Wednesday notes: Speed at safety not so important?

August 1st, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

A new podcast will be recorded tonight. In the meantime here are a few notes…

Speed at safety not such an issue

There’s been a lot of talk about Tedric Thompson’s lack of speed, especially in relation to Earl Thomas. Thompson ran a 4.60 forty at the combine. That’s a long way off Thomas’ 4.3-4.4 range.

However, it’s worth noting that very few teams rely on exceptional speed at safety. It might be a bit more important for Seattle if they want to play single-high. Yet Pete Carroll isn’t going to set his team up to struggle.

Would they have played single high had Earl Thomas not been available at pick #14 in 2010? Possibly not.

Dan Quinn, a former Carroll protégé, starts Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen at safety for the Falcons. Neal ran a 4.62 forty and Allen a 4.61. Very few people identify safety as a weakness for the Falcons. Recently PFF ranked Atlanta’s secondary as the fifth best in the league.

The New York Jets spent a top-10 pick on Jamal Adams after he ran a 4.56. Harrison Smith in Minnesota ran a 4.57.

None of this means Thompson is destined for a great pro-career. It does highlight that teams don’t require blazing speed to have success at his position. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that players like Thomas are rare. Without him in Seattle, the Seahawks might have to tweak things slightly but they aren’t doomed without speed.

If Thompson does earn a starting job, at least we know from his time in college he has a knack for turning the ball over and making big plays.

Doug Baldwin injured but not seriously (it seems)

The first section of this tweet is terrifying…

… but ultimately it’s not terrible news. We don’t need to see Doug Baldwin in pre-season. He and Russell Wilson have chemistry. To be honest it’d be nice if many more veterans sat out to avoid injury.

This will increase the competition at receiver. It’s a decent looking group with jobs on the line. Baldwin’s absence means more reps in camp and in the pre-season games for those fighting for a job. It should be a fun battle.

J.R. Sweezy is back

Sweezy had his detractors in his previous spell in Seattle. Yet he did bring a lot to the running game and provided a physical edge. This move likely won’t break the cap and provides extra competition for a unit everyone is desperate to see take a turn for the better.

Considering the current priority seems to be fixing the run and making life as comfortable as possible for Russell Wilson, this feels like a logical move.

2019 draft shaping up to be loaded on the D-line

With the college season nearing I will start to look at prospects in the next few weeks. In the meantime, the great Tony Pauline is providing tons of information at Draft Analyst.

It’s good news for any team (eg the Seahawks) that could be in the market for a defensive lineman in next years draft.

Tony has worked through the SEC, Big 10, MAC, AAC and ACC, reviewing the draft prospects in each conference. With many more players still to come, here are the defensive linemen Tony has graded in the first two rounds so far:

Joe Jackson (DE, Miami)
Brian Burns (DE, Florida State)
Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
Dexter Lawrence (DE, Clemson)
Austin Bryant (DE, Clemson)
Zach Allen (DE, Boston College)
Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
Dre’Mont Jones (DT, Ohio State)
Ed Oliver (DT, Houston)

That’s 11 names before starting on the PAC 12 and Big 12. New names will also emerge (they always do).

Seattle’s pass rush might be a little thin at the moment but next years draft could provide a long term solution. If Rasheem Green can show promise as a rookie and Frank Clark agrees a long term extension, a relative weakness could be seen as a strength this time next year.

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51 Responses to “Wednesday notes: Speed at safety not so important?”

  1. Pedestrian says:

    Great write up Rob! I tend to agree speed isn’t an absolute at the FS position. Many teams function just fine without ET, there isn’t a reason we can’t either. On Doug Baldwin injury, age is starting to show for our core veterans – a trend that will continue. That’s why I’ve been an advocate of trading players just before they reach that peak in their careers + have enough tread on the tires to get good compensation for them.

    With addition of Sweezy, you gotta think Fluker is on the outside looking in. I’d imagine he’ll compete at RG. Really like Roos, but this move probably signals they don’t feel all that confident at RG at the moment with what they have.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It may indicate a level of concern with Fluker. How healthy is he? He’s had issues there in the past.

