Seahawks Death Week 2022: What Moves Should Be Made

I got into what I want the Seahawks to do at quarterback yesterday, so we’ll get into the rest of the roster here.

If you look at the Seahawks’ salary cap for 2023, you’re going to find some REAL annoying shit at the top. Two safeties – Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs – sitting #1 and #2 with our biggest cap hits, both over $18 million. It’s fucking asinine! You might be able to talk me into one safety at that kind of figure, if he’s far-and-away the best in the game. But, one guy can’t stay on the field, and the other clearly lost a step in 2022 (and even at his best he wasn’t the best).

The next two players on the list – Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf – are more appropriately ranked. They’re your best wide receivers (a premium position) and they play among the best receivers in the game. Even though they’re taking up a significant portion of the salary cap, they’re still good value.

Then, you’ve got Uchenna Nwosu at around $13 million; that’s a good number for what he gave us in 2022. Figure he’ll pretty easily replicate those numbers if he stays healthy.

So, out of the top five highest paid players currently under contract for 2023, I’m happy with three of them. Not a great percentage.

They say the NFL’s middle class is dead, but I think the Seahawks are trying to remedy that in a big way. We have six guys making between $5 million and just over $12 million. This is a significant chunk of change for players who you could probably replace for minimum salaries and get production that’s just as good. Shelby Harris tops that list at just over $12 million. He was a bright spot on a very bad defensive line. But, I don’t know if he’s giving you $12 million worth of production.

Gabe Jackson is set to count just over $11 million, but he could be cut for $6.5 million in savings. That might be the way to go, considering how he is on the downside of his career. Then, you’ve got Dissly and Fant, who count for a combined $16 million against the cap. Yikes. But, we’re already committed to them, so there’s not much we can do there. Then, there’s Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods making a combined $12 million … I dunno.

It all boils down to there being around $34 million in cap space next year (and I don’t know if that counts the new contract for our kicker). Which would be entirely used up if Geno Smith returns on the franchise tag. How did we get here? We got rid of Russell Wilson, we shed a lot of dead weight, we played a lot of rookies and cheap guys … and yet we have practically nothing to work with because we’re going to have to pay Geno’s ass the bulk of it.

There are SO MANY problems with this team! I can’t even begin to comprehend how much of the defensive line needs to be replaced. The off-ball linebackers are trash, and we likely can’t even count on Jordyn Brooks to be healthy with his significant knee injury/surgery (not that I’m crazy-enamored with Brooks anyway, considering the lack of impact plays he makes in the backfield). That’s really two entire position groups that need significant revamping, but of course no money to work with (while we’re sickeningly over-paying for our two starting safeties).

I’m already on record as saying the Seahawks should cheap-out on quarterback and use every available dollar to fix the defense and the interior of the offensive line. So, asked and answered, that’s what I want the Seahawks to do in 2023.

But, since we live in the real world – where Geno Smith will most definitely be back on a 3-4 year deal – I have to come to grips with what we have to offer.

Maybe there’s ONE mid-tier free agent defensive starter we can bring in. Then, there will be the requisite dumpster diving, with all our trust falling on the draft.

My hunch is: the Seahawks will ignore the quarterback position entirely in the draft. So, high-end pass rusher at the top, maybe a trade-back or two, then pick up the following:

  • Guard/Center – somewhere in the low first, upper second round, who can step in right away and start for the next four years. Ideally, this will be the first competent center we’ve had since Max Unger
  • Safety – because we’re going to need someone to step in to start in 2024, when we likely cut both Adams and Diggs
  • Wide Receiver – we need a quality #3 receiver who isn’t Dee Eskridge, so I wouldn’t mind this guy being a second or third rounder with upside as a possession receiver
  • Defensive Tackle – a real big, burly dude to clog up the middle in this 3-4 defense
  • Inside Linebacker – probably a couple of ’em – one on day 2, one in the early part of day 3 – with good speed and play-making ability
  • Another Guard/Center – to further bolster our depth
  • The Next Brock Purdy In The 7th Round – a guy can dream, right?

Honestly, as long as we don’t bring back Cody Barton, I don’t care what else the Seahawks do with their offseason.

Seahawks Death Week: Throw All The Free Agents In A Fucking Dumpster

I have chosen to just base this blog post on the list compiled over at Field Gulls, because I’m a lazy, lazy man. At least I linked over there; credit where it’s due and all that.

I want to say I read this in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport the day after the Seahawks’ season ended, hungover as all get-out after a Saturday night wedding that lasted until the wee hours of the very day we were supposed to return home to SeaTac. So, off the top of my head, I couldn’t possibly recount all the names from memory, but I remember my thoughts at the time revolved around: what a collection of trash!

Are any of these guys worth keeping or bringing back? I dunno, man. I guess you gotta have 53 guys on your roster – and 90 heading into Training Camp – so we’re bound to see some return names. But, I didn’t see a lot of tremendous impact from these players (save one very big and obvious name) that couldn’t be replaced with superior draft picks, free agents, and other guys from the scrap heaps of other teams.

Myles Adams is the only SOMEWHAT interesting name from the Exclusive Rights Free Agents list; that seems like a paltry amount to pay to bring back a depth/rotation defensive tackle. He always seems to flash in the pre season, anyway.

There’s usually more meat on the bone among the Restricted Free Agents, but I only see one guy worth bringing back – likely on a 2nd round tender – and that’s Ryan Neal. He played at a pretty high level at safety this year. He’s a quality backup at a position of need. Assuming Jamal Adams returns (as crazy as it sounds, we’re financially stuck with him through 2023 in all likelihood), safety is GOING to be a position of need. Because there’s no point in wondering IF Jamal Adams is going to get injured, but WHEN. Can he beat going down in the very first regular season game? Has anyone babyproofed his house lately?

Beyond that, I guess you could make a case for Mike Jackson, but I wouldn’t offer him anything higher than an original round tender. He’s not a surefire starter, in spite of all the starting he did in 2022; I’d take a 5th round draft pick for him, absolutely. No one else needs to be bothered with. Penny Hart and Tanner Muse are both fine special teams guys, but they can be had without going through the whole tender rigmarole.

Most of the guys you know and “love” are unrestricted free agents. I’ll save the quarterbacks for a separate post.

Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer are both up for contracts. Penny got a nice little payday before this past season, but clearly he’s not over his injury issues. Kenneth Walker has proven to be a starting running back in this league, and while every team needs backups, I don’t see the point in making Penny one of them. For a handful of games? Let him take his talents elsewhere. As for Homer, I thought he came into 2022 in much better shape, but he’s still Just A Guy; we could draft someone in the last couple rounds and more than make up for his lost production. We still have DeeJay Dallas, and I’d take him over Homer anyday.

Marquise Goodwin and Laquon Treadwell combine to just be okay (Goodwin is solid when healthy; Treadwell is a bust). We can do better, in spite of the fact that wide receiver is very much a position of need heading into 2023.

Austin Blythe, Kyle Fuller, and Phil Haynes are the offensive linemen we’re set to lose. I’d be fine bringing none of them back, though I do see Haynes as a solid rotational guy/backup. He might want to test the waters elsewhere. Blythe and Fuller can suck it, though. Go out in the draft and pick up a bona fide starting center!

Poona Ford, L.J. Collier, and Bruce Irvin are the defensive linemen on this list. I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be okay losing Poona Ford, but he in no way, shape, or form lived up to his contract, having a particularly anonymous 2022 season. I don’t know if he’s cut out for the 3-4 defensive scheme. I also don’t know if Collier is cut out for the NFL period! Now that we have the XFL and the USFL, he should have no shortage of suitors. As for Bruce Irvin, I’d be okay bringing him back late in the pre-season as a depth piece. He shouldn’t be starting – like he was towards the end of 2022 – but as a rotational veteran, you could do a lot worse.

