Month: December 2021 (Page 1 of 3)

Thoughts on Russell Wilson’s interesting comments

I, for one, hope Sunday isn’t Russell Wilson’s final game in Seattle

Without any prompting by the media, Russell Wilson delivered the following line in his press conference today:

“I know for me personally, I hope it’s not my last game (in Seattle). But at the same time, I know it won’t be my last game in the NFL. I’m just focused on today and getting better today. That’s my goal. I love this city and I love this moment. I love these guys and we gotta make sure we get better today. That’s all that matters.”

Wilson looked somewhat uncomfortable after this answer, I thought. But then that’s no surprise. It’s an uncomfortable situation.

I don’t think any of this is a personal issue between Pete Carroll and Wilson. I think the pair share a significant amount of mutual respect.

I think this is purely down to a difference in philosophy — with Wilson determined to max-out the second half of his career and believing a different approach to Carroll’s is the only way he will achieve that.

Thus, we’re set up for a big call to be made almost as soon as the season ends.

Will ownership make changes at the top and replace the Head Coach and General Manager? Will they seek a new approach, with a more offensive-minded coach leading the charge?

Or will they fall in behind Carroll and John Schneider, inevitably leading to Wilson requesting a trade?

There’s no running this back. Running it back in 2021 was the ‘one more go’ year. They’re 5-10 and out of the playoffs. It’s the worst season in both Carroll’s tenure and Wilson’s career.

Change is coming, it’s just a case of what that change looks like.

Despite all the statements from people about what will or won’t happen — the truth is nobody knows. We don’t know anything about Jody Allen or her opinion. She certainly isn’t the type, it seems, to ring Adam Schefter or Jay Glazer and fill them in.

So all we can do is wait, while acknowledging what the two scenarios are.

Change at the top, or change at quarterback.

I won’t waste your time with a prediction.

I can only tell you what I think would be best…

— I think the 2022 draft class is so poor at the top, it would be a titanic risk to trade Wilson during the next off-season. Your chances of using that stock to acquire blue-chip talent are incredibly slim. The quarterback situation in college football may never have been uglier. This is the worst time, in my opinion, to consider a ground-zero rebuild.

— As poorly as Wilson has played this year, after suffering a finger injury, we are about 14 months removed from a stretch of games where he looked like the best player in the NFL. I think it’s more plausible than some people would have you believe that he can return to performing at the highest level. And that, for me, should be Seattle’s priority over the next five years. Returning Wilson to his best and enjoying the benefits of that over the next few seasons.

— I think there are two ways to enable this to happen. Firstly, I think the person leading this franchise as Head Coach should be a proven offensive mastermind who is flexible and creative to tailor a system around Seattle’s best players. This is why I think Jody Allen — one of the richest people on the planet — should use her clout to bring Sean Payton to Seattle and sell him on the project. He would coach Wilson hard, be demanding — but he’s also shown he can win games with different quarterbacks — from Drew Brees to Taysom Hill and most recently, he beat the Super Bowl champs with Trevor Siemian.

— If Payton simply isn’t attainable, Doug Pederson would be a perfectly logical Plan B.

— A fresh set of eyes at GM should be sought. My proposal remains Ed Dodds — who spent 10 years in Seattle before being poached by Chris Ballard to be his right-hand-man with the Colts. He is a highly respected talent evaluator and the Seahawks need to get back to drafting well. The Seahawks under Carroll and Schneider lost their mojo there a long time ago.

— I see a lot of people saying you can’t transform a roster quickly. I don’t agree. The Seahawks have approximately $43m to spend in the off-season and can easily create another $20m by cutting Bobby Wagner and Chris Carson. Prioritising the lines and adding talent to the O-line and D-line will enable this team to move forward quickly. With the weapons Seattle has at receiver — and with a properly schemed and effective offense — you will win a lot of games if you can also win the battle in the trenches.

— The next Head Coach should be challenged to build a top-level staff — something I’d argue Carroll has failed to do in recent years.

These changes would give the franchise a jolt. I think the Seahawks would benefit from fresh ideas, a new set of eyes looking at the roster and a refresh behind the scenes.

I genuinely believe the Seahawks can return quickly to a position from which they can compete at the top end of the NFC.

Look at the Cowboys. Six wins a year ago, now 11-4. Green Bay won six games in 2018. They’re on track for three successive 13-win seasons after that. Tampa Bay went from six wins in 2019 to Super Bowl Champs in 2020.

The common factor is all had capable, experienced quarterbacks, all three have drafted well and all made the necessary changes to be competitive.

That, to me, is the potential for Seattle.

I don’t think this is a black-hole situation. I simply think the current regime has reached a natural conclusion to their tenure and a fresh start is needed. From that fresh start, an opportunity to get better quickly is plausible.

Like Wilson, I hope this isn’t his last game in Seattle. I think he can return to his best form because his very best form was witnessed by all of us just over a year ago. With the necessary changes and cap space to spend — this franchise can return, quite quickly, to contention. I truly believe that.

New leadership, new ideas, renewed commitment to the trenches. That’s the plan.

It’s going to take some painful decisions being made regarding individuals who will always deserve to be considered Seahawks greats.

I hope ownership is prepared to make those difficult decisions and that they channel the ambition and vision Paul Allen showed when he landed Mike Holmgren and Pete Carroll — as he transformed this franchise forever.

If you missed my segment on 710 ESPN yesterday with Jake & Stacy, check it out here:

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My Plan A, B & C for the next era of the Seahawks

Russell Wilson & Sean Payton, together at a Pro Bowl

Plan A

— Trade for Sean Payton

Your Plan A should always be overly ambitious.

Hear me out on this one.

Paul Allen revolutionised the Seahawks by appointing Mike Holmgren and Pete Carroll.

My Plan A would see Jody Allen taking inspiration from her brother and going for the hat-trick.

I would target a proven winner and one of the best coaches in the NFL. I would contact the New Orleans Saints and discuss a trade for their Head Coach.

There’s increasing chatter about his future amid rumours linking him with the Chicago Bears. Payton has talked to the Colts and Rams in recent years about a switch. Getting him out of New Orleans might not be as improbable as some people think.

It would be daring, it would shake up the franchise and give it a fresh direction with an established, respected leader at the helm.

— What it means for Russell Wilson

I have studied the 2022 draft class and the quarterbacks in college football extensively. A lot of the people calling for a complete refresh haven’t done this.

To me, saying you want a big change at quarterback or want to blow things up for stock in the 2022 draft without studying what that actually means is a bit like saying you’re going to sell your house without looking at the next property you intend to buy.

In a different scenario — with a rich draft class forthcoming and a talented crop of quarterbacks set to enter the league over the next couple of years, I’d probably have a different Plan A.

That isn’t the case though. This is a really troubling draft class at the top end. Players are going to be selected in the top-10 who would be late first round or second round picks in other years. We might not see a quarterback drafted until day two and for some players, even that might be a reach.

Don’t take my word for it though. Here’s a quote, courtesy of, from an unnamed NFC GM:

“The problem is this: Good luck finding a better option at the position. It’s not likely coming through the draft this season, as far as immediate returns. This class reminds me of that 2013 year (when EJ Manuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round). Moving a franchise quarterback usually only works when you’re in a position to grab another can’t-miss prospect at the position in a deep draft, like when the Colts got Andrew Luck after Peyton Manning’s injury or the Packers got Aaron Rodgers in anticipation of replacing Brett Favre. You can’t even create a situation like the Chiefs had with Patrick Mahomes and Alex Smith (in 2017), because the talent just isn’t there in this class. It’s not even like it was in 2018, when you had unfinished products with rare physical skills like Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson available.”

Wilson hasn’t played close to his best since returning from injury and I’m not ignorant of his frustrating end to the 2020 season either. The finger issue has had a significant effect on him, in my opinion, but he still needs to play better irrespective of that.

However, I still want to at least see if his career can be given a new lease of life with a different, offensive-minded Head Coach.

Payton has shown to be adaptable in the past — adjusting to different quarterbacks and despite what happened yesterday with Ian Book, he’s been able to win games with Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian and Jameis Winston.

I don’t think Payton and Wilson are a good fit because Wilson happens to be a shorter passer like Drew Brees. I appreciate they are different players. I think it’s a good fit because I believe Payton will create an offensive structure and game-plan tailored for Wilson.

I’d be prepared, as ownership in Seattle, to take a chance on this partnership working.

— Shift resources to the trenches

According to the Seahawks have a projected $43,426,337 to spend in the off-season.

I would create another $16.6m by cutting Bobby Wagner, with the intention of re-investing that money in the lines. I would also save another $3.4m by cutting Chris Carson.

That would leave you with a healthy $63m to spend in the off-season.

I would look at the draft to replace Wagner and Carson by targeting Georgia’s Channing Tindall and Florida’s Dameon Pierce, should both players be available in the middle rounds.

I would prioritise the offensive line in the veteran market. Terron Armstead, Brandon Scherff and Ryan Jensen are all free agents.

If possible, I would look into the possibility of trading back into the late first round if there was a chance to draft one of Trevor Penning, Bernhard Raimann or Abraham Lucas (who I think will rise during the process). Or, I’d be looking at Tyler Linderbaum (who I think is overrated by draft media).

I think there are quality defensive linemen who could also be worth moving up for — such as edge rusher Jermaine Johnson or Houston’s inside/out rusher Logan Hall.

If you start the 2022 season with reinforcements to the O-line, Sean Payton calling offensive plays and you give Russell Wilson a running game and targets like D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Gerald Everett and Dee Eskridge — I think you can win a lot of football games.

