The Seahawks are back from a successful appearance in the Pro Bowl, which means I'm back too and have time for some questions on the Seahawks, Hawaii and a few other random topics. As always, thanks to everyone who submitted a question, and apologies if I didn't get to yours this time around.
@Stayatsnowshoe asks, "Seahawks draft will address O-line and D-line all day, right?"
A: If you're hoping for an all-lineman draft from the Seahawks, you'll probably be disappointed. If, however, you want the Seahawks to address their lines at some point in the 2016 draft, that's a pretty likely scenario. Since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010, the Seahawks have picked at least one offensive lineman and one defensive lineman in all six drafts, and of their 56 overall picks, 12 have been offensive linemen and 12 have been D-linemen (going off of the position the Seahawks drafted them to play, not where they played in college).
Last season the Seahawks picked five linemen (three offense, two defense) with their eight picks, and they took two players on each side of the line the previous year, and three each in 2013, so they've made a serious commitment to improving in the trenches.
@bRoundy asks, "What is the best thing you ate while you were in Hawaii?"
A: While covering the Pro Bowl last week, I ate far too many delicious things to pick one, but a few standouts were the Kalua pork sandwich at Kono's in Haleiwa, pretty much anything from Ted's Bakery on the North Shore, the Korean Steak tacos and fish and chips at Duke's, poke from pretty much anywhere, beer from Maui Brewing and Kona Brewing… I should probably go for a run when I get home tonight.
@ms_carm asks, "What could be done to make the Pro Bowl better since it's so lackluster these days? I miss the skill player drills they used to do."
A: I would argue that the Pro Bowl was pretty entertaining to watch, at least early on. The biggest problem is the end of the game, especially when things get lopsided and it's clear nobody is trying anymore. Perhaps a goofy gimmick similar to 10- and 20-point baskets in the old MTV Rock 'N Jock B-Ball Jam could make things interesting. What if Team Rice, while trailing big, could have gotten back into the game with 21-point touchdown? Maybe, just maybe, there'd be a little more effort… OK, that's probably a bad idea.
A skills competition would be a fun addition to the week, perhaps replacing a late-week practice or just taking place right afterward (Pro Bowl practices are neither long nor grueling; players could manage both, especially if a little prize money were on the line). Another idea I've heard thrown around which could work is to make the Pro Bowl something of a "Futures" game featuring young stars. Since so many veterans decide to bow out anyway, maybe it would work to give out Pro Bowl honors to the top players, but then make the game itself a showcase for first- and second-year players, or something like that.
@AGarrett90 asks, "When do the Hawks unrestricted free agents hit the open market?"
A: Seattle's free agents—and all of them league-wide for that matter—can begin negotiating with other teams on March 7, though deals can't be signed and official until the new league year begins on March 9 at 1 p.m. PT. Free agents to be can negotiate with their current teams at any time.
@Ckrawl asks, "We've seen Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman have Sonics jackets on in support of an NBA team here. How many players want the NBA in Seattle?
A: Indeed both Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson have stumped for an NBA team in Seattle in the past. And while I've never taken a survey of the locker room, I think it's a safe bet that a vast majority of the players would love to see a team return to Seattle. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett were both courtside at a Phoenix Suns game a few days before last year's Super Bowl, a pretty good sign that they'd be on board with a team returning to this market.
@Apprentice207 asks, "With Russell Wilson showing he can pass the ball 30-40 times a game, will the Hawks pass the ball more or run more next season?"
A: Ideally, the Seahawks will continue being a relatively balanced team in 2016 no matter how well Wilson is playing. As Carroll noted after Wilson's big second half against Carolina in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Seahawks know Wilson is capable of succeeding in a high-volume passing attack if that's what's needed, but Carroll would obviously prefer his team isn't trying to overcome a 31-point deficit very often going forward.
Balance is a big deal to Carroll, no matter how well his quarterback is playing, which is why again this year the Seahawks ran the ball (500 attempts) more than they threw it (489 pass attempts) though that number is slightly skewed by Wilson occasionally scrambling on designed pass plays. The Seahawks don't go into a game thinking they have to run or throw the ball a specific number of times, but the ability to do both well is a key element to Carroll’s success.
"We have great commitment to the run game," Carroll said late in the season. "For all of the football gods that have ever spoken of this game and how you're supposed to play the game, it goes back to the history of it. This game is won on the ground, and won on both sides of the ball. You have to be able to do that if you want to be a long term, consistent, winning team. We've been committed that way for a long time. I'm glad the numbers show that, because that's what we're trying to demonstrate through our play."
@MoneyLynch24 asks, "Who's your favorite soccer player in the world?"
A: This Tweet provides a pretty good clue.
@prayfor_hope asks, "What can we expect from Jimmy Graham and Thomas Rawls for next season? Are they healing well?"
A: Carroll has said on a few occasions that both should be ready for the start of next season, though it's too soon to know an exact timeline on either. Rawls talked with reporters briefly about his ankle injury the day after Seattle's season-ending loss and said he's pain free, and will be ready for next season.
@JimHawley5 asks, "Who's the backup QB next year?"
A: With Tarvaris Jackson heading towards free agency, the Seahawks could be in need of a backup to Russell Wilson next season, though Jackson could of course re-sign, as he did as a free agent last summer. Seattle's starter in 2011, Jackson is held in high regard in Seattle's locker room, and is a talented option as a backup, so his status is one to keep an eye on this offseason. The Seahawks could always look to bolster that position in the draft, though so far in six drafts under Carroll and Schneider, they've drafted only one quarterback (and that 2012 third-rounder turned out to be a pretty good pick).
@Gink_1228 asks, "Is it true your baby girl surfed the Pipeline last week?" and @angelnek1 asks, "What was your baby's reaction to the ocean waves? Delighted or frightened?"
A: A few of you were nice enough to inquire about my daughter, who along with my wife joined me in Hawaii last week. And while in my biased opinion, Colette has really good balance for a 9-month old, she is not in fact surfing just yet. She did, however, have a good time splashing around in the water, and seems to be mad at us this week for bringing her back to a colder climate.
@TMoneymakeer asks, "Will Jon Ryan ever get an apology from the Vikings field?"
A: You mean that mean piece of turf that broke his nose? Doubtful Ryan will ever get an apology for that. And really, his decision to try to hurdle multiple defenders is probably more to blame than the field itself, so perhaps an apology isn't warranted, unless you're talking about Ryan apologizing to his fiancé for breaking his nose before they get married.
@sarah_seattle12 asks, "What is Pete Carroll's greater success: the Seahawks or his hair?"
A: While it's true that plenty of 60-something men would love to have a head of hair like Carroll's a lot more guys that age have good hair than Super Bowl rings, so I'm going to have to go with Carroll's success as a coach over his silver locks.
For Pete Carroll and the Seahawks, practice is everything and the team always competed as much at CenturyLink Field as they did VMAC throughout the 2015 season as seen in some of these best of photos.