The Seahawks Lost In Germany To The Bucs

I’m conditioned to not really like these games being played in another country. It seems like undue stress on the two teams who have to go all the way over there, change around their whole body clocks, play on VASTLY inferior fields, and then have to turn right around and play the next week (if you choose to not have your BYE follow it). If every single team in the league had to do it every single year, I guess that’s one thing. But, either it’s on a rotation of teams, or it’s just random selection. Then, there’s the whole thing about losing one of your home games because of a blatant cash grab by the league.

And, I’ll just add – for a team like the Seahawks, who has to travel the most air miles in the league by a considerable margin almost every single year – you’re even further hampering our competitive balance.

That being said, it was kind of fun waking up at 6:30am with my dad and brother, having a big breakfast, and watching a football game before all the other football games of the day got going.

What wasn’t fun was watching how the Seahawks played through three quarters.

I won’t say the defense completely reverted back to the way things were in the first month of the season – they weren’t the worst I’ve ever seen – but this was a clear and obvious step back from our recent efficiency. The Bucs were able to move the ball kinda sorta at will. They rarely hurt themselves with penalties or negative plays (aside from the two big interceptions, obviously), so they were able to stay ahead of the chains and keep their offense moving in one direction. Lots of third downs were converted (10 of 15 in total), thanks mostly to them being in 3rd & short situations.

That meant, obviously, the Bucs were able to run the ball exceedingly well. 44 for 161, which isn’t a great average, but is more than enough when your quarterback (one Tom Brady) goes 22 for 29 for 258. You could argue if it weren’t for a Brady pick thrown right at Cody Barton for some reason, and that asinine trick play where Leonard Fournette tried to toss one to Brady lined up out wide, the Bucs would’ve won in a laugher.

As it stands, the Seahawks pulled it to 21-16, before the Bucs ran the last four minutes off the clock.

All of our points came in the second half, with 13 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Discounting the two picks by the Bucs, the play of the game was an incredibly stupid Geno Smith fumble on what was apparently a designed quarterback run of some kind on 2nd & goal. If the design of that play was to look like a blackout drunk trying to find a potted plant to piss in, then mission accomplished.

The Bucs defense was exactly what I thought it was: very stout against the run, while potentially beatable through the air. Kenneth Walker was limited to 17 rushing yards on 10 carries. But, when we started throwing to him (mostly in the second half), he came alive for 55 yards on 6 receptions. D.K. Metcalf was able to get his and probably deserved to be targeted more (6 for 71), and Tyler Lockett and Marquise Goodwin both caught TDs late.

It was cool to see Tariq Woolen deke the Bucs into throwing a pass towards Tom Brady, who slipped and fell as the ball was severely underthrown. I’m told that Cody Barton had a good game, even though it seemed like he got swallowed up every time someone went to block him. It was REALLY unfortunate that we spent all week working on stopping the pass, then proceeded to not only get run all over, but also generate zero pressure on Brady whatsoever.

This game feels like a missed opportunity. It’s also pretty galling that we’re 0-3 against the NFC South, considering their record against everyone else. On the one hand, that’s a significant tie-breaker we just cost ourselves, if indeed we proceed to win our division, as the Bucs look like a shoo-in to win theirs. On the other hand, that’s a significant tie-breaker we just earned ourselves in the form of potential draft position for next year. I don’t know what to root for anymore! My brain is broken!

Where that leaves us is we’re 6-4 heading into our BYE week. One can fairly safely assume the 49ers will be 6-4 after they beat the Cardinals next week. That puts us in a dead heat for the division lead with 7 games to play. We come out playing the hapless Raiders, Rams, and Panthers, before that showdown with the 49ers on Thursday night. 5-2 feels like a safe estimate if we play up to our abilities. I would say 4-3 is the absolute minimum, which still puts us at 10-7, and a very good shot at the post-season. But, we could go as high as 7-0 or 6-1 if we catch some breaks.

