Monday notes & podcast: What is Seattle’s identity?

December 12th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

You’ll find this weeks podcast above. Kenny and I pick through the bones of the Green Bay game and Joe McAtee joins us to talk about Jeff Fisher’s exit in LA.

Meanwhile here are some further thoughts following last night’s game…

1. What has happened to Seattle’s identity?

It looks like it’s evolved to the point where Russell Wilson is the glue that sticks everything together. If the passing game isn’t working, the running game is washed away or abandoned. If the offense doesn’t function, it puts pressure on the defense to compensate.

The defense has generally answered the call. In the road defeats to Los Angeles, New Orleans and Tampa Bay, plus the tie in Arizona, the Seahawks conceded an average of 13.5 points.

The problem is, Seattle’s offense produced an average of just 8.5 points in those games. That’s incredible for this team.

Sunday’s game was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The defense didn’t have an answer for all of the turnovers. They gave up 38 points. A day like this, with an offense like this, had probably been coming.

The five road games in LA, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Green Bay all had one thing in common — bad passing performances. Injuries were a major factor in the first three games, but not so against the Bucs or Packers.

Wilson has one touchdown in these five games compared to eight interceptions. He’s completing 60% of his passes with a QB rating of 65. Compare that to the win in New England — three touchdowns, zero turnovers, 68% completions and a QB rating of 124.6.

Whether this was intended or not — the Seahawks appear to be like most other teams in the league — tied to the performance of their quarterback. When he’s hot they’re capable of being the Patriots in their own backyard. When he’s cold — this team cannot function as intended.

2. So why can’t they just go back to running the ball?

Last night I was involved in a group discussion with Kip Earlywine, former blogger for this website. He made an assertion that struck a chord.

Kip suggested that Marshawn Lynch was capable of having a 20-carry, 60-yard performance and you still felt he’d impacted the game. His 60-yard effort helped set a tone, commanded respect and attention, wore down a defense and gave the Seahawks an edge in terms of mental and physical toughness.

Is this sorely missing from the post-Marshawn Seahawks?

When we discussed running backs in this podcast, we talked about the difference between a game-impacting running back and a stat-collector.

Christine Michael was on pace for a 1000-yard season in Seattle. Any running back that averages 65-yards a game will get that. Statistics are often used to diminish the role of a running back (eg the argument that you can find a back anywhere in the draft). For teams that use the run as a mere compliment to a high-octane passing game, that is fine. If you want the run to be your core identity, if you want to send a message and make it an integral part of your team — you arguably need someone who does more.

Leonard Fournette, for example, has the size, physical profile, aggressive tone-setting running ability and extreme talent to demand constant attention during the weekly game plan by an opponent. They will spend several days working out a scheme to limit him. And on game day they might restrict his performance to 60-yards, but as Marshawn Lynch would say, “I’m gon’ get mine more than I get got“.

The impact of a runner like that does more than just put yards on the board. You’re able to send a message. By the fourth quarter, the defense is tired.

Game, impacted.

Thomas Rawls might be able to develop into this type of back. He’s a bundle of tenacity. He is physical. He is explosive and aggressive and exciting. He’s likeable and easy to root for. It’d be fantastic if he can become a star for this team.

But so far, he’s never been healthy enough to truly establish himself.

Kip suggested he was more playmaker than tone setter — and for now, I agree. He gets yards. He makes really good plays. But is he enabling the Seahawks to impose their will on an opponent? Are teams truly fearful of him — or are they prepared to tolerate a 100-yard performance from Rawls knowing if they just impact Russell Wilson, you can seriously limit the Seahawks?

This is a very different offense with Wilson, Rawls, Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett at the heart of it all. There was a dependancy and a reliability with Lynch. You knew he’d be out there and even on the tougher days for yardage — he’d be impacting a game.

When the current core are rolling — this is possibly the most explosive, exciting offense in the league. But it doesn’t take too much to knock them out of rhythm. Kip called it a ‘glass cannon’ — “amazing when everything goes right, but a disaster in the face of even nominal adversity.”

He might be right.

3. How does this team get back to greatness?

I’m not sure it’s achievable this year. They will bounce back from the Green Bay loss, I’m convinced about that. It’s quite possible they win out, gain the #2 seed and will need to win one home game and one road game to reach another Super Bowl. It’s not beyond a team that beat the Patriots in New England just a few weeks ago.

There might not be a more talented team in terms of individuals in the NFL. The key is forming the group into a consistent, balanced force before the playoffs.

It’s also worth noting that previous Super Bowl winners have faced adversity late in the season. The 2008 Steelers were beaten 31-14 by the Titans in week 16. The 2009 Saints lost their final three regular season games before winning it all. The 2011 Giants finished 9-7, had a four game losing streak at one point and lost at home to Washington 23-10 in week 15.

Whatever happens it feels like this is a particularly crucial off-season in 2017. The Seahawks need to fill three key needs if possible:

1. An upgrade at tackle
— This can be a left or right tackle. Someone capable of growing with this young group and competing immediately. It could be another rookie or a veteran addition.

We’ve long discussed Utah’s Garett Bolles — an ideal option with the kind of physical profile and mean-streak the Seahawks require. Tony Pauline today reported Bolles is seriously considering turning pro and is expected to make that decision. Pauline also believes he’s a future top-20 pick. So that could be the end of that (the Seahawks will not pick lower than #21 overall if they reach the playoffs).

2. Interior pass rush
— There could be some options in free agency (Calais Campbell?). However, it’s also a draft class where there could be some nice alternatives.