      • Dale Roberts says:

        It seems I read something about Fluker’s right knee. Is this the same knee that he injured with the Giants? It actually ended up being a toe injury that put him on the IR last year.

        After the knee injury Fluker said, “”The best thing for me is to keep on fighting,” Fluker said. “I’m not going to let my teammates down. That’s how I see it. I’m going to give everything I got until they pull me out.”

        At least he’s got the tough-guy, warrior mentality the Seahawks covet.

      • Bigten says:

        Is it possible that this may be because pocic isn’t progressing fast enough? I really like pocic and want him to succeed. But the comments on him were concerning to me.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I mean it’s possible but I think unlikely. Sweezy and Fluker both very much RG’s. So I think the position is the giveaway. Fluker has had injury issues throughout. Could be some insurance if they worry about his ability to play 16 games.

      • All I see is 12s says:

        Flyleaf did seem to be walking pretty gingerly at practice a couple times today

    • Trevor says:

      Sweezy seems like a no risk move to me. He is a solid run blocker with a nasty streak. Let he and Fluker battle it out for the RG spot and the other guy provides great depth in case of injury.

      Maybe Fluker is having some health issues or could they be thinking about letting him compete with Ifedi at RT?

      Can you imagine how nasty at Right side of the OL would be in the run game with Sweezy at RG and Fluker at RT! Then use a TE to help Fluker in pass pro where he struggles.

      This all assumes Ifedi does not improve a ton this year. I hope Ifedi steps up and plays like a 1st round RT it would solve a lot of problems.

      • McZ says:

        Health was never the topmost concern regarding Fluker. His general lack of production over his career is. I seriously doubt he is capable to step up his game.

        Ifedi has to improve his game big time, as has the unit as a whole.

        I expect Pocic to capture the LG spot this year, having a monster season. I expect Sweezy to start at RG, playing like he never left. I expect Brown to play pro bowl level, and Britt to bounce back to 2016 grade. And lastly, I expect George Fant taking over RT in October at latest, with RT still being the topmost concern going into offseason.

        And then we should hope that Solari is better at drafting OL talent. Cable was utterly atrocious.

    • RealRhino2 says:

      Have always thought speed was overrated at S, even FS. Positioning, recognition and instincts can make up way more ground than being .1 second faster in the 40.

    • CharlietheUnicorn says:

      I’m confident, ET is being under appreciated by some fans. When you have an unique athlete at a p[position, you can do more exotic or interesting things in other positions, taking advantage of his talents (or mitigating other players weaknesses).

  2. peppapig says:

    Always good stuff Rob.
    Appreciate it.

  3. drewdawg11 says:

    Sweezy was someone I was happy to see go the first time. Not excited to have him back now. If he starts, I don’t think we are getting substantially better.

    • Ghost Mutt says:

      I was happy to see him go at the time, but only because he wasn’t worth the money Tampa gave him.

      I’m more than happy to see him back on what I’m presuming is close to the vet minimum. Nothing wrong with having a road-grader riding the pine in case of injury.

      • drewdawg11 says:

        I thought he made way too many mistakes as a player. It was laughable that he got paid by Tampa. Oh well. I really like Clelin Ferrell. Rashaan Gary is a versatile guy who has loads of upside as an inside/outside pass rusher. Even if we do resign Frank, we should lean toward D-line.

  4. DannyP says:

    Geez, not a good year for Baldwin to be a no-go. I understand that the injury is seen as short term, but that obviously can lead to something more serious if it lingers.

    I think the Sweezy signing us a good idea, assuming it’s on the cheap. If he beats out Fluker, I’d find that to be concerning. Hopefully Fluker, like Baldwin, are only dealing with temporary issues.

    Love this site, Rob. As well as the podcast.

