Yesterday, I spent a long day doing yard work, and in doing that, I spent much of that time reflecting on the Seattle Seahawks, and how I think things are now trending for the team. I thought I would share these thoughts. I will break them down into two categories.
Things that I like about the Seahawks right now
The biggest thing is obviously how the defense has been playing over the last two and a half games. I say two and a half because I think that things started to settle down midway through that painful loss to the Rams a few weeks ago. With Carlos Dunlap, they are able to rush with four and young defensive linemen like Poona Ford and LJ Collier are now factoring in. The linebackers are playing faster, and more certain. Jamal Adams is being more varied as a passing linebacker and a coverage safety. Quietly, Tre Flowers is putting together good games at corner.
Perhaps the biggest thing with this defense is that they are playing more connected. It feels like they are building chemistry, and in this stretch of games against struggling offenses, this is a great time for them to take that chemistry further. I have warm fuzzy feelings about that.
Poona Ford is emerging as a really good defensive tackle. Anyone who has followed this little blog knows how much of a fan I am of Poona. I am now becoming a huge fan of his. Jarran Reed, Snacks Harrison are much bigger names at DT on this roster, but if I am to be honest, I think Poona is the best one on this team. He’s always been a play-maker against the run, but he is now a legitimate factor as a pass rusher. It would not surprise me if we see the sacks starting to pour in for him over the next few games, and going into the 2021 off-season, it feels like Seattle is going to have an interesting call to make about his future on the club. He will be a restricted free agent, so they can keep him with a second round tender, but because of Covid, the salary cap will be going down $20 million, and Seattle is already carrying an expensive DT on the roster in Jarran Reed. There is a chance that Poona’s play could make Reed expendable, espeically if the team wants to lock in Chris Carson, Shaquill Griffin, and Ethan Pocic.
Jamal Adams is the much needed heartbeat of this improving defense and it’s a lot of fun to watch. Adams has an infectious energy on and off the field. He willed the Seahawk defense to play better in the second half of the game against the Rams, and it has had a carry over effect. There is been a fair amount of criticism over what Seattle spent to get Adams, and in that, there has been a fair amount of scrutiny over his play by some beat writers and fans. Personally, I think those two first rounders and a third are looking to be worth it. Adams is special. He can play linebacker, safety, and corner and it is reasonable to expect that it will take time for him to settle into this new scheme and for Ken Norton Junior and Pete Carroll to fully igure out how to use him. It feels like they are turning that corner now. I love what Adams brings.
Jordyn Brooks is really fast at linebacker, and it feels like things are starting to turn the corner with him, as well. This is a big deal for this defense as they look to further improve down the stretch. I thought this game against the Eagles was his best one so far, and going against the Giants and Jets, I think we might start to see his game really take off. I’m excited to see this.
The offense is playing with more balance and that is going to help this team win down the stretch. I fully believe that if the offense would have played with more balance against the Bills and Rams, Seattle could have won those games. Balance does not mean run fifty percent of the time and pass fifty percent of the time. Balance means mixing in the run with the pass enough to keep defenses honest, and therefore allowing Russell Wilson to play efficient and smart football. It takes pressure off of him to make all the plays. Take those last six minutes during MNF when Seattle settled for run plays to drain clock, and toss them away. When Seattle was controlling that game, they were mixing run with pass. This is the way.
Finally, DK Metcalf is becoming Seattle’s force of nature on offense, and it is a lot of fun to watch. Enjoy this time, Seahawk fans, he is quite possibly becoming the biggest rising star in this league. That’s not hyperbole.
Things that I’m not fond of right now with this Seahawks
As fun as it has been watching this Seattle defense playing over the past couple games, there still exists some things that I don’t like and that is mainly things on their defensive line. I hate seeing defensive tackles dropping into coverage on zone blitzes. I fully believe in putting your players in the best spots to succeed. Watching Jarran Reed drop into coverage takes the ability to do what he is paid to do (pass rushing) away from him.
Speaking of Jarran Reed, I’ve been noticing that Ken Norton is having him play a fair amount these days at defensive end. Reed is a 6-3, 300 plus pound interior defensive linemen who is not fast nor especially athletic. His best game is inside. Every time I see him at end and Rasheem Green (a true end) at defensive tackle, it annoys me. I am not nearly as smart about football as Norton and will not pretend to be, but I would personally like to know why they are doing this. Looking from the outside, it feels like Seattle is getting too cute with their defensive line personnel.
Speaking further on the defensive line, it looks to me like LJ Collier’s potential is better at defensive tackle than the 5-tech defensive end spot he has been playing. Rasheem Green looks like a better 5-tech. Going down this final stretch of games, it is my hope that we see more of Green at end, and Seattle starts to allow Collier to become more of a pass rushing defensive tackle. Collier’s most recent splash plays seem to be coming from the interior. If for salary cap reasons, if the team decides it needs to move on from Jarran Reed, it would be nice if they have two young up and comers at defensive tackle in Poona and LJ. This is something that I am going to be watching for down the stretch. Do we start to see more of Green at DE, and more of Collier at DT? I kinda hope so. Let LJ cook at DT.
I find it a wee bit troubling that Seattle is not getting the tight ends involved. Heading into the season, this position group was thought to be a strength. It’s possible that the play at receiver is so dynamic now with DK and Tyler Lockett that Seattle is staying with the hot hands, but I would like to see Russ spread it around to Jacob Hollister and Will Dissly a bit more.
Speaking of receiver, I’m starting to get a bit concerned with the health of Tyler Lockett and especially David Moore. Neither looker particularly explosive against the Eagles. It would be nice if the league would make its decision on Josh Gordon, but Seattle can’t rely on that. If Tyler is hobbled, it would further be nice if they start scheming more to the tight ends, and it would be nice timing to have Freddie Swain step up more in these next couple games.
I’m not worried about this notion that Pete Carroll is maybe dialing down Russell Wilson. I think over these next couple games, we are going to see Russ cooking a bit more. I think the key will still be balancing his play with the hard running of Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. For Seattle, I think this is the way.
Finally, I am saying this now, and it didn’t think this was possible a few weeks ago, but I now think it is possible that Seattle gets to twelve wins this season, or better. I think this team is trending up at the right time, and the schedule is favorable.
Enjoy this time, Twelves. This season can still be a pretty special one.