Fuck right off with Nick Bellore, Cody Barton, and BBK. I want upgrades at all linebacker spots on this roster – ideally through the draft – and if I never see these guys play defense for the Seahawks again, it’ll be too soon. Bring Bellore back as a special teamer if you must, but spare me this fullback playing linebacker.

Artie Burns, Justin Coleman, Josh Jones … Teez Tabor? What the fuck’s a Teez Tabor? They can all go.

Jason Myers is quite an interesting topic of conversation, actually. He came here on a 4 year, $15+ million deal and saw it through to the end. It’s kind of absurd how up and down he’s been in his career. In 2018, he was a Pro Bowler with the Jets. He signed with the Seahawks and wasn’t super great, hitting 82% of his field goals and 90% of his PATs. But, in 2020, he hit all of his field goals and 92% of his PATs. In 2021, he was downright bad, hitting only 74% of his field goals. At that point, I think every Seahawks fan was ready to wash their hands of him. However, in 2022, he jumped back up to 92% field goals made, with a high of 97% of his PATs made.

So, I don’t know what to tell ya. Based on this, he’s due to suck again in 2023. Does he deserve a raise for having another great year in a contract season? Does he deserve a reduction in pay thanks to how bad his 2021 was? Does he deserve the exact same deal? You like to think field goal kickers are easy to find, but they’re really not. Ask any team that’s struggled in this area. They’d probably back the Brinks truck up to bring in Jason Myers. I would say he’s probably worth the going rate of kickers in the top 10 in the league, but I also wouldn’t be broken up about losing him and finding a cheaper option elsewhere.

If I’m being honest, heading into this post, I was ready to declare Tyler Ott the most important Seahawks free agent of the bunch. But, I just remembered he was injured this year and didn’t play a regular season snap. So, maybe Carson Tinker is the way to go? Or maybe any ol’ fucking guy because long-snappers are a dime a dozen. Sign me to be your long-snapper! I’ve got flag football experience, I’m ready to go!

Who Do The Seahawks Have On Defense That’s Worth A Damn?

There’s nothing worse in football than a shitty defense. Put me in the minority of football fans: I want a defense that far-and-away outclasses the offense. I’d rather root for a team like the 49ers than I would a team like the Chiefs. Great defenses don’t take weeks off. Great defenses can make great offenses look inept; rarely do you see it go the other way. Rarely do you see a great defense – that isn’t totally decimated by injuries, thereby rendering it not-so-great – get totally obliterated. That’s what I’m looking for in a championship-level football team. That’s what I’m counting on when it comes to the playoffs. Great defense, and a quarterback who can get the job done in a pinch.

It feels like it’s been forever since the Seahawks have had a great defense. You could argue we haven’t had one since 2014 or 2015, which in NFL terms IS forever. The Seahawks haven’t just been mediocre, though. They’ve been downright BAD. What’s worse, they’ve often been bad masquerading as mediocre, which has led to this endless fucking cycle of never really going all-in to improve.

Year after year where we start out as the absolute worst defense in football. Then, through smoke and mirrors (and usually a reduction in the quality of offensive opponents), as the season goes along, they improve JUST enough to fool us into believing they’re not as bad as we thought. An inept coaching staff gets to keep their jobs (for a while), inept players get to stick around (for a while), and it starts all over again.

It’s been a long time since we’ve been THIS bad though. The run defense has been bad in spurts over the last half-decade, but never this consistently atrocious. There’s always been SOMETHING to stem the tide, and maybe that something was Bobby Wagner. Maybe we took him for granted for too long, and now we’re reaping what we sow.

There’s been a chicken or egg thing with this defense this year. Is it a scheme/coaching problem? Or is it a lack of talent among the players problem?

I’m inclined to think the scheme is sound – because we’ve seen the Vic Fangio scheme work all over the league – but the key difference is that usually they have Vic Fangio running it. I’ve had a problem with Clint Hurtt since it was announced he was taking over as defensive coordinator. Here’s a guy who’s done nothing in his coaching career, who led a mediocre-at-best defensive line unit under the previous shitty regime, and you just have to wonder what this guy did to deserve a promotion, as someone who’s never coached at this level before.

That being said, I don’t think there’s any question there’s a lack of talent on this team. Tariq Woolen appears to be the only player worth a damn. Uchenna Nwosu looks good week-in and week-out, but that can be deceiving. Is he just a standout among clods? Or is he actually a talented pass rusher/outside linebacker? I think it’s worth questioning since the Chargers let him go in free agency, and the Seahawks were only willing to sign him to a 2-year deal.

After that? Fuck this defense. As has been belabored, Jordyn Brooks makes a lot of tackles, but rarely are they of any impact. What big plays has he generated to put teams behind the sticks? Quandre Diggs appears to have lost a step, and if he’s going to keep dropping interceptions, then what good is he? We’re all well aware of Jamal Adams’ broken-down body; can’t count on him going forward. Darrell Taylor has had a nightmare season, given where we expected him to be in his development. Even Poona Ford and Bryan Mone have appeared to take steps back in their production, and all those guys are paid to do is stop the run! That’s literally their only fucking job!

The third and fourth best players on this defense are Al Woods and Shelby Harris, two aging vets you could get on the scrap heap in any given offseason.

It really makes you wonder how far away we are from building that elite defense we’ve missed so much. Are we just a few impact players away? Or is a total teardown and rebuild required? I don’t think we’re going to see the latter – at least as long as Pete Carroll and John Schneider are here – so that means we have to hope we’re just a draft away from turning things around.

Heading into next year, we’ve got the aforementioned Woolen and Nwosu. We hope the likes of Coby Bryant and/or Tre Brown can make an impact. Beyond that, man, I dunno. It seems more and more like we’re going to need that first Broncos pick to be an impact defensive lineman. I’m wondering if we’re going to need to use the vast majority of our draft picks to go towards the defense!

It’s extremely discouraging. I don’t like calling this a “lost season” because that makes it sound like a failure, when really it’s not THAT bad. But, any season where you’re not seriously contending for a championship – or at least building towards that – is indeed a lost season. You like to at least hang your hat on some players you can point to and say, “These are the building blocks of a potential championship team.” There are guys up and down that offense where you can say that. But, on defense, the cupboard is fucking BARE.

Fans are impatient. I get that. The Seahawks are 7-7 with three weeks to go. We’d need to win out AND we’d need help if we want to make the playoffs as one of the last two wild card teams. To win out, that means we’d need to somehow defeat the Chiefs this weekend, then turn around and beat the Jets and Rams at home. As a team that couldn’t even beat the Panthers, Raiders, or Bucs, that feels implausible. As such, I just want to get this Seahawks season over with as soon as possible, with as many defeats as possible, to better our draft picks for next year. I want to fast forward to the 2023 draft, I want us to select the best possible players, and I want the next regular season to get going with our bounty of improved talent! It feels insane to say that while there are still relevant regular season games left to play in 2022, but that’s where I’m at.

I can’t watch this defense anymore. It’s infuriating. The offense has been a heartwarming story thus far, but it’s not good enough to overcome the other side of the ball being so helpless. It’s time to seriously overhaul the whole fucking unit, from top to bottom, by any means necessary. All these half measures aren’t going to cut it anymore.

How Good Can The Seahawks Be In 2022?

So much of the discourse about our favorite sports teams has a bent towards the future, for better and for worse. To the point where all too often, the reaction to that discourse is a Stop & Smell The Roses mentality that can feel overly sentimental or old fashioned. I’m as guilty of that as everyone, because duh, I am stopping and smelling the damn roses. I’m watching every week, aren’t I? I’m reading articles and blogs, I’m writing about the games and whatnot, what more do you want from me? I’m invested!