I’m not for a second saying it’s a flawless plan. I know a lot of people will just dismiss this outright as unrealistic. Yet the more you think about it, the more plausible I think it is. And at the end of the day — your Plan A should be ambitious. You should aim high. Even if, ultimately, you can’t pull it off.

Plan B

— Attempt to emulate the Green Bay Packers

I’ve written in the past about the Packers providing a blueprint for a possible way forward. I still believe it holds some merit.

Plenty of people have poo-poo’d this idea but never seem to offer much of a rebuttal other than ‘Wilson isn’t Aaron Rodgers’.

I don’t think anyone has ever tried to argue that he is. Rodgers might be the most naturally gifted quarterback to ever play the game.

However, there are comparisons to be made in terms of statistics and the fact they both won Super Bowls and then hit a challenging stretch.

I think some people pretend to be open-minded about Wilson when in reality, they’re anything but. At times it feels like the idea that Wilson could return to his best form, or enjoy a purple patch over the next few years, is virtually dismissed.

There’s also a lot of recency bias about Rodgers. He missed nine games through injury in 2017. He struggled in 2018 and didn’t take to Matt LaFleur’s system in 2019 with arguments about how much control the quarterback should have pre-snap. There’s a reason why the Packers drafted a quarterback in the first round in 2020 and it goes well beyond Rodgers being ‘challenging’ to manage.

It’s easy to sit here today, with one MVP in the bag, three great Packers seasons in a row and two NFC Championship game appearances and act like Green Bay’s return to success can’t be achieved in Seattle.

I think it’s convenient for people to dismiss this suggestion as folly. It warrants consideration. Wilson doesn’t need to be 2020-21 Aaron Rodgers to justify the plan. If you shift resource to the trenches and create the environment Green Bay have done — an effective quarterback can win you a lot of games.

— Structural changes at the top

My Plan B involves moving on from Pete Carroll and John Schneider. You introduce a new GM — such as Ed Dodds with the Colts — with the intention of drafting better over the next two years while investing in the trenches and producing a much improved running game.

Brian Gutekunst hasn’t got everything right as Packers GM. The decision to draft Jordan Love, after all, almost created a mutiny.

However — he’s spent draft picks wisely on the offensive line. He’s revamped Green Bay’s secondary. He pumped resources into the pass rush. He’s delivered Rodgers a proper running game and invested in talented running backs.

The Seahawks should look at what they’ve done in Green Bay with their roster and try to learn from it.

Carroll, like Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, would be replaced by a progressive offensive-minded Head Coach. I believe coaches have a shelf-life. McCarthy reached his in Green Bay in 2018 and I think Carroll has reached his in Seattle.

Replacements could include Nathaniel Hackett, Kellen Moore, Doug Pederson or Eric Bienemy. Pair them with an experienced defensive coordinator. If the Broncos fire Vic Fangio, as many people expect, he would be an ideal candidate.

Some of the ideas included in Plan A such as creating cap space, investing in the trenches, replacing the likes of Wagner and Carson in the draft, would remain.

The skill position talent at receiver — and I think it’s worth retaining Gerald Everett — would provide a foundation for your passing game.

And if you’re willing to make difficult decisions on players such as Wagner, you will have the money to attack the key areas of your team (OL/DL).

Plan C

— The total rebuild

I’m not opposed to a complete restart for this franchise. I have written many articles discussing what a Wilson trade would look like, who could be interested, what the consequences are and I’ve written in detail about the quarterbacks in the draft.

While my preference might be to place some faith in a new start for the quarterback — I’m not against the alternatives.

If Wilson is to move on — I would seek clarity on that situation within a week of the season ending. I would then communicate to the rest of the league that if you’re interested in doing a deal, you need to send your best offer before the end of January.

That way, the Seahawks know whether they’re planning around the Senior Bowl and combine with high first round picks and no quarterback — or whether they’re continuing with Wilson after all. The situation can’t drag on into March and April.

If you’re going down this route — I think you need to change the decision makers in Seattle. The reset since 2018 has been a disaster. Wasted draft picks, squandered resources in free agency and a Jamal Adams trade that has been a horror-story.

Again, I think Ed Dodds with the Colts would be a good choice moving forward at GM. He knows the franchise well, having spent 10 years in Seattle. Chris Ballard, one of the best GM’s in the NFL, trusts him enough to be his right-hand-man. He has a reputation for being a top talent evaluator. That’s what the Seahawks need if they’re embarking on a huge rebuild with draft stock to spend.

If you’re restarting from ground zero I’m open-minded about the next Head Coach. I think it would need to be someone with experience as a Head Coach, with a clear vision on what the next era should look like on the field. They need to be able to set out a clear plan for both sides of the ball and put together a top-notch coaching staff.

Doug Pederson, Todd Bowles, Josh McDaniels and Dan Quinn could be options. Pederson and McDaniels both have had success developing young quarterbacks who start quickly. They have won Super Bowls — as a coach (Pederson) and a coordinator (McDaniels). Bowles has a history with Jamal Adams and could help salvage that trade. Quinn has enjoyed a renaissance in Dallas but I think he’s a bit of a lucky coach — benefitting from the Cowboys’ and Seahawks’ defensive talent as a coordinator and Kyle Shanahan and Matt Ryan’s working relationship as a Head Coach in 2016.

I would be trying to work a deal with the New York Giants for Wilson. The Mara’s run their franchise like the Jones’ run the Cowboys. They are the key decision makers and are under increasing pressure to make a splash. It appears they might promote their next GM from within, meaning ownership will likely dictate whether they trade for a veteran quarterback in the off-season.

If that trade can be completed, the priority would be to add a blue-chip player with your top pick in the draft. That would mean hoping LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr or Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal are available. From there — you build through the trenches the rest of the way and try to just add talent, acknowledging it’s year one of what is likely a 2-3 year process.

I would try to add a quarterback in the draft every year until you have ‘your guy’. In this class I would consider Carson Strong, Kenny Pickett or Desmond Ridder — with UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson someone I think could provide real value on day three as a superb little project.

I am completely comfortable with Plan C. I would argue for it just as strongly as A & B, if they aren’t possible.

The extent of the change isn’t the issue for me — provided change actually happens.

The one thing that can’t occur is the status quo remaining.

Carroll and Schneider deserve to be recognised as Seahawks legends who built, together, one of the greatest rosters in NFL history. They delivered the first Championship in franchise history and gave us unforgettable moments along the way.

They thoroughly deserved the opportunity to rebuild this team in 2018 and try to recreate the magic.

It simply hasn’t worked, however. They’ve made too many bad decisions and the second iteration of their roster has turned into one of the worst in the league.

It’s time for a new direction.

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Monday notes: Four big Seahawks talking points

Pete Carroll was either dodging a key question today, or he’s delusional

Today I want to get into what I think are the key topics that we should be discussing.

1. Pete Carroll’s comments today are hard to digest

Speaking on 710 ESPN, Carroll rejected the need for significant changes with the team after another hugely disappointing home loss:

“Not for one reason at all do I think we have to restart this thing.”

Part of the problem in Seattle is this complete unwillingness to take a much needed reality check.

As Larry Stone noted in his post-game piece yesterday — the Seahawks have become one of the worst teams in the NFL.

They aren’t good enough. The current team is not even close to contending at the business end of the season. You can make major changes within one or two off-seasons to return to contention. Other teams have shown that. But you actually have to acknowledge that change is required.

This isn’t one hard-luck season. The reset has been a mess. Bad draft picks. Wasted money in free agency. An absolute disaster of a trade, acquiring Jamal Adams.

They’ve now won one playoff game in five years — against a rudderless Eagles team featuring a 40-year-old backup quarterback.

The Seahawks have been in a steady decline for some time and it’s finally caught up with them. They just aren’t as good as Carroll thinks they are.

They once set league-wide trends, built one of the best rosters in NFL history and reached the summit by winning a Super Bowl. It’s easy to imagine how that makes you feel like you can do no wrong. Yet those days are very much in the past. The Seahawks have increasingly become stale and jaded.

Yet rather than accept this, they seem to be living off former glories. And while nobody should deny Carroll the glory of that initial wave of success — the rebuild from 2018 has been mistake riddled and increasingly desperate.

The inability to acknowledge this has done as much damage as anything and will go on creating major damage going forward. Nothing will hold the Seahawks back more than leadership clinging to the idea that they’re close when they aren’t.

The delusion that this team is better than it is has led to major short-term thinking and a distinct lack of long-term planning. There have been too many band-aids, too much misplaced confidence.

There’s been a hubris and arrogance about this regime for too long. They give the impression they think they’re the smartest guys in the room, when the rest of the league is having a chuckle in the background.

That, combined with an ageing coach needing to win right now, is helping to create the situation we see today.

I sincerely hope that Carroll was saying what he thought needed to be said in a live interview to avoid making headlines, when he spoke to 710 ESPN today. Because if he genuinely thinks this team is good enough, then that alone is all the evidence anyone needs to know change is required.

I’ve long thought Carroll won’t have the stomach for a major rebuild and that he would embrace the inevitable and walk away at the end of this season.

I never imagined he’d actually think this team is still… good.

If he genuinely believes the best thing is to simply have another go in 2022 — that’s staggering. And that cannot be acceptable to ownership.

They have to make a change — regardless of whatever other moves follow regarding the quarterback and/or GM.

2. What should the next era look like?

Increasingly this has become the big talking point. After all — if you’re going to pitch change, like many are, you’re duty bound to at least suggest a few alternatives.

