Curtis Allen’s first quarter report card

This is a guest article by Curtis Allen…

Record: 2-3


What a rollercoaster. There has been some dazzling, unexpected successes and some equally infuriating difficulties. It is too easy to focus on one to the exclusion of the other. Let’s try to strike a bit of a balance with an objective look at what the first quarter has shown us.


1. Geno Smith

Easiest choice on the whole report card. Geno has been a revelation so far and far exceeded expectations with his play.

A 75% completion rate, a 9/2 TD/Int ratio, only nine sacks and a QB rating of 113.2 only hint at the breakout we have witnessed from him so far.

It is the decisiveness. The use of the tight ends. The movement in the pocket to buy time and then running when out of time. The fact that he is not afraid to throw downfield and give his wide receivers a chance to make a play on the ball.

All these things are propelling the offense in the way it has been designed to do.

A large chunk of this play I personally only saw the slightest of glimpses and hints of when I attended three training camp days and the mock game. I thought in a fair competition, that Drew Lock had more potential to elevate the offense. Geno has proved that wrong on every level and I am thrilled to say that I was wrong.

2.Tyler Lockett

Imagine if I told you the day after Russell Wilson was traded that Tyler Lockett would explode out of the gate and be on track for career highs in targets (136), catches (108), yards (1380) and first downs (61) after the first five games?

That is exactly what he is doing.

Lockett has found another level to ascend to — it doesn’t matter who is throwing, if the quarterback can get him the ball, he will make plays. The legendary Wilson-Lockett mind meld connection that was severed with the trade this spring has not affected Lockett’s production one little bit.

When you look at the Seahawks’ roster up and down from a salary cap perspective, you see many players that are not earning their salary. Lockett is one of the highest paid Seahawks in the locker room and is earning every penny and then some so far.

He had a fumble on a punt return but that is so infrequent and out of character for him it is hard to hold that against him (unlike Metcalf, who is still having ball security issues). And in a way, when he makes a mistake, it so jarring it highlights how efficient and safe he is as a player.

3.Tariq Woolen

This is not a sentimental choice, giving him extra consideration as a fifth-round rookie with a dazzling skillset that somehow made the team and has started all five games.

No one player on the defensive side of the ball has done more from his area of responsibility to change the outcome of games than Woolen (with all due respect to Al Woods).

Let us count the ways…

Three interceptions. None of them are of the cheap variety. One of them he returned for a touchdown.

Four passes defensed. Allowing a very low completion percentage when targeted.

A fumble recovery. Blocking a field goal that got returned for a touchdown by Michael Jackson.

The Seahawks have struck gold here.

Honorable Mention: Will Dissly

14 catches in 15 targets, three touchdowns (he needs just one more to tie his career high), five first downs, great run blocking and a 71.6 PFF score. This is the Will Dissly the Seahawks have so sorely needed the last three seasons.

Rookie of the Quarter

1a.Tariq Woolen

See above. His impact has been definite and immediate for the Seahawks. Nobody – including Pete Carroll – could have seen this coming. He was already a steal in the fifth round for his measurables alone.

He has demonstrated that he is so much more than a scouting profile though – he has ‘put all the tools in the box’ by translating those measurables into fantastic play the field. That blinding 4.26 speed has shown up in game situations, whether it be closing the gap on receivers to make plays on the ball or chasing down breakaway runners. He has also demonstrated a fantastic under-the-radar quality — he is hard-nosed and physical with receivers and backs in the running game.

The crucible of the offseason camps and constantly lining up across varied skillsets at the wide receiver position has revealed a whole new depth to his game. He is poised, has above average technique (in the Saints game he executed a jam on the receiver so perfect the referees flagged him for holding) and thanks to his work in practice against behemoths like D.K. Metcalf and speedy mighty mites like Marquise Goodwin, he has a strong well of experience against different types of receivers to draw from.

1b.Abe Lucas

Outline for me the absolute best-case scenario you could envision for Lucas this spring. Now tell me he has not done everything you could have possibly imagined.

Thanks to the early identification by Rob, we have all had a chance to track his progress since last fall.

He looked great at the Senior Bowl, then blew the combine up with a performance that got puzzlingly little response from the scouting community. He slipped in the draft while the Seahawks addressed other gaping needs. The Seahawks then ran the card to the podium in the third round, while all SDB popped champagne corks.

He had a great camp and won the starting right tackle job. He mauled people in the run game and was technically proficient in the passing game in preseason.