Pete Carroll referenced the lack of pass rush in Green Bay and it’s been a problem for three weeks now. Cliff Avril and Frank Clark have had productive seasons — but the rush is inconsistent and lacks an inside push. In 2013 and 2014 the Seahawks had a player (Clinton McDonald and then Jordan Hill) that recorded 6.5 sacks. That production has disappeared in 2015 and 2016. It is absolutely crucial — arguably the #1 need — that they’re able to fill that void with someone who can create pressure from the interior. It could be an impact DT or an inside-out rusher.

3. Running back
— This is a good looking draft class at running back. Not every RB will suit Seattle’s needs, but there will be options.

This is difficult to write about — because clearly Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise are excellent football players with a high ceiling. Neither has been able to stay healthy though. Combined with arguably the need to acquire someone who can provide a tone-setting compliment, this still looks like a target area. The Titans are the #3 rushing team in the league with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry leading the way. Do the Seahawks need to channel ‘exotic smash-mouth’ and find a bigger back to help them get some tough yards? Maybe.

There are, of course, other needs people will mention. The three above seem like the most crucial to get this team playing consistent, productive football in 2017.

121 Responses to “Monday notes & podcast: What is Seattle’s identity?”

  1. Tien says:

    Really good post, Rob, and I agree with much of what you said in this article.

    Most of us would love to get Leonard Fournette but given how much the Hawks would probably have to pay in draft capital to move up and get him, it’s most likely just a pipe dream. Is there another back in the draft that you feel could be one that is impactful, to the point where he could impose his will on the other teams and force them to game plan for him, thus making it easier on Wilson and the rest of our playmakers?

    And though I agree with your point about Rawls, thus far being unable to stay healthy, I still think that he has the potential to be that impactful back if he could stay healthy for full seasons. Last year, before that terrible injury in MN, he was tearing it up and I feel was just getting to the point where he’d be that dangerous weapon that other teams would have to specifically game plan for. That’s why, even though I agree that we need to draft another quality back to offset the risk of Rawls potentially getting hurt again, it wouldn’t surprise me if he turned out to be that bellcow game changing back that we’ve been searching for as Marshawn’s successor (and no, I realize no one can ever replace the Beast).

    Bolles sounds like he’d be a great pick for us but if he’s gone by the time we’re up in the first round, I wouldn’t mind drafting another beast at DL or even a great safety to bolster our D.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’ve not seen a back who captures that physical essence quite like Fournette. He is terrific. Maybe Nick Chubb pre-injury but not the 2016 version. Foreman is a bigger back but more of a sprinter for his size rather than a big power guy. Tough to find these kind of backs — it’s why Marshawn was so unique. Fournette is in that mould.

      • Greg Haugsven says:

        Chubb could be a draft steal, a lot of times you see a running back take 2 years to fully recover from those really devastating knee injuries. He could explode next year.

        • Michael M. says:

          Given the recent history of decision making by the LA Rams, I say we offer them a 4th & 5th rounder for Todd Gurley and watch history repeat itself.

    • Ukhawk says:

      A big part of me says trade up and “Fournette about it”.

      • Volume12 says:

        I like Chubb, but if Prosise and Rawls are injury prone, is the answer another back with major concerns due to his durability?

        Is this who he is? Or can he Bourne back like Frank Gore for example.

        • Volume12 says:

          *bounce. Although, maybe he is a Jason Bourne huh? ?

        • Ukhawk says:

          I’ve liked the Chubb option for a while and this probably fits with Seattle draft strategy. They will always want to draft for quantity to hedge turnover/depth plus draft for quality based on upside. Chubb fits those 2 perfectly. They don’t use very high/multiple picks as he can be gotten for a 2-3 vs Fournette who would cost 3-4 higher picks; and they will not want to tie up too much capital in a position which already has good investment & potentia in Rawls/Prosise. Finally because of the existing depth, they might be willing to roll the dice on Chubb’s upside. He has such a high ceiling and he fits perfectly to their scheme.

        • Attyla the Hawk says:

          “can he Bourne back like Frank Gore for example.”

          I think everyone loved 2015 Chubb. He looked an upgrade to Gurley that year.

          I have to think he’s on the table for Seattle.

          1. Seattle is good. We’re picking in the latter stages of the draft. So pretty much any back we select is going to have nagging/significant flags. Whether it’s injury, like Chubb, or character. Or just no comps for success (Derrick Henry). We’re just not able to crack that market until Wilson misses like 12 games in a year and we have a 5 win aberration.

          2. Gore isn’t the outlier. Petersen bounced back. Portis bounced back. Lots of RBs bounced back.

          3. Recovery time is important. These injuries take time to return from them. And in most cases takes additional time before a player looks like their old selves. 2016 Chubb doesn’t look like 2015 Chubb. But there is a reasonable expectation that as he’s removed from this injury — that he will regain form. Much like Gore/Portis did.

          4. Buy low. Chubb has questions. And those are real. But there is also ample evidence that Chubb *SHOULD* look kind of what he looks like now. His return to form is kind of right on track (having injured himself at the end of last year). One only has to look at Jordy Nelson who took a little over 12 full months to just now start looking like a similar player to the one lost to the same injury early last season.

          I’m a huge fan of 2015 Chubb and I think all of us were. If he duplicated that quality he’s be a top 15 kind of pick easily distancing himself from Cook. The fact he hasn’t doesn’t preclude him from doing it in the future. It does take more than just the rehab time to get back.