I’m more than fine with the timing of this BYE week. Let’s rest up and get healthy and come back to sprint towards the finish with everyone else.

Fun Seahawks Are Fun!

I still don’t know if I totally comprehend what happened yesterday. Though, I’ll admit, there’s a lot about this team that befuddles me.

My brain is having a hard time wrapping itself around the concept that the Seahawks are good. But also, ARE the Seahawks good? If we’re good, why did we lose at home to the Falcons and at ALL to the Saints? Is this part of the 7-10 process, where they lure us into a false sense of curiosity and wonderment, before bringing the axe down on our necks?

Or, did the Seahawks used to be mediocre, but now we’ve grown? Now, we’ve figured out how to play defense a little bit. Now, as the younger guys have had an opportunity to gain experience, we’re seeing the fruit starting to blossom.

I can’t think of a better litmus test at this point in the season than a road game against the Chargers. I like the Chargers. I think they’re pretty good. Their coaching is a little suspect at times; I think their play-calling on fourth down leaves A LOT to be desired. But, there’s a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and the Seahawks just made mincemeat of them, 37-23.

I’ll admit, part of the reason why I’m so jazzed is because I had some fantasy football juice in this game, and after a rocky start – losing D.K. after only a single reception severely hurt my chances – my guys blew up. “My guys” being Austin Ekeler (127 total yards, 12 receptions, and 2 total TDs) and Kenneth Walker III (168 rushing yards on 23 carries and 2 TDs) whose game-sealing 74-yard touchdown almost single-handedly swung two of my games on Sunday.

The good thing for the Seahawks is that all the Chargers had was Ekeler. We pretty much held everyone else in check (though Mike Williams got his – 7 for 86 and a TD – before spraining his ankle late in the game). The defense did a lot of good things in this one. 3 sacks, a fumble recovery, and a timely pick by Ryan Neal. Moreover, Woolen and Bryant both looked outstanding, and Darrell Taylor (he of the strip sack/fumble recovery combo) is starting to come around.

The story of the day has to be the offense, though. Walker looks like the stud of all studs. So, you know, I’m just waiting for his ankle to get rolled up on, which seems to be how it goes whenever the Seahawks find a running back they really like.

Then, there’s The Resurrected Geno Smith, who’s somehow also better than he’s ever been in his life? This isn’t like a so-so quarterback being propped up by an elite team around him. This is a legitimately GOOD quarterback leading a young team to a winning record! 20 of 27 for 210 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT (off of a deflected ball, that was nevertheless ill-advised, since the receiver was so well covered). He had a couple of dimes to Marquise Goodwin for touchdowns, who got to have his breakout game in a Seahawks uniform (4 for 67 and 2 TDs).

The cool thing is, the Seahawks always had an answer in this one. After we went up 17-0 in the first quarter, the Chargers started clawing back, bringing it to 17-14 with plenty of time left in the second quarter. But, we cooly marched down the field and made it 24-14. More importantly, we didn’t let their 2-minute offense go anywhere in keeping that score where it was at the break.

I somehow didn’t notice, but the Seahawks had a 10+ minute drive in the third quarter to go up 27-14. That really shortened things up, but by no means discouraged further scoring. We gave up a safety after the Chargers downed a punt at the one yard line, but we proceeded to force a 3 & Out off of the free kick, then got another field goal to make it 30-14. Then, another stop by our defense led to the Kenneth Walker burst around the right side; 1 play, 74 yards, game-clinching touchdown. We gave up a meaningless garbage time TD to my boy Ekeler, but then we proceeded to run off the final three and a half minutes to end it in Victory Formation.

The obvious downside to this game is the D.K. Metcalf injury. He had his hands on a ball near the goalline, came down awkwardly, and that was it. Seems to be a knee injury. It immediately took him out for the rest of the game, no questionable tag or anything. So that’s ominous. There will be further testing today, and it sounds like he’s optimistic this won’t be a big deal, but I have concerns!