And when the lights came on, they were not too bright for him. He has taken on all comers and not only put up a performance that stands with the best rookies in the NFL but the best right tackles in the NFL period.

One of the biggest signs of respect came in Week Two. The Niners defense was not getting much push from Nick Bosa lined up over Lucas, so they moved him inside to work in the interior and Bosa immediately caused trouble there.

One game and change into Lucas’ first NFL season.

At this pace a Pro Bowl selection is not too far out of his reach.

3.Boye Mafe

Mafe had a couple dazzling plays in the preseason. In comparison to the two rookies above him, he has not had a massive impact in the regular season so far.

That does not mean his performance so far should not be acknowledged. On a team with incredible challenges on defense he has a sack, 11 solo tackles and a 62.1 PFF rating in only 37% of the snaps so far this season.

He has been name-checked by Pete Carroll several times as a candidate for more snaps as other players have been banged up. More snaps are not always proportionate to more production as a player but Mafe has earned every chance to show us whether that is true for him or not.

Honorable Mentions-Charles Cross, Coby Bryant, Ken Walker

First off, Isn’t it great we have so many rookies playing, and playing well, that we have to have three honorable mentions?

Cross has stepped into the starting Left Tackle spot and has not given anyone pause to think that was a mistake. He has adapted to the NFL well in both the passing and run game. His technique challenges are evident and he has taken a couple of badly timed penalties to kill key offensive plays. The foundation is there though.

Bryant has not surprisingly struggled to adapt to being a nickel corner. His ball-skills are evident however with two forced fumbles. Along with Woolen, the Seahawks now have corners who can create turnovers, something sorely lacking in recent years.

Walker had two runs this quarter that gave fans just a taste of what he is capable of. With Penny’s injury, he is no longer a supplemental weapon. He is the main attraction now. How he handles being the focus will be very intriguing to watch.


1.Explosive Plays on Offense

The offensive fireworks have not been limited to just a few players. Everyone is contributing. Besides the star players, Travis Homer, Colby Parkinson, Deejay Dallas, and Noah Fant have explosive plays. Even Geno Smith has three explosive runs for crying out loud.

The only key offensive player who does not have an explosive play yet is Dee Eskridge and we know that is just a matter of time.

In fact, the long gainers have come so frequently, the defense is having trouble catching their breath before going back out on the field. This offense is not plodding along in any way.

2.Beating Denver

That home opener against the Broncos was a game set by the football gods. Everyone knew what was at stake and the flood of emotions that would surround that game. ESPN even moved off their traditional double-header Monday Night Football season opener in order to feature this particular game.

It was a buildup of years of pent-up emotions on all sides. This game had polarized everyone and was appointment watching.

The crowd was rocking. The defense had two key takeaways. Geno Smith came to play and managed to do enough to win.

Russell Wilson found out that for one game, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.

It was a pure expression of what Seattle Seahawks football has been like in the past decade. Exhilarating, infuriating and incredible.

3.The Rookies

Where would the Seahawks be right now if they did not have this rookie class?

The foundation for this team is materializing right in front of our eyes. Players are getting critical snaps and opportunities, whereas in the past rookies were either injured badly or held back for seemingly ages while do-nothing veteran players occupied their precious development snaps.

Tariq Woolen, Abe Lucas, Ken Walker, Boye Mafe and Charles Cross look like foundation stones that will get second contracts with the Seahawks. Maybe a third.

Coby Bryant has undeniable skills. It will be fascinating to see if the Seahawks intend to keep him at nickel or move him back to his natural spot at outside corner.

The Seahawks knocked this draft out of the park. How sweet it will be watching this class grow up together.

Honorable Mention: Uchenna Nwosu, the Tight Ends

In a sea of defensive confusion and chaos, Nwosu has proven to be an excellent free agent signing by the Seahawks. He seems to have taken to a very critical role in the 3-4 defense extremely nicely. He has two sacks, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, seven quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and that all adds up to a 73.8 PFF rating.

The only concern is he is playing 80% of the snaps. The Seahawks will need to walk that back in order to keep him fresh for 17 games.


Last year the tight ends had 99 targets, 39 first downs and five touchdowns.

This year they are on pace for 132 targets, 55 first downs and 14 touchdowns.

The cost/benefit for the group is finally swinging out of the red and into the green. Hallelujah.


1.Defense: Discipline

For every explosive play the offense gains, the defense gives one up.

