The Seattle Seahawks are a team that is going to reinvent itself in 2016.
With Marshawn Lynch on the roster the past few years, the Seahawks built a run-first offense that reached consecutive Super Bowls. Had they actually given Lynch the ball in the second one, they probably would have two rings to show for it.
But his retirement – which came in the most Marshawn Lynch-way possible this offseason – means it's time to rebuild how the offense runs. Quarterback Russell Wilson is the man in charge now, and that might not be a bad thing.
With Seattle at 4-5 last season, Wilson went on a five-game run that might be the best stretch of quarterback play in NFL history. In leading the Seahawks to five straight wins, he completed at least 70 percent of his passes in each game, with three touchdowns in each against no interceptions, and the lowest quarterback rating over that stretch was 128.3. Obviously, that pace will be tough to match over an entire season, but Wilson showed he's ready to take over the offense.
The Buffalo News continues its look at the Bills’ opponents in 2016 with a closer look at the Seahawks, who host Buffalo on Monday Night Football in Week Nine.
Additions: DE Chris Clemons (previously with Jacksonville), CB Brandon Browner (New Orleans), OT J'Marcus Webb (Oakland), TE Brandon Williams (Miami), LT Bradley Sowell (Arizona), DT Sealver Siliga (New England).
Analysis: In Clemons and Browner, the Seahawks are bringing back two former members of their defense with hopes they can fit back into the system and recapture past glory. ... Webb and Sowell are slated to start on an offensive line that could be the Seahawks' weak link. ... Siliga will be a rotational player on the defensive line.
Subtractions: LT Russell Okung (signed with Denver), LB Bruce Irvin (Oakland), G J.R. Sweezy (Tampa Bay), DT Brandon Mebane (San Diego).
Analysis: Losing Okung is a huge blow to the offensive line – both Webb and Sowell aren't close to matching his ability. Irvin had 22 sacks the past four seasons. ... Mebane was a long-time Seahawk, spending the first nine years of his career in Seattle.
Draft report: Texas A&M OT Germain Ifedi (first round), Alabama DT Jarran Reed (second round), Notre Dame RB C.J. Prosise (third round), Ohio State TE Nick Vannett (third round), Boise State OG Rees Odhiambo (third round).
Analysis: Ifedi was viewed as a reach by most draft analysts, but should get a chance to start at guard as a rookie. ... Reed might be the steal of the draft. Projected by some as a top-15 pick, he slipped to No. 49 and should strengthen an already-stout run defense. ... Prosise figures to back up Thomas Rawls at running back. ... Vannett gives the Seahawks some depth if Jimmy Graham can't return from his knee injury to start the season.
Returning Pro Bowlers: Wilson, DE Michael Bennett, LB Bobby Wagner, CB Richard Sherman, S Earl Thomas, S Kam Chancellor, WR Tyler Lockett (special teams).
Biggest question: Will Rawls and Graham be ready to start the season coming off major injuries? Rawls, the undrafted free agent who took over at running back when Lynch was hurt, suffered a broken ankle and ligament damage, ending his rookie year early. He led the NFL with 5.65 yards per carry. Graham, meanwhile, tore the patellar tendon in his knee – a difficult injury to come back from. Even though his season was a disappointment when he got hurt, Graham led the team in targets at the time of the injury. It's clear both players are major contributors to the offense.