That’s why I take issue in part with the more vociferous members of the ‘trade Wilson’ group. They don’t have a plan at quarterback. They haven’t studied the QB’s in college football. They just want change. Yet these same people often push back against criticism of Carroll, because they’re not entirely satisfied with the alternatives.

None of the suggestions below are perfect. Yet I’m not sure what would constitute a ‘perfect’ idea. After all — Carroll worked out wonderfully well. I’m pretty sure if someone suggested appointing Carroll a few weeks before the end of the 2009 season as a replacement for Jim Mora, the response would’ve been a mix of for and against. Justifiably so, too — given his prior NFL record and the way things were turning at USC.

Personally I would like to see the current ownership group take inspiration from Paul Allen. He was able to land two of the biggest names in coaching to lead his franchise. He sold both Holmgren and Carroll a vision and they delivered for him.

If Paul was around today, I doubt he’d be settling for anything less than another impact coach with a big reputation and a track record of success.

This is why I’ve made the case for going after Sean Payton. I sense some fans roll their eyes every time I mention this. Yet there’s smoke around his future in New Orleans. Only this week there was talk of Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears going after him. He’s actively held confirmed talks with the Rams and Colts in recent years.

I’ve seen some people bemoan the idea of Payton working with Russell Wilson because Wilson, despite his similar stature, is a very different quarterback to Drew Brees. I think people forget that Payton has won games with Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill.

He’s shown he’s adaptable. I’d back him to come up with a system that works for Wilson, regardless of how similar or not he is to Brees.

That would be my ideal scenario. I think it would create a needed buzz. Payton has been adept in the past at building a strong coaching staff — something that I think has let Carroll down badly in recent seasons.

I appreciate, however, that even if this is perhaps more likely than some are prepared to acknowledge — the odds are stacked against it. If for no other reason than other teams potentially being interested and the need to initiate some form of trade to make it happen (although Chicago has no more draft stock than Seattle).

Let’s run through some alternatives.

I mentioned recently that I like the idea of cleaning house and installing Ed Dodds as GM. He is Chris Ballard’s hand-picked right-hand-man in Indianapolis. He has a reputation as a superb talent evaluator. Tapping into the Colts front office, to me, would be a sound plan. They have managed the Andrew Luck retirement admirably and remained competitive. They draft, trade and sign well.

I also think the Seahawks, if they are reaching a point where a major rebuild is needed, could do with an executive to lead the rebuild with an expertise in scouting. They need to start hitting on high picks and find a quarterback. It’s pretty much a ground-zero rebuild if you move on from Carroll, Schneider and Wilson.

Dodds spent 10 years in Seattle so he knows the franchise. He’s seen what building a winner looks like in two different jobs. If Ballard respects him enough to hand-pick him to be his number #2, then that’s a good enough recommendation for me. Ballard has shown himself to be an astute, talented GM.

I actually prefer a situation where Jody Allen appoints a new franchise ‘leader’, having removed Carroll and Schneider, and then gives that person the opportunity to decide what to do with Wilson.

I don’t think a new ‘head of the franchise’ should be told what to do at quarterback. It should be their choice. I think that makes the job more appealing — you can choose to rebuild around Wilson or acquire stock to go in a different direction.

Even so, I think Dodds should be a name the Seahawks are having internal conversations about.

Here are some Head Coaching names I also want to bring to the table. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section.

Matt Eberflus (DC, Colts)
I wouldn’t be against appointing Dodds as GM and bringing Indy’s defensive coordinator with him. The Colts are a well coached team across the board. If the idea is for Wilson to stay, then you likely need an offensive-minded leader. If he moves on, I don’t think it matters as much. Eberflus has put together a top-10 unit per DVOA. The Colts’ turnover percentage is 17.9% — second only to prolific Dallas (18%). Frank Reich is a fantastic Head Coach and anyone who’s worked alongside him, for me, warrants consideration. I’d only be for a move like this if Eberflus was able to bring in a first-rate offensive coordinator. No more Bevell, Schottenheimer or Waldron types.

Kellen Moore (OC, Cowboys)
Moore has had a meteoric rise from backup quarterback to coach to offensive coordinator. The Cowboys are loaded with talent to make life easier for a play-caller. It’s also hard to know whether Moore is even Head Coach material. It’s one thing to call a good offensive game, it’s another to be responsible for an entire roster. If they wanted to go in this direction, I would look to bring in Chris Peterson as a football tsar. He has a relationship with Moore and might warm to the idea of a job in football that doesn’t necessarily require the exhausting schedule of a college coach. He could be a mentor for Moore and a figurehead for the franchise to consult ownership, with a GM brought in to handle recruitment.

Nathaniel Hackett (OC, Packers)
If Carroll departs and Schneider stays, it won’t be a surprise if Hackett is on Seattle’s radar. If you are wanting Seattle to trade Wilson and then go after Aaron Rodgers, this is what you should root for. Rodgers and Hackett are very close, with huge mutual respect. Schneider is said to have a connection with Rodgers due to his time in Green Bay. There’s no chance Rodgers would come to play for Carroll in Seattle — but I suspect he’d be open to joining Hackett and Schneider. It’d be expensive — but as someone who has lobbied for teams being able to turn things around quickly if you spend your resources wisely, I do think it’s possible for this plan to work. Provided the Seahawks stop wasting picks and money at positions like ‘box safety’ and ‘linebacker’ and start spending money on the trenches.

Josh McDaniels (OC, Patriots)
If you’re planning to trade Wilson and bring in a rookie quarterback, I think this would make sense. It’s 10 years since McDaniels crashed and burned in Denver. He’s spent the last few years flirting with a return to a top-job, famously reneging on the Colts gig. However, he’s shown with Mac Jones this year that he can do a lot with the right kind of passer. For me, Carson Strong is the most talented quarterback eligible for 2022. Strong is also an ideal fit for the type of offense McDaniels operates. If you wanted to go in that direction, I think you can do a lot worse. Belichick disciples have not had success when they venture off on their own. Yet few have put themselves in the position to deserve a second chance. McDaniels has done that.

Doug Pederson (unemployed)
Pederson’s spell in Philadelphia is quite strange. He turned around a flailing franchise and won Philly’s first ever Super Bowl. He did so despite losing his franchise quarterback during the season. That Eagles season is one of the best coach-jobs in living memory. Yet as Carson Wentz’s world collapsed, so did the Eagles. The fact Nick Foles was so popular in Philly seemed to impact Wentz as much as the injuries. By the time they were drafting Jalen Hurts in round two, the situation began to implode. Pederson was out and yet he’s still a Super Bowl winning coach who did a tremendous job. I think he would thrive in Seattle. He’d get to work with an established quarterback or move in a different direction. He’s shown he can build a staff. It’s an appointment that might not blow anyone away but it’d make a lot of sense.

Todd Bowles (DC, Tampa Bay)
I’ve always liked what Bowles has been able to do as a coordinator. Give him talent and he produces results. I can’t blame him for not succeeding with the Jets. It feels like a cursed franchise with problems at the very top festering down. Provided he was able to bring a top play-caller with him, it’d be intriguing to see what he could do in Seattle. He’s also worked with, and had success with, Jamal Adams in New York. It’s the kind of hire that might give you a shot at getting something out of that trade.

Three names I suspect will get mentioned that I haven’t included are Eric Bienemy, Dan Quinn and Brian Darboll.

In Bienemy’s case, I’m just not sure how much he personally has contributed to the Chiefs offense rather than Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. He’s been passed over for many previous jobs with people citing disappointing interviews and some character baggage from his past.

With Quinn, I think he’s landed on his feet with the Cowboys — at the time they acquired Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons. Yes he deserves credit for putting them in a position to succeed. Yet in Seattle he had the benefit of working with the LOB era Seahawks and now he’s inherited a fantastic situation in Dallas. He took Atlanta to a Super Bowl largely thanks to Kyle Shanahan creating a MVP season for Matt Ryan. Once Shanahan departed, the wheels fell off.

I thought Darboll did a fantastic job elevating Josh Allen last year and expected big things again this season. Buffalo coming out throwing against Seattle again and again last season will stick long in the memory. Hearing Carroll say he expected a heavy dose of run, only for Darboll to do the exact opposite, showed a coach willing to adapt to his opponent. Too often Carroll has been left wanting in that regard.

Yet Allen and the Bills have endured some tough moments this year. They’re still set to win the AFC East. I’m just not sure we’ve seen enough to really invest in a coach who has been something of a journeyman over the years. And let’s be right here — Allen is a physical phenom who covers a lot of warts.

3. Russell Wilson and the Giants

We’ve discussed this connection a lot for obvious reasons. With a trade feeling increasingly likely, the Giants stand out as a strong contender for Wilson.

Firstly, they were linked heavily with him in 2019 before he signed his most recent contract. Secondly, Jordan Schultz — and then Ian Rapoport — reported that Wilson had extended his list of potential destinations to include the Giants. Then, Albert Breer casually predicted Wilson would be New York’s next quarterback in a social media Q&A.

Adam Schefter reported yesterday that both Head Coach Joe Judge and quarterback Daniel Jones would be back with the Giants in 2022.

It’s time to read the tea leaves here.

If I’m the Giants, I’d be wary of all the sudden Wilson talk. If you plan to make a splash, it’s not a good thing that the media is whipping things up into a frenzy. It does nothing for your bargaining position and sets people up for disappointment if it doesn’t happen.

Let’s remember how the sausage is made in the NFL media world. I suspect Schefter is doing the Giants a solid here. His report yesterday lowers expectations and provides at least some minor bargaining power. I’m not sure anyone buys their faith in Daniel Jones — but that’s the line they have to stick to in negotiations.