For every sustained drive the offense gets, the defense gets flagged while stopping a team on third down and the drive is extended.

Tackling is a trip to the zoo. Gaps are wide open.

Veterans are not carrying the newer and younger players. Quite the opposite.

It has gotten to the point where the teams are running plays the Seahawks have seen several times and they still cannot stop them.

Every fundamental area on the defense has been lacking. Lining up correctly. Knowing where the gaps are and who is responsible for them. Making sure key offensive weapons are accounted for.

The worst thing might be, we don’t know if anybody cares.

Quandre Diggs has openly spoken about their issues but backed up his words with listless, unmotivated play in recent games. Al Woods has earned the freeness of speech to be forthright with the press but nobody in the locker room seems to be responding.

Pete Carroll and Clint Hurtt have yet to give us a concrete answer about the challenges they are having, other than to stick to bland generalities about ‘working hard’ and ‘it will happen’. Or put another way, the same things we have heard in previous seasons about defensive problems. When you hear flat excuses for three seasons running, they just ring hollow.

This is unacceptable effort and execution for even high school football. For a professional football franchise led by a head coach with a lifetime of defensive experience, it is inexcusable.

2.Defense: Too Many Key Players Not Making Key Plays

Even for all the scheme, coaching and mistakes challenges everyone is having, you would think at least one player of this group would occasionally just have a singular play where their talent and instincts overcome it all.

Jamal Adams lasted 15 snaps before getting hurt. He did manage to take another throw off his facemask when the Seahawks desperately needed a turnover.

Quandre Diggs has yet to make a game-changing play this season. An interception, a guided-missile type hit that fires the defense up or a pass breakup that only he can make.

Darrell Taylor – his 6.5 sacks last year felt like a huge redemption after a lost rookie season. The light came on and fans finally breathed a sigh of relief that they might have a young pass rusher to build around. This year? He appears to have been swallowed up by a new scheme, more snaps and more assignments in the run game. In the first quarter last year, he was literally saving the Seahawks points on defense with key sacks. This year you have to squint your eyes at the television to find his #52 on the field.

Jordyn Brooks has yet to record a single tackle for loss this season and unbelievably has gotten worse in pass coverage (conceding a whopping 15 yards per target, a touchdown and a 139 QB rating).

Shelby Harris has no sacks and only 1 tackle for a loss.

There are millions of cap dollars and several high draft picks invested in this group. The Seahawks are getting almost nothing in return.

3.Defense: The Totality of this Group

They are the second-worst scoring defense in the NFL. Detroit is last by an eyelash.

They are currently the worst run defense in the NFL.

There are currently only 3 teams with less sacks than the eight they have logged so far. Two of those eight sacks have come from blitzers (Cody Barton and Coby Bryant).

Last spring, when Pete Carroll told the press “We have been arrogant on defense”, fired Ken Norton Jr and released the underachieving Bobby Wagner. We all breathed a big sigh of relief.

Finally, the moves to right this ship were being made.

If we only knew.

The defensive collapse has been just a big a shock as the offensive surge.

Next Quarter Games

@LA Chargers
NY Giants
@ Arizona


1.Fix The Defense

Something. Anything. Give us something to believe in.

With the way the offense is playing, we do not need the defense to be a top-10 unit. Just middle of the pack.

Start slowly and build.

Have the guys knowing their assignments one week. Minimize the penalties the second. Work on creating some pass rush the third. And so on.

2.Keep the Running Game Afloat

Rashaad Penny is out. It’s Ken Walker’s gig now.

A critical ingredient of keeping offensive balance has been affected. It is a huge step in the right direction that Walker came into the game in relief of Penny and busted off a 69-yard run. Teams have that on tape. And now they know they cannot afford to ignore the running game with Penny out.

That does not mean ‘business as usual,’ running out the exact same package of plays for Walker that you otherwise would have for Penny.

You do not need to ram him up the middle so much. Back off that a little and get Walker in space. Let him stretch his legs a little and fire up some of that electricity to get defenders wary of him. And then hit them with some of those inside zone runs.

Spread the load out. Get Deejay Dallas some plays. Design some package plays for Dee Eskridge.

Maybe even Dareke Young should get in on the action a little. Word was he could become a scout-team Deebo Samuel type player. Why not work a little of that into the offense?

The team is in a very precarious position at this moment. With the defense so poor, the offense cannot afford to falter even a little, lest the game get totally out of hand.