But, that’s just it. I’m so invested that I’m taking a big picture approach to following a team like the Seahawks. I can do both: I can follow along and be entertained in the moment, AND I can think about the future and what this team needs to do to be even better.

What’s only starting to occur to me is: what if the future is now? Maybe we don’t NEED to look ahead a year or two, to see this team compete for Super Bowls. With the trajectory we’re on now, the sky really does feel like the limit!

Maybe it’s the four-game winning streak talking, I dunno. But, when I watch this team, I see a balanced and explosive offense, strong across the board at both the skill positions and the grunt workers. I see a defense that’s clearly improved from where it languished in the first month of the season, and it’s seemingly getting better by the week, as the young guys gain experience and start to mesh with the new scheme.

What’s a little uncertain is how elite this team truly is.

I would say throughout the year, the offense has been ahead of the defense. That’s not going out on any significant limb of hot takes or anything. But, does that make the offense elite? In a lot of ways, the analytics would say yes. Points per game, we’re 4th in the league. But, yards per game we’re down around the 10ish range. That’s good, not great. It also kinda feels like this team hasn’t played its absolute best on offense except against the very worst of defenses. Maybe I should give the Seahawks more credit for the 32 we rung up on the Saints, but there’s also been times we’ve been stymied. It feels like there’s more we can do, like this team could put up 50 on an opponent at any given time.

Then, on the flipside, defensively is this team a championship level unit? Certainly, after that Saints game, things turned around in a hurry. The D-Line shifted in its attack, we stopped relying so much on Cody Barton (in favor of more DBs on the field), and our young secondary has stepped up in a big way. Ours isn’t a traditionally dominant defensive unit like the 49ers, the Jets, the Cowboys, or the Broncos. But, it’s hard to argue with results.

That’s a potentially-explosive Cardinals team. They racked up a relatively easy touchdown-scoring drive when they first had possession of the football, then they proceeded to go punt, punt, punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt before their next touchdown (they did get a pick-six there in the middle of all of that, but that’s no reflection of their offense, now is it?). That’s some serious domination, three weeks after we held them to all of 9 points (3 points on offense, with the other 6 coming on a special teams TD).

To be fair, though, the Cards are kind of a mess. While they do have the potential to be explosive, they’ve also proven to be prone to implosion more often than not. It’s not like we just held the Chiefs, Bills, or Eagles to some miniscule number. But, you play the teams as they’re scheduled, and it’s hard not to be impressed with how the Seahawks have looked in all facets.

What’s not uncertain is the team’s lack of depth.

It’s not quite a Gods N Clods situation, but you could make a good argument that the Seahawks have been pretty lucky with injuries. We lost Jamal Adams, but who’s the other injury on defense that wasn’t an addition by subtraction (a la Sidney Jones or Justin Coleman)? We’ve had nagging injuries on offense, but other than Rashaad Penny, I don’t think we’ve lost anyone of note.

But, clearly, this team wouldn’t be the same if Geno Smith went down for a long period of time. We’d be severely hurting if we lost Kenneth Walker. And if either Lockett or Metcalf go out, we’re pretty bad at receiver behind those guys. Defensively, I think we’d be devastated if we lost Nwosu or Brooks, and the last thing I want is for our secondary guys to get hampered in their development.

Of course, you could make the same depth argument about a lot of teams. We’re seeing it play out in real time with the likes of the Green Bay Packers, for instance. For the most part, the very best teams – the ones competing for and winning Super Bowls – are also the ones who are luckiest with injuries. There’s never a 100% healthy team, but I would argue it’s a pretty high number. All the difference in how you finish lies in how healthy your best players are able to remain throughout the season. The NFL is a rough business; it churns through athletes with the best of ’em.

But, this isn’t a blog post talking about How Healthy Can The Seahawks Be In 2022; that’s a discussion about randomness. We’re talking about how GOOD this team can be, and I’m really starting to believe.

I think the biggest test to date is coming this weekend. I know I say that every week, but every week it remains true.

The Bucs, by and large, have been a colossal disappointment. But, there’s been plenty of extenuating circumstances. They’re still a team led by Tom Brady, with tons of offensive weapons at his disposal. They’ve still got a tremendous defense – especially at stopping the run – and a foundation of quality coaches and coordinators keeping the boat afloat. There’s a ton of experience on that team, and they’re right where they need to be. They play in one of the worst divisions in football, and control their own destiny. They won’t be a top seed in the NFC, but they can easily make the postseason and be a team nobody wants to play.

At this point, I usually talk about “how you beat this team”, but I don’t fully grasp why they’re so bad in the first place, other than guys who are usually great aren’t doing so hot. Obviously, if you get in Tom Brady’s grill with a 4-man pass rush, that’s the best way to slow him down. But, he can still carve up anyone when he’s on. Leonard Fournette can look like one of the best running backs in football at times, but all too often it seems like they go away from him for no reason. They have dynamic receivers, good players at tight end, and when healthy, their O-line has been tough. I don’t know how healthy that line is now, but maybe that’s a weakness we can exploit.

On the flipside, we have to stay on schedule and disciplined on offense. No penalties, no negative plays, and be efficient on third down. I expect this to be relatively low scoring and close to the bitter end, so there will be a few crucial plays that determine this one. Kickers better be on point, is all I have to say about the Special Teams.

There’s a real great opportunity here. If we can gut out a win in Germany, that puts us at 7-3 heading into the BYE. Then, we host 5 of our last 7 games, which at the beginning of the season seemed like a pointless gesture, but now looks like a gift from the heavens. There are still tough games sprinkled in throughout – hosting the 49ers, Jets, and even the Raiders; two games against the hated Rams, and that huge road game against the Chiefs on Christmas Eve – but it’s hard not to like our chances in most of those. Clearly, there’s something wrong with the Rams and Raiders. The Panthers should be pushovers. The Jets stink on offense. The 49ers are banged up and coming to Seattle. Even the Chiefs have shown their warts at times.

I’m not saying the Seahawks are definitely winning out the rest of the way. But, I am saying that it would not surprise me if the Seahawks won this weekend and continued to win the rest of the year. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Seahawks earned a top 2 or 3 seed in the NFC. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Seahawks made some noise in the playoffs. And, indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Seahawks won it all.

Until further notice, I’m not concerning myself with the 2023 version of this team, or beyond. I’m all in on 2022, and from where I’m sitting, the view is pretty great.

The Seahawks Won Their Super Bowl, Defeating Russell Wilson On Monday Night

It’s probably never going to be better than it was last night, for the rest of the season. Relish it. At some point, I’m going to write a post titled, “R.I.P. Fun Seahawks”, because I think we’re going to see a lot of ugly football this year. But, what we got last night was something akin to a final hurrah for the Fun Seahawks. Those Seahawks who – as Kevin Clark astutely pointed out – have literally never played in a normal game.

It’s a very first world problem, but a definite complaint I’ve heard about all of those Russell Wilson Seahawks teams is that they never let you relax. They’re always nerve-wracking and tense, down to the bitter end, win or lose. This game was THAT times a thousand. Of course, we usually prevailed in those games, so ultimately they were a source of joy and relief, and last night was no different. It really did feel like a continuation of all the fun, but I fear it’s going to soon come to an end.

The Seahawks were as up for this game against Russell Wilson’s Broncos as I’ve ever seen a team up for anything. You could argue the Broncos were up too, but they were a little TOO up, resulting in way too many dumb penalties and mistakes. Whereas the Seahawks were shockingly calm and composed, while still looking pretty electric at times.

