Further thoughts and analysis after the Vikings win

Yesterday’s article was about enjoying the win. Now it’s time for a more considered review of what we saw last night (while also looking ahead).

I have some draft notes written to share later in the week and we’ll do another podcast too, so stay tuned.

This was like the Niners game in week 17 last season

It’s funny how eerily similar the two games were. The final score in the Vikings game was 27-26 with the Seahawks scoring a late touchdown on fourth and goal to win. Against the Niners, the final score would’ve also been 27-26 had Jacob Hollister not come up a few inches short.

It was also true that Seattle were majorly second best for the vast majority of that de facto NFC West Championship game and only some late magic from Russell Wilson gave them a chance, after the defense — which had struggled — finally got a much needed stop.

Similarly, the Seahawks were outplayed for much of Sunday’s game yet the defense got a stop at a vital moment and enabled Wilson to perform.

Thankfully this time the Seahawks had a happier ending.

Have they reigned back the tempo?

One of the striking things about Seattle’s offense in weeks 1-3 was the way they got after opponents with quick tempo. They’d throw in a two-minute drill early in games. Teams weren’t being allowed to substitute, there were blown coverages and the sheer pace of Seattle’s offense caused problems.

In the last two games it feels different.

I wondered on the podcast last night whether it was tied to the defense. They’ve played a much more conservative style — a major departure from the blitz-heavy approach in the first three games.

Are the two linked? Are they concerned about leaving the defense on the field for long drives and then going too quickly on offense, potentially gassing the unit if things don’t work?

I’m not sure it made much difference last night seeing as many of Seattle’s drives were over in no time at all — tempo or no tempo. There did seem to be a noticeable lack of quickness though. It never felt like they had the Vikings on their heels. That might be just because they were getting whipped in the trenches.

Thoughts on Mike Zimmer going for it

It’s a fascinating discussion. The Vikings basically needed half a yard to end the game, having run for 201 yards already. Yet by going for it on fourth down instead of kicking the field goal for an eight point lead, Minnesota introduced the only possibility for a potential MVP candidate to win the game in regulation (and he did).

I’m not a fan of ‘win probability’ and the reputation it seems to be earning in the NFL.

Immediately after the failed fourth down conversion, NBC highlighted the numbers that possibly figured into Minnesota’s thinking. Sure enough — the analytics weighed favourably for going for it based on ‘win probability’.

Yet how do you truly measure this? For example — the Seahawks had a good idea, based on Minnesota’s approach so far, that they were going to try and run for a first down. How much does that impact the Vikings’ ability to convert?

And is trying to get half a yard on a run play when the opponent is expecting a run really that much more beneficial than having the comfort of an eight point lead and your opponent needing a 75-yard drive for a touchdown in less than two minutes, plus a two-point conversion, simply to take the game to overtime?

I’m sure, however, a compelling case could make to counter this. After all — get half a yard and the ball never returns to Russell Wilson. The game is over. You’ve been able to exert your authority throughout and the run game dominated. And if you don’t make it — the opponent still has to drive 94-yards to win the game.

It’s a fascinating debate on situational football.

What can they do on defense?

Last week I suggested a more conservative defensive scheme suited the Seahawks and they should proceed with less blitzing. I was wrong to frame it in such basic terms.

Blitzing 36% of the time (as they did in weeks 1-3) isn’t necessarily the answer but neither is the alternative as we witnessed on Sunday night.

The blitzing led to them giving up 430.7 passing yards per game, conceding the most explosive plays in the NFL and it was an ill-fit for a team that has traditionally rushed with four to allow the second and third level defenders to stick to their jobs.

Yesterday showed what can happen when they don’t bring a lot of heat. Long, sustained drives, an inability to get off the field, ceding control to the opponent. 31 first downs, 449 total yards and a time of possession advantage of 39:28 versus 20:32. They were badly outplayed and the lack of ‘explosive plays’ didn’t really have any more or less impact.

They desperately had to make Ryan Neal the designated pass rusher (aka the Jamal Adams role) with Neal blitzing to try and make up for a lack of pressure.

The Seahawks aren’t equipped to suddenly pivot to being a Gregg Williams defense but they don’t have the pieces to rush with four and sit in coverage like they used to.

Short of getting better players, it’s hard to know what the solution is.

It’s certainly not just bringing in Dan Quinn — who was fired because his Atlanta defense is as bad as Seattle’s if not worse.

Is this sustainable?

Pete Carroll has avoided serious questions about roster construction because his team keeps winning. Had they lost to Minnesota, especially given the Vikings’ dominance in the trenches, those questions surely would’ve been asked?

Instead that challenge is likely to be parked again in favour of a more generous line of questioning. Yet the issue as to whether this is sustainable warrants raising and it also deserves a proper answer.

So far the defense has clung on by its fingertips and — despite all the flaws — they’ve somehow found a way to still deliver huge, decisive stops and big turnovers.

Ultimately going 5-0 isn’t the target. It’s to win the NFC West and then be in a better position to win playoff games. A handsome, unbeaten start will offer a warm glow going into the bye week — but it won’t offer much comfort if they play like this again in January or face the same fate they have over the last five years — not winning the NFC West and exiting the playoffs in the first two rounds.

Many fans won’t want to worry about the defense given the team is unbeaten. That’s absolutely fine, as I’ve always said. Those fans should also offer the same courtesy to those who do want to talk about what is clearly a struggling unit.

According to Michael David Smith, Seattle’s defense is set to make history…

Seattle’s defense has allowed 2,356 yards this season. That’s not just the most in the NFL this year, it’s a record pace: At their current pace of allowing 471 yards a game, the Seahawks would allow 7,539 yards in a 16-game season. That’s by far the worst ever.

Only one team in NFL history has allowed 7,000 yards in a season: The 2012 Saints, who allowed 7,042 yards.

Even at 5-0, you can’t just dismiss this. You can choose to focus on the wins and roll with the tide of positivity. This shouldn’t be ignored or undermined though. The Seahawks have done an awful job constructing their defense since 2018 with the 2020 off-season simply being the pièce de résistance. That warrants some push back.

It was hard to watch the Vikings kick Seattle’s arse in the trenches on both sides of the ball, dominate to the extent they did and think this is a Super Bowl team.

Had the Seahawks not pulled off a miraculous win to be enjoyed and savoured throughout the bye — the mood would be very different today. Seattle would be 4-1 and not 5-0 — not a massive difference. Yet the stark reality of where this team is would be clear for all to see. It was men against boys at times last night.

We’re in the exact same spot as a year ago. The Seahawks will win games because the quarterback is so exceptional and so is the culture and spirit within this team. The next reality check, though, will always be round the corner. Last year it was New Orleans, Baltimore, LA and Arizona. This year it starts with Minnesota — even if the result, thankfully, ended differently.

The construction of the roster still needs to be asked about

Carroll isn’t afraid to tackle the subject of his defense. His best answers in the last couple of weeks have been on challenges regarding the unit. The question of sustainability warrants asking — as does the first serious question on how his stated desire to ‘fix the pass rush’ led to them spending over $50m in free agency, using a first, second and third round pick on two defenders with their top-two selections and trading two more firsts, a third and a player for Jamal Adams. All while they’re paying the likes of Bobby Wagner $18m. Yet the defense is so problematic.

How did the plan and the investment lead to this? Especially when the clear priority was to upgrade this year when instead they’ve actually regressed.

Yannick Ngakoue got his fifth sack of the season last night having cost the Vikings a second round pick plus a conditional pick. He took a significant pay-cut to join Minnesota.

How did the Seahawks completely miss out on finding value like that to fix their greatest need? Why didn’t they make sure, given the huge resources they had at their disposal, that they landed someone like Calais Campbell to anchor their D-line (and before anyone repeats the fake news that he hand-picked the Ravens — he’s already said that wasn’t the case).

How have they gone from having Frank Clark and Jadeveon Clowney, losing both, and are now left relying on Benson Mayowa as their premier pass rusher?

This still needs to be asked. A proper answer still needs to be heard — now more than ever with the defense toiling as it is.

And perhaps more importantly — what can they do to fix things other than hope that Snacks Harrison has a Peloton bike at home?

The run defense is proven to be a mirage

In searching for positives, the media and fans latched onto Seattle’s ability to defend the run. Yet it was always a massive red herring.

Opponents simply weren’t running against the Seahawks. They didn’t need to. They could throw for over 400 yards. Seattle, in fairness, also did a good job exerting scoreboard pressure in the first three weeks to further guide teams towards a pass-centric plan.

The numbers, therefore, ended up looking better than they actually were. In reality, teams were only giving their running backs about 10-15 carries a game. Nobody threatened Seattle with a sustained running attack until last night.

Miami running backs only carried the ball 15 times in week four. Myles Gaskin managed 40 yards on his ten carries. In the first three weeks, teams only attempted to run against the Seahawks 67 times. This included a combined 18 runs by Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Dak Prescott — most of which were clear short yardage situations or scrambles.

Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott ran only 14 times against the Seahawks. Three of those runs came on one drive on first and goal (one from the five-yard line and two from the one-yard line, leading to a touchdown). A further carry came on fourth and 1 (converted) and another carry came on 2nd and 1.

The difference on Sunday couldn’t be any clearer.

The Vikings ran for 201 yards despite losing Dalvin Cook for half the game. Both Cook and #2 running back Alexander Mattison combined for 37 carries between them. Minnesota averaged 4.9 YPC.

It was the first game where the run defense was seriously tested and it offered no resistance.

Essentially the Seahawks are in a bind with this defense. Teams are going to get their 400-500 yards. How they go about it will depend on personal preference and whether or not the Seahawks are able to get ahead in games.

I sense the front office knew the run defense was a mirage already. Why else do you bring in Snacks Harrison?

On the plus side…

K.J. Wright is playing superbly. At this rate, it can’t be his final year in Seattle.

Damontre Moore played his tail off yesterday and deserves a lot of credit.

Benson Mayowa is doing his best in a difficult situation. He should’ve never been placed in the position of needing to be Seattle’s premier pass rusher. He’s a very good complementary, rotational defensive end. Even so — he made some big plays in the last two games.

Nobody can question the spirit of the defensive unit. They are giving everything to the cause. They are simply short of blue chip, impact players.

Some thoughts on the trade market

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the problem several teams are facing in 2021. With the NFL economy in flux due to Covid-19, the cap is likely to fall into the $176m range.

According to OTC, that would put 12 teams over the cap for 2021 as things stand.

Some of the teams will be able to manage this with a few choice cuts prior to the new league year starting. For example, the Bills are $4.7m over the 2021 cap. That’s manageable.

Other teams are in serious bother. The Saints are an estimated $82m over the cap, the Eagles are $73m over and the Falcons are $37m over.

The Saints and Eagles will feel they’re still in the playoff hunt so it’s not clear how they plan to address this. They can’t wait until the new league year begins because most or all of the dead money that exists would come off the books in 2021 — thus limiting their ability to reduce their spending.

The best thing to do would be to trade or cut players this year, eat dead money in 2020 and take big contracts that are due in 2021 off the books.

Yet if the Saints or Eagles do that — how can they seriously sell to their fans that they are trying to win in 2020? For the Saints this is especially vital, given it’s Drew Brees’ final season before retirement.

The Falcons are in a very different situation. They have fired their coach and their GM. They are 0-5. It would make sense to clear some money for next year — if for no other reason but to make the job more appealing to prospective GM and Head Coaching candidates.

Forcing a new regime to work with a group of players who are failing won’t be appealing. Neither will inheriting a $37m black hole in the cap for 2021.

They need a rebuild.

I’m not a cap expert but Over the Cap has a system whereby you can calculate savings based on players being traded ‘post June 1st’. This would allow them to spread the dead money out, making small but necessary savings over time.

I’m not sure they have much choice. The only other answer is running through a whole host of restructures, kicking their cap problems down the road.