          • Volume12 says:

            No Gore isn’t the outlier, but he had a similar injury in college hence the comparison.

            I think he’d be better off returning to college.

  2. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    After hearing snippets o f the PC pressor….. I’m more than convinced the biggest need if DL…..
    he mentioned that the performance or lack of performance was probably the key to the loss. Even when AR was hobbled with a second leg injury, the rush was not effective.

    I know many on the blog are clamoring for a 1st round OT, but I think DL should be where we focus our attention and flesh out worthy candidates who are true 1st round talents. When your CBs (and S) have to cover for 5+ seconds routinely… you will give up plays, no matter who is playing the back-end of the defense.

    Having said all this, the defense is still extraordinary in the modern “flag football” NFL.

    • Rob Staton says:

      With Bolles now reportedly climbing into the top-20 range per Tony Pauline, DL is starting to look increasingly likely. DE/DT hybrid or a DT.

      • Nick says:

        Couldn’t agree more. I think we’ve seen too that they like athletes that are a bit…raw for the Tackle positions. Could easily see them waiting later into Round 2-5 to address that spot. Perhaps they like Rees and feel as if they can find a veteran T for a solid price.

      • rowdy says:

        If Bolles goes top 20 it will be a major reach to draft a OT or a pass rushing DT. I think BPA will be DE or hybrid DT or S/CB. I don’t see us being able to fill are biggest need in Rd 1. I do think there will be great players to pick late in the first that could make them pass on filling there biggest need.

      • D-OZ says:

        Couldn’t agree more. The identity of this team is defense. They will keep bringing in new blood to keep it competitive and elite. On a side note, I like Conely from Pitt. Looks and feels like a Hawk.

    • Ukhawk says:

      Kind of confusing comments by Pauline. “He might be 3/4th best OL and…. (also) might be Top 20”. Think it’s unclear until all early entries declare. If McGinley & Ramczyk declare and Robinson is in the mix there is every chance he falls below 20 esp as othe s are declaring like Keizer

  3. LordSnow says:

    Rams 3 game win streak against us ends thursday, and the Rams will wish they fired Fisher on Friday instead…

  4. Ed says:

    I’ve been saying DL all season. I actually think the Hawks need 2 this year. Bennett and Avril are getting up there and if Marsh leaves, it’s only Clark. RB has shot up my wishlist as well. Hawks need a big, durable back. Thoughts on:

    Perine
    Hood
    Foreman
    Freeman
    Clement

    All 5’10+ and 220+. Clement and Foreman were true #1 with lots of carries and production.

    • HawkFan907 says:

      Add in Jamaal Williams and Jeremy McNichols and you have a good crew there. The Seahawks have a ton of options here. I’d address the trenches with the first two picks and then grab a back in 3-4 since a lot of options exist.

  5. GeoffU says:

    I’d have to rewatch the the game, but it seems like Bennett rushes a lot at DE. Shouldn’t he be the inside guy? Why arent Clark and Avril the outside guys, with Bennett up the middle on passing downs?

  6. ]Ben-Ft. Worth TX (LSU FAN) says:

    SIGN ME UP FOR THE LSU TRAIN!!! I told everyone that Odell was worth trading up for. And even if that wasn’t realistic, I was all-in on the Jarvis Landry train! Instead we took Paul Richardson. Put me down for trading all of our chips for Leonard Fournette!!

  7. Mac says:

    Hey Rob the Bolles hype train is heating up, so who are the other tackles to look at? I’m mostly interested on your thoughts on the to 2 USC tackles. Is Banner just a huge turnstile? Former bball player + size = the huge right side Pete was lookin for with Webb, in my mind at least.

    • Rob Staton says:

      The concern I have with Wheeler is height and leverage. Will be interesting to see how he tests. Someone to monitor.

      Adam Bisnowaty is another one I’m monitoring.

      • Mac says:

        Really? Wheelers been listed as 6’6 and bulked up to 310+ for the season. But what’s the verdict on the big RT? No way Zach Banner could be as bad as Webb right?

  8. John T says:

    James Conner out of Pittsburgh declared on Saturday. Has the size Carroll eluded to when we figured he was dreaming of Fournette, 6’2″ and 235. Doesn’t get much “grittier” than beating lymphoma, diagnosed in Dec., and back on the field by Sept.

    Pittsburgh plays against Northwestern – New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WreiP9FwEZ8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muIydLIKvr8

    • DC says:

      For a guy that big he gets taken down easier than I would hope from the tape I’ve seen.

      • John T says:

        Same thoughts here. He had a good sophomore year and appeared to come on strong the end of this season. He’ll have a lot of hype for the bowl game. Worth a watch to see how he performs in this type of situation. Might be telling of the kind player he can be.

  9. rowdy says:

    I know a lot of people here want to see defense early and I think that’s how it will go but I think that a better offense would be the best thing for the defense. Are defense has spent an internity on the feild this year and they will continue to look beat down if this continues. The defense can’t continue to spend 40+ minutes a game on the feild and expect to keep us in games.

  10. Kenny Sloth says:

    Rob, do you have a solid NFL comparison to Thomas Rawls?

  11. ROBERt Las vegas says:

    You know I watch the Tennessee Titans run the ball 42 times against the Denver last week the brought in extra lineman and ran right at Denver my question is do the Seahawk have backs on their roster that could carry that load ..this is what the hawks need interior pass rushers and a back that can carry the ball 20 times a game

  12. MikeP says:

    Rob, how do you feel about James Conner? Is he just a really good story or is he a legitimate NFL RB and could be a good target for the Seahawks in the middle rounds?