The first half Seahawks were a revelation. The over/under on Seahawks points in the entire game was 18.5, and they very nearly surpassed that in the first two quarters (really, they should have, but Geno missed a wide open Travis Homer near the goalline that would’ve been a walk-in touchdown). It was truly impressive! We marched right down the field on the opening drive for a TD, we took it inside the Denver 10 yard line on the next drive before being stuffed on a QB sneak, then we went field goal and touchdown to wrap up our first half. Against that defense? It was phenomenal!

But, then you got a good, long look at the Bad Seahawks in the second half. No offense whatsoever. No points whatsoever. Fumble, punt, punt. That’s it.

Now, you can argue that’s a little bit by design. That if these Seahawks are going to do anything, it’s going to be on the back of the defense getting timely stops. But, I don’t know how sustainable this type of game was, even though we looked absolutely dominant around the goalline.

The Broncos never had trouble moving the ball. They ran it well, they gave Wilson lots of time to throw, and they even worked in a few deep shots against a defense that is absolutely never supposed to give up deep shots. Our rookie cornerbacks played like rookie cornerbacks. Our pass rush played okay, but was far from dominant. There were lots of open receivers underneath and in the short-intermediate, and to his credit, Russell Wilson was playing the exact type of game he should have. It was a patient, calculated night where he took what the defense gave him. He’s gotten so much grief in recent seasons for constantly trying to chase the deep ball, but other than a couple of INT drops by Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, there really weren’t a lot of mistakes on Wilson’s part (at least, to my untrained eye).

But, when it mattered most – in the second half, clinging to a one-score lead – our defense stiffened up and forced two fumbles at the goalline. Again, how sustainable is that? Probably not very.

By the look of things, this defense resembled so many Ken Norton defenses. Lots of yards given up between the 20’s, followed by just enough field goals allowed instead of touchdowns to give the team the victory. But, better teams won’t just settle for field goals. I would argue the Broncos will be A LOT better than this going forward, but we know Russell Wilson, and we had his number in this one. We’re not going to be so lucky against other teams.

So, enjoy this while you can. Because I can’t say this is going to continue even into next week.

Kudos to Geno Smith for taking a heaping mound of shit from everyone – fans, pundits, haters – and playing a game that was good enough to win. 23/28, 195 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. I will say that he needs to step up more in the pocket, to help out his rookie tackles. But, to his credit, he did look good running the ball, and took a lot of tough hits in an effort to fall forward rather than play it safe and slide for less.

Rashaad Penny looked good, and could’ve looked even better if a number of his runs weren’t called back by penalty. I wouldn’t expect those flags to continue; as long as he’s healthy, I think he’ll continue his hot run from late last year.

Good job by the receivers and tight ends, though D.K. had another fumble that almost cost us dearly. I thought Brooks and Barton were solid and sometimes spectacular. I thought Nwosu was the best player on the field! Only one sack, but he was all over the place, making plays everywhere and made Russell’s life the most miserable.

I thought Jamal Adams looked terrible, and then he went out with a severe knee injury that’s probably going to end his season. Good thing no one was counting on him to be a big part of this defense or anything. I also thought Darrell Taylor looked REAL bad. He got beat around the edge too many times, never got close to sniffing Russell, and didn’t do anything in coverage.

Nice job by Myers for making a 49 yarder that proved to be the game-winner. And a couple good punts from Dickson. Also, phenomenal coverage and return yardage by the Special Teams. DeeJay Dallas gets a special shout out not just for his yards, but for his smashing tackle.

Finally, the MVP of the game goes to Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett, who didn’t take a time out at the end of the game, with over a minute left, 4th & 5 at the Seahawks 46 yard line. Instead, he let the clock drain, called time out, then went for a 64 yard field goal that didn’t have much of a chance of succeeding (McManus even missed a warm-up right when we iced him). You made a HUGE trade for Russell Wilson, you paid him a bundle of money, and you DON’T put the ball in his hands to go for the first down and a closer field goal? What’s WRONG with you?!

Fun night. Now, let’s go lose a bunch of ballgames and go draft a quarterback next year!

The Seahawks Should Lose A Lot Of Games In 2022

I don’t have a lot of faith in the Seahawks this year. As I’ve noted in the past – especially in the post-LOB era – if you take Russell Wilson off of this team, it’s probably a 3-win team, give or take. That’s what we’re looking at right now.

It’s not just the loss of Russell Wilson, but it’s also who we’ve replaced him with. Geno Smith has always been a terrible-to-mediocre quarterback. Now he’s an old terrible-to-mediocre quarterback. He might have a few good throws per game, but he’s also going to hold onto the ball too long, take some untimely sacks, and fail to move this offense one iota whenever we’re behind the sticks. Any failed play – whether it’s the aforementioned sack, a penalty, a run stuff, or even an incomplete pass on 1st & 10 – and we’re looking at almost an automatic punt. Anytime we get down by two scores, you can pretty much write the game off; there’s no way Geno Smith is pulling our asses out of any fires like Russell Wilson did on the regular. Remember ALL of those games where we started slowly WITH an elite guy like Wilson at the helm! Now, imagine those same slow starts, only we’ve got Geno being harassed like crazy in obvious passing situations. It’s a living hell.

At least in the LOB era, you could’ve made the argument that a simple game manager might’ve kept us in a lot of games. We might’ve even succeeded on the strength of literally every other position on the team. But, this ain’t that. It might have the potential to one day approach that, but there’s a lot that would have to go right.

We all know the preseason is fake football. Putting too much stock in what happens in August is really grounds for losing your football fan card. But, I can’t help feeling especially disheartened, because we actually played a good number of our starters. Geno Smith had a lot of snaps out there! Behind a starting offensive line that also saw a lot of snaps – since we’re breaking in a couple rookies at the tackle spots – that actually looked pretty decent! So, the fact that we struggled so mightily to score points is pretty damning. Even if our top two running backs missed most of the games, our next two running backs played quite extensively and ALSO looked better than I’ve ever seen them. Really, the guys you’re talking about – on offense – who largely sat out were D.K. and Tyler Lockett. Are those two guys alone going to automatically pump things up to a league-average level? I’m dubious.

Which puts a lot of pressure on a defense that’s as big a question mark as anything. The defense didn’t look great either, but you can convince me a lot of our best guys DID sit out. Nevertheless, that’s putting a lot on guys like Jordyn Brooks, Quandre Diggs (coming off of injury), and Jamal Adams (also coming off of injury, as well as playing through more injuries). We’re going to have to count on cornerbacks who are largely untested (and possibly bad). We’re going to have to count on a pass rush that’s in Prove It Mode. We’re going to have to rely on a run stuffing unit that didn’t seem to stuff much of the run in spite of playing a lot in the preseason.

We’re really banking on the coaching staff holding everything together with duct tape and zipties. Is that smart? An offensive coordinator in his second year of calling plays? A defensive coordinator in his first year of running a defense? The second-oldest head coach in the NFL?

Let’s look at the schedule. We start out on Monday night against a fired up Russell Wilson, surrounded by a lot of talent on that Broncos roster. That feels like a sure loss. Then we go on the road to play the 49ers, who might be among the best teams in the NFC from top to bottom. We host Atlanta, who feels on par with our talent level; that’s a coin flip at best. Then, it’s back to back road games against a young and hungry Lions team, followed by a Saints team with a great defense and a lot of talent on offense.

Then, we host the Cardinals (a playoff team last year with most of their guys returning) and play the Chargers on the road (a definite playoff-calibre team this year). The Giants at home feel like pushovers, but like the Falcons, I think their talent level is on par with ours. That’s another coin flip. Then, we go on the road against Arizona again, before playing Tampa in Germany.

