs

February, 18, 2015
Feb 18
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ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter Terry Blount talks about the combine and the team's needs at several positions.
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A closer look at the areas the Seattle Seahawks could address in the draft. Today we'll look at the running backs, who are scheduled to work out Saturday in Indianapolis.

Position of need: Running back. This is all about the mysterious Marshawn Lynch and what he decides to do. Frankly, I think it's highly unlikely he would retire, but the Seahawks still need to look to the future since Lynch will be starting his ninth NFL season. It's a point where many running start to hit the wall, so to speak, especially when they run with such a physically punishing style like Lynch does. Backup Robert Turbin has played well when he's been in the game, and Christine Michael has promise, but neither has played enough to really know what they could do as a full-time starter.

Three players the Seahawks could target in the draft:

Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (6-1, 215): Most mock drafts have Gordon going between 18 to 28 in the first round, so he might not make it to the Seahawks at 31. But considering how running backs have been devalued in recent years, you never know. Gordon's burst at the line of scrimmage is unmatched by anyone. He gets to the point of attack with such quickness that he often reaches the second level before the men on the line know he's by them. But he doesn't always trust his blocking, something that won't fly in offensive line coach Tom Cable's system. And Gordon does put the ball on the turf at times, a big no-no in the Seahawks' philosophy.

Todd Gurley, Georgia (6-1, 225): He would have been long gone by the end of the first round if not the torn ACL he suffered last season, which will cause a lot of teams to shy away. But assuming he comes back healthy, Gurley is the closest thing to a Lynch-type runner in this draft. Before his injury last season, 62 percent of his rushing yards came after first contact. But he's a bit impatient at times, not unusual for young running backs, and he needs to learn to trust his blockers.

Tevin Coleman, Indiana (6-1, 210): A true downhill runner, just the way the Seahawks like it. Like Lynch, he loves contact and isn't afraid to pound right into would-be tacklers. He's fearless with the ball in his hands and can stiff-arm his way past defenders when running wide. He runs a little too upright at times, but he never gives up on a play and runs with reckless abandon. Coleman could be a real sleeper in this draft. He'll get a long look at the combine.
A closer look at the areas the Seattle Seahawks could address in the draft. We'll get started today with a look at the offensive line, which is scheduled to work out Friday in Indianapolis.

Position of need: Guard and tackle. Starting left guard James Carpenter is a free agent after the Seahawks elected to let him play out the final year of his rookie contract. Carpenter had his best season in 2014, good enough that will get him some offers elsewhere. Regardless of what happens with Carpenter, the O-line remains a weak link on a very good team, as far as pass blocking is concerned, so upgrading in that area is a must.

Three players the Seahawks could target in the draft:

A.J. Cann, guard, South Carolina: Seahawks offensive coach Tom Cable loves a player like Cann, who is a drive blocker that stays engaged with an opponent and will pancake him into the turf if need be. And he rarely gets out-muscled inside, holding defensive tackles at bay when they try to rush the passer. Cann was a four-year starter for the Gamecocks and viewed as a very disciplined player who was rarely penalized, definitely the type of guy the Seahawks could use up front.

Tre' Jackson, guard, Florida State: A mountain of a man at 6-4, 325. He is known for an aggressive mindset and can hold his ground in pass protection when he's bull rushed. Like Carpenter, Jackson is a guy who can eat his way out of shape in a hurry if he isn't careful. He relies on his brute strength and needs to improve on his technique.

La'el Collins, tackle, LSU: A bit iffy that he would fall to them at the end of the first round, but if he's there, the Seahawks should forget about trading down and grab him. Collins is a brawler at 6-5, 320, a guy who plays mean and angry. He loves to intimidate opponents. He's an excellent pass blocker and technically sound, but some question whether he has the foot quickness to play left tackle in the NFL. The point is he can play and probably start immediately somewhere up front, so don't pass him up if he's there at No. 31.
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A closer look at the areas the Seattle Seahawks could address in the draft. We'll get started Monday with a look at the wide receivers. They are scheduled to work out Saturday in Indianapolis.

Position of need: Wide receiver. The Seahawks may have found something at the Super Bowl in the amazing performance of Chris Matthews (6-5, 220), but it's likely they still look for a receiver early in the draft, especially with 2014 rookie Paul Richardson going through an ACL rehab.