Namely: Dee Eskridge fucking sucks, and it’s ridiculous that he’s getting as much playing time as he’s getting. He had a stupid penalty, he fumbled a toss by taking his eyes off the ball (though they credited it to Geno, which is asinine), he had zero catches on one target, and he had a meaningless fly-sweep run for 4 yards. This is what he’s here for? The stupid fly-sweep play that never works because it’s the NFL and everyone is fast? He’s brittle as fuck, every hit looks like it’s going to end his season, and I can’t shake the feeling that he’s keeping someone else off the field who is more deserving and who has a higher ceiling. All because we threw away the 2021 draft (where we only selected three guys) and he was our top pick that year.

This team will STRUGGLE if we don’t have Metcalf for the rest of the year. I’m just telling you that right now. Tyler Lockett is and has always been a really good #2, but he’s also getting older, and in spite of avoiding contact at practically every turn (smart, in his case; prolong that career!), he still found himself on the injury report and questionable all week. I love Marquise Goodwin, and as long as he’s healthy, he can be an elite #3. But, he hasn’t been able play a full season since 2017. He WILL get hurt, it’s only a matter of time. It was nice having him in this game, with Metcalf out. But, he could go down as early as next week and it wouldn’t shock me.

That leaves Eskridge (again, sucks) and the rookies at receiver. That makes this team much more predictable and easier to handle if it’s left to the running game and tight ends to do all the heavy lifting. Metcalf is the difference-maker. Metcalf forces defenses to spend untold time and resources in an effort to try and stop him. He takes the best cornerback off of Lockett, who is free to get open among lesser opponents. He opens up the tight ends to feast off of linebackers and linemen. He makes Geno Smith better than he is. Sure, Geno was able to weather the storm against the Chargers, but long term? I’d be very nervous. And I’m not just saying that because I have Metcalf in my dynasty league and don’t want to see him miss any time ever.

Now what we’re looking at is a step up in our litmus tests: a home game against the one-loss Giants. They appear to be the exact photo negative of the Chargers: they’re still good, but it has everything to do with the coaching, and less to do with the talent at quarterback, my apologies to Danny Dimes and whatnot.

If you thought I was befuddled by the Seahawks, HOO BOY do I not understand these Giants!

I would say their schedule has a lot to do with their 6-1 record, but I’m not so sure. Of course, they beat up on the Panthers, Bears, and Jaguars. But, they also defeated the Titans, Packers, and Ravens. I know those teams aren’t as spectacular as we all expected heading into the season, but I still believe they’ll all either be in the playoffs this year, or at least in contention to the bitter end.

They play largely mistake-free football. Dimes doesn’t throw a lot, but he’s running pretty well for a quarterback, and only has 2 picks against 6 TDs. They rely largely on their running game, featuring a rejuvenated Saquon Barkley, who has 726 yards and a 5.1 average per carry. He’s also pacing the team in targets with 30 and is second in receiving yards. He hasn’t played a healthy, full season since his rookie year of 2018, but he’s showing why his talent made him the 2nd overall draft pick.

So, you know, easy peasy, right? Stop Saquon Barkley, win the game! Simple! Why haven’t all these other teams thought of that?

The interesting thing is that their defense isn’t all that amazing. They’re middle of the road against the pass, and legitimately bad against the run. Yet, they allow the 6th fewest points in the league, making good on that Bend Don’t Break promise.

For the Seahawks to win, just know that Barkley is probably going to get his. But, you have to make him work for it. You can’t get gashed for huge plays all day long. You also need to put Danny Dimes into 3rd & medium-to-long situations and force him to beat you with his arm. We know how to play against mobile quarterbacks, so I would hope we can apply that wealth of knowledge to this game.

I don’t think there’s any way we get this game in a shootout. I think it’s going to be low-ish scoring and close. One way or the other, the winner will be decided by 3 points or less.

How about this for making a guess: if D.K. Metcalf is healthy and plays this week, the Seahawks will win. If he’s out, the Seahawks will lose. Either way, the score will be 20-17.