  13. Troy says:

    Rob, imo you consistently have the most coherent and almost clairvoyant ability to analyze and break down the Hawks. Thank you for continuing this blog, I get alot out of it.

    With that being said, the quote about this “glass cannon” offense really makes sense when you think about it. When the line blocks ok, when Rus is on point, when the WR get open and run good routes, when all of that happens, this can be the best offense in the league. Notice the number of “whens” in that previous sentence.

    That is the definition of frail, the fact that it relies so much on everything to go right… if the line breaks down, 3 point game. If Rus if off, 5 turn overs. If Kearse or Baldwin drop passes or get PI, the offense goes no where.

    I really disliked how people kept bringing up that, well without Lynch this team won’t be the same. But it is true, defenses always had to game plan for Lynch and now they don’t. Now they game plan for Wilson, and our W or L relies completely on him (which is great when he plays up to his potential), but obviously you don’t want to be one dimensional.

    Biggest way to help this team? One of 2 big moves I see, trading away enough draft capital to get Fournette, or make a big trade for a big time DT free agent who can truly impact games from the interior to complement our exterior pressure. I think the tackles are doing OK, but getting a good or great tackle won’t change the teams identity. A generational RB or DT could however really transform our O or D respectively.

    • Troy says:

      Meant to just say big time DT non free agent, AKA a Donald or Atkins or Short or Williams. Probably could get one of those for a first and something else, and if thats the case why not pull the trigger (especially if its a low first round pic like it has been other years).

    • Rob Staton says:

      Some fair points there Troy — and thanks for the kind words about the log.

      • red says:

        Charles Johnson DE is free agent next year he can rush inside outside at age 30 I wonder what his market is. I am thinking 4-6 mil a year over three year with just a dash of dead money on the third year.

  14. mishima says:

    Nailed it.

    This team is missing the talent to fully commit to a punishing run game. Need a vet right tackle (mauler) and a dependable back. With Bolles and Fournette off the board, might need to tap FA for some tone setters/leaders and take Most Dynamic Player with early picks.

    On defense, need to to bring the noise either with added/different personnel or looks/schemes/etc. For whatever reason (talent/chemistry/coaching?), the defense looks vanilla: no pressure/disruption/coverage/takeaways. Nice collection of talent, but not playing well as a unit. Not talking stats/metrics, but just my hot take from recent games.

    Finally, without Lynch, someone on O needs to step up and lead. Looking at you, DangerRuss.

  15. skaman says:

    ESPN reports that Wilson’s 3 most pressured games have all come since week 10 of this season. A stronger O-line will help our consistency by allowing us to play OUR game. A balanced offense that can run when they want to and pass when they want to. We need to control the tempo. Games are won or lost in the trenches, our FO knew we had a problem here which is the reason they wanted to “become the bully again”. Look at the first four rounds in the draft, Procise was our only speed playmaker. On defense our DL has no bull-rush. When speed isn’t working, we don’t create pressure. We need a tackle, a bull-rusher, and a big punishing RB. Order of need not important. We need all three. How we get this will depend on availability when we are making our draft picks and FA.

    • C-Dog says:

      I think by far and away, the biggest need is still on the OL. As much as everyone is excited about what might be big upside with Fant, I think each of these last few games have had some scary turnstile moments, and Seattle seems content to live through them. This might be an offseason where they look the veteran route for help at RT, as R1 of the draft may not offer much.

      The one positive I’d take away from the last few games is that they are showing improvement running the ball, and in GB, yet again, they were force to get away from that.

      I’d love to see Seattle use this draft for the DL early again.

      • Volume12 says:

        No, I agree. Don’t think round 1 will offer many options in terms of OT, but there’s gonna be a ‘pocket’ of talent at the position as JS likes to say somewhere this year.

        Possibly 3rd round?

  16. EranUngar says:

    The Seahawks running game needs the RB to work in tandem with a ZBS OL. According to Gibbs, it takes a year of intense run blocking training to get a functioning ZBS OL. The only player on this OL that had a full season of ZBS blocking is Britt.

    In the past, TC trained his OL to run block first and pass pro was second. This year, with Rawls not available and RW injured on game one, the focus was shifted to protecting RW and it worked at the expense of gelling the run game. The result is that only now we work to get the running game going. A rookie Tackle will have very little effect on the running game in 2017. Keeping the other 4 OL members together for another year will do it.

    I called for a DT as a top priority last year and I still believe it is a top need. An elite defense is more likely to win the SB than an explosive offense.

    When you look at the stats of the Sunday game you see the Seahawks leading in first downs, 3rd down conversions, T.O.P. etc. The 6 turnovers killed that game. If we believe that RW is not likely to repeat this horrendous performance, its not the time to rethink everything.

    It all revolves around the OL and i believe we have most pieces in place to start 2017 with a solid and functioning unit working far better than the 2016 unit. Can anybody say the same about the DL?

    • Volume12 says:

      I’m a firm beleiver in ‘strengthening a strength’ when it comes to the draft.

      And what got us to 2 dances back to back? Defense.

      • C-Dog says:

        Get two impact players on the defensive, perhaps two up in that front seven, and that sharpens the knives pretty quickly.

    • mishima says:

      Agree. Our OL can and will get better, esp. with a serviceable veteran RT.