They can’t deal Matt Ryan — his contract provides minimal savings and will cost an absolute fortune. They possibly can look at trying to make savings down the road for Grady Jarrett and Dante Fowler. They might have to look at trading Julio Jones.

It might even be a buyers market given their situation.

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  1. Nick

    You’re a prolific writer, my friend. Thanks so much.

    Definitely need a rushing DE. I think we should be willing to deal someone in our secondary for such an option along with a draft pick? Diggs, Hill, or Flowers? I dunno just spitballin’ here. Neal looks like he is, at the least, average and offers upside.

    • Nick

      Hollister seems like good trade bait, too.

      • dream22

        Player for player trades in the NFL are rare, not that they don’t happen, but typically midseason trades are more for picks which we are lacking. I agree there isn’t much value in players for the Seahawks to trade.

        • DJ 1/2 Way (Sea/PDX)

          How about Blair?

          • GerryG

            He cant pass a physical

            • Rusty

              You can trade injured players. The other team would know they’re trading for a guy with a torn ACL, would probably do some kind of physical to make sure he’s all good outside of his ACL, and then do the trade

              (Not saying I wanna trade Blair though)

          • Rob Staton

            They’re not trading Blair and who in their right mind would make that deal?

      • GerryG

        Not sure I see the value in trading away any chips on the offense side of the ball. They need the depth, and have to maintain an elite O, which to me requires having everyone, and the depth to survive the year.

        Last year they had only Hollister and had to convince Marshawn to come back. They need 3 TEs, need 4-5 RBs, need Phillip Dorsett and/or J Gordon to come back and be able to play. The might need BJ Finney by year end.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think they can afford to give up anyone in the secondary. They are too thin.

      I’m not sure who they can dangle who would have any value.

      • Dan Riggs

        They should trade Diggs and sign Earl Thomas. I’m not kidding. Diggs is doing nothing for us this year and no teams want to sign Earl. He can thrive in the Seahawks system. He and Pete just need to bury the hatchet. It can be done.

        • Dan Riggs

          And yes, this is in addition to signing a DE. Get Ryan Kerrigan for a 2nd round pick (if they won’t take less) and make sure he is committed to Seattle for two more years. Win now.

        • Rob Staton

          No no no.

          Earl Thomas can’t get a job for a reason.

          He is completely unhinged. Nobody is willing to touch him.

          Fans need to let go of the past.

          • Dan Riggs

            Seems that way. No one has hired him yet. But this man can still play. Hard to believe he won’t be hired by someone soon. I hope it’s the Seahawks.

            • Rob Staton

              He’s a nightmare. That’s why he’s unemployed.

              You need to move on Dan.

              Let it go.

              • Chris Alexander

                Completely agree. Would rather the Seahawks signed Eric Reid (which they won’t).

          • SeahawkGenX

            No to ET this year but next year if he has his head screwed on straight maybe. Next year nobody may be willing to chat with ET if he has no market after the draft it might make sense to sit down with him if we’re able to get Sherman back. Sherman will hold ET accountable. Sherman & ET need Seattle to redeem themselves to apologize to RW they need to come full circle. Sherman & ET owe the 12’s too.

            • Rob Staton

              No no no no no no no no no

              Move on

        • cha

          They will not sign him in the rain.

          They will not sign him on a train.

          They will not sign him in a box.

          They will not sign him with a fox.

          They will not sign him in a tree.

          They will not sign Earl Thomas. You let us be!

          • Bankhawk

            Is that, perchance, set to the cadence and tune of “Rainy Day Woman, #12 & 35”?
            Niiice one!

            • cha

              Close. Dr Suess

    • Rey

      Hill and Flowers have no trade value. We don’t have great trade pieces or draft capital. But hopefully they can figure something out.

    • Regan

      I would trade flowers for a box of donuts.

      • AlaskaHawk

        This message approved by Snacks!!!

  2. dream22

    In my opinion the fourth down call was the correct one. I look at it this way, if the situation were reversed I would have wanted the Seahawks to go for it. Of course Cousins isn’t Russell Wilson but the hawks D balances that out.

    Regarding DK’s non TD on first down, I think that benefited the Seahawks in the end. It would have left Minnesota 2 timeouts and 20 more seconds to get into FG range. Everything seemed to work out in this one somehow despite some awful stretches

    • Whit21

      Im gonna have to disagree with you and mike Zimmer. They had a 5 point lead and a field goal would guarantee you don’t lose the game. That leaves your defense to kick off and make Seattle drive possibly 75+ yards for a TD and get a 2 point conversion. Make them work for it.. Not just get a TD, but a 2 point as well.. which they failed to do, but the TD is all they needed in the end. I know hindsight and all but I would take an 8 point lead and my defense that has stopped their offense from long sustained drives all game.

      In this scenario, the worst case is.. Overtime..

  3. Mexican Hawk

    Not sure if it was mentioned previously, but that hit by Moore on the Adam Thielen reverse on 3rd and 4 was a game saver. Mayowa was in on the play, he and and Moore combined for the stop, but I venture to say if Moore does not apply that licking Thielen gets the first and we lose the game.

    It’s worth a look, rewind it a few times. Moore is lined up as the RDE. Play takes a while to develop, but still look at all the space he has to cover. Great effort and what a hit.

    At the 11:38 mark:

    • dcd2

      That really was a huge play. He fought through his block and raced to the other side of the field to get the hit and stop him short. Great hustle and you’re right, a game saving play.

  4. Ashish

    Good podcast after the win. Do you all think by making turn overs is helping to cover up the yardage we gave so far? Don’t forget we have crucial 4th down stops (Atlanta and yesterday) and goal line stop. Defense is making just enough play to live another day.

    • Rob Staton

      “Do you all think by making turn overs is helping to cover up the yardage we gave so far”

      It’s helped them win the games so far but it doesn’t cover anything up. And whether it’s sustainable to be sliced and diced week after week while banking on turnovers, that’s a huge stretch.

  5. Lukas

    How would you comment the following statement, Rob: The Seahawks spent their 2020 first round pick on their weakest position on the team (talking about Cody Barton). But of course not trying to justify the construction of the defense by saying that. I would give about half of my yearly salary to have a talk with John Schneider about what his actual plans were and how it came to this, having one of the worst defenses in the history of the NFL.

    • Rob Staton

      They had Wagner and Wright.

      Linebacker was NOT the weakest position on the team by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Dan Riggs

        Seems like Bobby is not the player he used to be. Not sure how his deal is structured but if we can, we should trade him next year and get whatever draft capital possible.

        • Chris Alexander


          As I read it, there’s $7.5M in dead money on his contract after this season and if he’s still on the team on February 12th, 2021 then $5M of his $13.15M base salary for 2021 becomes guaranteed.

          (although I doubt they’d ever seriously consider moving BWagz)

          • Rob Staton

            They’re not going to move Bobby.

            It’s up there with ‘let’s sign Earl Thomas’ or ‘let’s trade for JJ Watt’ as a total waste of time topic.

            • Simo

              Maybe we can bring back Michael Bennett for pass rush help while we’re at it!!

              • Rob Staton


    • Jeff M.

      Just to add to Rob’s point: the 2019 Seahawks were a massive, massive outlier in the amount of time spent in base defense. There’s no rule that says you have to line up with three non-pass rushing LBers every down…in fact we’re the only team in the league that comes anywhere close to attempting it.

      Saying your third off-ball base LBer is the weakest position on the D so it’s worth a 1st is like saying if your FB or blocking TE is the worst position on the O you should invest a 1st there.

      • Lukas

        I didn‘t say that it was worth spending a first on Brooks. I haven‘t seen enough to evaluate him, nor has anybody else in my opinion. This was more a statement about the game yesterday since no one seems to talk about the issue you were talking about. Why spend so much time in base when Cody Barton is your third linebacker?

    • AlaskaHawk

      I think another linebacker like Bobby Wagner would have been a great pick, but Barton isn’t a young Bobby Wagner.

  6. Ukhawk

    Great article Rob

    Dropping comment and response here as I just posted it on the previous post.

    Ukhawk says:
    October 12, 2020 at 1:01 pm
    Trade deadline Oct 29 so 2.5 weeks away and here’s hoping they get on the case and “compete” to improve the team.

    PFN Recently put out their power rankings and it underlines an interesting point:

    Upside – Seahawks moved up to 6th ahead of teams like LA, NO & TEN.

    Downside – There is a gulf when looking up at the top 5 teams. Chiefs, Packers, Bills, Steelers & Ravens all arguably boast (much) stronger defenses. To underline this, 3-4 of them were ranked in the top 5-10 for defensive DVOA this and/or last year. The Hawks were 21st.

    Need to improve to compete with the elite this post season!!

    • Rob Staton

      My reply here:

      I would agree with PFN in that regard.

      If Big Ben has an off-day, you’d back the Steelers defense to step up to the plate.

      Seattle doesn’t even have an Ok-ish defense. They have a historically poor one. Might not matter right now but it could/should down the line when it comes down to who wins the division, who gets priority seeding and who wins playoff games.

      • Ukhawk

        Very much agree on the tempo point. Be good if they got back into a quicker rhythm.

        Conversely I’d love to see them control the clock moreso by committing to more run. It’d help the defense rest, control TOP and improve play action.

        Certainly didn’t happen when they fell behind but it’d be better to be more balance AND play with tempo.

        • Ukhawk

          Agree on roster construction point and also think that salary cap crunch & future free agency plans play into this. BIG Opportunity! Attack it!!

          Can’t explain the DL fiasco thus far but still believe this roster is a(lways) work in progress with Opportunities to improve this &/or next year.

          Good news IMO is we know exactly what we need most – pass rush. Downside is pass rush isn’t an easy spot to fix esp quickly.

          But in terms of roster building. Happy to go younger on defense and acquire difference makers on DL whilst having an established, juggernaut offense that is trending up!! (Just ask Holmgren after SBXL)

          There IS scope to rebalance the roster, to reshape/trade/cut/not resign certain non-key players. Olsen, Irvin, Mawoya, Hollister etc ALL off the books and 30m! in cap space for next season in a crunch year.

          YES, Cb, RB & C also needs to be sorted too but arguably these are positions where u can stay/go cheaper.

  7. Aaron

    There’s no easy solution to the defense in 2020. The only thing they can do is keep throwing players at it to see what sticks. Being total swiss cheese for most of a game then making a play or two in bewildering fashion when it matters most. This unit won’t be good in 2020, they will be bad no matter what they do. They just need to avoid being all time bad. This is why Dan Quinn should come on as a consultant. It can’t make things worse than it already is…they literally are the worst defense in the league and on pace for the worst ever.

    • Rob Staton

      But what exactly is Dan Quinn going to contribute?

      He benefitted in Seattle from the most stacked group of defenders possibly in NFL history.

      Then in Atlanta he had success thanks to Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

      And without the LOB guys or Shanahan — he’s proven to be totally incapable of building or developing a competent NFL defense.

      If you’re going to bring someone in — go and get someone with a track record.

      • Aaron

        I’d bring him in based solely on the idea of throwing anything at the problem to see what sticks. It’s all hands on deck and all options on the table to salvage Russell Wilson’s MVP season from being another early playoff exit. The F.O. must do everything in their power to keep this trainwreck of a defense from ruining the season. To use the analogy of a dam for our defense, they gotta plug that sucker up with duct tape, regular tape, bubble gum, spit, and dirt. That dam has so many holes and cracks in it that it’s about to ruin everything.

        • Rob Staton

          But to me that’s like saying they might as well have re-signed Ziggy Ansah.

          ‘All hands on deck’

          ‘But he’s really, really shite?’

          ‘Yeah… well… all hands on deck!’

      • Mexican Hawk

        Quinn and/or Wade Phiilips did come to mind for me. Either that or a more assertive Pete stance on defense is necessary. I loved Ken as player, I cringed a bit when he was hired. He did not fare well in Oakland from what I saw.