    • Hawktalker#1 says:

      Agreed, but Baldwin is a baller so don’t look for him to be whimpering on the bench when game time rolls around.
      Like some others have said, I actually think this is a good thing as it will help more WR prospects get more reps so we can see what they’ve got and make some better decisions when we need to get down to our core group.

      Going to be an exciting year – sleeper underdog hawks. I kinda like that for a change, but only kinda. 🙂

      Go Hawks

  5. CharlietheUnicorn says:

    Baldwin sitting out is actually great news. There are 14 other WRs that have to step up and make plays now in practice, preseason, etc. A great time to evaluate some of the young pups. The ex Cardinals WR has supposedly flashed a few times already and has some deep ball chemistry with RW.

    If the mantra is still about competition, then … the WRs need to bring it for the next 5 weeks.

  6. FresnoHawk says:

    Rob don’t know what Hawk fans would do without you!
    Cheers!

  7. neil says:

    I just do not understand how these players get injured when they are in no pads and no contact situations. Either the players are not putting in the conditioning time during the summer or the conditioning program at the facility needs to be overhauled.

  8. Sean-O says:

    I’m not too worried about the ADB injury yet but let’s see how it plays out over the next few weeks. Besides obvious choices of RW & Wags, he’s likely the next guy the Hawks can afford to lose.

    Worse case if he does miss time & they team doesn’t feel comfortable with how the current group of other WR’s is shaping up, there are some interesting veteran FA’s out there like Maclin, LaFell, Decker, etc..

  9. All I see is 12s says:

    So the Hawks sign Sweezy just a couple hours before Jack Mewhorty of the Colts retires. Considering that the colts gave an affinity for signing former Seahawks I think it was awfully fortuitous that the hawks got jr wrapped up just in time. He may have seen a bigger payday with Indy.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷

    • RealRhino2 says:

      It’s crazy/funny to me that the same people who talk about how much the players put their bodies on the line in an incredibly dangerous sport where season-ending injuries are just a play away are the same people that insist the owners should be including full injury guarantees for FIVE years of a contract.

      It’s like asking a judge to set my bail *lower* because I frequently skip out of town and lose my job in the process, meaning I can’t afford as much bail.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I read it earlier and my instant thought was…

      ‘This still needs to be directed at the teams unwilling to make a deal to trade him, not the Seahawks’

      • Pran says:

        as things stand, Hawks should allow his agent to go talk to teams and get best deal for team and Earl. if he fails..end of story.

  10. Uncle Bob says:

    Rob, that speed measurement data demonstrate several things. As your commentary reinforces, quality safeties don’t need Earl’s speed to be effective. What is important is football savvy and the quick read reaction that most of those listed have. Earl is good in that area too, but as the limp market for his services shows, not very many teams put the same value on his speed advantage as he, and his die hard fan, do. As for his rehash (yet again) in the Tribune, he just doesn’t want to see how sparse the demand for him is. Until a deal better than a 2020 third comes along, he’s stuck.

    I’m concerned more about the injuries than may be warranted, but history has shown that the team almost always downplays the severity of these injuries (whether caution or poker, it doesn’t matter, it’s a pattern). As the days go bye the actual severity finally emerges.

    • Volume12 says:

      Earl’s speed was a huge component and it still will be against teams that want to spread you out, but more than anything much like Ed Reed for me it was their reaction (ball skills), feet, and the transition. Ideally you want sub 4.5 but 4.5-4.55 is perfectly acceptable.

      Tedric has great ball skills.

      • mishima says:

        And arguably better hands than Earl.

        Looking forward to seeing a bump in takeaways with Thompson and McDougald at FS and SS, respectively.

        Earl’s value was in shrinking the field, getting to the ball, covering mistakes. He will be missed, but our secondary might be better this year at generating turnovers. #heresy

  11. Volume12 says:

    Loaded D-line class and rally good CB class too.

    Not a fan of Clemson’s Austin Bryant at all. Seems like JAG.