      Need help on the DL and setting the edge. Surprising lack of a pass rush considering our level of athleticism and the pedestrian OLs we’ve been facing. It’s almost as if experience and scheme matters. I’ll see myself out…

      Great blog, great fans, great team. Frustrating year.

    • LordSnow says:

      I may bitch about the offense a lot, but your view is pretty much my take. I don’t want to see more and more resources devoted to the offense. It just needs time. We all want a super bowl this season, but it really might be next year that things come together. I’m actually satisfied to let the four positions outside of RT to just go thru the growing pains. Early in the season when Sowell got hurt I wanted Fant in there to grow with the rest and got my wish. The results have been painful to watch, but this guy might be lights out in a year.

      I do wish Jermaine would go back to a third receiver role but to do so they need to take a high pick flyer and I’d prefer the capital go toward the defense. They won’t change his role anyway so I probably won’t bring that up much more.

      I want defense defense defense. Swarming, smothering, engulfing. The draft is loaded this year. Bring them in and let the competition be reborn. To me, this is the first year where some guys won jobs by default. McDaniel, Morgan among others. I’d prefer the previous years, where dudes came in and blew up camp and forced their way into the lineup. Bruce Irvin found a way somewhere with his crazy athleticism. Mebane was the great wall. Lane had to fight with Bmax and others. I just don’t see it this year. Good, and holding the fort, but they are surviving, not thriving.

      • EranUngar says:

        I agree. Ifedi and Fant should be way better next year, Glow too. Just imagine how that line will look with TC having a full off season of upgrading a working unit rather than teach the basic ZBS principles to a bunch of wide eyed newbies.

        As for Jermaine, I really hope i’m right and the guy that replaces him is already on the roster. He is smart, ex QB and ex safety, 6-6, great hands, high points the ball….with a full off season as WR, McEvoy can challenge Kearse for snaps next year.

        For years we managed to plug cheap run stuffers as DTs. Its time to get a top draft pick that can effect the pocket in there.

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          I’m going to disagree with you on offensive needs. They may improve but it won’t be enough without help in the draft. At the least they need a good offensive tackle to replace Sowell, a good running back and a good wide receiver. No way around it. That is a minimum. I love the idea of Fant and have followed him all year, but what if he doesn’t improve? Then they would need two tackles.

          They do have a few guys in development that may contribute. Vannett may end up being the next tight end. One of the running backs other then Rawls may be a long term player. Odhiambo may be the best tackle since Okung, we don’t know at this point.

          Defense wise it is hard not to want the #1 defense back. I totally understand the need, and they have made an attempt with Reed, Marsh and Clark to beef up the line. And with free agents like Avril and Bennett. Maybe with one or two more the line will be what we all want.

  17. cha says:

    The hard truth is, in the absence of Lynch shaping the ID of the offense, RW has needed to step in as the cog that makes things work and he just hasn’t been able to fully do it.

    The Packer game for instance. If he makes just two more throws – the overthrows of Baldwin and Graham, the feel of the game is altered dramatically. The run game gets more room to operate ala the Carolina game and win or lose, the defense isn’t spending the whole game trying to bail the offense out, and overall it looks like a more balanced attack in the end.

    I’m not sure what exactly is holding RW back. The injuries, lack of confidence in his WRs, the weight of the contract/Lynch retiring, or just the accumulated seasons of having to run for his life behind the OL or some combination of the above. But it needs attention, and now.

    One thing that might help in this situation is to have a series or two of quick-strike passes. Less than 2 seconds in the pocket, and throw. High percentage slants and some wheel routes. Some of the plays they’ve been calling the last 3-4 weeks have been long-developing plays. RW gets the ball and play-action and has his back turned on the D for 5-7 steps. When he turns to read the defense, a defender is right there to get a hand on him. Quick strikes, mix in the run liberally, and a shot downfield here and there. Just a couple series of that might make defenses more pliable and get RW in a rhythm.

  18. Donald says:

    Hi Rob,

    I always enjoy reading about your thoughts on the Hawks, excellent analysis as always. Since you mentioned USC’s Adoree’ Jackson, I have been thinking what if the Hawks drafted him late 1st rd. With Lane not doing as well, and Earl Thomas being fragile and talking about retiring, how about making Jackson the #1 pick? The best available DL in Rd 2, best avail OL in round 3. RB in rd 4.

  19. Volume12 says:

    Never easy replacing a HOF, dying breed at RB is it? We’ve missed Lynch all season long. Not only a tone setter, he energized this offense. The defense fed off his style.

    • Volume12 says:

      The only way you replace a guy like that is if you ‘luck’ into a lottery, NFL doesn’t have lottery picks, but same thing, top 12-14 pick, like the Colts did w/Luck.

      • mishima says:

        And yet we found Lynch for a 4th + conditional (Buffalo rolling with CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson, instead!)

        JS/PC blew some draft capital on RB, this past draft, and came away relatively empty. Drafting so low with other needs, might want to go back to the well, target NFL RBs in trade.

        Hoping Rawls and Prosise can get and stay healthy, but have my doubts.

        • LordSnow says:

          A day after the trade for Lynch, John Morgan from fieldgulls wrote a long article about the trade. Basically, loved Lynch for the NFL era of 10-15 years earlier, but the game had passed him by for his style, etc

          It was the wrong take but a good article because maybe it showed why a guy like Lynch was available for so cheap in the first place.

          Marshall Falk was had for a 2nd and a 5th, and that was another example of hitting the jackpot from a penny slot machine.