Three players the Seahawks could target in the draft:

Sammie Coates (WR), Auburn: He's a legitimate deep threat with good size (6-2, 215). Coates is known for his ability to get the jump on corners off the line of scrimmage when they try to challenge him in press coverage. His athleticism is off the charts, but he did drop balls he should have caught in the college career.

Jaelen Strong (WR), Arizona State: His last name definitely fits. Strong can catch the ball in traffic and outmuscle defenders for it. At 6-3, 212, he's tough and physical. He caught 82 passes for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014 for the Sun Devils. But he needs to run well at the combine. His speed is so-so at 4.55.

Phillip Dorsett (WR), Miami: This is who ESPN's Mel Kiper had the Seahawks taking in his Mock 2.0 draft last week. Dorsett may be the fastest player in this year's draft with legitimate 4.3 speed, but he's small (5-9 1/2, 185). The Seahawks have their share of small receivers, but Dorsett is explosive and can get separation.
Time to heal.

Those three words could be the offseason theme for the Seattle Seahawks, who need to heal physically as well as mentally. And it’s going to be a slow process.

The painful way the Seahawks lost in Super Bowl XLIX does not go away overnight. QB Russell Wilson's ill-fated pass at the end will be second-guessed for years.

[+] EnlargeKam Chancellor
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsKam Chancellor, who played in the Super Bowl with a torn MCL, is one of several Seahawks who are recovering from major injuries.
And it still hurts for fans, for players, for coaches, and everyone involved in a team that was close to winning back-to-back Super Bowls.

“Like everybody else, we’re licking our wounds a little bit and trying to move forward," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Tuesday on 710 ESPN Seattle radio. “It's always going to sting. But we always talk around here that there is no finish line. We're moving forward and we have a plan in place and we're going to keep attacking it."

One question people keep asking is whether the disappointment of such a heartbreaking loss will linger for the players and cause them to lose focus or lack confidence moving forward.

Anyone who thinks that's the case just doesn’t know or understand the makeup of this team and these players.

“This is a young, resilient football team,” Schneider said. ‘‘They are very confident and very prideful. I just have the confidence that we’re going to get this thing back on track.”

Actually, it isn’t really off track. The team was one play away from winning the Super Bowl on Feb. 1. But Schneider’s point is that one disheartening moment will not define the Seahawks.

“There are challenges, absolutely,’’ Schneider said. “But to have a head coach like Pete Carroll and players who are true competitors, I think we have a great shot to be a championship-caliber team for a long time.”

To do that, this team has to get over the mental anguish of the Super Bowl loss and use it as motivation. No team is better than this one when the players feel like they have something to overcome. They proved it in 2014 when they were 6-4 and ran the table down the stretch.

The Super Bowl hangover is not an issue. The real issue is getting healthy again. This is a banged-up bunch of guys, starting with the Legion of Boom. All three Pro Bowl-honored players ended the season hurt.

Free safety Earl Thomas is having a torn labrum repaired in his shoulder. Strong safety Kam Chancellor played the Super Bowl with a torn MCL in his left knee. And cornerback Richard Sherman has a torn ligament in his left elbow. Fortunately, he will not need surgery, but his recovery will take time. And nickelback Jeremy Lane had surgery to repair a complete fracture in his left arm suffered in the Super Bowl. His recovery will take several months.

And that’s just the beginning. Nose tackle Brandon Mebane is coming back from a torn hamstring. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who broke out in the second half of the season, ended the year on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Tight end Zach Miller is coming off ankle surgery after playing only three games in 2014. Fullback Derrick Coleman is coming back from a fractured foot.

“We had a number of injuries this year,” Schneider said. “I’m really excited for some of our younger guys to get back out there and show their true worth.”

The Seahawks need to learn some things about a few 2014 rookies who are coming off injuries. Big things were expected of defensive end Cassius Marsh and outside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis. Marsh played only five games before breaking his foot. Pierre-Louis played in only seven games because of hamstring and shoulder problems.

Wide receiver Paul Richardson, the team’s top draft pick in 2014, finally was showing his talent in the second half of the season before suffering a torn ACL in the first playoff game. It’s unlikely he’ll be ready to go for the start of next season.

How quickly all these players recover and how much some of the younger players can step up and contribute will be big factors in how the Seahawks perform in 2015. Salary-cap implications mean tough decisions are coming about some players, like Mebane and Miller.