The Seahawks Actually Played A Little Defense!

A 19-9 Seahawks victory over the Cardinals is not what I was expecting. Not in the least. I read something on Twitter about an interview with Pete Carroll before the game, and he was talking about how they worked on a few tweaks for the defense that he was expecting to pay immediate dividends, but how many times have you heard that in your life? And how many times has it actually come true?

I wouldn’t say the Cardinals are great, not by a longshot. But, they know how to move the football. Sure, they’re a little banged up, and Hopkins won’t be back until NEXT week, but they’ve put up points in bunches against much better defenses than ours. Yet, in this one, they scored all of three points on offense (the other six were a special teams touchdown on a botched punt).

You’ll forgive me if this was a bit of a hangover game. Not literally, but with the Mariners going 18 innings on Saturday in losing to the Astros, I really wasn’t in the mood to watch the Seahawks on Sunday. Turns out, I didn’t miss a whole lot.

The take-away from this game is just how good this rookie class is for the Seahawks. We haven’t seen rookies produce at this level since You Know When.

For starters, Kenneth Walker III ascended to his rightful spot as this team’s #1 running back. So, everyone who held onto him in fantasy through the first five weeks (including me in two leagues, one of them a dynasty league) got handsomely rewarded. 97 yards on 21 carries with a TD, plus 2 catches for 13 yards. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but apparently he passed the eye test with flying colors. He just LOOKS like what a #1 running back is supposed to look like, which means – if he can stay healthy – he should be good for a long time.

Tariq Woolen is not-so-quietly having a monster season. That’s his 4th interception in his 4th consecutive game for the 5th round pick. We all knew he was super athletic and fast coming out of college, but to be this fundamentally sound and able to make these kinds of plays (as someone mentioned on Twitter, these aren’t cheap INTs off of deflections and whatnot) is truly remarkable! I didn’t know if the Seahawks were capable of coaching up young DBs anymore, given our lack of success since You Know When. But, he looks like a star!

Speaking of coaching up DBs, Coby Bryant is coming along swimmingly. That’s 4 forced fumbles in his last five games for the 4th round pick. It certainly looks like he’s the answer to our nickel corner woes, but I also wouldn’t put it past him to slide over as the other outside corner.

Then, you’ve got the steady excellence of Charles Cross and Abe Lucas on the O-Line, topped off with Boye Mafe being a fine-looking role player on defense who figures to get a longer look as others continue to disappoint on the edge. If we can get either of our 7th round wide receivers into the mix, that’s practically a Yahtzee!

So, the Seahawks were able to get consistent pressure on defense, which has been the biggest bugaboo this year. 6 sacks, 10 tackles for loss. More importantly, the run defense looked much better. Arizona running backs only netted 44 yards on 18 carries. Granted, Kyler Murray had 100 yards on 10 carries, but one of them was a 42-yard scramble. At this point, even that is an improvement over the consistent gashing teams have exposed us to.

I’ll say it, that was an impressive defensive performance! We’ll have to see how well that carries over; we go on the road to play the high-flying Chargers offense next week, so I’m dubious about us fixing all of our problems in one week’s time.

I’m less-thrilled with the Geno Smith performance. 20/31 for 197 yards. We were 4/15 on third/fourth downs. That’s two weeks in a row of subpar work on the most crucial of downs. The Chargers are no slouch on defense – with lots of quality stars on that side of the ball – so consider next week another big test.

I can’t imagine the Seahawks prevail. I think we’re actually in for a pretty big stinker. I’m thinking something like 34-17 Chargers.

Everyone’s Crapping Their Pants Over Geno Smith & The Seahawks’ Offense

It’s football, and so by design you get these wild emotional swings from week to week. We won on Monday Night against Russell Wilson and the Broncos: we must be great! We lost in demoralizing fashion to the 49ers and then the Falcons at home: we must be among the very worst teams in football! Now, we go out on the road and win a crazy shootout: heck, maybe the wild card is on the table!