It won’t be a major shock if Schefter gets a nice juicy Giants scoop down the line. It’s the way the NFL world turns.

Here’s the thing though — momentum is building and the Giants are more desperate than Sunday’s report implied.

As we’ve been discussing — John Mara the owner is under immense pressure. The Giants have now suffered five straight double-digit loss seasons. Mara is being booed at ceremonies to celebrate Eli Manning and Michael Strahan. The franchise has become a PR disaster.

They are the definition of a desperate team needing something — anything — to create positive headlines.

And while the team might want to play things down, here’s the New York Post’s back page today:

Inside the paper, Ian O’Connor wrote an article stating: ‘Giants should do everything they can to trade for Russell Wilson

Whatever your opinion of Wilson — he’s one of the biggest names in the NFL. At a time when both New York teams are proving to be utterly hopeless, the media are clamouring for a big name to cover.

They’re not going to be writing articles about how the Giants find value or whether Wilson’s finger injury will linger. They’re only going to want a big story to cover. They’ll focus on the positives — Wilson’s best form, what he’s capable of, what he could bring.

Furthermore, the Giants are one of the few teams with the draft stock to make a really tempting offer. I wrote on Christmas Eve about how fans who want a Wilson trade should root for the Jets and Texans. Both won yesterday. If this is the direction you wish to go in, hope for a top-four pick courtesy of the Giants (who need to leapfrog the Jets and Texans to get into that range). It’s the best shot to draft a potential blue-chip player.

And for what it’s worth — I think the Seahawks need to listen to what offers are out there for Wilson as soon as the season ends. My preference is for a Green Bay-style rebuild and I’ve made my case for that. I think my argument is logical, even if some disagree.

But I also accept that with each passing week, with each disappointing performance, it may well be best for Wilson and the Seahawks to both have a fresh start.

This can’t be a situation that drags on and on into the off-season. It would be wise for other teams to be alerted and be instructed to make their best offer before the end of January.

The Seahawks need to know what they’re planning for in 2022. They won’t receive that clarity until Wilson’s future is fully addressed.

Has his stock dipped based on the way he’s playing currently? Maybe. But let’s also note that Carson Wentz, clinging to one final chance to stick in the NFL, cost a first round pick. Sam Bradford cost multiple high picks over his bang average career. Matt Stafford, with none of Wilson’s back-catalogue, cost two first round picks.

Heck — even Jamal Adams cost two firsts and a third.

Desperate teams will make big offers. They will focus on what adding Wilson will mean. They’ll discuss the economic benefit as well as the football benefit.

And they’ll look at this quarterback draft class and see no obvious solutions. As much as this weak class is a motivation for certain teams entering the veteran market, it’s also a good bargaining chip for the Seahawks.

‘If you want our guy, you better compensate us for inheriting your situation’.

4. People need to be honest about Bobby Wagner

I’ve voiced concern about Wagner’s performances and, at times, his effort in games this season. I’ve also received some flack for that.

Yet it’s increasingly clear that we need to have a proper, serious conversation about Wagner and his future.

In the last two games he’s received a 46.8 grade against Chicago and a 37.0 grade against LA, per PFF. While he’s collecting a high number of tackles — no real context is being provided to whether this is actually a good thing or not.

With Jordyn Brooks third on the list too — it seems indicative of the way Seattle is playing, more than anything.

I’ve specifically watched Wagner in numerous games this year, using all-22 via GamePass. I’m not for a second saying it’s all bad. It isn’t. Wagner hasn’t turned into a useless player. Yet there are concerning trends that simply aren’t being talked about and for the cost and reputation of the player in question, I think a wider discussion is important.

Too often he is hesitant to make contact and appears passive. It’s unclear why. I think a classic example was last week against the Rams. He had an angle on the ball-carrier in space but seemed to stand and watch as Darrell Taylor came flying in from distance to make a crushing hit. I’ve seen him riding blocks downfield when defending screens. He’ll peak at ball-carriers when he has an open lane, refusing to engage blocks or go and attack the man with the ball.

At times you watch him and wonder what’s going on. Is he hurt? Nothing is ever reported by the team. He seems out of it at times, like he’s going through the motions.

It’s almost blasphemy in Seattle to criticise Wagner. He’s a legendary player who will likely be a future Hall of Famer. There’s every chance #54 will be retired in the future. He deserves to be remembered as one of the all-time great Seahawks.

Yet there’s simply no way they can justify his $20m cap hit next season. He’s practically untradable due to his contract so there’s no other choice but to cut him.

That has to happen and while so much attention is focused on Wilson’s contract, future and performances, it’s important to discuss Wagner too.

I’m afraid there’s no getting away from the reality that his play has really dropped off, he isn’t playing with anything like the intensity you might think and his contract cannot be justified.

It’s time to put Jordyn Brooks at the heart of the second level defense and shift Wagner’s massive salary to the trenches for 2022.

I spent the last off-season arguing that the Seahawks should trade Wagner and Adams and use the money saved to rebuild the lines. It wasn’t an opinion widely shared or encouraged.

Yet sitting here today, it’s exactly what should’ve happened.

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Instant reaction: Seahawks should make changes now

The Seahawks reached a new low today.

The Bears were starting their third-string quarterback. They had numerous other players out, including Akiem Hicks.

Losing this game, another one at home, is unthinkable.

Yet here we are.

They blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead to a team that is practically on its knees.

And it was all played out in front of a sparse Lumen Field — sending a clear message to ownership how the fan base feels about this team. I’ve been at a snow game in Seattle — worse than this one. It was packed.

Let’s get a few points out of the way.

Russell Wilson still doesn’t look right. Increasingly that finger injury looks like it should’ve provoked an 8-10 week absence, if not a season-ending situation. Seattle and Wilson’s desperation, given the state of the franchise, has led to a rush back and the results have been incredibly poor, disappointing and frustrating.

He jumps fleetingly between looking something like his old self and then incapable of making the easiest of completions. It’s as difficult to watch as any part of this team currently.

He’s not the only problem though — far from it. And anyone who thinks removing Wilson and keeping everything else the same is the right move will need to go to great lengths to back that viewpoint up.

The much vaunted defense gave up way too many easy drives to this patched-up Bears offense. Special teams was poor — Jason Myers’ missed field goal was decisive.

But the whole thing just felt like an exclamation point. This era is over. It’s done.


Change is inevitable. If Wilson’s going to be traded — fine. Yet Pete Carroll and John Schneider shouldn’t survive to rebuild the team. Either way, they should go. And you can’t trade Wilson now. You can’t draft a new quarterback tomorrow. You can start talking to replacement coaches though — and it would be remiss of the Seahawks to put themselves behind the eight ball in that off-season competition for the pool of available names.

Mike Holmgren once did a farewell lap of honour after a snow-game against the Jets in 2008. Carroll should’ve had his today, too.

The window to interview employed coaches in the league begins this week. Seattle should be among the teams talking to candidates.

This loss should be the final straw.

Jody Allen — change is needed.

If Carroll won’t announce he’s leaving at the end of the season, if he won’t walk away — you need to take the decision out of his hands.

It’s over to you.

Curtis Allen’s week sixteen watch points (vs Chicago)

Note: This is a guest post by Curtis Allen and the latest piece in a weekly series. Curtis looks at the Seahawks and their opponents and discusses key factors.

At 5-9 the Seahawks find themselves in a very difficult place. Playing for pride — and without any sparkle of hope for the playoffs or that a top-five draft pick next year can help turn the franchise around.

Hosting an awful Bears team Sunday that stands only one game worse than Seattle at 4-10 underscores that fact. As does the fact that all of us are feeling the same way about this game as we did in Week Eight when they faced off with the pitiful Jacksonville Jaguars: a victory Sunday cannot be assumed. It has to be earned.

The Bears are in no way playing complementary football. They might have the worst offense in the NFL.

Defensively, they stand as a mirror-opposite of the Seahawks’ defense. They are conceding the fourth-fewest passing yards in the NFL, yet they stand 24th in the NFL in points allowed.

This game should be an easy win for the Seahawks but nothing has come easy this year. How can they pick up a victory this week?

Start quickly in order to control the game

Chicago is the worst team in the NFL in first quarter scoring. They have only scored three touchdowns and thirty total points in the first quarter all season.

But it gets even worse when you look at the Bears’ first quarter scoring on the road. They have scored six points all season on the road in the first quarter.

How about on defense? The news is not any better there.

They are the next-to-last team in the NFL in road points conceded in the first quarter, with forty-eight points allowed.

Their quarterback play in the first quarter is especially putrid. Between Justin Fields and Andy Dalton they have one touchdown pass, six interceptions, have been sacked six times and have a 56.7 QB Rating in the first quarter. They would be better served just handing the ball off to David Montgomery for the entire quarter at this point – he is providing 5.0 yards per carry in the first quarter.

How are the Seahawks doing by comparison? Right in the middle of the pack: 14th overall in the NFL in both offense and defense in first quarter scoring. Where the Bears have scored only thirty first-quarter points all season, the Seahawks have scored twenty-four points in just their last four games.

Starting well is imperative if the Seahawks want to control this game. Teams that easily handle Chicago get out to a lead and then avoid their deadly pass rush by grinding the clock with their running game and then pin their ears back and get after the quarterback on defense.

Starting well may be a tough ask, with the Seahawks afforded no extra recovery time after playing on Tuesday night. It also appears that Sunday will be unusually cold and there likely will be some snow showers that may mean the first quarter is spent adjusting to the field conditions.