Would it shock anyone if we’re 2-8 or 1-9 heading into the BYE week? Not me!

We host the Raiders (another playoff team from last year), then go on the road to play the Rams (Super Bowl champs). We host Carolina, which is a sleeper playoff team this year with Baker Mayfield out there. Then we host the 49ers, before going on the road to play the Chiefs (another viable Super Bowl contender). Then we close by hosting the Jets and Rams.

In that last stretch, I see one win. Maybe two. But, it’s not a stretch at all for this team to be anywhere from 2-15 to 4-13, and maybe that’s for the best.

I haven’t been this down on the Seahawks in a while. Probably since the Suck For Luck campaign. We all know how that turned out. But, rather than winning 7 games, I think we have the legitimate potential to lose a lot more.

It sucks being in this position, but again, I think it’s necessary. I’d still rather be here than having Russell Wilson and praying everything goes right for us to MAYBE get beyond the Divisional Round of the playoffs (something we haven’t done since the 2014 season). We’ve been spinning our tires in the mud for too long now. It was time to make this change. It’s time to start over and see if we can rebound quickly. First thing’s first: we need to lose a lot so we can guarantee ourselves a chance to draft our next potential franchise quarterback.

I know, in a vacuum, it’s better to have the sure thing on your roster. But, the way we’ve failed to build around Wilson – combined with the fact that he was only going to get more expensive and take up more of a percentage of our salary cap – I don’t see how things were ever going to change. I guess you can argue we should’ve kept him over Pete Carroll and John Schneider, but then you’ve got the unknown of a brand new head coach and GM pairing.

Maybe that’s preferable. What has John Schneider done since 2014 when it comes to building this roster? Maybe he’s cashed as a talent evaluator. After all, if the rumors are true – that he was high on bringing Drew Lock here – then I think that speaks volumes. But, if that’s just poppycock, and he has another card up his sleeve with the next draft, then I’d like to see what’s in store for the future.

This is it, though. It’s the 2023 draft. It’s whoever we draft at that position next year. Pete and John get whoever that is, and if they flame out, it’s over. We’ll know soon enough whether this was all a huge mistake, or a massive stroke of genius. It might not make the 2022 Seahawks worth watching, but it’ll make the 2022 and 2023 NFL seasons pretty interesting. I’ll be keeping an eye on what Denver’s doing, for sure.

For the record, I think Denver will look pretty fucking great this season. I’m on record as believing they’ll win their division and maybe even go far in the playoffs. I think Russell Wilson will look terrific and in shape and run more with the ball than he has in the last few years. But, long term? I do have my doubts. I think the honeymoon won’t be long. And when it gets bad, it’ll get REALLY bad.

But, if it gets them a title in 2022, clearly it’ll all be worth it. And Pete and John will look like assholes for squandering so much of Russell’s prime.

I’m putting us at 3-14, with a top 4 draft pick. Maybe even top 3 or top 2. We won’t be the worst of the worst – I think that’ll be Chicago – but it’s going to be ugly. Just get there now. Get in that mindset. We’ll get through this together.

Seahawks 53-Man Roster Projection Ready Set Go!

It’s a little early for this, I’ll admit. But, this Friday I’m leaving on a trip and won’t be back until Labor Day, which doesn’t leave me a lot of time until the start of the regular season (plus, will be after the final cut-down day anyway, rendering this whole exercise moo. A cow’s opinion). Really, when you think about it, this isn’t early at all. It’s probably late, if I’m being honest! What am I even talking about?!

I don’t have a lot invested in this team, so I imagine my latest 53-man roster projection is going to be more wrong than normal (when I never really gave a damn anyway). Did I include too many linebackers and not enough offensive linemen? Probably. Anyway, here we go.

Quarterbacks

  • Geno Smith
  • Drew Lock

It’s our worst nightmare, come to fruition. If I had to guess, I’d say Geno gets the nod to start the regular season, but I can’t imagine that will last long (if it happens at all). I still contend the team wants Lock to be the guy, but his fucking up at every turn is holding him back.

Running Backs

  • Rashaad Penny
  • Kenneth Walker
  • Travis Homer
  • DeeJay Dallas
  • Nick Bellore

Pretty easy one here. I don’t dare lump Bellore in with the rest of the linebackers, but sure, he’s that too, I guess (in addition to a fullback the team almost never uses). When Walker’s healthy, this figures to be a 2-man backfield, but Homer will still likely see his fair share of reps in the 2-minute offense. And, injuries will likely dictate all of these guys appear at one time or another.

Wide Receivers

  • D.K. Metcalf
  • Tyler Lockett
  • Freddie Swain
  • Dee Eskridge
  • Penny Hart
  • Dareke Young

I really don’t believe Eskridge has done a damn thing to earn a spot on this roster, other than being our top draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Feels too soon to give up on a 2nd round pick, but then again, he’s CONSTANTLY FUCKING INJURED. I don’t get it. Hart is a hedge against that, plus he’s a special teams whiz. And I feel like if you keep Eskridge, you have to keep a sixth receiver just in case. It seems like Young has the higher upside, whereas Bo Melton is probably likelier to pass through to the practice squad.

Tight Ends

  • Noah Fant
  • Will Dissly
  • Colby Parkinson

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. No notes.

Offensive Line

  • Charles Cross
  • Damien Lewis
  • Austin Blythe
  • Gabe Jackson
  • Abe Lucas
  • Phil Haynes
  • Jake Curhan
  • Kyle Fuller
  • Stone Forsythe

Odds are we’ll see a 10th lineman here, but you could conceivably get away with just the 9. It all depends on how bad the Lewis injury is and how long he’ll miss time. But, Curhan can play guard or tackle. Fuller can play center or guard. Forsythe is your traditional tackle backup. There’s enough cross-polination among the backups here to cover your ass in a pinch. That assumes, of course, that Lucas is your starting right tackle, which is the rumor I’m hearing.

Defensive Linemen

  • Shelby Harris
  • Poona Ford
  • Bryan Mone
  • Al Woods
  • Quinton Jefferson
  • L.J. Collier
  • Myles Adams

These are the beefy dudes who should spend little-to-no time dropping back into coverage. That figure could be drastically high; I’m really taking a stab in the dark here. But, I’ve also ranked them in order of likelihood to make the team, so could be a tough break for one or both of Collier & Adams (but, I’ve heard good things about Collier in practice, and I’ve seen good things from Adams in the two games so far).

Pass Rushers/Strong-Side Linebackers

  • Darrell Taylor
  • Boye Mafe
  • Uchenna Nwosu
  • Alton Robinson
  • Tyreke Smith

Again, I’m ranking these by order of likelihood to make the team. But, I think the top four are as close to locks as possible. Smith makes my roster because he’s a draft pick, but I couldn’t tell you if he’s done a damn thing so far in the pre-season.

Linebackers

  • Jordyn Brooks
  • Cody Barton
  • Tanner Muse
  • Vi Jones

I’ll be honest, Muse and Jones are here because they’re names I recognize. I think one or both might be valuable special teamers, maybe? I also think this team could be sifting through cast-offs from other teams, since the position outside of Brooks has been so underwhelming.

Safeties

  • Jamal Adams
  • Quandre Diggs
  • Ryan Neal
  • Marquise Blair

I haven’t seen or heard about Neal, but I’m assuming based on his production for this team of late, he’ll get a crack to be a backup again. Blair, on the other hand, has done nothing but disappoint in the pre-season. I wouldn’t be shocked if Blair gets chopped and we go with someone else on our roster or pick up another team’s reject(s).