        I think I have heard LB’s speak glowingly of him. Hard to tell from afar. I agree it’s a personnel problem, I just hope coaching is not a hindrance or a drain on Pete’s time as per him managing whole operation.

        On Quinn not sure how dynamic would work him being former boss. Wade’s system way different. He’s a master of the 3-4, one of the greatest defensive coordinators in league history in my opinion. He may have some insight on how to stop his former team?

        I don’t have the answer, but like Russ’s life philosophy you have to keep searching never be satisified until you get it right. Defense seems to be a tad better, still getting hosed on yardage side. Seem to be holding a bit more when it matters. Still can’t win as currently constituted.

        We are all banking on a tradeline move, and praying for no more injuries (Shaquille scared the heck out of me yesterday). I hope Hawks not a replica of the Pats of Moss or the Broncos we demolished.

        • Rob Staton

          What people need to remember is this is Pete’s defense.

          Whoever comes in — it’ll still be Pete’s defense.

          Nobody ever criticises Pete. They always criticise the coordinator. I guess it’s easier because they are expendable.

          Here’s the reality. PCJS have constructed one of the crappiest defense’s in the NFL. If you want to point a finger at anyone, that’s where you start.

          • Uncle Bob

            Pete deserves plenty of criticism for the shortcomings…………he’s the boss of his division of the company called the Seahawks. The personnel deficiencies are real from a talent standpoint, but that applies equally to the coaching staff. When it comes to Norton, a good dude and historically good LB coach, the Peter Principle applies. He is a bottom third of the league DC here, just like he was a bottom third of the league DC in Oakland. Different system, and he had better talent there including studs like prime Bruce Irvin and some guy named Khalil Mack, among others. His game day responsibility is as the Defensive Play Caller, and he sucks at it. This defense is, arguably, at it’s best (which isn’t a way of saying good, just comparatively) in the red zone. Yeah, there’s less field to protect, which helps, but it’s also the part of the field where Wagner has more autonomy to revise the play calling (though not necessarily the players sent on the field) . We got a glimpse of that in the Pats game where the media guys picked up on the adjustment call Bobby made to stuff Newton and “save the game”. That likely happens much more often than we are aware as fans and in less dramatic fashion, but his game prep and play savvy are more valuable than often acknowledged. Is he expensive? Yeah, even maybe too expensive. But the value that his leadership and decision making aren’t easily rated by the likes of PFF, they are not easily measured. I don’t think a Quinn is a magic bullet solution, but if we had/have the opportunity to get some fresh/additional/skillful talent for in game defensive play calling, it might do us some good. Likely won’t happen because PC doesn’t want to appear to undermine the guy he chose, but if there were any way to put the talent we have in a better position to be successful we need it because better talent isn’t very available at this juncture.

            • Rob Staton

              There are so many assumptions here Bob — and this is why I HATE talking about coordinators.

              Fans use them as an easy target because unlike Pete they are expendable.

              Seattle has built a crap defense and they’re playing like crap. That’s the bottom line. Simple as that.

              • James

                You’d be surprised good sir, how what you said “they built it crap, and its crap” applies to things in the state of Washington. We just never assumed it’d be our defense.

      • GerryG

        Yeah I dont see any upside to bringing in someone mid-season.

        We do have some hope of improvement if/when we get some of these injured guys back:
        Adams is an All-Pro, and I hope we can utilize him properly
        Brooks should be better than Barton
        Dont we have another CB, DJ Reed we grabbed from SF that may get healthy?
        Maybe Snacks and Bullard improve rotation at DT

        If all those things happen, AND they can acquire a legit DE, maybe this unit can be average. That’s a lot to ask for though.

      • chet380

        Quinn will not sign here, or anywhere, until the compensation for his firing is finalized.

      • Dan Riggs

        They should bring in Wade Phillips. This is a no brainer. The guy is very familiar with the Rams – we could use his help.

    • Mike

      Dan Quinn fixes nothing. He was an apprentice of pete’s who hasn’t been able to replicate the success of the LOB. And, frankly, the LOB style defense is old, stale, and archaic. The whole NFL has either mimicked, or developed counters to it that are now matured common knowledge.

      New ideas are needed, not outdated ones. But they may not come till Pete retires.

      Ken Norton is a players guy. He brings that fatherly figure vibe. He doesn’t really bring any schematic leadership, or a successful track record. As lame as that may be, it may be the ceiling a DC can have while Pete is HC. This will always be Pete’s scheme, even if it fails utterly.

      Regardless of who is DC, the problem here is primarily personnel. That’s JS’s doing.

      • Big Mike

        It’s Pete’s doing too. JS is not, never has been and never will be solely responsible for personnel.

  8. JLemere

    i was thinking about KJ this morning. So I know KJ doesn’t like playing SAM, but wouldn’t it be beneficial for both sides to do another 2 yr deal. KJ plays SAM but at the same time he and Bobby can mentor Jordyn Brooks as he goes through the bumps and bruises at playing WILL. I’ve also looked at the holes that SEA have this offseason and i believe these are the positions SEA should focus on the draft: CB, SAM, OT, and 1 Tech. In free agency FO will need to focus on RB ( if Carson wants big contract), C (resign Pocic and sign a veteran for competition, Finney is cut to save 3.5 million), a LEO, a 5 Tech, 3 Tech, and a CB (SEA lets Griffin walk, resigns Dunbar.) Then for any other depth signings it needs to be vet minimum signings or ERFA signings.

  9. cha


    Mike Garafolo
    No fire sale for the #Falcons this year. Rich McKay says he will let the next regime come in and evaluate this roster. If they get an offer they can’t refuse in the coming weeks, different story. But no active teardown is imminent.

    12:48 PM · Oct 12, 2020

    • Rob Staton

      Good luck to Rich McKay selling a team that is massively over the 2021 cap with no flexibility and a roster full of underwhelming, expensive players.

      • Uncle Bob

        For a variety of reasons they aren’t going to tip their decisions this early in the process, so it’s a natural thing to say they will hold pat for now. You can bet they will have many meetings between now and trade deadline to refine what they will really do.

    • charlietheunicorn

      Let me translate what he actually said….. FIRE SALE INBOUND!

    • Gohawks5151

      But seriously guys make us an offer… please make us an offer?

    • Jhams

      I’m not a high level negotiator, but I’m pretty sure not screaming “Oh my God we’re screwed everyone please make us an offer we’re desperate” is a basic first step. Of course they’re saying they won’t have a fire sale. Doesn’t make it true.


        If you have to say it…. 👀

  10. Gohawks5151

    I wonder if we don’t start hearing some trade rumors later in the week. Too bad the NFC East is so bad. Dak’s injury too has to embolden the Eagles even more about keeping the team together. Ryan Kerrigan has really slowed since the first game. It also seems like he is playing less. It may be compounding the errors of the offseason to trade a 2nd rounder for him at this point.

    So I guess Atlanta is it as you said. Fowler and Jarrett would be good adds for a 2nd. But JS has been bargain hunting all year so would a 5th for Tak Mckinnley be more likely? I know that doesn’t help their cap issues but it gives them another pick in an obvious rebuild. Also Clay Matthews still exists

    • SteveLargent80

      I don’t see Atlanta trading away Jarrett, they have a very old roster and he is a cornerstone on their team

    • Simo

      What has Fowler done this year, on that terrible Falcons defense? Has he been much of a factor for them? Is he pressuring QB’s and getting sacks?

      Many of us thought he was a potential target in the spring. He might appreciate the chance to jump off the sinking ship and play for an actual contender.

  11. Nybs

    Rob, excellent site, better evaluation and writing. Amazing that a Brit is so well informed and keen on our Seahawks. Your opinion on the Seahawk defense is spot on. It’s irritating that not one of the local sports scribes has pressed JS/PC for an answer to the one pressing question; why did you fail to address pass rushing? I’d be out of a job if I was as negligent as JS at fixing such a glaring issue. There were plenty of excellent ends available for market or even below market rates and….crickets. Instead, we mortgage the next two years of draft capital for a safety. Adams may turn out to be elite while playing for us but so far I’m not convinced the price was worth it. Also, as usual, JS passes up a near guaranteed high-ceiling player (Queen) and picks Brooks.

  12. Leonardo

    In regards to Zimmer’s 4th down call, I like using the criteria that Bill Simmons used to write about: are the opponent’s fans relieved or frightened by your decision?

    Personally, in that moment I had no belief at all that we could stop a 4th and 1 and was hoping they would send out the FG unit. Even in the rain, I trusted Russ to drive us 75 yards in a 2 minute situation. When they decided to go for it, I fully expected it to be game over. Maybe that’s on me for not having enough faith in this squad, but Zimmer definitely frightened me haha.

    • GerryG

      I was also hoping they would kick, didnt believe we could stop them

    • Rob Staton

      That’s a very interesting way of looking at it.

      I have to say, I was hoping they kicked. I wanted to have that glimmer of hope that the game wouldn’t be over on one play.

      • Chris Alexander

        Me too.

        Honestly, I thought the defense would probably make the stop and I believed that Russ would tie the game (or win it) if given the chance. But I would have been a lot less exhausted on Monday if Minnesota had sent out the field goal unit.

        In hindsight, of course, I’m glad they didn’t. But damn was I hoping they would at the time.

    • charlietheunicorn

      I like to think, no matter what, get the ball in RWs hands.. and magic will happen.
      RW has been playing like destiny this year… not sure how to describe it, but another level.

      The only choice Zimmer had was what he did… go for it.. end the game right there.
      He made the right call and overly shouldn’t be criticized. They pick up the 1st down and it is
      “GAME OVER MAN”.

    • Darnell

      This defenses ability to come up clutch in the biggest moments doesn’t logically make a lick of sense to me, but I’ll take it.

    • Mexican Hawk

      Agree, I personally like the call by Zimmer. As a side effect it could have turned around their season. I would never want to give Russ the ball back if I were the opposition, even though a tie is the worse scenario (during regulation). I may be wrong. Minny played a perfect game: time of possession, third down stops plus total plays. They were one very difficult 4th and long from pulling it off.

      Like Rob mentioned I wanted them to kick, so Bill’s theory applies here. Haha.

      It’s a miracle that we stopped them. Hindsight being 20/20 if Mattison took the lane to the right it would have been a very gettable first down, if not a TD.

    • Harshad

      I had the opposite feeling in that moment – in my mind the only way we had a chance to win was if the defense got a stop on the fourth down. If they kick the field goal, the best we could hope for was to tie the game in overtime.

  13. Brett

    This season is going to be made or broken by red zone defense (or even better, inside the 30). If they are able to tighten up and hold teams to primarily FG’s we’ll be in good shape. Like it or not they have been able to do that the past couple of weeks. Its ugly, and they give up a ton of yards but against Miami they forced FG after FG. Against Minnesota, they were only “ok”. Giving up 3 TD’s while forcing 2 FG’s.

    This defense is flawed, I’m resigned to it. They are going to give up a ton of yards and they will cost us a few games. However, if they can be good inside the 30 when the field starts to tighten we will still win alot of games because the offense is really good.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not sure it’s as simple as that Brett.

      If you’re giving up 8-10 minute drives, that also hampers your offense. It puts immense pressure on the unit and you have fewer drives, fewer opportunities to score points and establish rhythm.

      They can’t be giving up 450-500 yards every game.

      • Brett

        We’ll see if that becomes a trend (the 10 minute drives).

        • Rob Staton

          Well if it isn’t a trend then red zone defense isn’t going to define the season.

          There are no secrets to be uncovered with this defense. We know what they are. Blitz a lot — get burned because it’s an ill-fit within the scheme. Don’t blitz — you run the risk of giving up huge, long drives and keeping RW off the field.

          The only solution is to get better players but it’s too late for that now.