As was the case last year, the Seahawks will lose some quality players through free agency. Cornerback Byron Maxwell will be tough to keep, but Schneider thinks the organization is better prepared to replace the losses this year.

“We feel like this is an attractive place,’’ Schneider said. “There are a lot of guys that may want to play here that would fit specific needs, and a lot of guys we’d like to have back. We have to make smart decisions as we move along.”

That’s always the case, but the main thing the Seahawks have to do heading into next season is to heal up, mentally and physically.

“I’m proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished,” Schneider said. “We want to be a consistent championship-caliber football team that our fans are extremely proud of all the time.”

 
Nine days later, Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said the grief over the end of Super Bowl XLIX continues to linger.

"Like everybody else, we're licking our wounds a little bit and trying to move forward," Schneider said Monday on 710 ESPN radio in Seattle. "I feel bad for so many people, the gravity of it.

"I feel bad for veteran defensive tackle] Kevin Williams not being able to win that world championship and the way he felt right after the game. I felt bad for Russell [Wilson] throwing the pick. I felt bad for Marshawn [Lynch] not having the chance to win the game."

And one post-game sight hurt Schneider the most: "Then walking outside the locker room and seeing your son [Jack, 10] balling his eyes out."

Schneider said he also felt bad for team owner Paul Allen, but they focused on the entire game.

"I do a deal for Mr. Allen every game on every player and what the game looked like in particular," Schneider said. "This one is tough because everyone is focused on the last play. My job is to step back and look at the whole game.

"We started off offensively with three straight three-and-outs. Jeremy [Lane's interception] makes a great play and he's out [broken arm] and we have to shuffle things on defense. We had 11 missed tackles and gave up 196 yards after the catch, the most all season."

One reason for so many yards after the catch was the fact three members of the Legion of Boom were playing hurt. Free safety Earl Thomas had a torn labrum in his left shoulder, cornerback Richard Sherman had a torn ligament in his left elbow and strong safety Kam Chancellor played the entire game with a torn MCL in his left knee.

But Schneider admits the ill-fated ending is what everyone will remember for a long time.

"We're always going to feel that stretch at the end and it's always going to sting," he said. "But we always talk around here that there is no finish line. We're moving forward and we have a plan in place and we're going to keep attacking it."
You don’t have to convince the Legion of Boom that the Seattle Seahawks made the right decision in naming Kris Richard as the new defensive coordinator.

“I think [Richard] has the respect of the whole room being how he was the one who came in the beginning with all of us," Richard Sherman said.

Sherman said it’s Richard who molded a group of lower-round draft choices and free agents into standout players. Sherman and Kam Chancellor were fifth-round selections. Former Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner came from the CFL. Cornerback Byron Maxwell was a sixth-round pick. Nickelback Jeremy Lane was picked in the sixth round.

“The only first-round guy that anyone ever knew about was Earl [Thomas],” Sherman said. “Now everyone is like, ‘Oh you guys have this big-time secondary.’ Where were you guys at in 2011 when no one knew us from nobody.

“I think [Richard’s] growth with us through that process to where we are now is the reason we respect him so much. He kind of built the giant that we are now with discipline, attention to detail, always being on it and always keeping us humble and down to earth, especially in the meeting room and making sure we understand our strengths, our weaknesses, what we do well and what we don’t do well.”

Chancellor agrees 100 percent.

“Kris taught me a lot," Chancellor said. “That’s a guy who’s definitely a student of the game. He’s always been in our favor, always been for us. He just has our best interest and put us situations where we can capitalize on our strengths.”

Dan Quinn, who Richard replaces as the defensive coordinator, had this to say about Richard before the Super Bowl.

“He has developed and had a huge impact on a lot of these guys,” Quinn said of Richard. “He’s the guy we don’t talk about enough.”
Your votes are in and I must admit, I am surprised. In fact, I’m stunned, really, by the winning option on which play you would have called in that fateful moment for the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

First, thanks for the overwhelming response on the website, my Twitter page and Facebook. It took quite awhile just to count all the votes.

I listed five options in the Sound-off Saturday survey on plays to call instead of the quick slant from the New England 1 that was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, changing a likely victory for the Seahawks into a defeat in the final seconds of the game.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesSeahawks fans would have liked to have seen Russell Wilson on the run on the pivotal play of Super Bowl XLIX.
Almost everyone had an opinion on the second-down play, so I decided to put it to a vote.