Cornerbacks

  • Tariq Woolen
  • Coby Bryant
  • Sidney Jones
  • Artie Burns
  • Justin Coleman

I don’t think Coleman deserves to be on this team, but I think he’s going to make it anyway. Odds are it’s Jones and Burns to start – with Bryant being the team’s top nickel guy – but I won’t be surprised to see Woolen out there (especially if Burns or Jones can’t get healthy). I’m also banking on Tre Brown starting out on PUP, or otherwise not joining the roster until later on in the season.

Special Teams

  • Tyler Ott (LS)
  • Michael Dickson (P)
  • Jason Myers (K)

Seems crazy that Myers gets to keep his job based on what we’ve seen, but what are you going to do? He’s going to continue to be aggravating, but he’s going to be far from the most aggravating thing we see on a weekly basis from this team.

The Seahawks Weren’t Totally Uninteresting In A Pre-Season Loss In Pittsburgh

I had scheduled myself to write about the Mariners today and the Seahawks tomorrow, but we’re flip-flopping after an underwhelming series loss to the Rangers of all teams.

I didn’t watch the Seahawks game live, because I have better things to do than watch quasi-meaningless pre-season games. But, you know what I don’t have better things to do than? Watching quasi-meaningless pre-season games the next day on DVR when I already know the outcome of the game!

I’ll just get this out of the way early so we can all move on: I’m not crazy about pre-season announcing booths in general, but the addition of an otherwise quite charming Michael Robinson brought the homerism to a new level. I didn’t bother to write down any specific criticisms, but at points I was wondering if we were watching the same players. Like, he’d praise their attributes that they clearly don’t exhibit! To counter-balance that, I thought the addition of Michael Bennett was delightful, and I particularly enjoyed his interviews on the field. He’s a wild card in the best possible way (even though it’s clear he’s been instructed to also juice up the homerism). Curt Menefee, as always, is a pro’s pro and we’re lucky to have him doing our games. He has no reason to! We’re not interesting from a national perspective without Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner anymore!

The game result is – as has been mentioned everywhere – not important. The Seahawks got down 14-0 through the first quarter, we managed to execute a 2-minute drive heading into halftime to cut the deficit to 17-10, then we tied it on our first possession after halftime. We swapped touchdowns and 2-point conversions after that, to make it 25-25 late in the game. Then, a critical stop by the Seahawks defense was rewarded with a devastating sack/fumble, and the Steelers scored a TD with just 3 seconds left in the game to give the game its final score, 32-25.

Pre-Season Quarterback Report

As has been the case pretty much all off-season, Geno Smith worked with the starters and Drew Lock worked with the backups. In this particular game, Geno worked the entire first half and Drew worked the entire second half.

And, as expected, neither one really stood out, at least to my eye. They’re both crappy-to-mediocre backup quarterbacks in this league. And yet, I came to a definite conclusion while watching this game, as Geno Smith tottered his way to a sack in an imploding pocket (even though he had plenty of time to throw it away): if I have to watch a full season where Geno Smith is my team’s starting quarterback, I’m going to blow my fucking brains out.

Mind you, I don’t expect that to be the end result of my life, so let’s just say I’ll be taking every opportunity to casually skip even regular season Seahawks games this year.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m gung-ho over Drew Lock, because I’m very much not. But, man, we fucking know what Geno Smith has to offer. He was shitty with the Jets (and other teams) and he’s shitty now. Age and sitting behind Russell Wilson has not magically made him better. There’s no savvy to his game. He looks way too long to his first read, for one thing. That makes him frequently late in throwing to that first read if he decides it’s open. Otherwise, it makes him late to his secondary reads, so it’s like he holds on Read 1, and then a few seconds later decides to check it down to his final read. This is especially aggravating when it’s 3rd & long and the check-down gets tackled well before the first down line to gain.

That’s why you can see his stats from Saturday – 10/15, 101 yards, no turnovers – and think that’s not so bad. Last year, in three games, he completed over 68% of his passes largely in this fashion (looking pretty spry against probably the league’s worst defense in Jacksonville), which again leads one to think he’s not so bad. Think again. Think long and hard about the Geno Smith you’ve watched over the last decade.

I just can’t with him. All things being equal – and they do look pretty equal – give me the unfamiliar. Drew Lock, to his credit, did some good things in this one. He doubled the number of touchdown drives that Geno gave us, he completed one more pass for one more yard in the same number of attempts. But, he also took double the number of sacks, including the game-sealing fumble at the end (where he was supposed to recognize the blitzer off the edge and adjust the play/protection accordingly).

You look for moments where a quarterback can show you what he’s got. That was Drew Lock’s moment. The game was tied, there was just over a minute left and we got it on Pittsburgh’s side of the 50 yard line. All we needed was 20-25 yards for an easy game-winning field goal. That’s a moment where you MUST orchestrate a game-winning drive for your team. Granted, it was the pre-season, so it was backups against backups. But, that makes it all the more important if you’re Drew Lock and you’re trying to be a starter in this league. Starters don’t fuck that up. Starters see that blitzer and make mincemeat out of the Steelers on that play. This is going to be Lock’s fourth year in the league; if you can’t see a pretty obvious blitz off the edge by now, then I just don’t think it’s ever going to click for you.

And yet, I still would prefer to see Lock as our starting quarterback this season. Partly because he’s Not Geno Smith, but also because I think he sucks just a little bit more. I think he’s going to be a little more reckless with the football, where Geno might be a little more careful. I think he’ll cost us maybe an extra game or two, where Geno might do just enough to game manage his way to victory. It’s the difference between going 8-9 and 6-11, but that’s a pretty big leap in the NFL draft standings, and that’s all that matters right now.

Because, clearly, neither of these guys deserve to be around and playing in meaningful football games in 2023.

Other Pre-Season Tidbits

I was quite impressed with the offensive line throughout this one. If there’s one positive takeaway, it’s that the depth up front is likely to be our biggest strength.

By extension, I thought the running backs looked great as well! Granted, Rashaad Penny was out with injury (of course), but that just meant more Kenneth Walker. He didn’t break anything, but he looked solid in general. More eye-opening was what we saw from DeeJay Dallas and even Travis Homer, who both got busy running AND pass catching. Great day from that room!

I was pretty appalled by our run defense, especially when you saw a good chunk of our starting interior linemen out there for much of the game. Even in the first half, the Steelers were ripping us to shreds.

Cody Barton is Just A Guy. I don’t know where anyone got the opinion that he’s going to be a good player for this team, but he’s not. He’s just a warm body. His deficiencies might be covered up a little more when Jordyn Brooks is out there being a beast. But, when Barton is the main guy, you can see just how slow he is, how bad his instincts are, and how he gets run over on the reg. If ankle tackles where the runner still falls forward for 2-3 extra yards are your jam, then sign up for more Cody Barton. But, as for me, I prefer an inside linebacker with some juice.

Bit of a mixed bag from our receivers. I thought the rookies Bo Melton and Dareke Young looked solid. No D.K. or Lockett in this one, nor any Swain or Dee Eskridge (naturally). We did get our first look at Noah Fant, who will definitely have a big role in this passing game. That being said, Fant isn’t going to be much of a blocker, especially out in space, so we’ll have to adjust our expectations accordingly. Also, he needs to work on his footwork, because he had a great opportunity along the sidelines, but couldn’t get his second foot down in bounds.

I was pleased to see Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson make big impacts in the pass rush. And I was thrilled with the two sacks from Boye Mafe! He might be raw, but his speed is NFL-ready, no doubt about it. Shelby Harris looks like a quality addition to the interior, and I think it was Myles Adams who stood out quite a bit in the second half (I believe he was wearing #95 in this one, but I could be mistaken). I don’t know how many DTs we can carry, but I’m rooting for Adams.

