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Team Analysis

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 Seattle Seahawks Team Analysis:

INSIDE SLANT
Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said the team's crushing Super Bowl loss remains the first thing he thinks about each morning when he wakes up.

"No, I'm not over it," he said when he met the media at the NFL Combine. "I think it's always going to stay with you. It's a part of life, you know? There's a lot of big games that I've been a part of that don't go your way. Can go all the way back to high school if you want. No, I think it drives you."

And while the Super Bowl loss is less than three weeks old, Schneider has no choice but to move on to a few other things that may also be keeping him up at night -- specifically, the future of tailback Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch, who turns 29 in April and has battled chronic back issues, has yet to tell the Seahawks that he will play in 2015. Schneider revealed that in a pair of radio interviews in Seattle and said at the Combine that Lynch remains in limbo.

"Not yet," Schneider said when asked if there was any more clarity to Lynch's future. "I think everybody needs time away, especially at that position and the way he runs the ball. Time to hit the reset button. I've talked to his people a bunch, his representatives. He knows we want him to play."

And while some have wondered how serious the threat of Lynch not playing in 2015 really is, Schneider said he would not be shocked if he hanged it up.

"You know ... not really," Schneider said. "He's a guy that kind of just beats to his own drum. He does what he wants, and he would never let you know one way or the other. A lot of great running backs have just walked away. So I have no idea."

Schneider, though, made it clear that the team would like to have an idea soon.

Coach Pete Carroll added to the chorus by saying he remains unsure if Lynch will play for the team in 2015. But Carroll said that ultimately he expects Lynch to be on the field in 2015. "I really think he wants to come back with us and play for us," Carroll said. Carroll said the team has made "big offers" to Lynch and hopes to get the situation resolved quickly.

Whatever Lynch decides, work remains. If he decides to play, then the team will need to re-do his contract. He's entering the last season of a deal with an $8.5 million cap hit that the Seahawks would like to reduce.

If he retires then Seattle needs to add a tailback or two.

"We'd like to know soon," Schneider said. "Like I said, I've talked to his people. They know."

Schneider has also talked to the representatives of quarterback Russell Wilson. But he offered little about the progress of those talks other than to say that they are ongoing.

The team hopes to give Wilson an extension now that he has completed the third year of his original four-year rookie contract, something the Seahawks have also been able to do with the likes of safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman, all players Seattle signed before they reached free agency.

The Seahawks also suddenly may have some needs in the secondary as Schneider revealed that cornerback Jeremy Lane -- the team's starting nickel back -- also tore his ACL on the same play in the Super Bowl in which he broke his arm after being tackled on an interception. The usual nine-month recovery for an ACL would mean Lane wouldn't be ready for the start of the season.

Schneider also seems resigned to the fact that the team may lose cornerback Byron Maxwell, who will be an unrestricted free agent.

"We've had great discussions with (Maxwell's agents)," Schneider said. "We have a good relationship with those guys. Byron is one of ours, it's just it would be hard to see him leave but I would think his market will be very strong. He's a heck of a kid, a heck of a player but we are going to keep doing things the way we started here. Just keep drafting people and playing young people and trying to keep the players that we can keep, try to identify the players that we have to reward and make those tough decisions about players that are under contract that you may have to let go to create some cap room. Those are just tough decisions as you go. We are not going to change anything we do and so if Byron does move on, we'll hopefully have another young Byron Maxwell out there."

If Maxwell were to leave and with Lane out, the Seahawks would enter the 2015 season without two of their top three cornerbacks following Richard Sherman, a prospect that undoubtedly will compel Seattle to add a body or two at the spot this offseason.

NOTES, QUOTES
--Head coach Pete Carroll said new defensive coordinator Kris Richard will call the defensive signals on game day and will work alongside Rocky Seto, promoted to assistant head coach of the defense, in devising game plans. But he said the overall structure and philosophy of the defense will not change.

--Carroll said safety Kam Chancellor will not need surgery to repair the knee injury suffered on the Friday before the Super Bowl. He also reiterated what the team said earlier, that cornerback Richard Sherman will not need elbow surgery.

--A new concern, though, is cornerback Tharold Simon's shoulder. Carroll said the shoulder will be examined and indicated surgery could be possible.

--Carroll said tight end Zach Miller is "making really good progress" in his recovery from having two ankle surgeries and should be back in time for training camp.

--General manager John Schneider said receiver Paul Richardson is also questionable for the start of the 2015 season while rehabbing from a recent ACL surgery saying "that's going to be a tough one" to get back by the opening of the season.

--Safety Earl Thomas will soon have shoulder surgery. But Schneider said there is no concern that he won't be ready for the start of the season. "It's a normal procedure so he should do well," Schneider said, adding "no, no" when asked if there was a concern about not being ready for the start of the season. "Especially Earl," he said. "He attacks everything."

--The Seahawks indicated that safety Kam Chancellor will not need surgery on the knee that was injured on the Friday before the Super Bowl.

--Schneider said the Seahawks have talked to the agents of Jermaine Kearse, who is a restricted free agent. But as of yet there has been no significant movement on offering Kearse a tender or a new contract.

--Schneider said he thinks the Seahawks will have 11 draft picks -- their scheduled seven, plus four compensatory picks for free agents lost last year. But the team won't know for sure until the league meetings in Phoenix next month.

--Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who missed the last six games of the regular season and the playoffs with a torn hamstring, appears on track to return for the start of the 2015 season, Schneider said.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FREE-AGENT UPDATE

--Players scheduled to be unrestricted free agents: G James Carpenter, DT Kevin Williams, S Jeron Johnson, QB Tarvaris Jackson, LS Clint Gresham, TE Anthony McCoy, DE Demarcus Dobbs, CB Byron Maxwell, LB Malcolm Smith, LB Mike Morgan, S Deshawn Shead, WR Ricardo Lockette, DE O'Brien Schofield, FB Will Tukuafu, WR Bryan Walters, TE Tony Moeaki.



TEAM NEEDS

1. Wide receiver: While the Seattle receivers will forever protest that they are all they need, the reality is that the trade of Percy Harvin created a hole that has yet to be replaced. The depth situation is further accentuated by the knee injury to rookie Paul Richardson. Seattle could use a true No. 1 and better depth at the bottom.

2. Tight end: Starter Zach Miller missed all but the first three games of the season after having ankle surgery and the team could also save $3 million if he were released. The team might look to explore options at this spot even if Miller returns.

3. Defensive tackle: Seattle has two solid vets in Michael Bennett -- who moves inside on passing downs -- and Tony McDaniel. But Brandon Mebane's future is unclear as he has a $5.5 million cap hit and is coming off a hamstring injury, and Seattle has a number of young players who are coming off injuries and have yet to prove themselves.

 

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