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Jerry Brewer explains the thinking behind his columns and invites readers to express their views on the sports world.

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October 14, 2008 10:04 AM

The Seahawks and the future of the offense

Posted by Jerry Brewer

You can check out my latest column here. It's about a common thread among all these losing Seattle teams: impermanent job status of the coaches.

In this entry, however, I wanted to make a couple of observations about the Seahawks.

I couldn't attend the game Sunday because of a foot injury, but I watched from home. And, no, I didn't wear the bright green hat Matt Hasselbeck was sporting.

In the days since this team fell to 1-4, my mind has turned more to forecasting the future of this team, particularly the offense. I think the defense is a little easier to fix, because the talent is younger. If the Seahawks could find a big defensive tackle and shore up the problems in the secondary, they'd be fine on D. That's something that can be accomplished in a single offseason.

The offense? Eh, the future isn't so promising. Some of the key cogs on this team (Hasselbeck, left tackle Walter Jones and wide receiver Bobby Engram) probably don't have long-term futures, and much of the rest of this offense is either green or not good enough.

Barring a dramatic turnaround, the Seahawks look like a 5-11 team. I'm not quite willing to quit on them just yet because there are so few dominant teams in the NFL this season. Although the schedule is daunting, it's not impossible if the Hawks find a rhythm. I'm skeptical of their chances, but I'll reserve judgment until after this Tampa Bay game.

If this team doesn't rebound quickly, thoughts will shift to the clean-up project that coach-in-waiting Jim Mora will inherit. For the offense, there are already a couple of absolute musts.

In the 2009 draft, the Seahawks must start thinking about replacing Hasselbeck and Jones. I'd like to see them use two of their first three draft picks to select the left tackle and quarterback of the future, and then enter into a succession plan at those positions, a la Holmgren-Mora.

Hasselbeck is 33, and if he got his back problem under control, he could play three more seasons at a high level. But with all of his injury issues over the years, you must fret a rapid decline. So I'd favor the Seahawks finding a quarterback to groom and backup Hasselbeck for several seasons. Then, when that quarterback is ready and Hasselbeck is done, the Seahawks would have a smooth transition. (And, no, Seneca Wallace and Charlie Frye aren't the answer.)

Jones seems to have even less time. He turns 35 in January. He's not dominant anymore. He's still effective, but he's not dominant. And the Seahawks are feeling the effects of their best player turning ordinary. Fortunately, the 2009 draft is shaping up as one heavy on elite left tackles who have the versatility to play elsewhere until Jones' career ends. I'd favor the Seahawks going with a tackle in the first round.

Those two picks would be a nice start to a process Tim Ruskell will try to deftly handle the next few years: Rebuilding without closing the Seahawks' window of opportunity.

Even if the Seahawks finish with a losing record this season, I don't think they're done. I don't think they'll endure several seasons of misery. With tweaks and good health, they could be back in the hunt next season. But even though they're trying to win today, they can't stop thinking about tomorrow.

If this season is any indication, tomorrow is much closer than they'd like to think.

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