Kickoff season previews  


Carroll makes a difference, but not enough in first year

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Seattle Seahawks

2009 record: 5-11 (Third in NFC West)
Bucky Brooks
Pete Carroll is promoting competition at every turn. While they are on the right track, a poor finish means more progress is needed.
Prediction:  5-11, third in NFC West
Vic Carucci
Pete Carroll's energy just might allow the Seahawks to be one of the NFL's surprise teams. Matt Hasselbeck must hold up his end.
Prediction:  9-7, second in NFC West
Pat Kirwan
No team has turned their roster over more. Attitude is upbeat and they will be better, especially with a healthy Matt Hasselbeck.
Prediction:  7-9, third in NFC West
Jason La Canfora
Need a massive bounce-back year from Matt Hasselbeck, but it will take time to overhaul a barren roster. Playing in NFC West helps.
Prediction:  6-10, third in NFC West
Michael Lombardi
Seahawks are in tranistion as they try to increase their talent. Matt Hasselbeck is stil capable of winning, but durability is a concern.
Prediction:  7-9, second in NFC West
Steve Wyche
Pete Carroll brought hyper-energy, but the roster has been rebuilt and has many unknowns. Matt Hasselbeck is on borrowed time.
Prediction:  4-12, last in NFC West
Wins Pete Carroll had to open his second NFL head-coaching job with the Patriots in 1997. If he can reach that -- or better -- in his first year in Seattle, the Seahawks will be in good shape.
Matt Hasselbeck
Hasselbeck is in danger of seeing his tenure as the Seahawks' starter end after suffering through a pair of subpar seasons. The team drove home that point by trading for Charlie Whitehurst in the offseason to add some competition. With Whitehurst breathing down his neck, Hasselbeck must regain his Pro Bowl form to have a chance at extending his stay in the Pacific Northwest.
John Carlson
Carlson is on the verge of becoming a household name after only two seasons. The crafty route runner with outstanding hands has snagged over 50 receptions in each of his first two seasons by deftly finding soft spots in the middle of the field. In addition to being an open-field threat, Carlson has also shown a penchant for finding pay dirt with 12 touchdowns in his brief career. As Matt Hasselbeck grows increasingly comfortable with Carlson, he should continue to post big numbers as a centerpiece of the offense.
Seattle's best is Forsett
The Seahawks figure to use a backfield committee this season, but the runner with the most fantasy potential is Justin Forsett. He showed flashes of potential last season, and his versatile skill set makes him an attractive option for coach Pete Carroll. Forsett could become a nice flex starter.
Three pivotal games
Sept. 12 vs. San Francisco
Pete Carroll's third stint as an NFL head coach begins against his hometown team and the one for which he once served as defensive coordinator from 1995-96. Carroll needs to be careful, because there aren't many cupcakes on the schedule as there often were while leading USC. Many will tune in to see if Carroll will succeed, or if he will be served a harsh dose of reality.
Oct. 24 vs. Arizona
Dozens of Carroll's former USC players are littered throughout the NFL, with Matt Leinart being one of the most recognizable. Leinart won a Heisman Trophy and a pair of national titles under Carroll. Four years later, the teacher could face the pupil in Week 7 -- that is, if Leinart is still the Cardinals' starting quarterback by then.
Nov. 28 vs. Kansas City
How successful were Carroll's teams at USC? Even the reserves became starters in the NFL. Carroll gets a chance to see former backup quarterback Matt Cassel when the Seahawks play host to the Chiefs. Carroll also gets a chance to match wits with his old college rival, former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who serves as the Chiefs' offensive coordinator. This should be interesting.



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