          What will truly define the season is the offense’s ability to out-perform the weakness on defense in crucial games. That’s the be-all and end-all. I remain massively dubious that this season won’t just end up like the last couple when all is said and done.

          • Brett

            One more add – don’t disagree necessarily – maybe I am just trying to hang my hat on something they can do well to help this team win as the offense is going to score.

            Turnovers. That’s all i got. Hold teams to FG’s and turn them over.


            • Ameen Darwish

              The solution here is don’t punt. If the defense is going to give up 50 yards or 95 yards, at least 50 yards will be less time consuming, give the D rest for their end of game single play “miracle” and get the ball back to the offense more quickly. I say this in jest but in reality they need to find the right mix of aggression and pace offensively while mixing up coverage and blitzing more on D to try to manufacture negative plays.

          • Daniel

            It seems like the best we can hope for is that Seattle will give up a ton of yards while holding opponents to field goals. Then Seattle needs to score TD’s. As long as we score TD’s and the opponent scores field goals, we’ll survive. As it is right now, visiting teams might as well leave their punters home.

    • Chris Alexander

      Minnesota scored 5 times (3 TDs, 2 FGs) but only reached the red zone 4 times for the game, going 3 for 4. Obviously their one failure was the 4th and 1 stop by Seattle.

      Miami scored 6 times (1 TD, 5 FGs) but only reached the red zone on 3 of their drives. Since they only had 1 TD all game, the best they could have done is finish 1 for 3 on those drives, which they did.

      Dallas went 1 for 1 in the red zone – which means that 3 of their 4 TDs came on plays that started outside the red zone (ouch!) and that neither of their field goals came on drives that reached it.

      New England went 3 for 5 in the red zone with 1 of the 2 fails being when Cam got shut down on the final play.

      Atlanta was 3 for 4 in the red zone.

      For the season, Seattle’s opponents have scored touchdowns on 11 of their 17 red zone possessions, or 64.7% of the time. I initially thought that sounded pretty good, but it actually isn’t. Seattle is ranked #19 in the league in that statistic. 64.7% is also the worst defensive rate among the 4 NFC West teams.

      For context, Chicago is #1 in the league with opponents only converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns 36.84% of the time. Arizona is #2 at 42.86%. San Francisco, despite all their injuries, is #6 at 50%. The Rams are tied for 13th with Cleveland at 58.82%

      On the other side of the equation, the Seahawks are 16 of 18 on red zone opportunities. Their 88.89% conversion rate leads the league. but Arizona is nipping at their heels with an 81.25% conversion rate. Minnesota is #3 at 76.47%. The Rams are tied at #15 with Las Vegas and Green Bay, all of whom have converted 65% of their red zone opportunities. San Francisco is just behind that group at 63.16%, #18 overall.

  14. Rob Staton

    This is a great breakdown of the Minnesota 4th down attempt:


    How the HELL did Mattison not just cut that to the right for a first down???!?

    It was easy!

    He should score!

    • Brett

      We are really fortunate to get the win – we definitely stole that one. I think Cook makes that cut.

    • Trevor

      I think it comes down to some players can deliver in the clutch and do so consistently and some can’t and fail consistently. It is what makes Russ so special. The guys who excel think clearly and there is no panic. If that is Dalvin Cook he makes the cut and it looks like a simple little thing and the game is over.

      Like you said with Hollister last year. He comes up just short but if that is DK, Locket or Olsen they likely find a way to get over the line.

      • Rob Staton

        I don’t agree. That was a good play by the 49ers linebacker.

    • dcd2

      Yikes! He’s gonna want to crawl in a hole during film study. Major break for us.

    • Group Captain Mandrake

      And Barton still almost screwed it up by not wrapping up and tackling through him. Trying to hit him with his shoulder almost let him through.

      • dcd2

        Barton was blowing up the lead blocker. He had plenty to gripe about, but he made a pretty good play there.

    • Gohawks5151

      He is a 3rd stringer for a reason. He probably didn’t have the confidence to bounce it. Some players simply just run to the hole they are told to. Plus Cody had his outside shoulder free sooooo….

      • Rob Staton

        He’s a second stringer not a third stringer.

        Confidence has nothing to do with it. You’ve got to read that. It’s your job.

      • TJ

        Mattison is actually a good RB. He could start for a lot of teams, just not for Minnesota.

    • Donovan

      That whole video was a great watch – very cool breakdown.

      Gained an appreciation for Travis Homer’s performance in that two minute drive. Multiple times he picked up key blocks, enabling Russell time to make a play. Zimmer tried to confuse the Hawks pass pro multiple times and each time Homer read it right and picked up the unblocked blitzer.

      • Rob Staton

        Superb video.

        Good to have someone who knows what he’s talking about breaking down tape for a change.

  15. Big Mike

    I wondered throughout the game winning drive why Chris Carson wasn’t on the field. Then I saw the long pass to DK on 4th down, left sideline that kept the derive alive again this morning and understood why. Travis Homer has a blitz pickup on a corner blitz on the play that keeps Russ clean and able to focus on DK (who for some insane reason had one on one coverage). Go to 12:35:

    Little things mean a whole lot sometimes. For him to be the RB on that drive tells me he’s is without a doubt their best pass blocking RB.

    • Big Mike

      Travis ends up on his ass, but he also keeps the defender away from Russ and had to come across from left to right in front of RW to make the block. Outstanding recognition.

    • GerryG

      Posted in the other thread earlier today, I watched Baldy’s breakdown of all Seattle’s key pass plays in the second half, Homer had a good to great pass pro effort on almost every play Baldy showed (he was focusing on Russ and DK mostly). It was

      • GerryG

        *It was striking to see just how pivotal he was

        • Big Mike

          Didn’t see your post. Sorry for the repeat but he was so good it maybe bore repeating.

    • Uncle Bob

      Homer deserves another attaboy on the winning pass in the end zone as he stones a blitzing LB shooting for the O line gap.

    • Trevor

      It’s funny because I have been killing Homer for never delivering a quality run or converting a 3rd down. I have been wondering how the hell this guy is still getting snaps. Guess I know why now. To bad we can’t find a 3rd down RB who can block lie that and actually run the ball well too.

      Props to him on finding a niche though and coming through when he needed to most. They were huge plays.

  16. JJ

    I am on board with making Julio our 3rd WR behind Lockett and Metcalf.

    • Ashish

      Hawks are excited about Dorsett he should be back after bye

    • Trevor

      Would love to see Gordon reinstated this week to let him get ready during the bye week.

  17. Hawks_Gui

    Besides the injuries, does anyone know when Taylor would be eligible to return?

    • Rob Staton

      Personally I wouldn’t expect to see him this year.

      • Rusty

        One very small silver lining in this scenario is that he wouldn’t accrue a season since he’s on the NFI list. So if he does turn out to be a good defensive end, when his rookie contract is up in a few years he’d be a RFA and could be kept for that extra year for a pretty modest amount. 2024 us will be so happy -_-

        • Rob Staton

          I’m not sure this is correct.

          You don’t get to draft an injured player, them stay injured, put them on the NFI list and then claim this year doesn’t toll against their contract.

        • cha

          Is that something new Rusty? My understanding the NFI has only tolled if it’s the last year of the player’s contract and the player misses the entire season.

    • cha

      NFI is basically the same as the PUP.

      They are out for the first 6 weeks of the season, not allowed to practice.

      Once those 6 weeks are up, they can practice. Once they officially practice, the clock starts. The team has 21 days / 3 weeks to either put him on the active roster, waive him or keep him on the NFI list (that’s for the season at that point).

      If the player doesn’t practice, the team has 6 weeks to decide what to do with him.

      The thing I can never remember is, does a bye week count as one of the 6 weeks? I think it does. But I’m never sure.

      • charlietheunicorn

        I believe it counts, if the team plays a game or not (bye).
        The Seahawks have a decent number of guys on NFI, PUP and suspended list…. so might be some more roster juggling soon. The days of carrying 4 TEs might be coming to an end soon as well.

      • Hawks_Gui

        Thanks cha!

        • Hoggs41

          Week 10 is the earliest he could play a game.

      • Chris Alexander

        Actually, as I understand it, that’s not quite accurate. But it’s pretty close.

        Players on the PUP list may not practice or play the first six weeks of the season. After the sixth week, the player must be allowed to return to practice, placed on injured reserved or released within five weeks.

        If the player returns to practice, the team has three weeks to decide to place him on the active roster or on the injured reserve list.

        Players on the PUP list do not count against the 53-man roster, but do count against the 90-man roster limit.

        Basically the same as PUP except that players on the NFI list can’t be added to the active roster until after the team’s 8th GAME.

        This means that the soonest we could see Taylor in a game is Week 10 (Game 9) against the Rams. Same with Colby Parkinson and DJ Reed, both of whom are also on the NFI list.

        Only Rashaad Penny is on the PUP list for Seattle.

    • Steve Nelsen

      Taylor is on the NFI list. The soonest he is eligible to return is Week 10 against the Rams.

      Pete mentioned in a past press conference that Taylor “is running” and his type of surgery has a high success rate. But, I don’t think it is reasonable to expect him to more than a LEO rotation partner with Mayowa if he does come back this season. And with what little we know at this point, it is possible that he does not play in 2020.

  18. Hoggs41

    The best way to look at our defense the rest of the season is probably doing so by quarters (4 games at a time). They had such a disastrous start they will never climb into the top half. But are you trending up is the question? Are they improving or are they not. If the arrow can slowly climb up we will be alright. If it stays level or somehow gets worse we could be in trouble. On the trade front it really seems like Kerrigan would still be our best option. I know he is playing about 30% of the snaps when Sweat and Young are both playing. Maybe they can get him for a 4th sooner than later as in this week? The other option I mentioned before was Carlos Dunlap but as was also talked about the Bengals dont ever trade anyone so not sure how much of an option that could be. Another note is what team do you fear the most in the NFC as of right now? For me its the Rams as they are keeping under the radar and are ballin on both sides of the ball

  19. Big Mike

    Fowler caught my attention when Rob mentioned him. Would be nice to have him vs. the Rams cuz you know he’s likely be pumped to face them and has worked against their Tackles in practice. He was one of the guys I wanted this offseason.
    All that said, for anyone that knows, how has he performed for Atl this year and maybe just as importantly, how’s his health been? I’m seeing one sack and 2 TFLs so far. Seems his price would be reasonable as well.

    • charlietheunicorn

      He has been banged up, dealing with ankle injury right now, but is likely to play this week.

  20. BobbyK

    Re: This whole 94% win percentage thing…

    Would it have been at 94% for every NFL team in that exact same situation? The reason I ask is because if Team A had Rex Grossman at QB and Team B had John Elway who would get the ball for that last drive if a stop was made, I’m pretty sure one 94% is a heck of a lot better than the other teams’ 94%. Right?

    • Group Captain Mandrake

      I could be wrong, but I think the percentage is pure analysis of score, situation, etc. and does not get affected by players. But if it does, would the Vikings win percentage been higher if Cook was still in?

    • charlietheunicorn

      I thought they looked at all 4th and 1 or less plays in NFL history. With the game in the balance, with the team possessing the ball with the lead… they might even take into account time outs left…. to get the % chance the team would win.

  21. charlietheunicorn

    When calculating “trade” deals, remember that a fully guaranteed contract of 12M for the year, would discounted by 750,000/game off the final deal for a trade. So, for example…. Yannick Ngakoue would be 12M for the full season, but now would be 8.25M ((-750,000 x 5) and going down 750,000 per week until the trade deadline).

    Certain deals would be more easily fit under the cap constraints for teams. I still can’t see how the Eagles, Falcons, and Saints are going to make enough space. They are all completely upside down in cap hell.

    • Chris Alexander

      Player salaries are divided by 17, not 16. That is, they get paid for the bye week as well as the games.

      So, using your example of Ngakoue’s $12M salary, it works out to $705,882.35 each week of the season.