There’s a lot of Geno Smith dick sucking going on, and I don’t know if it’s deserved. I don’t know if anyone considered him the very worst quarterback in the game; among backups, I think he’s always been fairly well-regarded. That’s probably because – until last year – you never got to see him play. The mystery and the name recognition did a lot of the heavy lifting for Geno Smith’s reputation. Once it became apparent this offseason that he was not only in a quarterback battle with the likes of Drew Lock, but until he got COVID, it was a battle set up for Lock to ultimately win, I think we all remembered, “Oh yeah, this is Geno Smith we’re talking about.” He’s probably in the low 20’s or high 30’s in a ranking of all quarterbacks.

Now that we’re four weeks into the season, I’ll admit that he’s better than I expected. His accuracy is off the charts, and even if we’re talking about a preponderance of throws being dinks and dunks, that’s still better than a lot of other so-called Game Managers. To me, this feels like our offensive system making good on its original promise (more than Smith making a late-career surge in effectiveness). We wanted the Rams’ style McVay offense, and we’ve got it! Jared Goff was once a quarterback that took his team to the Super Bowl. I think while it’s safe to say Geno Smith won’t be doing the same, he can still play competitive football within the parameters of this offense.

But, let’s see it against superior competition. His first half against the Broncos was lights out; his second half was atrocious. His entire game against the 49ers was a huge nothing-burger. He was good and bad against the Falcons, but clearly not good enough to prevail in a home game that you HAVE to have if you’re a playoff team. Now, he has this elite performance (320 yards on 23/30, with 2 TDs, 0 INTs, and 1 rushing TD with 49 yards on 7 carries) against arguably the worst defense in the league. Possibly one of the worst defenses of the last decade or more!

And that’s saying something, because the Seahawks this year ALSO have one of the worst defenses in the league, and one of the worst defenses of the last decade or more.

If the argument is that this offense has worked out the kinks, and is capable of some percentage of this every week, then I’m going to have to see it in action against good defenses. I need to see this against the Rams and 49ers. I need to see it in action against the Saints on the road next week. I need to see it against the Chargers and Bucs and Cardinals and literally everyone else on our schedule; they’ve all got better defenses than the Lions!

If you’re like me, and you saw this team – heading into the year – as an annoyingly 7-10 type of team, then you looked at the schedule and predicted we’d be 2-2 after four games. Granted, one of those victories would’ve been over Atlanta, but one of those losses would’ve been to the Broncos, so maybe that evens it out. Regardless, this isn’t the most unexpected thing in the world. There’s a lot of football left to play. A lot of the teams we thought would be good might lose to a team like these Seahawks. Conversely, a lot of teams that we thought would be pushovers might nip us in the end. I don’t think I can make a definitive statement one way or the other about this team. I still don’t think we’re very good. I still don’t think Geno Smith has what it takes to drive us the length of the field, needing a touchdown to win the game in the final two minutes.

I’m not terribly irate about winning this game, though I think it annoyingly papers over a lot of deficiencies, especially regarding the defense. But, I’m happy that our skill guys looked good (Penny had 151 yards on 17 carries, with 2 TDs; Metcalf had 7 catches for 149 yards; Lockett had 6 for 91). I’m happy that the offensive line is progressing like gangbusters. I’m happy that Tariq Woolen had a pick six.

But, in the grand scheme of things, if we’d lost 45-41 – instead of winning 48-45 – I’d still have all of those things to be happy about, plus we’d be one step closer to tanking this season! As it stands, this looks like a HUGE tiebreaker for us at season’s end. Clearly, these are two pretty evenly-matched teams. I think both the Seahawks and Lions will be close in record. So, we’re talking about a pretty big edge they have, especially if they decide to make drafting a quarterback a priority next year.

