For the past five years, Seattle Seahawks‘ Legion of Boom has been one of the stand-out defensive cores within the NFL. An aggressive, talented and stellar defensive line grew together, learnt together, failed together and, finally, won together.
In 2013, the Seahawks saw their playoff run end prematurely after conceding a last minute field goal to the Falcons. Just a year later, arguably the most famous defensive play in Seattle history occurred in the NFC Championship game- Richard Sherman tipping Colin Kaepernick‘s pass and sealing victory for Seattle, who would then go on to win the Superbowl.
Over the course of the past few weeks, it’s been clear that the tide is changing in Washington state as it was revealed that Michael Bennett was to be traded to the Eagles, whilst this weekend saw Richard Sherman released- with the starring cornerback joining rivals the San Francisco 49ers.
The dismantling of the Legion of Boom, who will go down as one of the greatest defensive units of this era, has caught the headlines but it’s not too surprising- with injuries causing their problems to the Seahawks last year and it becoming clear that changes were needed.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) March 9, 2018
Instead, it follows a precedent we’ve seen from the Seahawks over the course of recent close-seasons. The Legion of Boom has been disassembled, skittles sensation Marshawn Lynch has gone and many other members of the XLVIII Superbowl winning side are also now elsewhere- including Steven Hauschka, Jermaine Kearse and Percy Hervin, all of whom scored points in that win over the Denver Broncos.
Pete Carroll’s side last season lacked consistency, so it wasn’t too surprising when they missed out on the playoffs for the first-time since 2011. That showed changes were needed and the defence was next in line for a shake-up, although further moves are likely in the months ahead.
With Russell Wilson still just 29, a prime age for a franchise quarterback, the Seahawks will now look to build a side around the four-time Pro Bowl star. When he was drafted in 2012, Wilson was the final piece of the Seahawks puzzle- whereas now he’s the front cover star, the icing on the cake and the cherry that goes on top.
Further moves in the coming weeks could see another member of the Legion of Boom, Earl Thomas, cut from the side, and it’s time for a new younger and faster defensive core to step-up; although fans will be hopeful of changes to the offence too.
Last year, the Seahawks’ offensive line was arguably the biggest problem for the franchise and fans are desperate for that area of the team not to be neglected this year. Wilson needs protection, he needs pockets to work with and space to run into. If he gets that, he’s unstoppable.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) February 21, 2018
When Wilson was a prodigy, the Seahawks used the money they saved to bolster their defensive core. That’s something they cannot afford to do now and last season they sacrificed their offensive line, leaving Wilson scrambling more often than not- but not really getting anywhere as it was forced movement rather than tactical.
The Seahawks should now focus on landing a left guard, as well as a strong receiver for Wilson to target. Run-blocking tight ends would also come in handy. It means the defence would be largely neglected, which is not Carroll’s style, but it should now be Wilson’s team.
Carroll can then coach a younger defensive unit into their prime, whilst the offence carries the games. In recent seasons it’s been the defence, and the Legion of Boom, that the Seahawks have often relied upon to get them out of trouble- but that can no longer be the case.
Wilson is one of the finest quarterbacks in the NFL and the Seahawks need to utilise him effectively in the prime years of his career. It may not be Carroll’s DNA but the best NFL sides adapt- and it’s time for the Seahawks to follow suit.