      It’s not really a big difference, but with Seattle only having about $4M available under the cap right now, every little bit counts.

  22. cha

    I think a small piece of the defensive shortcomings are due to the change in penalties being called this year, particularly holding calls by OL.

    Holding calls historically are drive-killers. I don’t know if there’s a good stat on drive success when a holding call is made on the offense, but I bet the chances of the series resulting in a TD or FG drops dramatically.

    Minnesota had 3 last night and they effected their drives. The big one being the holding call on O’Niell late in the game that led to the 4th and inches game play.

    Past seasons:

    2019: 582 offensive holding calls.
    2018: 560 offensive holding calls.

    Per the fbdatabase.com, there’s been 114 offensive holding calls so far in 2020.

    Prorated over the season, the league is on pace for 369 offensive holding calls in 2020. That’s down 37%.

    So with less drives being killed by penalties, teams are having more clean drives and more chances to score. And if not score, win the TOP and field position game.

    This isn’t a silver bullet. The Seahawks defense is still terrible. There’d for sure be more holdings called on the Seahawks opponents if they had a better pass rush. After all, that’s the last salvation of a beaten OL. Hold him and take your chances you don’t get flagged, or get flagged and prevent an INT, fumble or your QB getting hurt.

    But the Seahawks have to adjust and make do with calls being made as they are. If the defense has to stay on the field for an extra drive per game, so be it. No sense in crying about it. You need to make plays to get off the field, and they’re not doing that.

    • Big Mike

      So many 3rd and mediums/longs end up being first downs. Drives me insane.

  23. CaptainJack

    I’ve seen KJ Wright get a lot of praise. He’s been one of my favorite players for years, and he did make 3-4 huge impact plays yesterday, but too many times he was easily blocked and driven away from the play opening up huge holes for cook/ Mattison.

  24. Chase

    Rob, here’s the link for the pff grades.

    • Rob Staton


      Shaquill Griffin — worst grade on defense.

      • Big Mike

        And that was with an outstanding pass break up. Apparently the only thing he did well all night.

      • CaptainJack

        Thanks for the memories Shaquill but I have no interest in resigning you. Maybe Blair can be tried out there next year.

        • Big Mike

          Pete also mentioned playing Ryan Neil at corner

          • Walter W Rucker

            Yes…Neal to corner!

            • Bankhawk

              IIRC, we discussed Bullard a fair bit in the run-up to his draft year. I don’t recall what the consensus on him was though.
              Refresh me, anyone?

              • Rob Staton

                Liked him a lot

    • SoCal12

      Interesting Bullard graded so well. Could be a nice signing.

      • BobbyK

        Fingers crossed.

    • charlietheunicorn

      DE Moore and DE Bullard jumped out to me. Both were active and appeared to get after the QB a little bit.. caused some disruption to the offense. Mayowa was not as active, but showed a few good pass rushes to my eye…. just need to solidify the group with 1 more guy, then you can have a rotation keeping everyone fresh.

    • GoHawksDani

      Thanks for sharing, but to me PFF seems like total rubbish. How could Griffin be worse and by far than Flowers?
      How is it possible that everyone said nice things about Mayowa (well not an elite guy but seems like probably the best of the worst) and he graded as the absolute worst? How could Bobby graded 88 when it was probably his absolute worst performance? I have a feeling that sometimes at PFF they work hard and check every play but other times they just let a random number generator decide

      • JUJUS

        I would guess that whatever negatives Tre flowers had, and the Great PBU Shaq had were all over ridden by the fact that Shaq gave up 2 tds

  25. Steve Nelsen

    I don’t see Seattle making a trade for a big-name defensive lineman prior to the trade deadline. The ONLY possible exception would be if JJ Watt says he wants a trade and that seems very unlikely.

    I am thinking potential trade targets need to be inexpensive in terms of both salary and draft compensation (think 5th rounder). The ideal player would be someone who could play Edge in rotation with Benson Mayowa.

    Seattle has a rotation at 1T with Snacks/Rush/Ford/Mone. I think they have decided to let their young rotation of Collier/Robinson play and develop. Jarran Reed at 3T is set. Mayowa has made some key plays but he is getting too many snaps.

    Damontre Moore is fighting to show he can be a part of a rotation. He had a heck of a game against Minnesota and right now he is the floor for any potential trade addition. Are they clearly better than Moore? And before you respond with a snarky jab, check out Moore’s numbers so far: 5 QB hits, 1 sack. That is the same number of QB hits and 1 more sack than Jadeveon Clowney has so far this year. He’s also flashed on ST.

    Darrell Taylor is running but there has been no commitment to a likely return date. If Seattle feels he can get back by week 8, they may not even feel a need to trade.

    Markus Golden is cheap and expendable for the NYG but I don’t know if he has anything left that is better than Moore. If Dallas decides to sell at the trade deadline, I would love to see Aldon Smith.

    • cha

      Agree on Moore. PC has talked about him needing to mature and have more focus, and having a child and a family has provided that for him. He reiterated that today. Maybe the light has finally come on for him.

      He’s consistently scored well on PFF but inexplicably hasn’t been given very many snaps by the Hawks.

      I get it, maybe the Hawks think he’s a more fringe/complementary player. But then what is Mayowa? How does he rate getting an 80/20 split of snaps with Moore?

      As for Reed, I think yesterday showed a lot about him and that he needs help. He was handling Samia inside consistently. Busting things up. Zimmer said something to the reporter at halftime they have to contain Reed. And then they did. I’m not saying he disappeared but his impact was greatly diminished. He just isn’t a guy that carries a line. The argument could be made that if they decide to invest in a serious pass rusher, it’s sort of a 2 for 1 deal as they “get” more single coverages for Reed.

    • BobbyK

      The difference with Clowney is that he commanded double teams. We consistently saw it. Heck, there were times we saw Clowney triple teamed last year. Stats don’t always tell the full story. When you’re double (and triple) teamed, that is still affecting the action because now there are less blockers for the rest of the defenders to take advantage of. I highly doubt any offensive coordinator has laid in bed awake at night trying to figure out how he’s going to have to account for Moore the following Sunday.

      You’re right about Aldon Smith being a good type of target but I think the Cowboys are still going to win that division with Andy Dalton.

    • Rob Staton

      No chance of Smith and let’s just drop the Watt stuff once and for all. It isn’t happening.

      They need speed off the edge. Pure and simple. Anyone who can deliver that and win some 1v1’s will do.

      • Steve Nelsen

        I saw Russ congratulating Aldon after the Dallas game. Pure class. And I’m pretty sure I lip-read Aldon saying, “Come and get me.” 🙂

      • John seahawk

        Some PFF scores and sack totals for people we looked at this summer in comparison to our staring edge and the guy we let go.

        Clowney 72.9 0 sacks

        Ngakoue 61.5 4 sacks

        Fowler 51.1 2 sacks

        Clark 53.5 3 sacks

        Collier 59.0 1 sack

        Mayowa 55.3 2 sacks

        Collier and Mayowa are by far the cheapest players being 3 million and a rookie contract and I almost took Fowler off the list as he is having legit injury issues and did take Bruce Irvin off. I feel like keeping Clowney would have really helped unlock the rest of the rotation. I miss who Frank Clark was for us, not sure I miss who he is now at that price. Didn’t want Ngakoue over the summer as I thought he was a liability when asked to do anything but rush and thought Irvin might fill those shoes well enough.

        • Rob Staton

          Ngakoue has five sacks.

          That’s massively deceptive on Clark because he is exactly what they’re missing right now.

        • Rico

          You forgot Everson Griffen who cracked 50 for the first time this year and is now at 50.1. Amazing to look at pretty much everyone other than Clowney grading out near or below our current DE’s according to PFF. Looks like we should have just put all of our eggs in the Clowney basket..

          • Rob Staton

            Some major context is needed on Everson Griffen here.

            The Cowboys, for some reason, appointed Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator. He’s a pure 3-4 guy. They’ve spent the last few years drafting and signing 4-3 personnel.

            The results are chaotic. He’s asking Griffen and Demarcus Lawrence to stand up as outside linebackers in space. Aldon Smith is used to this scheme because he had it in San Francisco. Griffen and Lawrence are totally foreign to this and it doesn’t suit them. It’s a total mess as everyone can see.

            The Seahawks should see if they can work a deal to get Griffen so he can play in a scheme that suits him a LOT better.

            • Rico

              Context is certainly important. It would tell you that he did do some stand up work during the first couple weeks of the season but is pretty much exclusively working from his 3 point stance. It would also tell you that Demarcus Lawrence has an 83.7 PFF grade and he is making the adjustment with less experience and accolades than Griffen has.

              • Rob Staton

                Well let’s have a breakdown then seeing as you’ve got all the answers. Prove he’s working mostly from a three point stance.

                I know a Dallas fan and was talking to him on Sunday. He said the scheme had Griffen working as a 3-4 OLB and it didn’t suit him at all.

                If you’ve got numbers saying something different let’s see them.

                • Rico

                  Do you see the irony in asking me for numbers to support my claims directly after you claimed something and used “a dallas fan” as evidence? Alas, I will try to provide as much evidence as possible.

                  Do you have Game Pass? You can see that he is mostly out of the 3 point stance now. There is a ton of game film put out for free on YouTube that shows that he is not lining up as a 2 point linebacker. You should re-watch the Seahawks-Cowboys game and count how many times he lines up in a 2 point. Spoiler alert: 0.

                  You can also view the article linked below where Griffen is quoted as saying “the experiment is over” regarding the 2 point stance.

                  You seem to be cagey but I hope you understand I am not trying to be confrontational. I just found EG’s grade to be interesting is all. Finally, I noticed you never addressed the fact that Lawrence is not struggling at all in making the transition. Interesting.

                  • Rob Staton

                    So no evidence then?

                    Nothing to prove how he’s been used in five games so far? Just an offer to watch game pass and a link that clearly proves they were using him in a two-point stance?

                    As for me using a Cowboys fan (who lives for the team) — anecdotal evidence from a good source is a well established method and perfectly acceptable. If you’re going to counter it by insisting it’s wrong, the burden of proof is on you.

                    So it’s not ironic. Neither am I cagey.

                  • Rico

                    I apologize for the fact that no serious NFL statistician has found the necessity to track whether a player begins a player with his hand on the ground. Maybe because it doesn’t correlate directly to a player’s performance?

                    I am not telling you to take my word for it, rather I am telling you to look at the film. Is this not a logical way to back up my claim? The film doesn’t lie.

                    Examine the argument Rob. You have two people who disagree about EG’s use and are using the following arguments:

                    Me: “Just look at the film” (like the Seahawks vs Cowboys game)

                    You: “My friend said he is in a 2 point stance”

                    Who seems to be using a logical method and who is citing an unknown and anonymous source. It’s a bad argument and you are making it worse.

                    If that isn’t enough for you, I have a friend who has been a Cowboys friend for 80 year and has a dog named Staubach whom no one on this site knows who just told me EG is no longer lining up in a 2 point stance. I believe that should pass the strenuous bar you set for “a good source”.

                    • Rob Staton

                      No, Rico.

                      This is what happened.

                      ME: ‘Everson Griffen isn’t a fit in that scheme and here’s some anecdotal evidence from a Cowboys supporting friend to back that up’.

                      YOU: ‘No you are wrong he’s in a three-point stance’

                      ME: ‘What’s your evidence?’

                      YOU: ‘Errr.. I don’t have any but if you watch gamepass maybe I’m right or maybe not’.

                      Try harder because this isn’t the level of debate we have in this community.

                • Spectator

                  Not that it really matters. But:


                  Specifically, “Through the first two games, it appeared Griffen was uncomfortable playing in a two-point stance (standing up) after predominantly playing in a three-point stance while with the Vikings. But his play didn’t substantially improve against Seattle, when he mostly used a three-point stance (hand in the ground).”