I’m going to withhold too much judgment on the secondary for now, because we were looking at a lot of inexperienced guys out there on the boundary. I will say that Justin Coleman looks bad and old and slow; he probably shouldn’t make this team. Promisingly enough, Tariq Woolen got the start on one side and was hit or miss. I say “promisingly” because he was always expected to be more of a project, so the fact that the team trusts him enough to start him right out of the gate is encouraging for his overall talent level. I’ll need to see better ball skills, and turning his head when the ball is in the air, but otherwise there are things to build upon, as well as things to point to and praise. On the other side, we saw a lot of Coby Bryant. I don’t know where he’s ultimately going to end up (if it’s outside or as a nickel guy), but sort of the same deal: some good things to point to, some things for him to work on. You wouldn’t expect either guy to be finished products right out of college, but I like that they both have the trust of these coaches this early in their careers.

That being said, if Sidney Jones and/or Artie Burns continue to be injured throughout this season, we could be looking at significant growing pains from our secondary. Granted, neither of our starting safeties – Quandre Diggs & Jamal Adams – played in this one. Here’s hoping they can paper over where we’re limited on the outside.

Finally, I’ll just say the kicking game looked shaky as hell! Jason Myers doinked one in off the upright and did not look sharp; he was also knocking some kickoffs short, but that may have been by design to test our coverage units (who graded out pretty poorly, in my layman’s opinion). Michael Dickson punted a bunch into the endzone, which is entirely unlike him. I’d say the old line about how it’s pre-season for everyone, including punters, but what else does he do with his time in training camp? He punts! Where’s that magic leg we’ve seen for four years?! That magic leg we’re paying Top-Of-The-Punter-Market prices!

How Good Could The Seahawks Be (Quarterback Aside)?

Don’t get it twisted that I’m sitting here talking myself into the Seahawks making some noise in 2022; they’re not going to contend for shit! But, as an exercise to see my vision through – drafting a franchise quarterback in 2023, setting that player up for success now by building up the team around him a year ahead of time – I think it’s fair to wonder. Now that the draft is behind us, and we can start to piece a roster together, how good is this team at every position other than quarterback?

Let’s start at offensive line, since that was a big emphasis for the Seahawks in this draft. O-Line, as we all know, is vitally important to a team’s chances for success. Especially when you’re talking about breaking in a rookie QB. So, have we done enough?

Obviously, that depends on how these draft picks pan out. But, if they’re as good as a lot of people think they can be, this is going to bode very well for our future. As it stands now, going left to right, we’ve got Charles Cross, Damien Lewis, Austin Blythe, Gabe Jackson, and Abe Lucas. Lewis has two years under his belt, and has performed pretty well when healthy. Blythe comes in with extensive experience in winning programs (including as a former Ram, who this offensive coaching staff knows well), and Jackson is still an in-his-prime starting guard in this league. Either he sticks around, or the Seahawks look to improve at that spot in the draft next year; I’m fine with both scenarios. I think the O-Line has the potential to be very good, creating a nice, soft landing spot for a rookie QB in 2023.

Next, let’s look at weapons. Tyler Lockett is here for the long haul. The team has given every indication that D.K. Metcalf will see a second contract. Freddie Swain has proven to be a competent 3rd/4th/5th receiver. Dee Eskridge and our two rookies this year could be nice gadget players if they stay healthy. That’s a solid group.

Noah Fant is a good tight end, with the potential to be great. He’s right there on the fringe of being a top 10 guy. Will Dissly is the consummate blocking tight end, but he has soft hands and can play down the field. Colby Parkinson hasn’t shown much yet, but his frame should play well around the goalline. I would like to see what he can do when given an opportunity. I think the tight end room is also solid.

Then, we’ve got Kenneth Walker as our potential starting running back. He gets 2022 to play behind Rashaad Penny, giving us a 1-2 punch that could be pretty formidable in the short term. If Walker proves he deserves a shot at being the bellcow, I think he’ll run away with the job in 2023 and beyond. Figure the Seahawks will go back to the running back well in the draft next year, likely selecting a lower-round player to be his backup. There’s a lot that’s up in the air about the running back room right now, but it has the potential to be elite if Walker is The Guy.

As far as weapons go, you could do a helluva lot worse! I think with a year’s experience, that’s about as ideal of a landing spot as any rookie quarterback could find himself in 2023.

But, the real question is: how good could the defense be?

This doesn’t work if the defense isn’t ready to grow into a dominant unit over the next two years. That’ll be what I’m most obsessed about heading into the 2022 regular season. I need to see existing players take huge leaps forward, I need to see rookies develop relatively quickly. I need impact! I need this to be a group that harkens back to the 2011/2012 seasons, when they were clearly ascending.

Let’s go back to front, because I have more confidence in what we’ve done with the secondary.

Between Tre Brown and the two rookies, we need two of those three guys to pan out. My hope is that Brown returns from injury and parlays his brief excellence as a rookie into better things going forward. I’d also bank on Coby Bryant having enough of a chip on his shoulder – and enough skills as a corner – to wrench a job away from Sidney Jones. I’m also not against Jones simply being elite and earning a big money extension, because he’s still pretty young. There are obviously a ton of question marks in this group, but the ceiling is through the roof, and I’m willing to bank on this coaching staff getting the most out of these guys (in ways they thoroughly failed at with Tre Flowers & Co.).

Like it or not, Jamal Adams isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Definitely not before the 2022 season is through. So, he has at least this year to try to prove his worth to this defense. There’s certainly reason for optimism that – from a talent perspective – the coaching staff will find a way to maximize his game. But, can he stay healthy? If this is the third straight year where his season is drastically cut short, then I don’t see how you can keep him in 2023 or beyond. Quandre Diggs, on the other hand, should be a quality contributor for a while, and the younger players behind them (Ugo Amadi, Marquise Blair, Ryan Neal) are quality depth pieces we can roll with in a good defense. I think we’re well set up at Safety, even if the value isn’t there (with our two starters making an insanely high percentage of the salary cap).

Inside linebacker is pretty interesting. I think we’re all pretty happy with Jordyn Brooks and his production on the field. I was of the opinion that it was time to move on from Bobby Wagner, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for Brooks to slide into that spot. But, with the defense expected to be more of a 3-4 look, did we do enough? Are we really going with Cody Barton as the other inside linebacker? Sure, he looked … fine, in limited action towards the end of the season. From a value perspective, he was giving us 80% of Bobby Wagner for a fraction of the price. But, does he really wow you going forward? Is he someone this team would look to re-sign after this season?

I guess we’ll see! Seems to me, there’s no reason NOT to have an open competition at the other inside linebacker spot. Which makes it all the more shocking that the Seahawks didn’t make this position a priority in the draft. The good news is, if everything goes to shit here, they can easily draft one next year and plug him into the starting lineup immediately. Inside linebackers are a dime a dozen.

At outside linebacker/pass rusher, I think it’s fair to doubt the Seahawks completely. I’ll believe it when I see it, for lack of a better phrase. Uchenna Nwosu was the big free agent splash, and he signed a 2-year deal. His season high in sacks is 5.0, which he got last year. He’s a 4-year pro from the Chargers who is more like a veteran prospect than an actual veteran producer. Maybe he wasn’t in the right system? Maybe they didn’t utilize him properly? Maybe he just needed more time to develop? I guess his pressure rate might be better than it looks on the stat sheet, but I’m going to need to see him with my eyes before I can make a proper opinion. Is he a diamond in the rough? Or, is he another Rasheem Green?

Darrell Taylor is our prize. He missed out on his rookie season due to a lingering college injury, but as a second year pro he really stood out. 6.5 sacks in his first healthy season is pretty impressive; THAT’S something to build on. That’s the kind of talent you can see making strides during his rookie contract, unlike Nwosu, who never really put it together with his original team.