This Seahawks defense, tho. Ye gods. Darrell Taylor got demoted to a rusher on passing downs, because he can’t handle all the responsibilities of an outside linebacker. Then, his replacement go hurt and he was forced back into action. All in all, this has been a pretty bad season for him so far. The secondary is still getting dinged pretty severely. Other than Nwosu, no one is getting to the quarterback on a regular basis. Cody Barton looks inept and feeble. Jordyn Brooks is no Bobby Wagner in his prime; not by a long shot. If we’re not at the point where we’re abandoning the 3-4 for the 4-3, then it’s probably only another week or two away (because we can’t keep getting gashed with this sort of regularity).

At this rate, I don’t know what we’re going to have to hang our hat on by season’s end. Hopefully, the secondary can settle down a little bit. I don’t think there’s much hope for the linebacking group, and I think we’ll have to use a 2nd or 3rd rounder on that position. I think there’s a considerable demand for a dominant pass rusher, but I don’t know how you get that without foregoing a shot at one of the elite quarterback prospects. Maybe someone falls to us?

There’s also the very legitimate – though, I would argue kind of a longshot – concern that Geno Smith keeps playing well within the system, and is just handed the keys to the offense next year. Does a 7-10 Seahawks team with Geno throwing for 4,000+ yards on high-efficiency passing give this group the confidence to continue trying to bolster around the quarterback position, rather than addressing it directly? Again, I don’t think that’s very likely, but it has to be a concern.

So, yeah, I’d say the weekend could’ve gone better. At least the Broncos lost! I made a big show of telling all my friends how they’re a 12-win team and they all rightly laughed in my face. We’ll see who’s laughing last (it’ll either be me because I’m right, or me because I engineered a quality jinx).

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!

The Seahawks Drafted More Non-Quarterbacks On Day Three

The next few years of Seahawks football are going to be greatly dictated by how well these players pan out. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, the Seahawks are in Rebuilding Mode. Now, this isn’t your grandfather’s Rebuilding Mode; it shouldn’t have to take a decade to get back to the promised land if you do things right. But, by foresaking the quarterback position in this draft – leaving us with Geno Smith, Drew Lock, and We’ll See – my expert analysis is that the Seahawks are planning on finding their quarterback of the future in the 2023 NFL Draft.

As they should.

So, what does that mean for 2022? Well, that means building up the roster around the quarterback position. Constructing this warm and fuzzy protective cocoon, where a rookie QB in 2023 can step right in and at least give us competence. How many careers have been derailed because a rookie quarterback’s confidence was destroyed by a terrible offensive line, or a lack of weapons to get the football to? Sometimes, if your team is truly terrible, you have no choice but to take that quarterback (usually #1 overall) and hope for the best. But, I’d rather do what I suspect the Seahawks are doing now, and hold off for a year until a better opportunity presents itself.

In the process of building up the roster around the quarterback position, that means returning to the mantra of Always Compete. Letting anyone and everyone participate in fighting for starting jobs. Coaching them up, throwing them out there in live NFL games, and seeing who rises to the top and who needs to be cut. The Seahawks have drafted a class for this express purpose. The more starters we find, the better the team will be going forward. The more blue chip superstars we find, the likelier it’ll be that we can return to a championship level.

I’m pretty confident we’ve got our Day 1 starting left tackle in Cross. I’m guessing he’ll be fine. I’m also pretty confident – with Abe Lucas at least as competition for the spot – we’ve locked down our right tackle position, either with him or Jake Curhan. I’m guessing they’ll also be fine. Walker will likely back up Rashaad Penny at first, but I think at some point he’ll take over and at least be a quality rotational running back, if not an outright stud. And, I think the floor for Boye Mafe is Alton Robinson. I hope he’s significantly BETTER than Alton Robinson, but he’ll at least be NFL-ready to step in there and contribute in some capacity.

There’s a floor there with all of the picks from the first two days of the draft where they’re at least contributing to the team. There’s also, of course, a ceiling that could be off the charts, depending on how they fit within our system and how the coaching staff gets them to improve.

