Anyone following this blog is aware that occasionally I huddle together with my expert panel to discuss a broader topic. It’ almost always related to something Seahawks, as a blog called 12th Life would lead you to expect.
For example, every NFL mid season, we offer our mid season grades to position groups and coaching of the Seattle Seahawks once the team has played through eight games, which they now have, and which we are doing now. It’s a fun reflection, and we hope you enjoy it.
My expert panel includes myself, along with my tabby cat Earl, and my long haired black cat Kam.
Here are our grades.
Curtis: For the most part, Russell Wilson has been cooking pretty well. This offense is a high scoring machine built off of his arm talent. He’s on pace to shatter franchise records for passing yardage and touchdowns, but he is also on pace to throw more interceptions that he ever has, which is a likely blemish that comes with passing more.
Kam: Russ cooking makes me purr and roll around on the floor and play bite your hand. I love Russell Wilson. I just hope that he doesn’t cook so much that the team gets him killed when defenses now decide to send the kitchen sink at him.
Earl: I don’t get the whole Let Russ Cook scene. This team used to be about balance, and now they are out of balance. Yes, he is their best player. Yes, the offensive attack should now go more through him. I get all that, but sometimes you want to grind a little clock, especially help give a struggling defense a bit of a breather. Russell is now on pace to throw sixteen interceptions, which is very Jay Culter-esque, and I worry now that defenses are figuring out how to rattle him more with blitzing. Therefore, I am the lone dissenter. I say little Russ simmer just a bit.
Running Back: B
Earl: Chris Carson is the guy that I’d like to see cook a bit more, and I would also like to see him signed to a long term extension. I know he gets banged up, and misses a few games, but look how much better this offense is when he is cooking with Russ than when he misses time. Pay the man.
Curtis: I would like to see Carson extended, as well. For my money, he’s running style blends perfectly with Russell’s passing attack. I think he’s a tone setter, as well. His presence was missed the last couple weeks. Short sample size, but there are things that I like about rookie DeeJay Dallas.
Kam: Chris Carson plays running back like a Marvel character. My problem is the depth behind him. Carlos Hyde pulling his hammy has hindered this team. Obviously, they don’t trust Dallas enough to carry more, otherwise they would have kept with him more against the Bills, and Travis Homer is not a threat to run the ball. This team needs Rashaad Penny back. Hard to grade this group higher than a B when Carson predictably misses a few games.
Wide Receiver: A+
Curtis: For my money, this is the position group on the team that I feel best about. I feel best about it now, and I feel even better about it moving forward in the future. DK Metcalf should be a super star for years. Compare him to Megatron all you want, or Terrell Owens. I compare him to Seattle Supersonic legend Shawn Kemp.
Earl: DK Metcalf is a motherfudging beast, but for my cheddar, Tyler Lockett is the man. This dude out shakes all defenders constantly, and he fricking catches everything. For a little guy, he even hauls in the contested stuff. He’s the man.
Kam: Watching DK Metcalf abuse corners makes me roll around on the floor, and play bite. If I were play-calling, I’d line him up everywhere. I’d play in inside, outside. I’d play him at tight end on occasion, and I’d even line him up at running back, BUT I”M CRAZY LIKE THAT!
Tight End: B-
Kam: Tight ends haven’t been used as much as I thought they would, but I love me some Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister. Anyone see where Greg Olsen is? I’m cute.
Earl: If they are going to continue down the whole Let Russ Cook road, I want to see the tight ends used more. Defenses are starting to take away the deep moon balls to DK and Tyler. Russ has got to give them something else to think about, and they have too much talent here to under use this group. Jacob Hollister has been really good lately.
Curtis: I agree about getting the tight ends more involved. Going two tight end more also makes the offense less predictable in terms of defending the pass and run. I’ve been underwhelmed with their use of them, but it also might be a situation where they have been going to the hot hands more with the receivers.
Offensive Line: B+
Curtis: This has been the surprise group for me. Damien Lewis has been a stud at right guard, and Brandon Shell has been really good at right tackle. Ethan Pocic at center is the biggest surprise player on the team this year, though. This is the guy that I think that the team might want to lock into a long term contract.
Earl: Duane Brown is a fricking stud. God, I hope that he doesn’t retire anytime soon. Like, I hope that he plays until he’s forty. Please God. Pretty please.
Kam: I can’t wait to see Chris Carson back because, I can’t wait to see guys like Damien Lewis blocking more downhill again. This is the best pass blocking line Pete Carroll has ever put together in Seattle, but let these dogs eat. I’m cute.
Defense Line: C-
Curtis: We are being generous with this grade, and in all honesty, the seven sack performance against the Bills bumped them up to this C- grade. Up until they trade for Carlos Dunlap, they were working on an incomplete.