        • Volume12 says:

          I’m talking draft wise, not through a trade. Lynch was a top 12 pick

    • Seahawcrates says:

      Agree mostly. I still think if they pick up an effective big, strong runner and pair him with Rawls and Prosise the running game will consistently click. You won’t get the same tone-setter, but hoping for that unique skill set again is likely a long wait.
      If you paired a runner like Blount with Rawls and Prosise you’d have that Hydra backfield that defenses would struggle to stop. I do think Seattle is 2\3’s there already.

  20. LeoSharp says:

    Lynch needs to pop up on the sidelines from now on. Maybe we’ll consistently score 40 points?

  21. Trevor says:

    I painfully re-watched the GB game yesterday as we had a huge snowstorm here in Canada so was shut in. Probably should not have. It was almost a team I could not recognize. It will be really interesting to see if they can pull things together the next couple of weeks and get ready for a legit playoff run.

    I was really hoping this would be a legit SB opportunity but given the teams inconsistency the idea of winning 4 (hopefully 3 if we can overtake Det) straight games against playoff caliber teams looks like a bit of a pipe dream to be honest.

    Not sure what is up with Russ but his play has been incredibly inconsistent even as he has healed up. If he gets rattled early with pressure in games he never seems to recover. In the past his resiliency and ability to turn things around has been his trademark but there has been none of that this year. As much as we all want to think the Hawks are bullies they are not. They are a finesse, timing offense now and when the QB play is off then the offense is off it is as simple as that.

    On defense this team is clearly aging and needs a dramatic infusion of energy and youth. I think those games mid season where they basically played 3 games in 2 weeks because of the crazy amount of snaps really took its toll. They have looked flat and tired since then. The thing about making the playoffs year after year is the incredible toll it takes on players. In the last 4 seasons this team has basically played another 1/2 season in playoff games and it is clearly showing IMO.

    This is a legendary defense that will go down as one of the all time greats but unless they start evolving and adding youth at all levels I fear a quick decline is inevitable.

    The reason this season is so critical for an SB run is that I think this off season has the potential to get very messy. Both Kam and Bennett to great players with incredibly leadership and confidence will be heading into the last year of their deals and both expect to be paid. I think the chances of JS handing out big longer term extensions to them are very slim. Giving big contracts to aging stars is the recipe to sue disaster in the NFL. The one team that never ever does is NE and that is why they have sustained success. When these guys don’t get the deals they want it is going to get ugly. I really hope that is not the case as I love both guys and want them to retire Hawks but this team needs to start getting younger on D IMO and I think as least one of the two will be a casualty as a result.

    I am still hopeful we can get Bolles in Rd #1 to shore up the OL once and for all. But If Bolles is gone in Rd #1 when we pick then. I think you need to address the RT spot in Free Agency or hope Sowell / Rees and develop into a legit starter. I don’t see another OT in this draft who can be a starter out of the gate.

    If that happens I truly hope we trade back to add an additional 3rd rounder and have 3 like we did last year. There is a ton of defensive depth in this draft. If you have a (2) 2nd rounders and (2) 3rd rounders + a 3rd round comp pick for Irvin. Use one pick on a big power RB to go with Rawls and Prosise. Then use the other 4 picks to add a really infusion of young talent to the defense (DT, LB, S, Corner)

    Rd #2 (Trade back pick)
    Rd#2 (Our Pick)
    Rd #3 (Trade Back Pick)
    Rd #3 (Our Pick)
    Rd#3 Comp (For Irvin)

    • Ukhawk says:

      Well said.

      Trade back makes sense if their target(s) go before they pick. Given 2 of our 3 most important holes to fill are OT & 3T (as it has Ben for some time), I think a trade back is very likely…

      • Ukhawk says:

        Also think if they do not resign MB or BAMBAM (which I too want), maybe it frees up cash to go out and sign an OT/3T….then they draft to replace or for other spots

        • CHawk Talker Eric says:

          FA will be as important as the Draft this year. Can SEA fill one of their 3 biggest needs in FA (OT, DT and RB)?

          I think the most likely scenario, based on available personnel, is a DT acquisition. Not really any FA RBs worth bringing in. And any worthy FA OT will cost a king’s ransom.

          Of course there’s always the wild card possibility of a trade.

    • Coleslaw says:

      Trevor, do you live in Sunnyvale Trailer Park? ?

  22. D-OZ says:

    I think we are going to see a major trade leading up to the draft. This is going to be a very deep draft for key needs and JS covet’s draft capitol. Trade-able player’s= Lane,Kearse,P-Rich,Terrell and maybe even Bennett.

    • LordSnow says:

      I’d be stunned if Prich is still on the roster by next camp. He has no role in this offense. Doesn’t play special teams. Can he block? Doesn’t look as fast as his 4.3 speed says he should be.

    • 503Hawk says:

      Of course, trading during the draft is no surprise for PC/JS. But this team really needs more PLAYMAKERS, IMPACT PLAYERS, DIFFERENCE MAKERS, (whatever term you want to use).

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think they’d get sufficient value for Lane, Kearse, Richardson or Terrell — and I would expect a contract extension for Bennett, not a move.

  23. Smitty1547 says:

    I’m sure everyone is seeing the Carroll to Ram rumors start. I know he loves the city and is cult hero there, however stuck with Goff and no draft capital, not sure he would do it. Unless he wanted the ultimate challenge and a lot of bucks.