It would do everyone a world of good to see this team come out of the gate and lead the game 14-0 at the end of the first quarter though.

To do it they will have to handle a very good pass rush…

Do not allow the Bears’ pass rush to control the game

First the bad news…

The Bears are tied for third in the NFL for team sacks with forty. This despite facing the least amount of pass attempts in the league – which means they are incredibly efficient, leading the NFL in sack percentage, collecting a sack on 8.8% of pass attempts.

They are headlined by a major return to form by Robert Quinn. He has sixteen sacks, to go with sixteen tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and seventeen quarterback hits in thirteen games this year.

What is even more impressive, Quinn has actually gotten better since Khalil Mack was lost for the season with a foot injury. Ten and a half of his sacks have come without his partner in crime soaking up attention from the other side.

Here are some highlights. Watch him abusing left tackles time and again…

He certainly seems to be recovered from the nerve damage in his foot that held him back so badly last year. Just ask Tyler Hundley – Quinn ran him down twice in that highlights clip.

Akiem Hicks got in on the action Sunday against the Vikings with two sacks from the interior:

Duane Brown and the interior offensive linemen will have their hands full on Sunday trying to keep this line in check.

Russell Wilson has been sacked an average of three times per game so far in 2021. Holding the Bears without a sack would be fantastic but three sacks in this game is an acceptable benchmark.

I promised you good news. It comes in three parts.

First: Oddly enough, the Bears are one of the worst teams in the NFL in pressure rate. They pressure the quarterback on only 21.3% of dropbacks, just slightly worse than the Seahawks’ 21.4%. They also have the lowest number of quarterback knockdowns in the NFL by a healthy margin, with only twenty-one.

What does this mean? Quinn and the Bears are great finishers. When they get a hand on the quarterback, they bring him down. But it also means that their pass rush is feast or famine. If they do not sack the quarterback, he is relatively unbothered and free to make his throws. The Seahawks should not radically restrict their passing game due to the fear of the pass rush.

Secondly, the defensive backfield is a bit of a mess. They have been ravaged by overall poor play, and their depth has taken a hit, losing players to COVID. They are 29th in the NFL in touchdown passes conceded, and they only have four interceptions, good for next to last in the NFL for the position group. Their most frequently targeted defensive backs are conceding a passer rating well over 100. They have been shredded. D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Freddy Swain and Dee Eskridge should have a very good day Sunday.

Thirdly, the offense cannot take advantage when the pass rush creates a turnover or stops a drive. It is bad and frustrating when a drive gets killed by a sack but it does not turn the game upside down. Example — Quinn strip-sacked Kirk Cousins on Sunday and the Vikings recovered the fumble but had a third and long. Cousins, pressured, threw an interception. The Bears three-and-outed and missed a field goal try for no points. This is not an uncommon occurrence.

Win the turnover battle

The Bears are 30th in the NFL with a -13 turnover differential, and 30th in both takeaways (with twelve) and giveaways (with an incredible twenty-five).

So in other words, on average they have lost the turnover margin in every game this year.

The Bears are headed for a turbulent offseason with major changes. The biggest way the Seahawks can turn this game into a cakewalk is by literally taking the ball away from the Bears and not giving it back.

Get the young players some reps

The Seahawks are in that major grey area, caught between playing for pride and logically needing to get some young players on the field to get some valuable NFL experience for 2022.

Colby Parkinson is the only contracted tight end for 2022 as of this moment. He has played a grand total of 109 snaps so far this season and has only been targeted for three passes. The team needs to know what they have in him if they are to make some wise decisions this offseason.

Dee Eskridge is quickly heading towards 2021 being a lost season. Can the Seahawks find some plays for him to get him more integrated into the offense?

Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson are key future pieces of the Seahawks’ defensive line. Homegrown, drafted talents that may be able to provide cost-effective play for the Seahawks for the next two seasons – something the team desperately needs. They need reps in order to develop.

What about wavier claims Nigel Warrior and Dakoda Shepley? Can the Seahawks get a look at these players and see if they have a place on the 2022 roster?

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Xmas notes: Why it’s time to root for the Jets & Texans

Merry Christmas to all of you who make up this community. Your continued support is much appreciated — both in terms of your comments, your Patreons and your YouTube Super Chats. This is going to be the 14th off-season I’ve covered. The blog has changed and evolved so much in that time. But I still think it remains the best place to talk Seahawks. That’s down to you. So thank you.

I have a key topic to discuss today on Christmas Eve and some other notes…

I have to keep stressing that my own preference is the Seahawks retain Russell Wilson, embrace the need for change in leadership and follow a blueprint similar to the one undertaken by Green Bay when they moved on from Ted Thompson and Mike McMarthy.

I’m also a realist. I think most fans, at least the ones willing to embrace reality, can see there’s an increasing chance we’re reaching the end of an era. As noted on Monday, I think we’re witnessing the final games of Pete Carroll’s run. I also think there’s a distinct possibility that Wilson is traded.

Either way, significant change is required. Ownership has to act swiftly. This isn’t just ‘one bad season’ as some have suggested. The Seahawks have been on a downward trend for some time. The reset has been a disaster, frankly. Jody Allen and co need to take decisive action and the expectation should be that it’ll happen. If not, that should be challenged. The fans need to know ownership is serious about this being a contending franchise.

Today I wanted to write about what I think fans should be rooting for, if a Wilson trade scenario is as inevitable as it’s starting to feel.

Cheer for the Jets and Texans

Albert Breer’s social media suggestion that Wilson would be the next Giants quarterback was more ‘thinking out loud’ than anything categorical. Yet it makes sense, as outlined in Monday’s piece.

At the end of the day, the Giants have the draft stock to be a viable trade partner. I keep seeing trade scenarios that are underwhelming, completely failing to acknowledge that there are desperate teams out there in need of making a big move at quarterback — with a weak pool of rookies to choose from in the draft.

Don’t be swayed by the recency bias of poor play, partly inspired by an injured finger. Teams know they’ll need to pay up for Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and yes — Russell Wilson.

I read Bill Barnwell’s trade suggestion with the Saints earlier today. Two firsts, one this year and one next. A third rounder and a defensive back. Plus a conditional second rounder based around a Super Bowl appearance. Come on — that’s basically the Jamal Adams trade. That’d never get it done. A mid-first rounder this year and presumably a late first next year? Let’s be serious here and not swayed too much by a tough stretch of form while playing with a horrible injury.

Nobody could’ve guessed the Adams trade compensation before it was announced. Desperate teams do desperate things. There’s plenty of desperation around the league right now.

So if Wilson heading to the Giants is the trendy suggestion because of their draft ammunition, Seahawks fans should be rooting for the other team in New York City.

The Jets and the Texans are both 3-11. They currently own the third and fourth picks in the draft next year.

The Giants have the fifth and sixth picks, courtesy of acquiring Chicago’s first rounder. The Bears and Giants are 4-10.

The Jets and Texans both have weaker strength of schedule markers. So they will jump ahead of the two Giants picks if their records are the same.

For the Seahawks to truly max out the value of a Giants trade, I think they need to draft a blue-chip player. I think there are only four true candidates at the moment.

Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux will go first and second. If you pick in the top four, you are guaranteed one of Derek Stingley Jr or Evan Neal.

Stingley Jr is the ultimate athlete for the cornerback position. It’s as if he was made in a defensive back factory. He has a legitimate shot to become a generational corner, or at the very least one of the top players at a position of desperate need for so many teams.

Neal, to me, is not the franchise left tackle many project. However, I think he could be a Steve Hutchinson level player if he kicks inside to guard. You could try him at tackle first and if he performs better than I expect there, you have a long term answer at a vital position. At the very least though, I would suggest Neal has the potential to be an exceptional guard, possibly enjoying the same kind of storied reputation as Quenton Nelson.

It’s possible one or even both, during the process, would be available a pick or two later than I’m suggesting here. Especially if one of the quarterbacks, for example, elevates into a draft spot we currently can’t project.

Yet if the Seahawks really are going to end up trading Wilson to the Giants, you want one or both of their picks in the top-four to be sure.

The Jets host Jacksonville next. It’s winnable. Sadly, to get them out of the top-four, they’ll also need to win at least one of their other two games — at home to the Buccs or on the road against Buffalo.

The Texans host the unpredictable Chargers in their next game. They then go to San Francisco before a home game against Tennessee.

Unfortunately, both teams are more likely to go 0-3 or 1-2 instead of claiming the two wins they’d need to push themselves out of the top-four.

The Bears and Giants play each other in week 17, so one team is guaranteed to lose. New York’s other two games are at Philadelphia and at home to Washington. They could lose both, especially with the Eagles and Football Team in playoff contention.

Chicago comes to Seattle next and finish on the road against Minnesota.

They could easily go 0-3.

The best case scenario is the Jets beat the Jags, then pinch another win. Or the Texans can finish with a bit of a flourish and Chicago loses out.

At least then the Giants will be able to dangle the prospect of a blue-chip rookie in any prospective trade deal.

If Seattle’s able to get Stingley Jr or Neal — you could then bring in another offensive linemen with the other Giants pick (Trevor Penning, Bernhard Raimann and Abraham Lucas are intriguing options) a D-liner (Jordan Davis, David Ojabo, Logan Hall or George Karlaftis for example) or even start to move down — given the meat of this draft will likely be day two.

It might even be worth trying to drop down to acquire 2023 stock.

