After going 25-7 and winning the NFC West in back-to-back years, the Seattle Seahawks took a slight step back last season, going 10-6 and finishing second in the division to Arizona.
But that was then. The 2016 season is now.
“We just have a certain standard about ourselves,” Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “We carry ourselves a certain way. Our style of play is very uncommon around the league, so they just keep preaching to us, especially on the defensive side of the ball, ‘Let’s just keep chopping wood. No matter if we’re doing good, no matter we’re doing bad, just keep our heads down and at the end of the day we’ll look up and see what the results are.’”
The Seahawks hold each other accountable as well as any team in football, which can sometimes lead to altercations.
“Things can get heated,” Wright said. “You probably don’t like what the guy got to say. You probably want to say something back to him. But if you got something to say, we can talk like men. At the end of the day, I want to let you know what I see and I want you to correct it. So you can get a little heated, but it will blow over and we’re still brothers.”
To win the division for the third time in four years, the Seahawks will need a big year out of Russell Wilson, who started slow last season before catching fire as temperatures cooled. His success, in many ways, will hinge on the offensive line. Wilson was sacked 45 times last year – the third-most in football.
Will the line be better this year?
“It better be,” Wright said. “These guys know that they got to protect Russell. He’s our main guy. We can’t win without him.”
Especially since Marshawn Lynch retired after six successful seasons in Seattle.
“Everybody knows how good he was,” Wright said. “I believe he was the face of this team. He was the best player on this football team when he was here. I believe he did help Russell, and Russell helped him as well. So he’s going to be missed tremendously, but we have running backs that’ll step in. They’re looking pretty good actually.”
The Seahawks also need to play better at home this year. Seattle went 22-2 at CenturyLink Field from 2012-14, but went 5-3 last season.
“It’s not gone,” Wright said of Seattle’s home-field advantage. “We lost to the Panthers, Rams and Cardinals. Three really good teams. Carolina, that was a battle all the way to the end. I wouldn’t say the advantage is gone. Coming to C-Link is hard, especially when the defense is out there. You can’t hear either.”
Ultimately, Wright expects the Seahawks to win the NFC West.
“That’s our goal going into every year,” he said. “I know that the Cardinals are good, the Rams are good and the 49ers have a new coach. But at the end of the day, we just got to keep taking it one day at a time.”