  24. All the above comments and wishfull thinking sound great. But no one seems to have any thoughts on what has happened to RW and his inconsistency in his accuracy and decision making. Besides missing a lot of throws lately, he is holding on to the ball to long before running or throwing it away. Having a Lynch type running back would be great but RW has to get his week to week focus back and not be just launching prayers down field.

  25. icb12 says:

    A RB getting overlooked is Cal’s Vic Enwere.

    He’s tough, He physical. He’s got attitude when he runs. I’m not saying hes the most talented guy in the world. But He ticks a lot of boxes for what Seattle likes in a RB. I watch him run, and he wants it more than the other guys.

    V12 and I talked bit about him last year. But things have been quiet for him this year, especially after breaking his foot.

    • Volume12 says:

      He was pretty banged up this year.

      Has some good #’s from his junior pro day I beleive.

      He might also make a nice hybrid FB/RB although Marcel Reece would be a great guy to re-sign this off-season. Let him and Cottom battle it out or keep Cottom as an H-back.

      • icb12 says:

        2013 Nike SPARQ combine in Houston he was ranked 1 out of 1200 IIRC.
        41″ Vertical, 38 foot powerball throw. Slow 40 at 4.60 but it was Fully Automated.

        He gained weight his sophomore season.
        He’s slimmed back down. He’s fast enough. and Fearless when he hits the hole.
        I think it would be a solid pick up.

        • Volume12 says:

          lol. I’m not disagreeing with you my man.

          Merely pointing out why he was quiet this year and his floor could be a hybrid as a hybrid back.

          They scouted Cal back to back this year in weeks 8 & 9, someone piqued their interest there.

  26. subterranean says:

    Rob – in listening to your podcast there are a couple of issues you cite that tend to get framed as “losing Lynch” but I think go back to the coaching staff instead.

    1. You mention how when Wilson gets knocked around, they get away from the running game. Like in Green Bay, Rawls was productive and yet they went away from him. Often I hear people say we miss Marshawn, but I think we’re missing the commitment from the coaches more than anything.

    2. You mention that Rawls is productive but teams don’t respect our running game the way they used to. If teams are willing to give Rawls 5 yards per carry why aren’t we doing more to take advantage of that? If we took more advantage of that productivity, then maybe teams would have to respect it more.Are teams not scheming to stop Rawls because they don’t believe the team will keep feeding him? I wouldn’t scheme to stop Seattle’s running game right now. But not because of Rawls, because I don’t think Bevell will keep going to him the moment we face any adversity.

    I loved against Carolina seeing the team in 3 TE sets where they can run heavy but also pass to Graham or Vannett. One of the things that made our defense so exceptional in 2013 was that they played fewer snaps than anyone else. Part of our identity was eating the clock, shrinking the game and making each possession more valuable as a result. At the end of the season the defense was fresher than our opponents. We aren’t going to establish a physical, run heavy identity if we don’t actual run the ball.

    While I share concerns about durability, I’m not convinced this is as much an issue re: Rawls, as much as our coaching staff. The identity has got to start from the top down and I don’t see that right now from this coaching staff. If you want to be the bully, stop talking about it and act like it.

  27. Coleslaw says:

    Rob, I know you’ve talked him down a little bit before but I can’t find or remember what you said, what are your thoughts on Samaje Perrine? For what we’re looking for he might be our best bet from the draft IMO

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      I’ve been an outspoken fan of Perine since last year. To my eye, his running style more closely matches Lynch than any other RB I’ve seen. Like Lynch, he’s not blazingly fast, but fast enough to win a footrace and pick up chunk yardage when he finds space. Like Lynch, he’s a power runner who takes would be tacklers head-on; he thrives on contact and gets stronger with each collision.

      He doesn’t have Lynch’s vision (yet), nor does he have Lynch’s agility – which was one of the most underrated aspects of Lynch’s game. But Perine is a pounder – a strong, powerful, hard hitting RB with the collegiate production to support his potential.

      I realize he gets knocked for injuries, but I checked his history and he missed just 4 games in his entire career at OK – all in 2016. He also missed part of the 2015 Orange Bowl with an ankle injury. Unless I’m mistaken, 3 of the 4 games he missed this year were due to a pulled hamstring. Not sure that warrants labeling him as injury prone.

      Perine in R3 would be a solid pick.

      • Volume12 says:

        Agreed.

        Oh I think Perine will kill the 3 cone. He has loose hips and great flexion in his ankles.

        His COD and ability to cut is underrated.

        For a power back he’s pretty ‘bendy’ too.

        I don’t think he’s injury prone either. He’s a big, physical back. That style is conducive to getting banged up.

        For me, a guy willing to play hurt or perform drills while doing so shows a ton of heart and he tried to do that this year.

        • Volume12 says:

          Only 2 fumbles all year as well. But, I beleive that to be somewhat of a non-issue for Seattle anyways. More of a coaching/technique issue for most guys.

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          I would like to see a big back drafted to fill a role like Blount does for New England. Either Perine or Foreman would make me happy.

      • Trevor says:

        I agree 100% I think he would provide a great compliment to Rawls and Prosise and would be the perfect pick with our 3rd RD Comp from Irvin.

    • Rob Staton says:

      There are times I really like Perine — but some games are ho-hum. Does get banged up too much. But he has an interesting profile. Would be keen to see him at the combine.

      • Coleslaw says:

        Interesting, certainly him being a role player will ease that pain. I wonder why he has down games, gonna hit the tape and try to figure it out

        • Rob Staton says:

          It would’ve been nice to see him put up big numbers vs Ohio State. He had 60 yards. When he was playing opponents from the gift that keeps on giving (aka the Big 12) he was doing 239 vs Oklahoma State, 160 vs West Virginia and 100 vs Baylor. Like his running style but will need to see his combine.