This might be like tuning a Formula One racing car. Slowly make a small tweak and see how it performs. Then make another. And another.

Shane Waldron and the staff will need to keep progressing in their game planning and calls.

3.Keep Incorporating the Young Talent

Justin Coleman is close to coming back. What does that mean for Coby Bryant? Can they try him out at the outside cornerback spot?

Phil Haynes has started to take snaps from Gabe Jackson. Let’s see that continue.

Alton Robinson and Tre Brown should be back off Injured Reserve this quarter.

They badly need Robinson to work into the rotation. They have Mafe, Taylor, Nwosu and whatever veteran who they can get off the street playing those two spots.

Dee Eskridge must get more involved in this offense. It is easy to look at the top two wide receivers and the tight end group flourishing and shrug at Eskridge. He should be the x-factor, the ingredient teams just cannot account for because Lockett and Metcalf have the defensive backs occupied and the tight ends have the linebackers spoken for.


  1. Volume12

    Give me Clemson LB Trenton Simpson in the 1st this year. 1 of the best tacklers in space in the country. Has size (6’3, 240), plays fast, disciplined, and if anyone has Micah Parsons upside it’s this dude.

    • Rob Staton

      He’s not been anywhere near as impactful this year as he was last year

      • Blitzy the Clown

        When you asked me recently who I would advocate drafting in the first if not a QBOTF (or Will Anderson), Simpson came to mind. But I didn’t reply with his name because he hasn’t done much this season. Zero TFLs and sacks.

        But he sure looks like what we need at LB, and played like it in 2021.

        • GoHawks5151

          Simpson is a good name. Maybe with the first 2nd Rd pick? That D misses Brent Venables.

  2. jed

    Good write-up and fun read cha! You’re a great add to SDB.

    • Big Mike

      100% agree jed. We’ve got 2 really good writers here. I get smarter about football nearly every day here.

  3. Big Boi

    Watching the Astros luck into two wins and all I can think about is that Jamal Adams is probably enjoying himself. Ugh. I still can’t believe he wore that hat to the opening of training camp.

    • Big Mike

      “luck into 2 wins”?
      Could not disagree more, especially the first one. They still own the Ms unfortunately.

      • Group Captain Mandrake

        They got lucky that Servais put in Robbie Ray and his 5+ September ERA.

        • Big Mike

          Now THAT I will not argue.

  4. Blitzy the Clown

    This was enormously entertaining to read

    Tre Brown should be back off Injured Reserve this quarter

    I don’t recall if Tre Brown was used in the slot or outside. Any chance he could play nickel and allow Bryant to return to his natural position?

    • Peter

      Whether Coleman or brown Hopefully Bryant goes back outside.

      • Blitzy the Clown

        I think Coleman is done. I hope he doesn’t feature much going forward.

    • Seattle Person

      I remember him more on the outside but I think he has the skills to excel inside as well. He’s a shifty and quick dude. The team praises him for how well he understands the defense too. Interesting player for sure.

  5. Peter

    Cha, absolutely great write up. It’s been a more fun year for me.

    Been really enjoying Geno’s turn around. But damn some other channels and sites where folks are guffaw8ng themselves into space at the idea that it would be great for Geno to get MVP votes….hilarious.

    He has been fun as heck to watch. As the president of the Geno Smith stat watch….when you’re team wins two out of five games and you throw 30tds and 6 ints (current pace)…that’s not mvp material. Nothing on him but that’s a Kirk Cousins season.

  6. seaspunj

    something I am curious about is the switch to Cobe Bryant to nickel

    Justin Coleman is close to coming back. What does that mean for Coby Bryant? Can they try him out at the outside cornerback spot?

    does Bryant have the skill set to be a free safety he is always around the ball and seems smart enough to be a ball hawk


    • Seattle Person

      I don’t want to keep forcing young players to learn new positions. Bryant is progressing as a nickle and he’s shown to be around the ball. However his best position is still outside. I want him to see how he does there.

  7. Stuart

    Very nice write up! Loaded with information, facts and analysis.

    Does everythink that JS and his team made our draft picks independant of PC this past draft? I would love to hear peoples theories!

  8. All I see is 12s

    Rob, I just finished the Welcome to Wrexham season on Hulu. Was curious how this was received in the British football community as well as the documentary on the team itself? I feel like you would have any perspective on this.

    • Rob Staton

      I haven’t seen it personally but I know a lot of people who have and they really enjoyed it. Not heard anything negative about it

  9. Paul

    Diggs has no history of listless and unmotivated play. It’s more likely that a player who is already old for his position is not the same after a dislocated ankle and broken fibula.