But, it’s the Day 3 picks where we could see some dividends. How did we build up that last Seahawks championship squad? Lots of success in the 4th-7th rounds. I’ll go in order, for those who forgot: Walter Thurmond, Kam Chancellor, Anthony McCoy, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Malcolm Smith, Robert Turbin, Jeremy Lane, J.R. Sweezy, Luke Willson. To say nothing of the undrafted guys we selected from 2010-2013 who contributed greatly to what we were doing.

It’s handy that the Seahawks took cornerbacks back-to-back in this draft, because I’d like to talk about them together. Bryant won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2021 for the best defensive back in football. He played at Cincinnati opposite Sauce Gardner, which means that teams probably avoided Gardner’s side like the plague, and therefore Bryant had ample opportunities to defend the pass. Why he fell to the fourth round, then, is a mystery.

Bryant is certainly the more polished cornerback between him and Woolen. He seems to be a higher floor/lower ceiling type of player. It wouldn’t shock me to see him contribute right away, but I fully expect him to see considerable snaps as the season progresses. Woolen, on the other hand, looks like a fascinating prospect whose floor could be as a training camp cut, but whose ceiling could be as an All Pro.

6’4, 4.26 40-yard dash, 42-inch vertical. This guys looks like an athletic freak. He’s also, notably, a former wide receiver who converted to corner just a few years ago. His skills are raw and there are liabilities in his game as it currently stands that may prevent him from ever making a dent in the league. That being said, if he works at it, and the team is able to unlock his potential – with the athleticism he already possesses – he could be an absolute monster. There’s a lot to clean up, though, so I wouldn’t bank on it.

If the Seahawks just drafted bookend starters at cornerback to go with bookend starters at offensive tackle, I’d say we’re in good shape for the next half-decade or so. If the Seahawks just found one eventual starting cornerback in this class, I’d say they did their job well. If neither of these guys pan out, then I think we have a serious problem. Because, either we brought in the next Tre Flowers – who we’re forced to start because we have no better alternatives – or we have to go back to the drawing board next year (with Sidney Jones on a 1-year deal, and with Tre Brown still a big question mark).

Just as I’m not holding my breath for Boye Mafe in the second round, I’m not convinced Tyreke Smith will be much of anything either. I know elite pass rushers exist from outside the Top 5 of the NFL Draft, but it seems like those guys are total unicorns. Even with someone like Darrell Taylor – who I’m very happy with – he had to miss a year due to injury, and even then wasn’t, like, a Pro Bowler or anything in 2021. He was fine. He showed potential to be even better, but we’ll see if that comes to fruition.

I would project both Mafe and Smith as third down pass rushing specialists, especially as rookies. I wouldn’t expect either to be very good against the run, though Mafe at least has a better track record in that regard. Smith seems like a blind dart throw. Alton Robinson is probably his ceiling, but his floor is probably a special teamer who rarely – if ever – sees a snap on defense.

I don’t know what to say about Bo Melton or Dareke Young, the 7th round receivers we brought in. Melton seems to have a slot receiver build, but I don’t even know if that’s his forte or not. Young is a much taller receiver from a small school who probably projects more as special teams help. Of the two, Melton probably has the better chance of seeing offensive snaps, but let’s not kid ourselves here. We have quite the depth chart going so far, with Lockett, Metcalf, Swain, and Eskridge/Hart all having experience.

If anything, I wonder what this says about Eskridge’s status. He didn’t show a lot as a rookie last year, though a concussion saw to it that he wasn’t able to play a ton. Nevertheless, when he was in there, he didn’t make much of an impact. I don’t know if Melton plays a similar style or not (word is Young actually has played all around the offense in college, even taking handoffs on the regular, like a taller version of Deebo Samuel), but it’ll be interesting to see the pressure on Eskridge and how he responds.

That being said, probably don’t count on these rookie receivers to do much of anything AS rookies. Just take it as a win if they even make the team.

The 2022 draft class by the Seahawks will be defined by the top six guys we selected. The better those players are, the better our chances will be to turn this thing around in a hurry. If they struggle, though, it could be a long, dark period in our immediate future.