The Seahawks need to find some answers on offense. It’s not a situation likely to be solved by any big trade. That’s quite a lazy angle unless they’ve found a time machine and can go back and get 2010 Marshawn Lynch for a fourth rounder.
This is about making the most of the personnel they have. Getting Thomas Rawls back. Finding ways to feature C.J. Prosise (especially after he impressed in New Orleans). Making better use of their big-time red zone weapon (Jimmy Graham has one touchdown) and finding a way to get Russell Wilson back to his best as his health gradually improves.
For the long term (this is a draft blog after all) it’d be easy to assert this team needs another bell-cow at running back. A tone-setter. Even if Rawls gets healthy and stays healthy — it still feels like they need more from the position.
Rawls has been injured longer than he’s been healthy. He has the potential to be great. He’s a likeable player. Unlike Lynch, who rarely missed time, he hasn’t been available. After missing several weeks already they almost have to make an insurance move in the off-season. Someone of equal physicality with the ability to lead this running game if necessary.
That’s not a knock on Christine Michael either. It’s not his fault the team only ran the ball three times in the first half yesterday. It’s equally not his fault he hasn’t quite been able to be a tone-setter. That’s not what he is. He didn’t do that at Texas A&M either. He’s an explosive, athletic running back. He’s an ill-fit if you want him to slam it up the middle 20 times.
In the past Pete Carroll’s offense (and yes, it is his offense) has worked so well because of match-up nightmares. The trades for Percy Harvin and then Jimmy Graham seemingly part of an attempt to create a genuine three-headed monster:
— A physical, tone-setting running back
— A mobile, ‘point guard’ playmaker quarterback
— An X-factor receiver with a unique skill set.
Imagine being a defensive coordinator contending with this. Do you go all-out to stop Lynch knowing you’ll probably fail and leave yourself open to being beaten by Wilson? Do you try to contain Wilson and risk being stomped by Lynch? How do you cover Harvin or Graham when so much focus is required to stack the box vs the run or contain the QB?
So many questions and so many opportunities for the Seahawks to exploit weaknesses once they work out what poison you’ve chosen. So much ‘unique’ talent.
Right now all of this is shelved. The running game isn’t working so you don’t need to be overly concerned with that. Wilson is banged up and not mobile so there’s not much concern about his ability to break contain. You can focus a lot of your coverage on Graham.
This offense is easier to plan for, easier to extinguish and lacks the triple threat of previous years.
As noted earlier, they just have to work through this. They can still put together an explosive, balanced, productive offense. It just might not be as good as we’ve seen in the past.
That might not be such an issue. The Cardinals are even more banged up than Seattle. Today they lost their left tackle Jared Veldheer to injury. Tyrann Mathieu will miss the next 4-6 weeks. They just lost in pretty convincing fashion to the Panthers and they’re 3-4-1.
Winning the NFC West wasn’t the sole target for a lot of fans going into the season. Dreams of the #1 or #2 seed were not unrealistic. Right now the aim should be to win the west first and foremost and let the seeding situation work itself out.
If we’re looking ahead to the next draft and free agency — finding that tone-setter along with possible O-line improvements is arguably the biggest need as things stand.
Despite this looking like a good draft class for running backs — it’s hard to find the answer. Leonard Fournette is the ideal but he’s almost certainly a top-five pick and unattainable without an unlikely mega-trade.
Nick Chubb clearly isn’t right. The way Georgia are using him and what he’s showing — it’s a real shame. I am not convinced he will perform at the combine like he did at the Nike Sparq combine. Not on the evidence we’re seeing right now.
Dalvin Cook is really good but he’s not a tone-setter. Royce Freeman isn’t a tone-setter. Christian McCaffrey isn’t a tone-setter. Samaje Perrine can’t stay healthy. Run through the list. There are very good backs. There are athletic backs. Fournette is the one true beast. And he’s going to be out of reach.
I can’t offer an obvious alternative at the moment unless Texas’ D’Onta Foreman is more athletic than he appears to be or Perrine can actually put a stretch of games together where he isn’t banged up.
On the O-line, there’s no sugar coating the situation. It’s a really bad class for offensive tackles. Seattle needs physicality and athleticism. It’s not out there at a round one level.
I watched Virginia Tech vs Pittsburgh before the weekend. Pitt left tackle Adam Bisnowaty isn’t a first round LT in terms of what he’s showing on tape. He is long, athletic, tough as nails and physically imposing. He’s a former wrestler and basketball player (Cable guy). You can work with him, possibly as a third rounder. And honestly — if you want some competition from the draft at LT next year, this might be your best bet. Sorry to paint this picture. It is what it is.
The Virginia Tech game was his best performance of the season. He moved people at the LOS and was really solid in pass pro. He’s a former four-star recruit and basketball player. He also kind of matches what they’ve looked for in terms of attitude, grit, the way he finishes plays and style. He looks like a Seahawks lineman — and sounds like one.
Admittedly he hasn’t jumped forward and put himself in the early round mix like he threatened to. However, there is just something about him. He might end up moving inside and he should be a pretty good guard — but the Virginia Tech tape reignited my interest in him as a LT.
Check out the block at 10:53, his red zone work at 14:12 (he is #69), the way they run to the left and he helps drive open the hole at 15:31 and he has a decent kick slide at 25:17:
He’s also had games this year and last year where he doesn’t look capable of playing LT. This was an encouraging display though.
Ideally they would find an early round solution to this problem if that tone-setting runner isn’t there — but you can only play the cards you’re dealt. Again, it isn’t a good class for OT’s.
Unfortunately the strength at the top of the draft isn’t going to be physical, pounding runners or offensive tackles. It’s looking like safety, cornerback and D-line.