With your own native pick in round two, it’ll be high enough to trade (cheaply) back into the end of round one. That could be a good range to go after a Tyler Linderbaum, Devonte Wyatt or a linebacker such as Channing Tindall or Brian Asamoah (because as I’ve said a few times, there is absolutely no way you can justify Bobby Wagner’s $20m cap hit in 2022 and he should be moved). The Seahawks will also need the stock to invest in a quarterback at some point. If they move on from Wilson, they’ll need to be taking regular shots to find a replacement.

Of course, if the Giants end up with the #5 or #6 pick — it’s a harder sell. There are players I really like in this draft, such as Northern Iowa’s Penning. Yet taking them in the top-10 comes with a higher degree of risk. And that’s not the position you want to be in when you’re picking early after trading away your prize asset.

I don’t personally want to discuss this in such detail now but I feel obliged to — given what appears to be forthcoming. I want to try and inform people as much as I can about the structure of this draft and what is actually out there if the Seahawks make big moves in the off-season.

I will say this though. Too often I see doom-and-gloom about years-long rebuilds — whether Wilson stays or is dealt.

It doesn’t have to be that way — and I wish that was mentioned more often. The Patriots have shown you can transform your roster in one off-season by making the right moves. The Packers, as noted, turned their fortunes around very quickly with smart personnel decisions and a coaching change.

Yes, some teams can be mired in misery when they switch things up. It doesn’t have to be that way though. The expectation from fans and media alike should be that Seattle’s ownership is pro-active this off-season to make the moves that will get this team back on track.

Just draft Dameon Pierce

The Florida Gators have had a horrendous season. They’ve finished 6-7 after losing the Gasparilla Bowl to UCF. They’ve fired their coach and are launching yet another reset.

It’s not hard to work out why things have gone so wrong, when they make such bizarre personnel decisions.

The Bowl game was another classic case of underusing BAMF running back Dameon Pierce. He’s perfectly sized, explosive, physical and at times brutal. He bludgeoned his way for a touchdown in this game but was only given 13 of Florida’s 30 runs in the game (for 57 yards).

The Gators ran the ball well (205 yards) so it wasn’t a major issue here. Yet Pierce’s lack of carries this season has been a major head-scratcher.

For me he’s what the Seahawks lack when Chris Carson is having his annual ‘injured’ phase. Pierce might not be destined to be the next star runner in the NFL — but I think he’ll provide plenty of value in this draft and he’s very capable of doing what you need. Running for first downs, running through contact, finishing drives and establishing a physical presence with your running attack.

And how can you not love this response when he was asked why he wouldn’t be sitting out the Bowl game to focus on the draft:

“Why? Because I’m a Gator, bro. When I signed here, I signed for four good years, get my education and I’m going to rock out that way until I die, you know.”

Draft him.

Discussing a possible GM candidate

Not everything Indianapolis has done over the last few years has paid off. However, given they’ve not had the luxury of extra first round picks and they’ve had to deal with the sudden and unexpected retirement of Andrew Luck — for them to constantly be in playoff contention as they try and plug holes has been impressive.

Chris Ballard is clearly one of the most respected GM’s in the game. His right-hand man should get consideration for a top job.

Ed Dodds spent 10 years with the Seahawks as a national scout and Senior Personnel Executive. He was there from 2007-17. Prior to that, he was with the Raiders for four years.

Ballard poached Dodds from Seattle four years ago and made him his go-to-guy in the front office. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it’s not — but Dodds’ departure occurred right before the ill-fated Seahawks reset began.

If Ballard respects him enough to target him specifically, it’s worth noting.

A lot of people ask for GM alternatives to John Schneider. It’s very difficult to answer that question. Unlike a coordinator, we don’t have any body of work to look at. How much input has an executive had on certain draft picks or overall plans?

Dodds, though, feels like he’s on a trajectory to eventually become a GM. I think tapping into whatever has been working for the Colts is a respectable plan. And with his ties to Seattle, it might be an appealing opportunity to come home.

If nothing else, the Seahawks’ big trades might be more DeForest Buckner than Jamal Adams — and their high picks at running back might be more Jonathan Taylor than Rashaad Penny.

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Re-assessing the futures of Wilson, Carroll & Schneider

The trio, in happier times

Exactly a month ago I wrote an article assessing the futures of Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll and John Schneider.

With a losing season now confirmed, it’s time to review where things stand with three games to go until the biggest off-season in over a decade.

What I said a month ago: Russell Wilson will seek a trade

My view in November was that while Wilson had no specific interest in leaving the Seahawks — and would probably prefer to stay — he would request a trade without major organisational change.

Essentially, it would need Carroll and Schneider to move on.

I still think is true. Yet I think, increasingly, we’re heading towards a situation where he might believe a fresh start is necessary regardless.

With Jordan Schultz and Ian Rapoport already reporting that Wilson has extended his list of potential trade destinations to include the New York Giants, Philadelphia and Denver — it’s starting to feel like the writing is on the wall.

Things could move quite quickly once the season ends.

I suspect we’re going to see a wild market for veteran quarterbacks. The lack of attractive options in the draft, coupled with a mediocre top-end of the 2022 class overall, will likely see teams turn their attentions to what’s available via trade.

Further to that, there are teams ready to make a big move.

The Denver Broncos appear primed to make a statement trade. The New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers will likely be involved. The Giants need to do something and appear in a state of utter desperation (more on that shortly). The Dolphins nearly pulled off a deal for Deshaun Watson before the deadline and clearly the Carolina Panthers need a new starter.

Philly, Washington, Detroit and maybe even Atlanta could also be scouring the market.

It seems there are willing sellers, too.

The Seahawks might be more willing to part with Wilson in 2022, after blocking any such move earlier this year. Aaron Rodgers’ contract restructure makes a departure somewhat likely from Green Bay (but you never really know with Rodgers). Watson will eventually leave Houston.

We could see an explosion of deals.

My preference is not for Wilson to be dealt. As desperately poorly as he’s played at times this year, I think there are factors to consider.

Firstly, the finger injury. Wilson doesn’t miss on throws like the deep-ball to D.K. Metcalf in LA. Clearly he isn’t close to 100% and I don’t think people should overlook the impact of the injury just to fit an agenda.

Neither do I think anyone is to blame for Wilson playing despite not being close to his healthy best. Wilson isn’t the type of person to sit out. You can criticise him for that if you want but I can’t. I don’t want a quarterback who does what Ben Roethlisberger’s been doing for the last few years. Equally, I don’t blame Carroll for going with Wilson, injury and all. Wilson returning to form, gradually, was their best shot to put things right. It was not Geno Smith, despite what some people think.

Secondly — I just think things have gone stale and flat. Wilson deserves criticism for his play. He hasn’t played anywhere near well enough. Yet I look at this offense and have no idea what they’re trying to do — regardless of who the quarterback is. They can’t hang their hat on anything. They can’t run with consistency. They don’t have a great quick-passing game. They don’t feature their stars well enough.

I think Shane Waldron has proven to either be out of his depth or going through some serious growing pains as a playcaller. Yet the offense, to me, is deeply uninspiring and frankly — it’s dreadful.

For too long now the Seahawks have endured issues. When you look at the list of coordinators they’ve had — Darrell Bevell, Brian Schottenheimer and now Waldron — it’s seriously underwhelming. Too often they’ve relied on magic from either the quarterback or, in the case of Bevell, from Marshawn Lynch.

So as poorly as Wilson has played, I’m also unwilling to forget (as some people are) what he’s shown in a glorious career that has him on a Hall of Fame trajectory. And I’m intrigued by the idea of finally having a top-class playcaller and schemer running the offense before shipping him off somewhere else.

None of Carroll’s offensive coordinators have amounted to anything after leaving Seattle. None were seen as a major coup when appointed — despite a level of intrigue surrounding Waldron, purely through association to Sean McVay.

I want to see Wilson with a top-level offensive mind because I sense replacing him will be absolutely terrifying. Unlike many others, I’ve studied the quarterback class extensively. I also know it’s a bleak quarterback outlook in college currently. I don’t see many solutions in the future, only problems.

I sense some people are tired of me comparing Carroll and Seattle to Green Bay and Mike McCarthy. Yet I do think it’s a valid point. They went from six wins in back-to-back years and people doubting Aaron Rodgers (including the team, they drafted Jordan Love in round one) to back-to-back 13 win seasons, back-to-back NFC Championships and they’re on the march again this year.

People point out they had a strong O-line. They drafted Elgton Jenkins in 2019 though. Josh Myers was selected only this year. David Bakhtiari has missed a lot of time through injury. Their current line includes a recent sixth round pick, two recently undrafted players and a free agent journeyman right tackle.

The major changes were thus — they removed their long-term Head Coach (McCarthy) and introduced a progressive, offensive-minded replacement. They rebuilt their pass rush and made the trenches a strength. They developed a running game and invested in good running backs. And they hit on draft picks in their secondary.

That, to me, is a viable path forward for Seattle. New coach, reinforce the lines, develop a consistent running game and draft better. I believe Wilson can succeed quickly in that environment and the Seahawks can turn things around quickly.

Despite their lack of draft stock, they have a projected $44.3m in cap space in 2022. Cutting Bobby Wagner creates another $17m. Despite his high tackle numbers, I don’t see any justification for paying Wagner $20m next year. His best days are in the past.

It’s seemingly a taboo subject to criticise Wagner — but his performances are getting worse. He received a 37.0 grade against the Rams and his season grade of 73.3 is a significant regression from 2020 (83.2).

It’s time to shift resource to the trenches. It’s just a shame they can’t do the same with Jamal Adams and his contract for another year or two.

