The Seahawks' season is all but lost at this point. After dropping five of their last six games, they sit at an abysmal record of 2-5. And despite being just a game-and-a-half out of a wild-card spot, the path to get there is murky at best, thanks to one of the tougher remaining schedules in the NFL.
Because this team was built for the sole purpose of winning now, it will take a lot for them for to wave the proverbial white flag. But their playoff odds are undeniably diminishing at a rapid pace, and a quick-fix for their current woes is nowhere in sight. Even if star quarterback Russell Wilson (finger) is able to return from injured reserve out of Seattle's Week 9 bye, the team still has massive flaws and a gauntlet of top-tier opponents to overcome.
Sunday offers the Seahawks one last chance to build some form of momentum for a turnaround. They'll play host to the Jaguars, who've won one game in their last 21 outings while their new head coach continues to take the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Suffice to say that, given the opponent, a loss this weekend would be rock-bottom for Seattle.
But whether the final nail is driven into their coffin this week, out of the bye or shortly thereafter, the Seahawks will likely need to face reality at some point, barring a magical run over their next 10 games. If the current regime, led by head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, is going to be carried over into 2022, it needs to put the desire to win in 2021 aside and focus on the development of its controllable personnel.
That means prioritizing those who are under contract beyond this season. The likes of cornerback Tre Brown, defensive ends Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson, tight end Colby Parkinson, running back DeeJay Dallas, offensive tackles Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan and center Dakoda Shepley all come to mind. Seattle can use its misfortunes as an opportunity to truly see what it has on the back end of its roster, thrusting young players into scenarios they normally wouldn't see action in—where the moment and stakes aren't too high to overwhelm.
The Seahawks already know what they have in their veterans, particularly those on short-term contracts. If the playoffs become too far out of reach, then they gain nothing by continuing to field the lineups and rotations they have thus far. They'll need as much information as they can get heading into a critical offseason, whether or not a rebuild is on the table.
There's also the topic of Wilson and what to do with him if the losing continues. Should the Seahawks shut him down to protect him from unnecessary harm? Would he allow them to do that?
No matter what happens in the coming weeks, the 10 games left on Seattle's schedule will not lose their importance. They'll just be important for a different reason than what the team and its fans initially expected. Once the Seahawks' playoff window has officially closed, they must immediately pivot in their goal. Otherwise, wasting precious development time on a futile effort to save face would be the cherry on top of this organization's philosophical downward spiral.