By: Kristen Ashly
The Seattle Seahawks, last years reigning NFC Champions, have already started this year with a losing record; 0-2. Analysts blame the loss on a struggling defense, especially against the pass. Also to blame for the poor start, is an All-Pro safety currently sitting at home, due to a contract dispute.
The three-time Pro Bowler Kam Chancellor has a $28 million contract set to last through 2017, with $17 million guaranteed. Chancellor is demanding more money up front.
Seattle lost their opener at St. Louis, 34-31 in overtime. Their pass defense made Rams quarterback Nick Foles look like a star quarterback. On Sunday, to the Green Bay Packers, Seattle lost 27-17 in the complete opposite result of last year’s NFC Championship game.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was astutely aware of the missing defensive player: “In the middle of their defense is where you can find some soft spots, that’s kind of what we targeted there,” Rodgers told The Associated Press.
“You can’t quantify it,” cornerback Richard Sherman told The Seattle Times of Chancellor’s absence. “At the end of the day, I have to tackle better, I have to play better. That’s all you can do.”
Peter Carroll said little has changed in the dispute with Chancellor: “I’m just disappointed, like I know he is and everybody is, that it hasn’t found a way to get him here,” he told Reuters.
Frustrated Seattle fans have turned their disdain on Chancellor, demanding he take the lucrative contract already on the table. However, NFL contracts are not guaranteed, and teams can break them at anytime. Monday Morning Quarterback has created a list of 50 players whom the Seahawks have dropped with money remaining on their contracts this year alone.
Missing Chancellor is truly felt. Last year, the Seahawks gave up the fewest points in the league last year, but 61 points this year, tied for third most in the league.
Despite the loss of important running back Eddie Lacy, Rodgers managed to capitalize on the Seahawks’ secondary, completing 25-of-33 attempts for a total of 249 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is only 16th in the league in passing yards, 25th in adjusted yard per pass attempt. Marshawn Lynch ranks 16th in the league for yards, Doug Baldwin 32nd. Sunday against the Packers, Lynch only had 15 carries for a total of 41 yards.
After the game, Rodgers apparently could not resist trolling Seattle fans. “I think God was a Packers fan tonight, so he was taking care of us,” he said. The remark was widely interpreted as a shot at Wilson, who after the NFC title game had credited God. At the time, Rodgers had said he did not think God was much of a football fan.
All is not lost in Seattle, of course.
“We’re a veteran group, we’ve been here before,” Sherman told The A.P. “We’ll be fine.”
The Seahawks are one of five teams who started the season with two road games. Those teams have a record of 2-8. Seattle goes home for their game against the Chicago Bears, and are comfortable favorites, especially with the potential injury looming of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Bears also have defense troubles, giving up the most points in the league, thus far. Expect Seattle to bounce back, hoping to be on the right end of a shootout.
Kristen is a senior editor and contributor for Nuts & Bolts Sports. You can shoot the football breeze with Kristen on Twitter @KristenAshly.