    OTOH, Miss St’s D-line is something else. Montez Sweat on the EDGE and Jeffrey Simmons on the inside? 🔥

    • DC says:

      In my quick resurgence pipe dream the Seahawks extend Clark, poach DeMarcus Lawrence, draft instant impact rusher ‘X’ & Green quickly becomes the real deal.

      Expensive? You bet. Pay them pass rushers and coach up the rest.

      • Volume12 says:

        Having great pass rushers will also help out a young secondary as well.

        Lawrence or Roby was who I was hoping for in the ’14 draft instead of P-Rich but he wasn’t a bad selection at all. Think he’s gonna have a big year for Washington.

  12. All I see is 12s says:

    Just left practice. Couple quick thoughts while I wait out the crowd at the Landing.
    -Marcus Johnson continues to look great. Had a beautiful to catch. It should also be noted that he was targeted on Trovon reeds int. MJ had a step but the ball was a bit underthrown.
    Marshall also stood out and had a beautiful Td from Wilson against trey flowers.
    -I liked what I saw from Jacob Martin. Seemef explosive and twitchy. Was abusing battle on edge drills.
    – that said, that said when he switched to the o the side, he was absolutely stoned be JaMarco Jones. I didn’t always have the best view of him so I can’t say if he was great all practice.
    Carson is a beast but penny and procise looked good too.
    OH yeah. CB Shaq looked really really good too.

    • DC says:

      Thanks!
      It would be nice if Martin was as good as he looked & Jones is even better.

      • Tclemen21@yahoo.com says:

        Yeah about Jones… I remember my seeing him last year. He didn’t look the same. This year he looks different. IDK. Leaner, it makes him look taller. Hard to tell about the d linemen in practice but what I did see was impressive- fast.
        Also, mingo had a sack. I think it was on McGough. Pete got really excited about it.

        On a lesser note. Dion Jordan was on the sidelines. It really stuck out to me how slender his calves and ankles are for a guy his size. Moreso than his teammates. I don’t know if it means anything but a stress fracture stfikes me as an injury one obtains when your body is carrying too much weight and asked to do too much.

        OH yeah, Dickson is real. Ryan was kicking some fine balls but there was just something different about the way it was coming off of Dickson’s foot. Special

    • Rob Staton says:

      Thanks for sharing!

  13. Largent80 says:

    Earl Thomas is currently running a 40 in 2 months and 21 days.

    Time to let someone that wants to play take his FORMER spot.

    • EBurgz says:

      Ok… just understand the team won’t be as good.

      • Hawktakler#1 says:

        No matter how you slice it, that is the truth.

      • Largent80 says:

        If there is no pass rush it isn’t going to matter if Earl is there. He was there last year and we all saw the results.

        • Hawktalker#1 says:

          It is so easy to get negative/pessimistic when we don’t have everything we want.

          I am encouraged by many of the things I have seen so far, even though some of our legendary names are not with us any longer. Something to remember, many of those legendary names were injured and not playing with us the last half of last season, and that did not translate into a total fail on defense.

          I think we are going to surprise many this year on offense and defense.

          I listen to a little sports radio this morning as they listed the six or eight teams that they thought had a shot to get to the Super Bowl. Everyone knows Seattle is not what they once were, but nobody knows what Seattle could be yet.

          I’m very excited to find out.

          Go Hawks!!

          Go Hawks

  14. STTBM says:

    Sweezy had actually developed into a very good pass protector; he just looked as if he struggled–but he gave up few pressures or sacks his last year with us. Where he still struggled, oddly enough considering his reputation, was in his consistency in the run game; he’d pancake a guy one play, then whiff in space on the next run play, then lose contain on the one after. Just too up and down…

    Since he’s cheap, I’m actually thrilled to have him back. I’d hope Seattle would give him a shot at LG too, but we’ll see.

    Doug having knee issues is horrifying. Crossing fingers…

    Stoked to see which young guy makes it at WR (Moore, Darboh, Johnson or Reynolds), because I’m hopeful Marshall can get right and be a force.

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