The choices were a rollout option for Russell Wilson, a handoff up the middle to Marshawn Lynch, a fade in the back of the end zone to Chris Matthews, and a read-option fake to Lynch before throwing it to him in the end zone, or any other play you want to design.

Judging by the avalanche of Twitter comments moments after the play, I thought for sure most of you would say give the ball to the Beast and let him bull his way into the end zone.

That wasn’t your top choice. It wasn’t even close.

The voters went with option A, a rollout run-pass option for Wilson. That was the selection by 43 percent of the voters. Handing the ball to Lynch up the middle was a distant second at 24 percent.

Even if you counted the read-option choice as a handoff to Lynch and added those votes to the Lynch-run total, it’s still only 32 percent of the total vote.

About 9 percent said they would run the same play and had no problem with the call. A few other voters said they would go with a slant throw, but to the other side of the field or to a different receiver instead of Ricardo Lockette.

Eight percent of the voters wanted to go with a fade to Matthews, who had been the surprising star of the day with four catches for 109 yards and a TD.

Another 3 percent picked a quarterback sneak. There was one vote for a reverse and one vote for a Statue of Liberty play.

And a few people just vented about what happened without saying what they would have done.

Here’s a look at the numbers overall:

  • Wilson rollout: 43 percent
  • Lynch handoff: 24 percent
  • Same play: 9 percent
  • Wilson read-option: 8 percent
  • Fade to Matthews: 7 percent
  • Wilson sneak: 3 percent
  • Various other options: 6 percent

Seattle Seahawks season report card

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
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video » AFC: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Sadly, one play will stand out as the defining moment to a remarkable season for the Seattle Seahawks, turning things around at midseason and going on an eight-game win streak that enabled them to reach the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year.

The Seahawks were 6-4 after a loss at Kansas City and three games behind the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West, but Seattle ran the table, including two victories over the Cardinals and two over the San Francisco 49ers, to win the division title.

Two playoff victories, including the miraculous comeback over Green Bay to win the NFC Championship Game in overtime, got the Seahawks to Super Bowl XLIX before losing on an interception at the 1-yard line in the final seconds, a play call that will be questioned for years to come.

MVP: Russell Wilson. Many people will pick Marshawn Lynch, who had what might have been the best all-around season of his career, but this team isn't close to a back-to-back Super Bowl participant without Wilson. Fifteen times in his career he has led the Seahawks to a comeback win in the fourth quarter or overtime (the most in the NFL the past there years). He did it five times this season and was one play away from doing it again in the Super Bowl. On a team with pass-blocking issues at times, and a team without an elite receiver, Wilson has managed to guide the Seahawks to a 30-8 record the past two seasons.

Best moment: The incredible comeback against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. The Seahawks trailed 19-7 with less than three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but rallied to win it 28-22 in overtime. The comeback including three heart-stopping plays -- an onside kick recovery by Chris Matthews, a two-point conversion pass when Wilson somehow escaped being sacked and threw all the way across the field to tight end Luke Willson at the goal line, and the 35-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse that won it in overtime.

Worst moment: Is there any doubt? What many people always will view as the worst play call in Super Bowl history, the pass play that resulted in an interception when the Seahawks had a second-and-goal at the New England 1 with 26 seconds to play. Lynch in the backfield, three chances to score, but the Seahawks elected to run a risky inside slant into a crowd of defenders. Rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler saw it coming, jumped the route and picked off Wilson's throw that was intended for Ricardo Lockette. It's a seemingly senseless call that will be second-guessed for years and constantly replayed as one of the strangest decisions ever in a Super Bowl.

2015 outlook: Despite the heartbreaking end to this season, things continue to look bright for the Seahawks, a young team that has the nucleus in place to be a championship contender for years. They already are the early Super-Bowl favorites for next season, but there are some challenges moving forward. First will be salary-cap issues with big contracts coming up for Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. And who knows what Lynch will want entering the final year of his contract. The Seahawks also have a banged up Legion of Boom with four players who will need to get healthy in the offseason. Richard Sherman may have Tommy John surgery on his elbow and Jeremy Lane will have major surgery to repair a compound fracture in his right arm. Kam Chancellor (knee) and Earl Thomas (shoulder) also may need medical procedures.

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