  28. @Seaj253 says:

    Jerry Dipoto of the Seattle Mariners always tries to trade for guys that are coming off a down year. I bring that up because I’ve reading all your comments about the need for a DT that provides a pass rush…

    Whose a DT that is having a really poor year that was once LOVED by everyone on this blog including myself? … New York Jets Sheldon Richardson. I read an article this week that said the Jets will look to trade him this offseason.

    Could they possibly look to deal for Richardson?

  29. DC says:

    One thing I’ve noticed with RW playing in significantly colder weather is that the thicker air density often kills his deep balls. They consistently are several yards short of the receiver.

  30. 503Hawk says:

    I said it many times; “we will miss the day when The Beast walks away.”
    I said it many times; “one of my 5 all time favorite Seahawks. Just as with the other four, he will be the next HoF Seahawk.”

    We all know he was unique, a once in a life-time talent. Not the fastest, not the biggest, but the most fearsome, intimidating RB I have ever seen. A player who was the heart and soul of this entire team, both offense & defense.
    We will never see another RB like him on our team. Just like we will never see another Largent (although I believe Baldwin could with the right QB), nor another Easly, Kennedy, or Jones. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

    • DC says:

      We can’t replace the Beast. We can have an effective running game though. It starts at the line of scrimmage.

    • Coleslaw says:

      I’m willing to bet $100 that if we make it to the super bowl he comes back. He looks like he’s been getting in shape recently and just showed up on the sidelines. You know a part of him misses it and if he can get another ring why not play 1 game?

      • DC says:

        I could be wrong but he looked heavier than during his playing days.

        I’d take you up on that bet.

        • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

          It was mentioned that he has added a bit of weight, maybe 10 lbs…. but there is no way he is in football shape… vintage Lynch football shape.. trucking fools shape. It would be fun to see, him in a Seahawks jersey one more time, but the past is the past, Lynch will run no more.

          • Coleslaw says:

            It’s up to him. I don’t think for a second he’d opt not to play in another super bowl. He still has time, adding weight like that is a precursor to bulking up also, gotta have meat to stack on more muscle

  31. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    Speaking of FAs, any interest in acquiring John Simon to play Irvin’s SAM/LEO role?

  32. Grayson says:

    Though I doubt it will happen, Seattle should draft a WR sooner rather than later. Outside of the o-line, having an upgrade at the #2 spot would be beneficial for the long term health of RW and the continued evolution of an offense lead off of RW’s arm, not his legs. Unfortunately this draft doesn’t look too great for WR’s.

    • Coleslaw says:

      I think a TE would accomplish close to the same thing and would cost less. There’s some good options, all big jump ball specialists like graham, throw them the ball they’re gonna catch it. I think this would be better suited for our offense than Willsons size/speed combo. Sells the run and gives RW short quick pass options

  33. subterranean says:

    It’s my impression after going back and looking at the play-by-play that Russell was taking and completing more short and intermediate passes early. As they got behind they started taking more downfield shots but his accuracy wasn’t there. There were some drives that were well balanced and others where they just abandoned the run. Their best drives of the game were a mix of the short passing and run, plus hitting the running backs out of the backfield. 1st drive: 3 passes under 10 yards, 2 scrambles for 4 and 5 yards, 5 runs by Rawls for 1, 13, 8, 7, and -1 yards. In looking at this I get a couple impressions:

    1. When they get behind, they seem to start playing at the tempo of the other team, abandoning what was working and taking riskier shots downfield. 21-3 at halftime is not ideal, but they came out after half with another good drive that ended with two deep incomplete passes after re-establishing the run and moving downfield with short passing. I’m assuming two their best drives, to start each half, were scripted, where they came in to establish their pace and their style. But then the “game seems to get away from them”. Even down 21-3 is not insurmountable if you prolong drives, take advantage of your shots, and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. The Seahawks have owned the NFC by eating the clock and being the most efficient team in the NFL, I don’t know where that went.

    2. It seemed evident from the outset that Wilson was off on the deep throws, but other things were working, so not sure why they (whether it was Wilson or Bevell) left the run and started taking deep shots instead of seeing that the QB was off and adjusting.

    3. Knowing that the QB is off a bit, the other mistakes really compounded things. Instead of our usually reliable receivers helping carry Russell they did quite the opposite. They dropped some passes. But what caught my attention during and after the game was Lockett not stretching or even falling up field to get a first down on his run on the first drive and instead stretching the run to the sideline and going out of bounds. That killed a good drive. On the second drive, Baldwin sets up 1 yard shy of a first down and the pass is complete but they still turn it over.

    The drive I don’t get is the 5th drive of the game, with 5:00 minutes left in the first half, and so far Rawls has run well. You have a chance here to try to get off your heels and reestablish yourself, and burn the time off the clock. You score and it is only a 21-10 ball game at the half. Instead, they throw the ball 5 times, rush twice, one of which was a Wilson scramble (i’m presuming it was an intended pass). Rawls touches the ball once.

    I just get the sense that right now, when the team faces adversity, especially on offense, they get back on their heels and their execution falls off. Instead of guys rising to the occasion and helping bail out Russell, or the coaches making an adjustment, the moment swallows them up.

  34. Vista says:

    Tukuafu and Pope are heading to the IR and the hawks signed RB Kelvin Taylor and Ronald Powell.