Waiting for the encore

The Seahawks made NFL history in their first season under coach Pete Carroll – both dubious and dramatic.

First, in 2010 they became the first team in the 91-year history of the league to win its division with a losing record (7-9). Then, they became the first team with that dubious distinction to win a playoff game. Win a playoff game? They rocked the NFL world – as the 12th Man shook CenturyLink Field – in dramatic fashion by stunning the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints 41-36 in one wild wild-card playoff game.

What’s in store for the 2011 season?

Danny O’Neil, the Seahawks beat writer for the Seattle Times and also a correspondent for The Sporting News, tackles that question about a team faced with so many questions in this report for Sporting News Today.

“The housecleaning during Pete Carroll’s first season as head coach took the Seahawks back to the playoffs,” O’Neil writes, but then warns, “Seattle’s renovation, however, remains in its early stages. Don’t let a 2010 NFC West title or the improbable playoff victory over New Orleans trick you into thinking these Seahawks are a finished product. Far from it, in fact.”

O’Neil’s areas of concern: The Seahawks have their fourth offensive coordinator in as many seasons in Darrell Bevell; just who will play quarterback; an oh-so-young offensive line, which will feature second-year tackle Russell Okung on the left side, the rookie tandem of tackle James Carpenter and guard John Moffitt on the right side and Max Unger in his first full season at center; and a defense that gave up the second-most “big plays” in the league last season.

“A winning record will be asking a lot this season, maybe too much in a division that will be much improved if only because it’s hard to imagine the NFC West getting any worse,” is O’Neil’s bottom-line assessment.

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