I say 9-7. Which I think is respectable and reasonable given where the team is in it's development. Is it what we as fans want? No. But it's not some sort of abomination. I know many fans have "WIN NOW OR ELSE! I'VE BEEN A FAN FOREVER AND AM SICK OF THIS!" mentalities. But that crap doesn't matter to Pete or these young players learning to play in this league and with one another. That crap is for drunk fans screaming at their dogs or calling into sports radio yelling that they want Charlie Whitehurst to start because it's simply something different. We have one of the youngest teams in the entire league and a rookie qb learning the league and his position at this level. If your introductory phase with such a team is 9-7, and you have every reason to believe they'll improve upon what they've learned, and that the team can fill some of the gaps that do in fact remain next offseason. I don't see how fans can see that as a failure. Hell, I don't ever see 8-8 as one either. 7-9 would be disappointing. But there would still be reason to be more optimistic heading into next season, having found your qb, your young team having gained valuable experience and having less holes to fill.
And as for the "Hot seat time for PC" comment, I couldnt disagree more. Even with 7-9. Pete has built this team from the ground up. He didnt inheret it like Harbaugh did in SF. This is HIS team, and its heading in the right direction. Just because you dont like 7-9 seasons to start the regime, doesnt mean you fire the guy who oversees the entire organization. Doing so would pretty much mean starting over from scratch. Seeing as how youd be bring in a new guy who wants to do things his way. This defense is built for Pete, and Pete only. Good luck fitting this personnel into another scheme. Same goes for your qb. You bring in a new regime, what are the odds they are cool with a qb of Wilson's stature? We've seen just how many people in the league and media simply do not believe he can be successful. Decent chance your new HC/GM thinks similarly. Firing Pete now would be idiotic, IMO. Had we done the same after Holmgren's first 4 seasons, (9-7, 6-10, 9-7, 7-9), all you "I've waited too damn long!" fans would never have gone to the damn Super Bowl.