The Seahawks begin training camp on Sunday at the team's headquarters in Renton. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel has the latest on what fans can expect this season.
Offensive Line Can Only Get Better
"I look at the offensive line as a Seattle commuter would look at a parking space downtown. It's a rare, elusive, expensive proposition that will never be resolved," Thiel joked.
"But they have made steps this year to get better. And they will be better because they really can't be worse than they were last year.
"With so many injuries, line shuffles and inexperience, even the Seahawks bosses (and) Pete Carroll said 'We were too young.'
"Last year they had a guy at left tackle, George Fant, who was a power forward for the Western Kentucky University basketball team before he showed up as an undrafted, rookie free agent for the Seahawks. And he wound up starting!
"They had other problems along the line. But they resolved some of them by moving the right guard, Germain Ifedi - last year's number-one draft pick - to right tackle.
"They brought Mark Glowinski to replace Ifedi. They've got a great guy in Justin Britt at center. And we're going to see a free-agent hire probably playing left guard, Luke Joeckel. And he'll be next to George Fant.
"I think it's going to be sub-average but that's a lot closer than the worst in the league."
New Partner For Rawls
"That transitions into the second story line that I think is real interesting," Thiel continued. "That's the two guys behind the offensive line at running back.
"There's been a big vacancy, as you may recall. Marshawn Lynch is no longer there. He's going to be playing in Oakland. Thomas Rawls has been his incumbent successor but he keeps getting hurt.
"They hired Eddie Lacy. He played at 270 lbs. last year for Green Bay. When the Seahawks hired him as a free agent, they put restrictions in his contract, meaning that he could earn bonuses if he hit a certain weight. And he keeps losing weight.
"That's going to be a real asset in proving a running game that used to be the Seahawks' hallmark. But they finished 25th in the NFL last year in rushing yards.
"So, with a return to health by Russell Wilson and his running game, they should be much more effective and balanced than they were last year."
Will Sherman Return To Leadership Role?
"The big drama, of course, this offseason was Richard Sherman, who got sideways with the coaching staff last year with his famous televised rants," Thiel said, pointing out the biggest defensive story line.
"The Seahawks never announced a public punishment but they did threaten to trade him. They didn't do it because Richard apparently said the right things.
"The big deal is whether Richard can become the leader that he was prior to last year."
Griffin: The One To Watch
"The other question on defense that's high drama is his running mate at cornerback," Thiel continued. "I want to pass on to listeners one name to keep an ear out for: Shaquill Griffin. He is the third-round draft choice out of Central Florida.
"He is, I think, the next legitimate Legion of Boom member. He's got the talent, intellect, and also the personality to fit in with this group. He's a funny, voluble guy. And the coaches have raved about him.
"I think he's going to be the rookie among the 11 that they drafted in April to start and make a major contribution next year."
Early Prediction For Season
"I think they've done a lot with their rookie draft class," Thiel said. "Good enough to go from 10-5-1 last year to a 12-win team this year.
"And if they do that, they win the division title, they get a bye and they get a home playoff game.
"I think they're going to get back to the NFC title game this year. Now, who that's against...check with me in December and we'll go from there."