In a bizarro world scenario where I was afforded five minutes with Jody Allen — this is what I would pitch. With gusto and passion. I would plead with her to be bold and ambitious to find a dynamic new coach and leader who is willing to follow the Green Bay blueprint.

However, I do believe in the saying ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’. Seeing Albert Breer tout a Wilson trade to the Giants enhanced a point of view I feel is becoming increasingly likely.

As I noted yesterday, the Giants franchise has hit the rocks. The on-field product is horrendous. The fans are extremely unhappy with owner John Mara, to the point he’s being viciously booed during two ceremonies celebrating legendary players having their numbers retired. The Giants also experienced a PR disaster at the weekend, offering a paltry ‘free soda’ to season ticket holders as a thank you for their loyalty, creating a lot of social media laughter, then having small-print dictate and limit the size and type of soda they were being offered.

The franchise has become a laughing stock. Mara needs a ballsy move to get things going. If he lands a top quarterback, such as Wilson, he can potentially generate some positive headlines.

Some people might say the price will be so high that the Giants would invite criticism. Look — it can be spun many ways. Jamal Adams cost a fortune. One more first round pick added to the deal is hardly a stretch for a big name quarterback and the New York media will jump at the chance to make that price comparison. Plus the value has been set by prior trades such as the Matt Stafford deal. Whatever your personal view on Wilson and Stafford — the two players have had very different careers.

You could even argue that if Stafford leads the Rams on a strong playoff run, it will encourage teams to emulate the trade LA made — albeit with the knowledge it’d be a sellers market, given the draft situation.

And that’s the other thing to remember. For Seattle, Green Bay and Houston to part with their quarterbacks — they will expect to receive a steep price. Teams such as the Giants and the Broncos can’t turn to their fans and justify another year of mediocre quarterback play. They need a proper plan. They are in a bracket labelled ‘desperate’.

We know all too well in Seattle what happens when desperate teams start making trades.

Increasingly people are wondering what Wilson’s dip in performance will do to his trade value. I think that’s a red-herring. Teams will gamble on established quarterbacks. Heck, it’s not that long ago Sam Bradford was being passed around the league for a first round pick every year. By February and March, people won’t be talking about Wilson’s poor form with a bad finger. They’ll be talking about him in the terms of a superstar QB.

Thus — my prediction currently would align with Breer’s. Wilson to the Giants for a small fortune. Multiple picks — including New York’s two in round one for 2022. Possibly players, perhaps even a sacrificial lamb such as injury-hit Saquon Barkley.

I’m not sure how Seattle would move forward from there. But I am certain that if this happens, the status quo plotting the next rebuild cannot remain. The reset years of 2018-2021 have turned the Seahawks into a floundering mess. That has to come with consequences.

As Adam Kilgore notes in the Washington Post today:

“Once bursting with star players, verve and innovative ideas that changed the sport, the Seahawks play stale football with a mediocre and seemingly unhappy roster.”

They are stale and boring. They once set trends but now appear to be the kind of team neutral fans desperately hope aren’t featured in prime time.

What I said a month ago: Pete Carroll will walk

I still believe this will happen.

I’ve heard all the arguments that insist Carroll will have no interest in walking away or retiring. That could prove true. But I think too many people are ignoring some things that must be considered.

As we’ve noted many times this year, leading NFL insider Jay Glazer reported at the end of the 2017 season that Carroll was considering retirement. Ultimately, he chose to lead the rebuild instead.

But if he was thinking of quitting four years ago, why is it unlikely now — when the franchise is faced with a far greater restructure?

In 2018 they simply built behind Wilson and Wagner. Now, they’d need to find a new franchise quarterback. That’s a massive task that could take years. Does Carroll seriously want to spend 2-3 years running through the options, potentially facing the kind of seasons he had in 2010 and 2011?

He admitted himself — he wouldn’t have been in Seattle as long as he has without Wilson. A future with Carroll means a future without Wilson.

I cannot imagine him wanting to sour his legacy or take on the mammoth task that lies ahead. The only solution would be to take the added stock in a Wilson trade and deal for Rodgers or Watson. Yet why would either quarterback invite such a proposal? Especially given Wilson’s clear public loss of faith in Carroll’s philosophy?

People mention the long-term contract and the money. Let’s get one thing straight. Money is no object to Jody Allen. A golden handshake deal would be distinctly possible and that would mean no loss of earning for Carroll. This is a franchise that paid off Jim Mora after one year. Mutually parting on good terms with the best coach in team history is hardly a stretch.

In terms of the fact Carroll signed a deal just a year ago. He agreed that deal when Seattle was 6-1. So much has changed since then — especially with the QB. Stating Carroll wouldn’t depart early seems like an assumption to me, rather than anything rooted in cast-iron fact.

I also wouldn’t put it past Allen to simply fire Carroll and make changes. That’s how badly this franchise has drifted. Personally I hope it doesn’t come to that and my preference would be for Carroll — now that the slim playoff hopes are gone — to announce he’s leaving at the end of the season. It would give the team extra time to bring in a replacement. It would also give the fans an opportunity to give Carroll a proper send-off.

Better to walk away a hero than stick around too long and become the villain.

What I said a month ago: John Schneider is the big question mark

This to me is still the most interesting talking point.

I can imagine a scenario where Allen and co lean on Schneider. They hand him the power and control, having only signed a new deal at the start of the year. He picks the next coach and sets out the new vision.

The thing is — this scenario almost certainly means Wilson is traded. I think the relationship between Schneider and Wilson (and Mark Rodgers) is broken. If you want Wilson to stay, I suspect it will take a clean sweep of new coach, new GM.

Allen might be hesitant to part with Wilson. Who knows? She too might prefer the Green Bay model I’ve been touting.

But as I said, it might be convenient to trust in Schneider and let him dictate the future. I’m just not sure it’s the right move.

I do think Carroll has a degree of control over the draft and player acquisition. That’s not to suggest the GM just sits in the corner typing out emails and making calls. I do think it’s a collaboration, yet with Carroll ultimately having final say and dictating the plan of action.

I can’t say that Schneider wouldn’t have made every botched pick, wouldn’t have done the Adams trade and wouldn’t have squandered so much resource. I think the front office is full of hubris and misplaced self-confidence. Too often the Seahawks have acted like the smartest men in the room — when the right decisions simply required common sense, modesty and at times — predictability.

Rather than learn from mistakes, they’ve made more serious ones year-by-year.

Yet I do think there’s enough to suggest this is mostly Carroll’s baby. He is, after all, the man at the top with overall control.

The problem for those of us on the outside looking in is we can’t establish the extent of Schneider’s decision making. It’s hard to say what you want to happen, without making assumptions.

What can’t be disputed is the 2018 reset failed spectacularly. Resources have been squandered and the result is a 5-9 team that doesn’t even own the top-10 pick it’s destined to receive for a wasted season.

For that reason, I’d prefer wholesale change. I’m just not sure the Seahawks will see it that way.

Luckily, there’s only three more games to wait and find out.

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Instant reaction: The season is over — and so is this era

This felt like a slightly better version of the Green Bay game.

Both teams took turns to mix between sloppy and dynamic. The delay to Tuesday — and with players missing through Covid — likely took its toll.

Yet just as the Seahawks started the second half with an impressive touchdown drive to lead by seven, they failed to trouble the scoreboard after. The defense gave up some big plays. The house of cards collapsed.

Here’s the thing. When the good moments actually happened, they felt… surprising.

This is where the Seahawks are now.

A three-sack performance from Carlos Dunlap — and a four-sack performance overall by the team — felt astonishing mainly because we haven’t seen it coming in any shape or form.

That scoring drive to start the third quarter? It’s an understatement to say it was unexpected, given how lightweight Seattle’s offense has been.

Jordyn Brooks stopped a screen pass. I almost cracked open a bottle of champagne.

It just goes to show how limited our expectations are now.

There are no moral victories at 5-9. And frankly, anyone who twists this performance into a positive, with the tiny remaining hope for the season on the line, is reaching.

To me, reality bit watching this.

The offense is a disaster zone and has been all year. Shane Waldron hasn’t worked as an offensive coordinator. What do they do well? Where’s the consistency or the creativity? Why can’t they feature key players, star players, in the way the Rams did tonight with Cooper Kupp? Even when other players are absent, the whole thing doesn’t collapse for LA.

The defense just puts you through a range of emotions every week. At times they are so painfully frustrating to watch. Long third downs conversions. Massive, never-ending drives conceded with ease. Hot-knife-through-butter scoring drives. Yards galore. But then they’ll battle back — get stops, make the occasional big play. It’s hard to know what to make of the unit.

Combined you get a bad team. A losing team. One that is boring to watch and hasn’t mustered any excitement short of the two surprising wins against San Francisco.

The Seahawks were playing the role of a second-class team today, trying to stick and battle with a superior foe. A Rams team, it has to be said, that felt in a generous mood. Neither quarterback played well. Yet for all of Matt Stafford’s slop being equal to Russell Wilson’s, Stafford still managed to make enough plays to be a difference.

Today felt like a big step back for Wilson, after it appeared he was moving beyond his finger injury. He was off. He had bad under-throws. This was a decidedly poor performance that suggests he’s still not close to 100%.

And there were just so many avoidable errors. Freddie Swain forcing a five-yard penalty late in the fourth quarter, faking he was getting a direct snap. Alton Robinson gifting the Rams a field goal by running into the kicker.

The refs had a hopeless game too. Absolutely terrible. In particular the non-call pass interference late in the game. It wasn’t the only glaring error. That one more or less ended it as a contest though, especially after Deejay Dallas responded by kicking the football away and getting flagged.