                  Judging by reports, he started the first two games primarily rushing from a 2-point. He was not comfortable or having success, so after that he went to mostly rushing 3-point.

                  I would still agree that Cowboys have not set him up to succeed, or played to his strengths. He still looks explosive and disruptive when I have watched, just out of position. I think he would definitely be an upgrade and asset. Maybe for a conditional pick? What are the odds that Dlaw is moved as well? He does not seem suited for the 3-4 either, so it would be advantageous for Dallas to move him for a second. Would be sweet if we could package something together to get both. 2nd and a player or something.

                  Regarding Takk discussed below. Atlanta is going to lose him this offseason. He is not going to be resigned. He will likely not garner a comp pick either (at least not high one). So it would definitely seem advantageous to Atlanta to move him for a 6th. It does not provide them immediate cap relief, but they are going to need to fill out their roster with cheap players, having a pick allows them to do that. Fowler would, so could we package something together to get both as well?

                  We have already played both teams. So that will not raise an issue. Further, getting 2 DLs is necessary in my opinion. Alone, none of the aforementioned can consistently win 1v1s. But together, they might be able to. Regardless, we need 1 of them. Cap availability is going to be an issue, but as ahs been mentioned, there are ways to address that and fit players in.

                  • Rob Staton

                    Yes, this was the point I was making all along. Whether he still is or not, Griffen was played as a 3-4 outside backer in a scheme that doesn’t suit him. And even if he’s being moved to a different role now, he’s still being coached by a pure 3-4 coach who would not normally have use for a player like EG.

                    So people saying he has a crap grade, need to remember this context. And I think he’d be better off in Seattle. This scheme is perfect for him and I do think he would provide a perfect tonic to their biggest issue of needing someone who can win a few more 1v1’s.

                  • John seahawk

                    A few things.

                    Thanks Rico for bring up Griffin, glaring omission on my part.

                    PFF had Ngakoue at 4 sacks but he does not play in the PFF he plays in the NFL and he has 5 as Rob stated.

                    I posted those numbers a bit out of surprise. I saw Clarks numbers last week and was really very surprised he was grading out that badly so I looked up some of the edges that we looked at over the summer and was also kind of surprised. I can’t really speak to whether or not the PFF numbers including Clarks are deceptive or not I don’t follow his game now that he is a Chief. I thought he was awesome as a hawk. I consider PFF an interesting data point on players I don’t actually get to watch very often.

      • Hawks_Gui

        Do you think Takk mckinley would be an option as a trade target?
        It wouldn’t clear space for atlanta, but it would give them a pick maybe a 4 round for a former first rounder that has not lived up his draft potential, and for the Hawks it would generate a bit of speed of the edge

        • Lewis

          I was just wondering the same thing. He looked good against us. I don’t think he’d have to cost a fortune since he doesn’t have amazing sack numbers and will be a free agent. Still seems like an upgrade over what we have now.

        • Rob Staton

          Maybe but the Falcons barely save anything so what’s the point, really?

          • Lewis

            For them to get a draft pick for now for a player they could have a tough time resigning later (since they are going to be cash strapped).

            • Rob Staton

              But what exactly are you going to get for a non-spectacular rental at this stage?

              If they want a sixth that badly, sure.

              • Lewis

                Not suggesting this is a blockbuster deal. But it could make us better and they get something. Look, I’m grasping for possibilities. I’d love for them to go out and find somebody better.

    • Chris Alexander

      I think Seattle WILL make a trade for a D-lineman . . . and maybe a corner.

      As I see it, Dallas is / should be a seller – yes, they lead their division, but they just lost their franchise quarterback and their defense is nearly as bad as Seattle’s so far. Honestly, in the East, I think Washington might be the only team with a chance to finish over .500; the rest are probably going to struggle to get to 5 wins.

      Minnesota played us tough on Sunday night but at 1-4, they’re currently the #15 team in the NFC. Could they go on a roll? Sure. Will they? I don’t see it. Detroit and Atlanta are also (almost certainly) out of the 2020 playoff equation at this point.

      Add it all up and that’s at least 6 or 7 NFC teams that JSPC should be reaching out to.

      On the AFC side of things, the Jets are going to give the Giants and Falcons a run for their money to see which one gets the #1 pick in next year’s draft and, frankly, my money is on the Jets “winning” that race. Houston got their first win this past weekend but is basically DOA in terms of the playoffs. Jacksonville too. Add the Broncos and the Chargers from the AFC West. And, even though they’ve shown some potential, the Bengals’ 1-3-1 record makes them a longshot for the playoffs as well.

      So, league-wide, probably a dozen teams that JSPC could reasonably expect to entertain offers for defensive players. Who would we want? And who could afford? And what would it cost us in terms of draft capital?

  26. Trevor

    Justin Herbert having his coming out party on MNF tonight. He looks legit.

    Brees and the Saints look like they are done. Not a championship caliber team on either side of the ball.

    • charlietheunicorn

      Herbert kid has been the real deal. Not on the best team or most talented team. But he makes plays and looks like he has a future in the NFL…..

      • McZ

        On PFF, if I remember correctly, there was a list of quality of defenses a QB played. RW was eighth easiest, Burrow third easiest, Herbert second hardest. That’s plain impressive.

        What is not impressive is the ability of his coachibg staff to find ways to lose games. Second week in a roll, where Anthony Lynn gifted a drive end of first half.

    • Henry Taylor

      I didn’t rate him at all coming out, like the kid though so happy to be wrong.

    • Big Mike

      Aaaaaand the Chargers continue with a long tradition of finding new and interesting ways to lose football games.

  27. Steve Nelsen

    Interesting comments out of Atlanta today. They want to keep their roster intact for the future 2021 coach. They were asked specifically about the salary cap issue and although the response was a bit vague, they seem to be willing to convert salary into bonuses to deal with the cap.

    • Chris Alexander

      What else are they going to say? If they say they’re rebuilding then the throw away all of their leverage in trade negotiations. Not that they have much leverage anyway since EVERYONE knows the fire sale is gonna happen.

  28. Chase

    Rob, what would it take to get you a press pass? These press conferences are not really inspiring.

    • Rob Staton

      Another game in London

  29. Hoggs41

    I think someone mentioned this before but I wonder if Ngakoue would be a trade candidate? The Vikings could be done and there cap is in rough shape next year. Might want that 2nd rounder back.

    • Rob Staton

      No chance.

      They’re not moving him.

  30. Amar

    A lot of this is PCJS evaluation. They have tried to solve the defense and specifically the pass rush through the draft and that hasn’t worked. Rasheem Green (2nd round) in 2018, LJ Collier (1st), Marquise Blair (2nd) and Cody Barton (3rd)in 2019, Jordyn Brooks (1st) and Darrell Taylor (2nd) in 2020. And even in 2017, they tried with Malik McDowell (2nd), Shaq Griffin (3rd), Lano Hill (3rd), Naz Jones (3rd), and Tedric Thomson (4th).
    That’s a LOT of HIGH draft picks and apart from Shaq Griffin, nobody has panned out – and injuries have played a major role in some. Green, Collier, Brooks, and Taylor can still be good to great – but can’t really bet on that.
    On the other hand, they have found gems on offense: Carson (7th round), Moore (7th), Dissly (4th), Jamarco Jones (5th), DK (2nd).
    In short, their HIGH draft picks from 2016 thru 2020 have produced ONE blue chipper – DK Metcalf.

    • Big Mike

      Spot on. Drafting, drafting, drafting……..

    • AlaskaHawk

      The last big offensive picks were Penny and Metcalf. One looks great, the other has been injured every season.

  31. Pran

    Ravens Queen and Chargers Murray are playing well as starters…where as our Brooks fighting snaps and injuries…. Years of draft misery is showing up on field and in stats this season. Time for a major overhaul of FO and Player development…

    • Norman

      Queen and Murray overall 2020 grades per PFF are 39.5 and 46.6. Both are being regularly abused in pass coverage (both have over half of their snaps coming in pass coverage).

      Have patience while Carroll works Brooks in. 5 weeks into the rookie season, with 2 being missed due to minor injury, and coming in behind 2 of the best linebackers in the league, is not the time to judge Brooks’ value. Certainly the collective state of the defense as a result of drafting is subject to criticism, but it’s far too early in Brooks’ case.

      We could very well find that by the end of the season, Brooks is a quality WILL with KJ playing SAM of late, and KJ seeming to thrive at the new position. I, for one, am intrigued to see how the snaps are handled when Brooks returns, presumably right after the bye.

      • Rob Staton

        All sounds dandy.

        I’d rather be content with BW and KJ and have a player at a position that could have a more obvious route onto the field.

        • Big Mike

          But as the post above this one indicates, they’d have to actually draft someone on the d-line that is well beyond the L.J. Colliers of the world. Forgive me but my confidence level in this team to draft an impact defensive lineman is near zero.

          • Frank

            What a win, sports drama at its absolute finest. Intresting to see after 5 weeks areas that aren’t quite
            what I thought they’d be preseason, the oline is performing far better than I expected, the defensive backs are performing far worse, and the defensive line seems to have as many problems on the interior as the edge players, and somehow where I expected RW to start winding down and becoming a lesser version of himself, he instead is running away with the MVP so far. None of those things are unbelievably shocking, all of them fall in the range of possible outcomes but I think they are causally related to the fact the League is calling far less holding penalties, creating a massive boost to the offensive side of the ball league wide. There’s a really long winded explanation of how this is a particular advantage to the Hawks offensive line, given they use a two hand punch method.


            Griffin is playing like crap, Flowers has totally lost his game before it really got going, Poona, Barton and Reed look like depth players. Pleasantly surprised with LJ, Bullard, Robinson, Dunbar, Neal, even if just as role players. I have questions about blue chip players, how many does it take to make a Championship team, or since the offensive is solid, how many more blue chip players does the defensive need to function? Do you feel there are any players on the rooster with the possibility Or reasonable likely hood of becoming Blue chip players? Are Snacks, Wagner, a Blue chip, or even Dunbar?

    • Trevor

      With the way this team needs to win now I wish the Hawks had adressed LB on day #3

      They should have addressed the DL in free agency and used thier early picks on WR, RB, OL as I think those were 5he strengths of the draft and it is showing up early in the season.

      This offense would have been absolutely loaded going forward had they done something like even just going with some of the Blog favorites.

      #27 Edwards Allaire – perfect compliment to Carson
      #48 Chase Claypool – imagine him with DK and Locket in our offense
      #69 Damien Lewis

      This is not some hind sight pie the sky potential draft. This was a realistic option they could have easily pulled off had the addressed the DL properly in free agency.

      • Rob Staton

        They are also names were talked about a lot on the blog.

        It was a very realistic scenario and would’ve provided tremendous value.

        • Big Mike

          I really feel like because they “outsmarted” the rest of the league with the picks of RW, Sherm, Kam, KJ, maybe eve Bobby, that possibly because of ego they continue to try to be smarter than the other teams and it bites them in the ass more often than not. Sure with DK it panned out but there’s too many times it hasn’t. As mentioned above, it’s really been a problem on the defensive side of the ball.

          • Rob Staton

            Whatever the reason — they have not made the most of their drafts for the last few years.

            • Big Mike


              • Rob Staton

                The most pressing concern for me is their approach to the draft.

                A good plan should always be to fill your more pressing needs in FA if possible, then seek value in the draft.

                In the last two years the Seahawks have used the draft to fill their more pressing needs and the results have been poor.

                The plan and approach to the 2019 class in particular, as detailed in my article a few weeks ago, was massively concerning.

                • dcd2

                  Agree completely. I don’t expect them to strike gold in the late rounds, but the approach has seemed foolish.

                  Entering the draft with glaring holes that need to be addressed by successfully obtaining and starting rookies is a recipe for failure. Couple that with their (seeming) targeting of positions and going against the strength of the draft, and you end up with drafts like the last two.

