They haven't even reported for training camp, but those thoughts of the Seattle Seahawks making a run toward the NFC playoffs that have been dancing in my head might soon be replaced with doubt.
At most sporting events these days, when you spot a drunk knucklehead, you text a number to have them removed.
Consider this that message.
FOR THOSE of you that haven't been paying attention yet - and let's face it, it is still the offseason - Marshawn Lynch, Seattle's star running back and biggest weapon on offense, was arrested for driving under the influence last weekend in Oakland.
Lynch, who just signed a long-term deal to remain in Seattle, could wind up missing some games due to a suspension as a result of the league's substance abuse policy. Already punished twice while in Buffalo, it doesn't look like he'll be on the field with the rest of his teammates when the season starts Sept. 9.
With Lynch last year, Seattle was able to go on a bit of a winning streak near the end of the season, but came up short in the final two games against the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals to finish 7-9 for the second straight year.
Not bad when you consider that record got them a home playoff game two years ago.
However, with the success of the 49ers last year and their 13-3 finish, Seattle proved it's a long way from contending again.
Considering the 49ers were just a couple of plays from the Super Bowl last year, that could be an even longer wait.
With the antics of its best player on offense, it might be a rough season for the 'Hawks backfield.
BUT LYNCH is just one player on the team, right?
The Seahawks signed Matt Flynn from Green Bay and added Russell Wilson via the draft to compete for the starting quarterback job, alongside last year's starter Tarvaris Jackson.
Chances are, they can’t also have the same issues with injuries on the offensive line again, right?
Defensively, the team is improving, with some calling safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas the best combination in the league.
At some point, all of the facets — offense, defense and special teams — need to come together, and that starts with someone doing the dirty work; and Lynch has been that guy since joining the team.
Without him, they don’t make it to the playoffs two years ago or even sniff having a chance last year.
After releasing wide receiver Mike Williams less than two weeks ago, the Seahawks need someone to fill the shoes of Lynch — if and when he’s suspended.
Hopefully whatever punishment he’s given, Lynch will learn his lesson.
Because as it looks now, his teammates might be the ones getting schooled until he gets back.
Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.