I’m not sure I feel robbed though. Do you? The bad calls annoyed me. But I feel very little angst about it all. I guess that’s what 5-9 does to you. The Seahawks scored one touchdown and basically had one and a half good drives all game. They were 3-11 on third down. They had 214 total yards.

You don’t deserve to win with that offensive output.

The loss ends any slim hope of the playoffs — and anyone who studied the NFC standings and the tiebreaker scenarios, more or less knew the season was over anyway.

And once again attention turns to what’s next.

Albert Breer casually mentioned on social media that he thinks Wilson will be traded to the Giants in the off-season. That might be where the good money lies currently.

The Giants are a mess. The owner is getting pelters from the fans. They had a PR disaster at the weekend, trying to sell loyalty to fans in the form of a free medium soda (but read the small-print). They are terrible on the field too.

A big trade would create waves in New York and curry some favour. The Giants also have the stock to make a move — they currently own the #5 and #6 picks.

I’ll say what I’ve said for a while though. You might be angry at Wilson, who clearly still isn’t anywhere close to his best (understandably, in my opinion, given the injury he suffered). If you think Teddy Bridgewater is more competitive in this game, or one of the rookies in this upcoming draft class, I’ve got bad news for you.

Whatever happens with Wilson — and I’m close to resigned on what will happen — this franchise can’t just plod on with the status quo. Major change is required.

It’s time for new leadership, new ideas, new voices and new people making the personnel decisions — especially if a big trade is executed.

And with the window to negotiate with new coaches set to open shortly, unless the Seahawks are planning a big splash for an employed coach or want to speak to someone currently unemployed — they should be preparing to make their moves now that the season is over.

What we’ve seen this season has been on the cards. It’s been predictable.

It’s time for a new era.

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Curtis Allen’s week fifteen watch points (vs LA Rams)

Note: This is a guest post by Curtis Allen and the latest piece in a weekly series. Curtis looks at the Seahawks and their opponents and discusses key factors.

Matchups with the Rams have provided some of the lowest points for the franchise in Pete Carroll’s tenure:

– A 42-7 blowout in Week Fifteen of 2017 that signaled a shift in the NFC West division power structure and ushered in major changes of the Seahawks’ roster that offseason.

-A humiliating playoff loss against a backup quarterback at home last year that left Carroll struggling for answers at the podium after the game.

-A Week Five loss this season that sent the Seahawks into a tailspin from which they have yet to recover.

Will this week’s game be another one of those low points? The stakes are as high as they could be in a 5-8 season. A loss guarantees this will be the Seahawks’ first losing season since 2011. It would also dash any remaining faint hopes of making the playoffs.

All of which would throw into sharp relief that which has been evident for a while now — the Seahawks need a change in leadership.

In a way, these excruciating losses perfectly frame the frustration fans have felt with Pete Carroll. He has a demonstrated inability to adapt his game strategies to better match up with his opponents and this has cost the team dearly.

How do you beat the Rams? We have talked about it and talked about it and talked about it.

To sum it up succinctly, you must:

1. Start well out of the gate
2. Win the turnover battle
3a. Run the ball a lot and employ quick throws to get ahead of the pass rush
3b. Win the time-of-possession game to keep their offense off the field

Other teams in the league have modelled this approach to beating the Rams for us:

Even the lowly New York Jets are getting in on that action.

But nobody has done it better than the division rival San Francisco 49ers, who have defeated the Rams in their last five games straight:

Meanwhile, in their last five games against the Rams, the Seahawks are 1-4. This is a result of the Seahawks doing the exact opposite of these keys to success:

Look at the disparity between those numbers and the winners above. The last two (avg depth of target and time of possession difference) stand out in stark contrast to the winning teams. Why?

Depth of target typically correlates to how much time the quarterback needs to spend with the ball in his hands. Winning teams are getting the ball out quickly. The Seahawks, on the other hand, are sending their receivers deeper into the field – thus making Russell Wilson wait longer – than any of those teams.

Put another way, in those five games, the Seahawks – with a patchwork offensive line matching up against the likes of Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd and (formerly) Michael Brockers – have actively decided to have their quarterback spend extra time in the pocket.

If that wasn’t bad enough, here is the part that really stings — the Seahawks are doing this by design.

Look at this chart measuring their depth of target vs their whole year average and the cumulative results on the quarterback:

In this stretch spanning games against all NFL teams, the Seahawks have had five of their deepest ‘depth of target’ games against the Rams. Russell Wilson is waiting 15-20% longer for receivers to uncover than he does in games against all the other teams they have played. The results are both disastrous and avoidable.

As you can see, Wilson is almost constantly under pressure when playing the Rams, which we know has a massive impact on an offense. Throwing away the ball, getting sacked, making rash decisions that increase the chances of a turnover and (this one is painful to write) exposing the quarterback to injury have all been part of the plan for games against the Rams in this stretch.

The impact on the game is heavy, from stopping the clock and giving that powerful offense the ball with time to spare, to making the Seahawks’ offense play even further behind, to impacting the mentality of the players on the field.

Look at Russell Wilson’s target chart for the Week Five game. Half of his passes are targeted more than ten yards out:

Is it all the “Russell is ignoring the short throws in favor of long gainers” trope? No. In the last two games (against San Francisco and Houston) he has thrown only 29% of his attempts past ten yards (19 of 65). These deeper throws against the Rams appear to be a planned strategy.

Meanwhile, the team is averaging 4.63 yards per carry on the ground against the Rams but not utilizing their running game enough — as they have topped out at only 25 carries in these five games.

To summarize, the Rams are not great defending the running game, feature an extremely potent pass rush led by the best player in the NFL and have a creative offense that is explosive and needs to be kept off the field.

The Seahawks on the other hand, have constantly struggled in their pass protection and overall defense and their stated goal is to use the running game to gather momentum for the offense.

Yet time and time again, they have refused to acknowledge their opponent’s strengths, while ignoring their own weaknesses and game planning in a way that reflects that. It is like stepping into the ring of a heavyweight title fight after intentionally tying one arm behind your back.

Also, the “start slow and finish with a flash of fury” style that Pete Carroll has embraced plays right into the Rams’ hands. The Rams have been allowed to start very quickly and then let their defense pin their ears back and attack Russell Wilson as he tries to will the team to a victory.

What a way to cap an era — with a coach who has not built the team to play the way he wants to play and who plans to deploy that team in critical games against a division rival in a manner that negatively impacts their opportunities for success.

Giving the Seahawks a fighting chance to beat the Rams is entirely within Pete Carroll’s grasp. Will he acknowledge this and roll out a game plan that does that? We will see.

In truth, that is the only watch point for this week:

Can the Seahawks break this awful pattern they have found themselves in and deploy a game plan that allows them to truly compete with the Rams?

Everything else is secondary.

But here are some brief thoughts about some of the more detailed areas the Seahawks need to have success in on Sunday.

They must get pressure with the front four

Matthew Stafford is killing blitzes this season. He has a 131.8 passer rating when blitzed, with eleven touchdowns and no interceptions.

With all the Rams’ moving parts on offense, the Seahawks do not have blitzers to spare anyway.

Pete Carroll has consistently shrugged off the poor play of his pass rush this season, preferring to talk about the defensive line’s run-stopping. Yet this would be a fantastic opportunity to give Alton Robinson and Darrell Taylor more reps and allow them to create some problems for Stafford while the men behind him are handling the coverage.

Watch Taylor power through Tyler Higbee and take Stafford down:

More of this, please.

Contain Cooper Kupp

Kupp continues his ascent to becoming one of the NFL’s best players. More than one player and coach on the Rams has acknowledged that the offense runs through him.

Look at how widely he was deployed Monday against the Cardinals:

Just like George Kittle for San Francisco, the Rams do a fantastic job of scheming Kupp open. To the point where viewers and announcers ask four or five times a game “how did one of the best players in the league get THAT wide open?”

Every single linebacker, safety and corner will need to know where #10 is on the field when they line up.

Just a thought — the Seahawks will be without Jamal Adams in this game. Will having more of a ‘typical’ defensive lineup help the Seahawks contain the ‘schemed wide open’ traits the Rams like to run? It is very possible. Adams being used in so many different ways might have put a strain on this defense that we cannot quite quantify until we see it without Adams for a stretch of games.

This is your chance, Rashaad Penny

The Seahawks have given the talented Penny chance after chance after chance to make an impact on their offense.

Sunday he showed us why:

Critics are saying ‘yeah but that was against the NFL’s worst rushing defense.’ Time to answer them. It’s time to show the Seahawks, the NFL and yourself what you’re made of.

And given our main watch points above, the time is perfect to have a great game running the ball.

Can he lift the offense up with another great game? Or was Sunday just another tantalizing glimpse into his potential before disappearing back into the blue tent for the rest of the season?

Special Teams may very well win or lose this game

Michael Dickson has been Michael Dickson this year. He created one of the NFL’s plays of the year with his ‘double punt’ against these very Rams in Week Five:

That 68-yard scoop and punt late in the third quarter kept the Seahawks in the game. In three seconds, Rams fans went from ‘this game is over’ to ‘what is he doing???’ to ‘I can’t believe he turned a block into a 68-yard punt!’

They will need every bit of Dickson’s skill Sunday to corral this defense.

Jason Myers is not on a good streak. He missed 2 PAT’s Sunday against the Texans and that kept the team on edge in a game that was tighter than it should have been.

They will need Myers to hit at least one crucial kick Sunday. He needs to be up to the challenge.

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