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Five Critical Questions Facing the Seattle Seahawks

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The Seattle Seahawks’ 2014 campaign ended in heart breaking fashion as Russell Wilson threw an interception in the waning minutes of Super Bowl XLIX. The Seahawks will now have to find a way to bounce back and find a way to make it back to the Super Bowl for a third straight season.

Seattle is still one of the most talented teams in the NFL, they have a dominant defense and an offense that should improve with the addition of Jimmy Graham. Pete Caroll is one of the best head coaches in the NFL and you know he will always have the Seahawks motivated and ready to do their best.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five critical questions facing the Seahawks on quest for another Super Bowl victory.

How Much Does Marshawn Lynch Have Left in the Tank?

Marshawn Lynch has been one of, if not, the best running back in football over the past few years. He does everything extremely well. He can get the dirty yards in short-yardage situations and he can break a run for 60 yards. He has carried the Seahawks on offense for stretches and he has done all of this with a subpar offensive line.

However, Lynch is 29 years old, which is the time when running backs’ production tends to fall considerably. Also, Lynch’s physical running style only compounds the wear and tear on his body. Nevertheless, if there was one player who could be the exception to the rule, it would be Lynch.

What can help Lynch is that the reasons why he is so good have nothing to do with his physical abilities. Lynch is an extremely intelligent running back with stellar vision and a great feel for cutback lanes and creases. Lynch may be entering the twilight of his career, but don’t bet against him having another stellar year.

Who Will Replace Byron Maxwell?

Richard Sherman is the best cornerback on the Seahawks and maybe even the best cornerback in the league; however, Byron Maxwell was extremely effective as the No. 2 cornerback for the Seahawks last season. With his departure, the Seahawks will need to find a replacement who can play to Maxwell’s level.

At the moment, Will Blackmon, Cary Williams, Jeremy Lane, Marcus Burley and Tye Smith all have a shot at the job. Williams has to be the favorite at this point because of his experience as a starter and his fit in the defense. The darkhorse to win the job is rookie Tye Smith whose skill set is akin to the Seattle’s defensive philosophy.

Either way, the Seahawks have proved that they know how to develop cornerbacks and whoever wins the job will likely be effective and allow the defense to function at its full capabilities.

How Will Max Unger’s Departure Effect the Offensive Line?

Max Unger was the only quality starter on the Seahawks offensive line last season and the Seahawks traded him away so that they could acquire Jimmy Graham. This leaves a huge hole on an already shaky Seahawks offensive line.

Luckily for the offensive line, they a quarterback who may be the best at escaping pressure in the NFL and quite possibly the best running back in the NFL; therefore, their job will be made a lot easier because of the people they are blocking for.

The offensive line will need the young players to step up and play at a high level or Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch will have a difficult year. The Seahawks are playing with fire by not allocating a lot of resources to the offensive line, it will be interesting to see whether it pays off or not.

Will Seattle’s Offense Take the Next Step This Year?

Outside of the offensive line, the Seahawks should improve a ton offensively this year. They added on of the best pass catchers in all of football, Jimmy Graham, and Russell Wilson should continue to develop and become one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.

Marshawn Lynch is a dynamic and playmaking running back who will allow Seattle’s play-action offense to execute at a high level.

It all hinges on how effective the offensive line could be. If they play better than they have in the past, the offense will soar to new heights. If not, the Seahawks will once again be carried by the defense and that may not be enough in the NFC this year.

Who Will Emerge as a Threat From the Wide Receiver Corps?

The Seahawks have a lot of good wide receivers, but they are devoid of that true No. 1 wide receiver. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are nice players, but that doesn’t have the playmaking ability that make them a go-to threat.

Tyler Lockett will be an interesting name to keep an eye on this year because of the fact that he is extremely pro ready and he should be able to make an immediate impact from the slot in his rookie year. One player who showed a glimpse of No. 1 potential was Chris Matthews.

There wasn’t a receiver who had a better performance in the Super Bowl than Matthews. It will be interesting to see if he can capitalize on the moment that he gained with his stellar performance in the biggest game of the year. At the moment, defenses are going to sell out to stop Graham and Lynch, so it will be important that the wide receiver corps take advantage of it.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com