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What's different about the 2014 Seattle Seahawks?

The Seattle Seahawks just finished one of the most convincing Super Bowl championship seasons of the last twenty years. The scary part? They have so much room to improve.

The Football Outsiders Almanac has a nifty statistic called average weighted age. Seattle's 26.4 average is the lowest in the Super Bowl era. The book notes that the next three youngest teams to even make the Super Bowl wound up having dynastic runs. The Seahawks have a franchise quarterback that hasn't even approached his career peak; they have a roster that looks deeper than ever on both sides of the ball; and they have continuity from the top of the organization down.

Pete Carroll and his coaching staff know that teaching is a lost art in NFL practices. It's the secret sauce to Seattle's plug-and-play developmental success.

So how is this Seahawks squad going to be different? After looking at what's new for Green Bay Packers, here are a few changes in Seattle to watch for Thursday night:

  1. We're looking for a new Russell Wilson. The Seahawks are putting more on his plate, and he looks ready to handle it. The receiver group is deeper with Percy Harvin healthy, even if rookie Paul Richardson doesn't have a huge role early in the season. Wilson is an incredible deep-ball thrower; however, the Seahawks can still improve on their short- and mid-range passes.

If Wilson were the quarterback of an under-the-radar team like the Titans, we'd talk about him as a potential breakout superstar. The fact that Wilson is already a Super Bowl champion obscures the reality that he can still take a big leap.

  1. The Seahawks' backfield is an assortment of riches with Marshawn Lynch, Christine Michael and Robert Turbin. Michael will miss Thursday night's opener. We'll be very interested to see if Turbin is used more than he was a year ago. The Seahawks should look to save some tread on Lynch's tires.
  1. Linebacker K.J. Wright is back in the mix after missing the end of last season to injury. He's the most versatile of Seattle's linebackers and an unsung hero in a wildly deep position group.
  1. Tony McDaniel and Cliff Avril are stepping into starting roles after the departures of Red Bryant and Chris Clemons. This is where Seattle's superior system shows up -- they can lose quality veterans without missing a step. Kevin Williams was a nice pickup for depth at defensive tackle. Guys like O'Brien Schofield, picked up off the trash heap, will wind up being valuable reserves.
  1. Rookie Justin Britt will start at right tackle. The Seahawks say James Carpenter is revitalized at left guard. This offensive line struggled in pass protection last year, and they will be tested Thursday night.

The latest "Around The NFL Podcast" previews the Packers-Seahawks opener and announces nominees for the new "Team of ATL."

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