Kam: Jarran Reed has been decent at defensive tackle, but he’s had no reliable edge rush help. Funny that the addition of Dunlap on a field last Sunday coincided with 2.5 sacks for Jarran in that game. Not to say that he suddenly turns into Aaron Donald, but I like Jarran Reed. People who don’t are dumb.
Earl: Terrible. That’s the only word that I can use to describe this line. No ability to consistently rush with four players has lend to the team blitzing more, and that has left their secondary and linebackers exposed in coverage. Why hasn’t they activated Snacks Harrison yet off of the practice squad yet?! That fricking drives me nutz and I wanna poop on your pillow because of that. Maybe Dunlap helps this squad, but right now, I grade them as suck ass.
Earl: Bobby Wagner seems slower. If they would fricking get Snacks Harrison actually playing in front of him, maybe that will finally free him up more to make more plays. KJ Wright has probably been the better player overall. I haven’t seen rookie Jordyn Brooks enough to make a call on his play, but I know that I don’t need to see much more of Cody Barton. Give me Snacks!
Kam: Give me more Jordyn Brooks. His speed on the field is instantly noticeable. Also, I agree about getting Snacks Harrison in at defensive tackle. Bobby and KJ deserve to be able to play cleaner. They need better space eating defensive tackle play in front of them. Give me Snacks! I’m cute.
Curtis: Bobby Wagner had a stellar game against the 49ers when he was cut him loose to make plays. Against the Bills, they had him covering receivers who are tops in the league. It was hard to watch. This unit is suffering for two reasons, as I see them. One, they are suffering because of the defensive line play in front of them, and two, they are suffering because Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Junior have not fully defined what this defense is. Are they an aggressive attacking defense, or are they a soft zone defense? For me, they are caught in a no man’s land in between, and it’s frustrating to watch.
Curtis: It pains me to say it, but this has been the most disappointing area of the team, by far. The trade for Jamal Adams was supposed to make this an area of strength. Yes, injuries have been an issue, but injuries happen everywhere. Yes, lack of quality pass rush has hurt a bunch, but for my eyes, I see this group using poor technique and fundamentals all the time. The safeties miss too many tackles. The corners are using crappy technique. These are fixable things, but they have to fix them now.
Kam: I’m embarrassed by this group. It’s embarrassing to watch them right now. What is Jamal Adams, anyway? Seems to me like he is more of a rush linebacker than a safety. That’s terrible. This defense needs Kam Chancellor to step in an teach these guys how to play together on the back end. Gimme Kam!
Earl: I’m so angry about the state of this squad, I’m going to poop on your pillow. W.T.F
Special Teams: B+
Kam: Michael Dickson has been a freaking stud of a punter. The kicker guy has been steady. If it weren’t for allowing that big return at the start of the game in Buffalo, I’d give this squad on A, but then that play happened.
Curtis: Special teams has been pretty good all year. Dickson has been an all-pro.
Earl: If you think that I am going to talk about special teams and the kickers, I am going to poop on your pillow.
Earl: Pete Carroll is a master at building a positive culture, and he is showing an ability to now adapt to a pass happy league with the Russell Cooking thingy. However, this is his defense, not Ken Norton’s. This defense is lousy. He needs to fix it, or they ain’t going anywhere in the playoffs.
Curtis: Brian Schottenheimer has been doing his best coaching, and bravo to Pete for letting him open up the offense for Russell Wilson. Their defense is broke, and for Pete Carroll being a defensive minded head coach, it’s hard to reconcile that. They have time to fix it, but they have got to do it now.
Kam: Kam Chancellor would help fix that defense. I know that he’s my namesake, but I’m being real here. The player would listen to him. Hire him Coach Carroll. Hire him today. He doesn’t have to take over the play calling for Ken, but he can cleanup the fundamentals in the secondary. I’m happy as pie about the offensive coaching, but a big part of the problem on the defense is lack of fundamentals and it’s tough to argue that isn’t on the coaches. Gimme Kam! I’m cute.
Curtis: The second half of the schedule is going to soften up for this team. They are sitting at 6-2, and are on pace to go 12-4. It’s doable. If they can at least split these two tough games coming up against the Rams and Cardinals, they will be in good shape for that. If they can’t, well..
Kam: Well, the they should’ve hired Kam Chancellor to fix that secondary because that will have been the likely reason why they didn’t split those two games.
Earl: Let’s be real. With this defense, they are a 10-6 wildcard team. Russ will pass for more yards and touchdowns than he ever has before, but he will likely also throw more interceptions than he ever has. That’s the whole reality about letting him cook. Yeah, with the soft looking second half schedule they might well win more than ten games, and they might even win the division, but if this defense doesn’t improve, don’t expect any deep playoff run. At least, I am not. I’m just keeping it real.
Curtis: But if they do manage to fix the defense?
Earl: Then maybe, just maybe, you can get excited about some championship talk. But if that happens, and they still fall short, expect a stinker on your pillow.. because that’s the way I roll. Go Hawks.