Skip to main content
Publish date:

Despite 2-4 Start, Bobby Wagner Confident Seahawks Will Turn Season Around

Entering the season with Super Bowl aspirations, Seattle has limped out of the gate with four losses in its first six games and will be without Russell Wilson for at least two more weeks. But despite the bleak outlook, Wagner has been in this position before and believes this team still has time to change the trajectory of their season.

RENTON, WA - Over the past decade, few franchises have enjoyed greater sustained success than the Seahawks, who have won double-digit regular season games and made the playoffs in eight of the past nine seasons.

But while slow starts have been rare during that span, Seattle's current standing with a 2-4 record at the bottom of the NFC West actually isn't foreign territory. Only six years ago, linebacker Bobby Wagner and his teammates found themselves in the same situation following a Week 6 home loss to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

Coming off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, the Seahawks were in uncharted waters at the time. Media members and fans were quick to write off the two-time defending NFC champions, believing they had dug themselves into too deep of a hole to climb out of. Historically, only eight percent of the 224 teams that had started with the same record had made the playoffs from 1978 to 2014.

However, Wagner and the Seahawks were able to right the ship and beat those odds, winning their next two games before a Week 9 bye and rattling off six victories in their final eight games to finish with a 10-6 record. Earning a wild card berth, they became just the 19th team to overcome a 2-4 start and make the postseason.

As Seattle readies for a critical Monday Night Football home contest against New Orleans, Wagner sees a lot of parallels between that team and the current one.

"I remember everybody on the outside saying our season was over and saying that we had no chance of being good," Wagner said on Thursday. "I remember us just locking in and focusing. It’s a very similar feeling."

Back in 2015, the Seahawks opened the season without star safety Kam Chancellor, whose contract holdout bled into Week 1. Seeking a new deal, he sat out the first two games against the Rams and Packers and the team missed his presence dearly as they lost both games, getting off to an 0-2 start for the first time since 2011.

With the team not budging on his contract demands, Chancellor returned to action the following week and Seattle reeled off back-to-back wins against Chicago and Detroit to climb back to the .500 mark. But a typically stout defense led by Wagner and the "Legion of Boom" secondary uncharacteristically struggled in losses to Cincinnati and Carolina and an inconsistent offense had been held to 17 or fewer points twice.

Ahead of them, Arizona raced out to a 4-2 start to build a quick two-game advantage in the NFC West, eventually finishing the season 13-3 to earn the No. 1 seed in the conference.

Read More

Ironically, fast forwarding to the present, Arizona stands as the only unbeaten remaining in the NFL with a 6-0 record, holding a four game lead over Seattle in mid-October. The Los Angeles Rams sit just behind them with a 5-1 record and a three-game advantage over Seattle, currently holding a tiebreaker as well. The quest to repeat as division champions seems all but over, especially with Russell Wilson out for at least two more games recovering from finger surgery.

But while climbing back to the top of division seems near-impossible at this point, Wagner remains optimistic the Seahawks can work their way back into competing for a wild card spot. Though the team came up short in losses to the Rams and Steelers, a maligned defense showed signs of improvement last week and with a bye coming in three weeks, Wilson could return as early as Week 10 against the Packers.

"I feel like when you watch the games and you watch the things we’ve done, we’re very close. I feel like it’s not like we’re not getting better," Wagner remarked. "I’m very confident in the guys that we have. I’m confident that we’re just a couple plays away, a couple minor tweaks away from being the team that I know we can be. We’ve just got to lock in. There’s no more room for error for us to figure these things out. We have to apply the things that we’ve learned over these six games and do what we need to do to get this season turned in the right direction."

As expected, even after a disappointing start nobody expected, coach Pete Carroll has continued to send a positive message to his team. But as Wagner noted, he's also been real with his players. They must fix the issues that have plagued them now, as another loss or two before the bye would put them into a ditch they simply can't get out of, even if Wilson does return soon.

What are these issues that must be addressed? From a defensive standpoint, Wagner continued to hammer home that all 11 players on the field must "do their job" and sharpening up communication remains an area of utmost importance for Seattle to get untracked. He's seen growth in both areas, but more consistency must be achieved for the team to reach its goals.

"The messaging has been just lock in, focus, and really do your job," Wagner said. "It starts with yourself. It starts with you doing your job, and you doing your job helps the next man do his job and so on and so forth. If we can all be on the same page and do our job and do it at a high level at the same time, I’m very confident we can turn the season around.”

There's no question the next two weeks could ultimately define the Seahawks season. A loss to the Saints would drop them to 2-5 for the first time since 2011 and according to Pro Football Reference, only eight of the 191 teams who started with such a record since the adoption of a 16-game schedule in 1978 have made the playoffs. Losing in Week 8 to the Jaguars would put them in a near-insurmountable situation, as only one team in NFL history has started 2-6 and made the postseason.

But Wagner isn't thinking about the possibility of losing. Focusing on one week at a time, he envisions Seattle winning the next two games and getting back to the .500 mark before their bye. If they can clean things up and play with better consistency, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, he has no doubt the team can replicate 2015 and reel off a bunch of victories to vault right back into contention.

“I like to think positive so 3-4 sound a lot better than 2-5. You definitely want to win this game. I definitely feel like we understand what’s at stake. I think it’s important for guys like myself, Russell [Wilson], to make sure the young guys understand that we have been in this position before. It doesn’t mean, that just because we started 2-4, doesn’t mean that has defined our season. The season is very long. I’m confident after these two games and bye week, we’ll be sitting in a very good position.”