Then, there’s guys like Alton Robinson and Boye Mafe. Robinson had 4.0 sacks as a rookie, then regressed to the one sack last year. He might just be rotational filler, and it’s fair to question if he even makes the team. Mafe is a rookie, and unless you’re one of the top two or three in the draft, I never have confidence that lower-rated pass rushers will make an immediate impact. If he gets a few sacks, that’s good. If he gets 6+, that’s a little more encouraging. But, I wouldn’t expect anything like double-digits. He just doesn’t have the skills; it’s a whole new ballgame when you make the leap to the NFL. Mostly, I just hope he stays healthy – especially through training camp and the pre-season – so he can learn on the job as much as possible.

Beyond that, we have to talk about the 3-4 interior linemen. Some of them are considered defensive ends, but they’re “ends” in the way Red Bryant was an end. Shelby Harris came over in the Russell Wilson trade and figures to be a leader on this team. He’s already in his 30’s though, so presumably he’ll need to play well in 2022 to stick around going forward. Quinton Jefferson was signed as veteran depth to compete with L.J. Collier; you figure only one of those guys will make it. Then, there are the tackles, Poona Ford, Bryan Mone, and Al Woods. I like the tackles a lot! Harris is probably the best of the bigger ends we have. This looks like another spot that will need to be addressed after this season. But, as far as run stuffing is concerned, I think these guys are on the better side of average.

The defense is, by no means, a finished product. Far from it. But, you don’t really even have to squint to see where the potential lies. Pass rush is a concern and it always will be. But, I’ll say this about that: if everything else looks good, and if we manage to hit on the rookie quarterback next year, then we can attempt to do what we did in 2013 and sign a couple of quality free agent pass rushers, using all the free money we have laying around by not paying a quarterback at the top of the market. Free agency in 2023 and 2024 could be VERY interesting for the Seahawks, in ways it really hasn’t been since that Super Bowl-winning season.

TL;DR: there’s reason for optimism, but obviously a lot of holes to fill, and a lot of question marks currently on the roster to boot.

Seahawks Positions Of Need For The 2022 NFL Draft

Look, you’re not going to trick me into doing a bunch of research on the countless college football players out there – the vast majority of which will never set foot in a Seahawks uniform – so stop trying to make me care about something that will have no affect on my life! I can’t fathom a bigger waste of time than mock drafts, especially when you get to the people trying to predict draft day trades; what are you doing? Does your job analyzing football pay you that well? Or what IS it like being a lottery winner?

Anyway, I hope you didn’t come here for that. I tend to wait until AFTER the Seahawks make a draft pick before I start researching guys. That also goes for trades and free agent signings. This is the universe I live in, the multiverse of infinite possibilities bores the everloving shit out of me (yes, I’m looking at you Marvel and DC).

So, instead, let’s talk about the Seahawks, their holes, and the positions I’d like to see them go after in this year’s NFL Draft.

For starters, let’s look at where we’re picking:

  • Round 1 (9th overall) from Broncos
  • Round 2 (40th overall) from Broncos
  • Round 2 (41st overall)
  • Round 3 (72nd overall)
  • Round 4 (109th overall) from Jets
  • Round 5 (145th overall) from Broncos
  • Round 5 (153rd overall)
  • Round 7 (229th overall)

We received all the picks from the Broncos in exchange for Russell Wilson (giving them our original 4th rounder, 116th overall, in exchange for the 5th rounder). We obviously lost our original 1st rounder (10th overall) to the Jets in the Jamal Adams trade, but got their 4th rounder in the process (yay). We traded away our 6th rounder to the Jags (188th overall) for Sidney Jones, which I think was an excellent deal in retrospect (especially since we were able to re-sign him on a 1-year deal).

Our draft board looks significantly different than it did prior to the Wilson deal. I wouldn’t say it looks GREAT (you’d obviously go back in time and take back the Jamal Adams deal if you had a time machine), but much better than it would have. Not even the Seahawks – the kings of trading back – loved the idea of waiting until the 41st pick before making their first draft selection (to say nothing about having only six picks total).

Here’s where we put the obligatory Trade Back Warning. Yes, the Seahawks love nothing more than to trade back and acquire more picks. But, as it turns out, it seems like more than half the league is thinking the same thing. Which means, one would think, there isn’t quite the same value there once was in playing things more conservatively. If the draft is so mediocre, then odds are having “more bites at the apple” will only mean having more bites into a disgusting worm wiggling its way under the skin. I hope the Seahawks DON’T trade back, but rather zag where everyone else zigs: stay and pick, or even move up if the right guy is sitting there.

I especially hope the Seahawks don’t trade back from 9th overall, but again, that’s with little-to-no knowledge of the guys projected to go in that part of the draft. It’s very possible the Seahawks could trade into the teens – getting an extra third rounder or some such thing – and still get the guy they want. That’s almost certainly because the “guy they want” is someone nobody’s projecting to them, and will therefore be a shock to the world. Because, other than trading back in the draft, the Seahawks adore being the “smartest guys in the room” and reaching for players who would still be there a round or two later (while claiming everyone else in the NFL really wanted so-and-so and would’ve taken him if given the opportunity, in spite of zero proof confirming this allegation).

With that out of the way, let’s dig into the positions of need for the Seahawks, and when they should be drafted.

The biggest – without question – need for the Seahawks is quarterback. But, as I’ve said all along, I hope the Seahawks don’t draft a QB, and instead use this draft to bolster elsewhere, while still more or less tanking the season with Geno Smith or Drew Lock to get a high draft pick next year (and use our package of multiple #1’s if we have to, to move up and draft the real quarterback of the future from a better selection).

It seems counter-intuitive, therefore, to say that IF the Seahawks are bound and determined to draft a quarterback, they should do so in the second round. But, I think there’s a general consensus that the chances of busting on a QB in the top half of the first round is pretty high, while there might be some real interesting value at the top of the second round. More than anything, I know the Seahawks don’t pick in the Top 10 very often, so I’d like them to not waste that pick on a guy likely to suck. I’d rather they go after another position of importance, with better odds to fill that hole. If we waste a second rounder, it’s not as big of a deal (especially since we have another second rounder sitting right there).

I mean, let’s look at it logically: what are the odds the Seahawks hit on all three of their top picks? Pretty low, right? It seems much more likely that one of those three will be a bust; better to have that bust be one of the second rounders, and not the #9 overall pick.

I’m holding out hope that an elite left tackle is still there at #9. I know Duane Brown is just sitting there, and could probably be had on a 1-year deal, and would most likely be competent-to-good as long as he’s healthy. But, I would MUCH rather fill that void for the next however many years, while also giving him 2022 as a learning year before we go out and get our next franchise quarterback.

Failing that, I think pass rusher has to be the play. There’s a small part of me who wouldn’t mind seeing the Seahawks take the very best cornerback in the draft if he’s still sitting there – I certainly wouldn’t hate taking the guy who’s projected as being The Next Jalen Ramsey – but left tackle and “pass rusher” are such GLARING holes on this team, that I just don’t think you can fill in the later rounds (especially left tackle). Not if you want your chances of success to be high.

I want my first three picks to be LT, DE, and BPA (Best Player Available), which could be a corner, a linebacker, a center, or even a running back (if a really, really, REALLY good one is there). I don’t want to see a tight end, wide receiver, safety, or run-stuffing defensive tackle taken there. Save those spots for later in the draft, if necessary.

But, it’s the Seattle Seahawks we’re talking about, so they’re going to do whatever the hell, and we’re going to sit here and do summersaults trying to talk ourselves into the moves they make.