                  Jonathan Taylor or CEH. Tee Higgins or Chase Claypool. Nope. Another LB and a trade up for an injured DE who we didn’t have good medicals on, that will not likely contribute this year. Then we put the cherry on top by taking two more TE’s when we already have 4 on the roster. Didn’t make any sense at the time and still doesn’t.

                  • Rob Staton

                    The funny thing is I think a number of people would’ve said they don’t need ‘another’ high pick at running back or receiver.

                    Well… how much did they really need a WILL for the future? Let’s be honest, not at all. Whenever KJ Wright does retire, go and get someone then. A veteran or a draft pick. We’re wasting a year of cheap value by stashing a replacement for KJ who just so happens to be our top performer on defense so far.

                    The whole plan is/was nuts.

                    If you draft Taylor or CEH — you maybe save a ton of cash on Carson next year. Now what? Are they going to pay him? Presumably they will.

                    If you draft Claypool (who we talked up as a R1 talent) — you have two players with unreal cheap club control for the next 3-4 years, to provide dynamic, sensational weapons for your best player.

                    None of this is rocket science. The Seahawks are making it harder than it needs to be.

                • Frank

                  Why is it always better to fill your top need with a free agent, or even trade to sign and losing to free agency. Plenty of high profile free agents are busts with their new scheme and the cap hit is way higher. I’ve just seen so many teams spend huge, and end up where the Falcons are. I like the approach to free agency of not being big spenders, what hits is a bargain and what doesn’t gets cut. I just wish they’d get there scouting reports on the Draft and cheaper free agents from a certain British guy.

                  • Rob Staton

                    You say you’ve seen plenty of FA busts but we’ve also seen plenty of draft busts who were being depended on to fill needs. A free agent has at least performed in the league. A rookie is much more of an unknown.

                    I think the draft should be about value. Sometimes you have to draft for need and it’s unavoidable. I don’t think that was the case this year.

                  • Frank

                    Sorry, it won’t respond under yours. I agree that there is a more defined product to grab a free agent, but you only get what you pay for. .I’d like to find a place that really breaks down the difference between the two approaches, as I’ve always been a draft your team keep your stars and avoid cap he’ll bye shirking free agency other than the mid to lower tiers. Looking at the PFF grades and just from watching the games, I don’t think the edge players are playing as badly as the DT and CB are.

                    • Rob Staton

                      The edge players are not winning 1v1.

                      It’s the biggest need on the team. There’s no speed off the edge.

                      I’m not sure ‘you get what you pay for’ is the counter you were hoping for. That pretty much proves my point. If you rely on cheap free agents and cheap draft picks to fix your self-confessed priority, you’ll end up with a crap pass rush.

          • dcd2

            They ‘outsmarted’ the rest of the league by taking Barton over Okereke and Brooks over Queen as well. So far the results look sadly familiar to the ‘success’ of our recent drafts.

            I’d also say that DK pretty much fell in our laps. Many had him as a 1st rounder and he fell much further than even his critics had thought. Kudos to PCJS for moving up to grab him. Our offense wouldn’t be nearly as scary without him.

        • Trevor

          Yes they were all Blog favorites who you covered in depth.

          • dcd2

            Thought of you when Claypool broke out this weekend. No one was banging the drum harder for him, and he looks like a star on the rise.

      • Steve Nelsen

        This is actually is the definition of hindsight.

        Seattle began the off-season with no starters at SAM, 3T, 5T, LEO and RT and no clear replacement on the roster. Those were all priorities.
        Nickel CB was a need since Seattle had been using their SAM as a big nickel in pass defense.
        Their starting C (Britt) was injured and might not play (hasn’t) and their backup was terrible so C was a need.
        Their backup swing tackle was gone.
        Their starting LT got nicked last year so an LT of the future was a need.
        Both starting OGs were getting old.
        Dissly was hurt and his return was uncertain. The only TE was a small receiver type so TE was a need.
        Carson was coming off (another) injury and headed in to a contract year so RB depth and a potential replacement was a need.
        3rd WR was a need.
        A CB to replace or push Flowers was a need.
        DL depth was a need.

        They addressed many of these needs in free agency. Reed at 3T, Irvin at SAM, Shell at RT, Mayowa at LEO, Olsen at TE, Ogbuehi at swing tackle, Finney at C, Hyde at RB, Dorsett at 3rd WR, and Dunbar at CB. I know it easy to look back 6 months later and criticize the misses but in fairness you should give credit to the hits and recognize that nobody hits 100%.

        They tapped into the depth of the draft to add a RB, WR, and OL. They also added 2 DL and some more TE depth given Olsen’s age.

        “They haven’t made the most of their recent drafts” Chris Carson, DK Metcalf and Damien Lewis would like to disagree.
        Again it is easy to cherry-pick misses.

        The bottom line in the NFL is results. Seattle has been in the playoffs every year of the PCJS era but one. They won their 1st SuperBowl and played in another. They are 5-0 and headed to the playoffs again this year. Seattle is one of the top 2-3 franchises in the League with NE and KC.

        • Rob Staton

          I don’t even know where to start with this Steve 🤦‍♂️

          • Steve Nelsen

            Well we could start with my list of preseason needs. And then we could have a fair discussion about which needs they filled and which they didn’t. And whether their approach to each need was reasonable.

            All this “PCJS is not doing a good job” talk is rubbish. Talking about their misses is fair. But talking about only their misses is not fair.

            • Rob Staton


              I’ve spent the last six months talking about this.

              I’m really sorry, but what you’ve written isn’t close to a counter to those arguments. And I have no energy to write out those articles a second time.

              It’s perfectly reasonable to argue they’ve not done a good job over the last few years.

              • Steve Nelsen

                It is perfectly reasonable to argue that Seattle has not done a good enough job over the past couple years. I think even PC JS would agree with that.

                But, not done a good job? I disagree. You have to have a very narrow definition of success to say they’ve not done a good job. For instance, “they’ve not done a good of improving the defense.” That’s fair.

                • Rob Staton

                  What are you even arguing Steve?

                  Who has said they’ve done a ‘bad job’ in the last 10 years?

                  It’s perfectly fair to say they’ve not drafted well in recent years. It’s perfectly fair to say they’ve done a bad job rebuilding this team since the reset given what they’ve spent, what they’ve achieved and the state of the roster currently. That’s the point people are making and it’s a fair point.

                  Not sure why you’ve taken this on.

                  • Amar

                    It’s no big secret that they have not drafted well in the last 4-5 years. However, there were some HITS in these drafts as well. Frank Clark, Shaq Griffin, DK Metcalf, Chris Carson, Jarran Reed. There were also some servicable starters/players: Will Dissly, Ifedi (4 yr starter), David Moore, Pocic, Penny (terrible value though)
                    I think the BIGGEST concern is the over reaching in the first and second rounds. Only THREE hits in the first 2 rounds in 5 years: Clark, DK, and Reed.
                    Maybe Brooks, Blair, Collier, Pocic, Penny can still be salvaged. But still, overall, these are B-/C+ types of drafts.

                    • Rob Staton

                      I don’t know why I keep seeing this counter.

                      Nobody is saying they haven’t drafted ANY good players.

                      The point is they haven’t made the most of their recent drafts and they have completely failed at certain positions. That’s just a fact.

  32. AlaskaHawk

    I’m having a problem reconciling the defense/offense is poor argument with their occasional bursts of energetic and better play. Against the Vikings, the first half was terrible. The defense was getting torn apart, the offensive line couldn’t block, Russ looked lethargic as he let the Vikings walk up and hug him into two sacks. The only thing working was special teams. They were fortunate to only be behind 13-0.

    And then there was the burst in the third quarter. The defense caused a fumble and an interception (Great one handed catch KJ). Russ is moving the ball well, scoring in 2-4 plays on all three drives. The pass rush isn’t getting to him anymore.

    Then they slip back into average mediocracy again, and finally have to come from behind to win by a point.

    Is the defense worse than average? Why do they occasionally play so well? Do the younger players fight harder for the team? Will the offense and defense be sunk by the line play? Will the return of running backs Penny and Hyde change the offense? Or will they stick with Carson and let Russ cook?

    Rob’s point about tempo was interesting. I’m not a big fan of their conservative slow game. It has almost always led to them being behind at the end of the first half. The whole strategy is a loser unless Russ makes a last minute touchdown or two.

    Lots of puzzling questions about who this team really is. And who among the recovering players will step up and contribute.

    Maybe this is just half a team, with the best defensive players either leaving in free agency or sitting on the injury sideline.

  33. JUJUS

    the 92.4 Grade for pass rush that Bullard got gives me some real hope.

    The Interior pass rush we wanted from Bullard 4 years ago has now come to fruition.

    Now we just need 1 more Edge monster.

    • AlphaDK

      EDGE monster? Darrell Taylor is going to be a beast when he returns to the field. The coaching staff has been hyper conservative with injuries as a rule, and they spent the equivalent of a 1st round pick on him, as much draft capital as on Jordyn Brooks.

      So far, Alton Robinson is tied for the lead in sacks among rookies, with a whopping 1. So there is a not unreasonable chance that Taylor could end up with the most sacks for a rookie DE in the 2020 season (if he returns to health, there is no one on the Seahawks DL with enough talent to keep Taylor from seeing a fair number of snaps).

      • Rob Staton

        It’s no good Darrell Taylor ‘being a beast’ in 2021 (which remains to be seen given the seriousness of this injury).

        They need someone now.

        Alton Robinson isn’t enough. He’s a young guy, worthy of being in a rotation. Not relied upon.

        • AlphaDK

          A stress fracture of the tibia is not a very serious injury, especially given that it wasn’t displaced or compound.

          Given the way the Seahawks deal with recovery from injury, I suspect that playing the full season on the stress fracture got Taylor’s symmetry out of whack, and the training staff is devoted to getting his leg and core strength to the right place to minimize risk of secondary injury.

          I expect spot duty from Taylor by week 8 and a full share of the DE rotation by week 12.

          • AlphaDK

            and I COULD be TOTALLY wrong.

          • Rob Staton

            Yeah, he’s had one of those none serious injuries that lasts for over a year.

            • AlphaDK

              The way you phrase that feels like over-simplification of the timeline, leaving out some important details:

              1) his injury went undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for the entire season, therefore was not receiving appropriate treatment (rest) for 4 months. And his injury would have been aggravated by lifting, practice, and games throughout the season. So it’s really only been 8 months.

              2) especially immediately after surgery, he was trying to rehab during COVID, and it is highly probable that he did not get the normal college rehab program before the draft, or the normal NFL rehab program after.

              3) the prolonged course of the undiagnosed injury, 4 months, combined with the limited access to PT after surgery, 2 months, both probably contributed to muscular atrophy, because it really was around 6 months of “just getting by” as opposed to the the typical weight and rehab work that an NFL prospect would put in.

              4) the expected healing time for the return to activity in an uncomplicated patient is 3-4 months regardless of whether or not surgery is performed.

              5) when it heals properly, a tibial fracture with intramedullary rod has very low risk of reinjury, and does not have any long term consequences

              6) the Seahawks are conservative bringing players back from injury, with a belief (and probably statistics to prove) that playing football through injury makes players more prone to re-injury or new injury.

              In summary, his course has been complicated, but it is not a serious injury, nor is his timeline of recovery a surprise at this point. And the injury should not have long term consequences on his health or performance.

              • Rob Staton

                Yeah sure, the reason he’s not been able to do anything since the Senior Bowl in January until mid-October (with no sign of an imminent return) is because I’ve ‘over-simplified the timeline’.

                The reason the Seahawks said they felt confident drafting him, no issues, very happy — only to admit they misjudged the situation — is because this is just a minor issue. Not serious at all. They’re just being ‘overly cautious’.

                I’m sure he’s in tip-top shape, ready to come roaring onto the field any day now.