    • Rob Staton

      Maybe but then as far as I’m aware he never had any history of blazing rows with team mates on the sideline and he had one with Jordyn Brooks on Sunday

      • Paul

        Which doesn’t sound like a player who is listless and unmotivated.

        • Rob Staton

          Well now you’re just fitting things in to fit your viewpoint

          The fact is Bobby Wagner started making business decisions last year. Jamal Adams has done it throughout his time in Seattle

          It’s absolutely viable Diggs has reached that point now. Jordyn Brooks clearly felt so last week and that’s what the tape showed too

          • Big Boi

            I mean, Diggs was lied to and I don’t know that anyone can deny that. While the offense has been a surprise, the side that Diggs cares about is worse than ever.

            • Rob Staton

              Lied to??

              • Dave Stacey

                It still shocks me that they signed Diggs to that contract. A 29 year old safety coming off a big injury after they have already invested so much at that position.
                Once they paid Adams they had made their bed and really shouldn’t have paid Diggs. Madness

                • Rob Staton

                  Too loyal sometimes

                • cha

                  Diggs went on podcast after the season was over and was very, very blunt about the state of the Seahawk defense in 2021. Refreshing to hear but I was shocked they 1-brought him back and 2-gave him so, so much money.

  10. TomLPDX

    Great article Curtis. Good to see you give a shout out to Nwosu as well, really like his play for the most part.

  11. cha

    Thanks for the positive feedback everyone.

    Also thanks again to Rob for posting this on your platform. It’s a privilege.

    It’s also necessary in my view.

    Listened to a season to date review podcast last night and was appalled. Apparently the defense is improving. The performance in New Orleans wasn’t that bad if you don’t count the Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara plays. My goodness.

    Honest brokers are few and far between.

    • Rob Staton

      Who said that!?!?!

      • cha


        Also said

        * a new scheme takes time and they’ll turn it around like they always do
        * they built their whole defense around Adams, so they’re rightly not good after losing him

        The tagline said they’d discuss the positives and the negatives of the season so far.

        Apparently discussing the negatives in their mind means making excuses for poor play.

        • Rob Staton


    • Seattle Person

      The defense has been trash and there is no way around that. But the defense did play “better” and did things a little bit different in the Saints game. More single high shells with more man concepts. It wasn’t the typical cover 3 soft zones. They did change it up. Neal and J. Jones were playing on the same field in dime packages. They did more fire blitzes to force quicker passes. They did get a bunch of hurries.

      They played more bear fronts to contain the run. (Not on the Hill packages…). This worked vs runs up the middle and some on the outside. Completely broke down with the Saints ran outside. The LBs fired off and attacked more. They weren’t great but they did look different. They didn’t completely sit back and hope the D linemen held their ground or blocks. They attacked more. They also had less responsibilities in coverage.

      I’m not defending anyone. I haven’t listen or seen articles about what you referred to Cha but based on some of the breakdowns I’ve seen and what I saw last Sunday — it did look different. There were some positive signs but it still has a long ways to go. Overall still a piss-poor defense.

      • Rob Staton

        Positive signs???

        The Saints played without their starting QB and top two receivers, then lost their third best receiver during the game.

        They gave up 39 points, 438 yards, 8/14 on third down, 235 rushing yards and gave up one of the single most embarrassing touchdowns we’ll ever see from Taysom Hill — who turned into Lamar Jackson in this game.

        The defensive players were fighting on the sideline.

        There was nothing positive. It was an utter shambles.

        • Seattle Person

          Look at it from the X’s and O’s and there were some positive signs or at least something to monitor for future games if it moves in the right direction. For instance the LBs were able to play a little bit more free. They were crap but that’s a sign and worth monitoring. It looked like they were freed from some responsibilities that made them hesitant.

          Everything you said was correct. The defense is still shit. No one is arguing that. But there were certain things that appeared in this game from the X’s and O’s that made sense and produced. I’m not naïve and think the defense is progressing or anything of that nature. It is very much a mess like you said. But I also don’t want to dismiss that they are tweaking things up and it is producing different results.

          Fun to discuss though.

          • Rob Staton

            There were no positives mate, no silver lining.

            It was a horrendous, abysmal, shocking mess.

  12. SeaTown

    If you claim to have seen anything positive from this D well you don’t really understand football.

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