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How Will Wide Receiver Paul Richardson Fit and More in a Bye-Week Seahawks Q&A

You had questions, football-related and otherwise. We have answers.

The Seahawks are on their bye, meaning a chance for players to recharge and get healthy, but before takes a break, we thought we should answer some of your questions. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours.

@Th3RyanKing702 asks, "What type of role do you see Paul Richardson playing when he is activated off the PUP list." And @snemes2 asks, "How do you expect P-Rich to contribute to the offense. Will he make a substantial difference?"

A: The Seahawks have mostly used a five-receiver rotation this season, and unfortunately Ricardo Lockette's injury leaves a spot open that Richardson can slide into when he is activated, something that will likely happen next week. Richardson isn't as accomplished of a special teams player as Lockette at this point, but he should see as many, if not more, plays on offense right away and will have a chance to build up his role as the season goes on. Richardson was a big part of Seattle's offense by the end of last season, and the hope is that he can again be a reliable target for Russell Wilson who also is a big-play threat because of his speed.

@Gink_1228 asks, "Who put the bomp in the bomp she bomp-she-bomp? Who was that man?"

A: I don't know, but I'd like to shake his hand.

@jesseleejames asks, "Although Dallas recorded zero sacks, is there any insight on tightening up the O-line to get Jimmy Graham more targets?"

A: The line hopes to build off of that performance, not so much because of Graham, but just for what it can mean for the offense as a whole going forward. As for getting Graham more involved, I would argue the Seahawks are doing a very good job of that already. He leads the team with 38 catches and 450 receiving yards, meaning he is on pace for a 76-catch, 900-yard season, numbers that would eclipse the leading receiver numbers for Seattle in each of the past three seasons (Sidney Rice in 2012, Golden Tate in 2013 and Doug Baldwin last year).

@MilesDaily asks, "How real is Justin Britt's improvement? Was his positive play last week a product of the Cowboys' lack of blitzing?"

A: While a team blitzing infrequently can make life easier on linemen, the Cowboys do have a very good front, so it would be unfair to minimize the improvement shown by the line last weekend. As for Britt, he did play one of his better games, and it's reasonable to expect that he should only grow as the season goes along. The move from tackle to guard requires some adjustments, and considering Britt didn't make that switch until midway through the season, he has had to do a lot of on-the-job learning.

@Aces_HR asks, "How do the Seahawks players handle a bye week? Balancing getting rested against getting rusty?" And @david64K asks, "Is the bye week a mixed blessing for a team? Chance to get healthy or to lose momentum on a winning streak?"

A: These were two of several bye-week questions. As for how players handle the week, rest is priority number one, or in the case of injured players, the goal of the off week is to get healthy. Some will stay around the team's facility for treatment and to work out, others will go home, wherever that is, while some will take a vacation. In terms of momentum, while the Seahawks are indeed playing well right now, rest is so important this time of year in the NFL that getting healthy trumps any possible loss of momentum. If the Seahawks were a young, inexperienced team, that might be more of a concern, but the core group of this team has been through enough together that they should be able to return to work refreshed on Monday and pick up where they left off.

@erikgoninan asks, "What kind of cheese fries do you like?"

A:After calling Vancouver home for three weeks during the 2010 Winter Olympics, I'm going to have to go with the Canadian version of chees fries: poutine.

@Thegoldenrule93 asks, "Why have the Seahawks been getting off to such slow starts?"

A: Have they though? After kicking a field goal on their opening drive in Dallas, the Seahawks have now scored on their opening possession in three of their past four games, and either were ahead or were tied after one quarter in all four of those games. In fact, the Seahawks have only trailed after one quarter once this season, going down 10-3 at Green Bay. Questioning the Seahawks' ability to finish would have been relevant through six games, but their starts have actually been good for the most part.

@nfldraftnix asks, "I think the Hawks are snapping more from under center in the last few weeks? Is that to help pass pro, run game or both?"