                Thanks doctor for clearing that up.

                I hope I don’t get one of those months and months long minor issues any time soon.

              • Bmseattle


                If what you suppose in #6 is correct, and the Seahawks have statistical proof that playing through an injury makes the player more prone to re-injury or new injury.


                your point #1 is true that…
                “his injury went undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for the entire season, therefore was not receiving appropriate treatment (rest) for 4 months. And his injury would have been aggravated by lifting, practice, and games throughout the season.”

                Then it seems fair to be concerned that Taylor playing/practicing/lifting for a season while injured, likely did lead to a new injury or made the initial injury worse.

                I sure hope that you are correct in your optimism about Taylor returning soon… but the circumstantial evidence, combined with the way Pete has addressed the issue, has me uneasy.

    • Steve Nelsen

      Damontre Moore may already be the edge player we need. I expect him to start reducing the number of snaps that Benson Mayowa is taking; particularly if Moore continues to play like he did against Minnesota. If you look at the numbers for Mayowa/Moore against Minnesota, they add up to a pretty good Edge rusher.

      I think Seattle is hoping the combination of Collier/Robinson at 5T will continue to grow with more snaps.

      Bullard may be the complement to Reed at 3T.

      A 1T rotation of Snacks/Rush/Ford/Mone seems sufficient.

      • Rob Staton

        Moore isn’t the edge player they need.

        I’m glad he played well on Sunday but they need someone with quickness off the edge.

        • Lewis

          Agreed. I feel like if they could just find one half-decent speed guy, they could put together a solid rotation, especially if they can get Harrison in shape. As you’ve said before, some of the players we are counting on to be “the guy” would be much better as rotational depth.

        • Spencer Duncan

          Between Collier, Green, Moore, and now Bullard – it seems we have too many 5T types. We need some speed desperately to rotate in with Mayowa.

          The DL isn’t terrible, but it’s a little better than I was expecting (as in, it’s not a complete dumpster fire). Losing Irvin for the year does suck a little bit in retrospect, and the uncertainty of Taylor’s injury hurt speed off the edge as well.

          • Rob Staton

            It’s fairly terrible

          • Bmseattle

            You didn’t mention Alton Robinson. He’s more of a speed guy.
            I’m not suggesting he’s the solution to our problems, but he’s probably our best outside rusher after Mayowa.

  34. pob

    The Seahawks defense has seemed awful, but a lot of the advanced stats dont think they’re that bad. DVOA has them 18th in defense, third overall and gives Seattle the second highest likelihood (11%) of winning the Super Bowl. I don’t think their pass rush win % is terrible either, although I don’t know how that accounts for frequency of blitzing.

    • Rob Staton

      I recognise this. Personally I think this tells us that some of the advanced stats are weighted towards certain aspects, such as turnovers, rather than some of the categories that Seattle are massively struggling in.

      And while I’m sure people will argue I’m ‘confirming my priors’ (as someone just has on twitter), I feel like having watched every game multiple times so far that I can judge this defense to be poorer than the ratings are suggesting for the reasons I’ve gone into in some detail over the last few weeks. I also back these views up using advanced stats. I won’t rehash what I’ve already written in 2-3000 word articles but my arguments are on the blog for anyone interested.

  35. pob

    I think DVOA is overrating Seattle somewhat because of a somewhat unsustainable number of turnovers forced, but I don’t think they’re much worse than the 21st-24th or so defense in the league.

    Falcons-Averaging 24.4; Scored 25 vs. Seattle
    Cowboys: Averaging 32.6; Scored 31 vs. Seattle
    Dolphins: Averaging 27.2; Scored 23 vs. Seattle
    Patriots: Averaging 24.3; Scored 30 vs. Seattle
    Vikings: Averaging 26.4; Scored 26 vs. Seattle

    The above doesn’t adjust for pace of game, H/A, the schedule opponents have played, the role of special teams, field position, etc., but a quick glance at those numbers doesn’t suggest the Seahawks’ results have been massively worse than what you’d expect from an average defense.

    Giving up a record-setting amount of yardage while allowing roughly your opponents’ average number of points scored doesn’t feel sustainable. That said, this simple analysis matches what the advanced stats are seeing, which is not a dumpster fire of a defense.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t know anyone who’s called it a ‘dumpster fire’ — other than people seeking a way to emphasise a point.

      I think it’s a crappy defense and shouldn’t be as crappy as it is given the team spent $50, three first round picks, a second and two thirds on their team this off-season. I also think the crappy defense could mean that this ends up being a carbon copy of a year ago where they end up finishing second in the division and losing early in the playoffs.

      Which are fair points and concerns IMO.

    • pdway

      it’s a good call-out to see what those opponents are averaging against the league – adds some perspective. And in a couple games it’s fair to note that the other teams were in constant catch-up mode, passing every down, and some of the 4th quarter scores were meaningless.

      we are what we are – a below-average defense that has enough grit to come through here and there. we’ll see if the offense can be consistently good enough to take us far.

  36. Bankhawk

    Ahh… a miss on that then. But I was hearing it in my head. I really was.
    Guess I’m dating myself here.

  37. 34shadow

    My only issue here is that the teams Seattle has played have scored *more* against other opponents than against Seattle. Right now, Seattle is giving up 27 points per game. Right now, the other teams in the NFL have given up 27.1 points against Seattle’s common opponents. Keep in mind, this average includes a Patriots team that played without Newton and a Falcons team that played without Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley for the better part of two games.

    So, if Seattle was historically bad, why are they doing better than average?

    I think the answer is two fold:
    1) Seattle IS giving up more yardage (471 vs 401) per game so our eyes are not deceiving us. Seattle struggles to get consistent pressure on the QB and Tre Flowers has been terrible in coverage. Of course, we need to note that the secondary has been at 50% strength or less for several games. Assuming the Hawks get health back on their side, some defensive issues will be resolved.
    2) Seattle’s offense has caused other teams to chase yardage and points. There is no doubt that teams play more recklessly when they are down than we they are ahead. Look at the Falcons and the Cowboys and the Patriots. They all had to push the ball down the field to have a chance.

    So, Seattle could’ve done better in the offseason to address the defense, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that teams have scored less against Seattle than against the other teams they have played.

    • Rob Staton

      1. The Seahawks are on pace to be historically bad in terms of yardage conceded and passing yardage conceded. You can argue the importance of that if you want but it’s simply a fact that that currently they are on pace to set records in those two areas. I would suggest that isn’t something to dismiss as a non-issue, personally.

      2. I’ve made the argument myself several times already that scoreboard pressure has impacted the way teams play the Seahawks. But scoreboard pressure doesn’t explain how you end up leading the league in explosive plays conceded and it doesn’t explain the 38-second, 94-yard drives they were giving up against New England and Dallas. And I would argue it’s a concern that having resorted to operating a defense that simply sits in coverage and does everything to avoid getting beat deep, they couldn’t get off the field against Minnesota and were half a yard away from us all coming away from that game seeing it as an absolute hammering.

      3. I’m sorry — but you cannot wash away the off-season by simply pointing to points conceded in five games being at an average level based on team performance so far. I’m not going to rehash six months of articles. They are all in the archive to peruse if people wish. The Seahawks spent $50m in free agency and used three R1’s, a second rounder and two third rounders. It’s perfectly acceptable to expect a LOT more than this — especially in the pass rush department given they stated that was the priority to fix. And let’s also be right here — if Cam Newton gets one yard on a play he’d scored on three times already, or if Alexander Mattison made one easy cut to the right hand side, the Seahawks would have 14 more points against their name and they’d be 4-1 or 3-2.

      • pdway

        all those things mentioned are factors – but it’s the eye test too. for long stretches of games, teams seem to be able to do whatever they want against this defense, and it’s maddening.

        they’ve shown a knack for turnovers, and timely late-game plays – – doesn’t feel exactly like that’s the type of thing you can count on.

        if we can scrape together enough to just be an average defense – and note that we’ve not had our best defensive player for a couple weeks – then we can still have real succcess this year, esp w the way the NFC looks.

        I thought I’d be scared of SF, NO, and Dallas this year – – doesn’t seem like it now.

        • 34shadow

          1) True, the Seahawks are on pace to be historically bad. Of course, that would assume that they didn’t have the Jets, Giants and Team on their schedule. My point is simply that they have played just better than average than the other defenses that have face those teams in terms of points scored and about 17% worse in terms of yardage. They are not good stats, but by no means are they apocalyptic either. In fact, one might call them below average and no more.

          2) Injuries in the secondary certainly could explain those gaffes. So would injuries at the Linebacker position. So would injuries at the DE position. The Niners are as good an example as any. Would you, right now, straight up trade Seattle’s defense for the Niners? I would, in a heartbeat. And yet, their defense gave up big play after big play to the Dolphins. Why? Injuries. Plain and simple.

          3) I agree the we should expect more. I agree that this defense needs to do better. I agree that we should’ve had an easier time against our first opponents. However, I do not agree that the house is burning down. It is average or a little below with tons of room for improvement. I base that off of 19 games played against our first 5 opponents. I base that off of the stats from those games. The includes hundreds of data points.

          Sure, you can point to the plays that could’ve turned Seattle into a 3-2 team. I could then point to the DK drop, or the Diggs “PI”, or the Wright drops that would’ve turned close games into two-score laughers for Seattle. That type of anecdotal commentary is just that.

          Here is something that I know we can agree on. Seattle’s D must do better. They must improve like our 2013 offense did. They must communicate. They must get healthy. They must get mean. Without it, we are average or worse and that does not end well in the playoffs.

          • Rob Staton

            1. You challenged the assertion that they were historically bad and I simply pointed out the statistics where this is an inarguable fact.

            2. The Seahawks did not give up a 30-odd second, 90-odd yard drive because of injuries. Ditto the other awful drives they gave up against NE and Dallas.

            3. Who said the ‘house is burning’? This is the problem I have with discussions like this. I address all the points with direct, to-the-point answers. And then you just insert a strawman ‘house is burning’ counter.

            You’re wrong on the anecdotal commentary too. The KJ missed picks and DK’s botched TD are not relevant to a discussion about the defensive performance. I don’t know what this ‘Diggs PI’ play is that you’re referring to. The Cam run was make or break, points or not. Mattison is the same because if he makes that cut, he scores. Even if he just gets another six inches on the fourth down — we’re spending two weeks talking about an absolute hammering, not 5-0.

  38. Josh emmett

    I’m optimistic. They are going to be getting 2 all pros in Harrison and Adams, Dunbar should be healthy, their first round pick playing in the position they want him to at will, we also should be getting our first look at Taylor after the bye. KJ looks great at Sam too. I wonder how many teams had bad starts and ended up in the middle of the pack yardage wise? I’m betting way more then teams that pass the 7,000 mark. I’ll be optimistic about them getting better.

    • Rob Staton

      1. Snacks Harrison was an all pro once in 2016. Pete Carroll has stated in his last two press conferences that he simply needs to focus on getting in shape at the moment. So it’s a bit rich to refer to him in his current guise as an all pro.

      2. There is no indication at all that we’ll see Darrell Taylor after the bye. My hunch is he doesn’t play this year.

      3. You can bet that if you like and you may be right. But it’s going to take some major improvements to see that happen because the first five games offered nothing to back your prediction.

  39. Cortez Kennedy

    “It was hard to watch the Vikings kick Seattle’s arse in the trenches on both sides of the ball, dominate to the extent they did and think this is a Super Bowl team.“

    Like watching somebody pulling your intestines out sloooowwwwlllyyyy with no way to make it stop.

    Back to the pass rush, Fowler is only 25 and is only making 6 million this year. We have plenty of expensive dead weight that can be shed this offseason. I’m sure he would be stoked to play for a team capable of scoring more than 3 points in a Super Bowl. It would have been nice if we would have got him when it wasn’t costing us draft picks.

    Great article Rob.

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