A: You're accurate in that observation. While the Seahawks will continue to use the zone-read as a big part of their offense—it'd be foolish not to with a quarterback as athletic as Wilson—they have been running the ball more out of I-formation and putting Wilson under center more often. For the most part, that subtle shift is to help the running game, though that in turn helps set up the play-action pass, as we saw on Tyler Lockett's touchdown catch at San Francisco.

"It helps us develop our philosophy," offensive coordinator Bevell said of a more traditional downhill rushing attack. "That's who we are, we want to be the physical, exert our will on the opponent, the toughness, the tenacity, that kind of thing. It gives Marshawn (Lynch) the ability to do that, and really what it means, you've noticed we still have gun runs, there's still opportunities with zone read, but it's not the main focus now. The first couple weeks we were pretty heavy in that area, so it kind of helps us get back to our philosophy and who we want to be."

@PottsRealtor asks, "Why don't the Seahawks run more no huddle, spread the field? They can let the play clock run but not allow defenses to sub?"

A: The Seahawks do go no-huddle at times, and have had quite a bit of success doing it on a limited basis, but as for why they don't use it more often, there are a couple of reasons. As noted in the Bevell quote above, the Seahawks' identity is in running the ball, so going spread and throwing it around in no-huddle isn't likely going to happen often unless they're behind. As you note, teams can just let the clock go without huddling, but while that does keep defenses from subbing, it prevents the offense from doing so as well, and the Seahawks like to use a lot of different personnel groupings, from using a fullback to having multiple tight ends to occasionally going four-wide. That would be lost if the Seahawks were frequently going no-huddle.

@tzahn asks, "In honor of election day, which Seahawks players do you think have a future as politicians or even as part of the NFLPA?"

A: Well we can start with Richard Sherman since he is already the team's NFLPA player representative. I have no idea if Sherman has political aspirations, but if he does, his Stanford education, his willingness to be outspoken on an issue, and his popularity in the region would make him a great candidate. Russell Wilson certainly has the polish and popularity to fit the bill as well, and since Michael Bennett has been known to call himself Michael Obama, maybe he wants to get into politics as well.

@Juistain asks, "This last week seemed to be the first where we featured Jimmy Graham in the X/Y receiver spots with success. Can we count on more of that?"

A: Pete Carroll was asked about this topic earlier in the week, and said, "We've really done that in every game. Maybe you haven't noticed it, but he did catch a couple balls from outside. He's been out in every game, so we continue to do that."

And indeed Graham has lined up outside plenty in past games, though as your question notes, it worked better against Dallas. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Graham had three catches for 28 yards when split out as a receiver against the Cowboys, compared to just three for 18 yards in seven games prior to that game. Like everything else Graham is doing, there is an adjustment period as he gets used to a new offense and his team gets used to playing with him, so what we saw Sunday was likely just the continued growth and development of Graham in the offense more than it was any new wrinkle.

@nMallis253 asks, "How do you think Seattle will defend the long bombs Arizona constantly puts up? Plus Arizona's tight end is a beast to tackle?

A: The Cardinals' willingness to take shots down field will make for some intriguing matchups next week, because one of the strengths of Seattle's defense is taking away big plays. As Carroll has noted in the past, no matter what else a defense does, it isn't very good if it gives up long touchdowns, and both Seattle's scheme and its personnel—and Earl Thomas in particular—are good at taking those plays away. As for tight ends, Seattle has indeed given up some big plays and games to tight ends this year, but did hold Dallas' Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten to two catches for 16 yards. Taking away big plays does sometimes leave the underneath stuff to tight ends more open, but the Seahawks will live with some short completions as long as they're rallying to the ball and tackling well while not giving up those big plays.

Team photographer Rod Mar's eyewitness account of a successfull business trip to Dallas where the Seahawks defeated the Cowboys 13-12 to even their record to 4-4 before the bye.

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