The Seahawks are back in action this week following their bye, preparing for a game against the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals. But before we turn our focus to that game, let's answer some of your questions. As always, thanks to those who contributed questions, and sorry if I didn't get to your question this time.
@12thFanZach asks, "Is Jeremy Lane coming back this week? What will be his role on the team?" And @dwhitby131 asks, "Do you think Jeremy Lane will be an upgrade at nickel with all the time he has been sidelined?"
A: As was the case when Paul Richardson returned to practice two weeks ago, there is plenty of interest this week in when Lane will return and what he'll do when he gets back. To the question of when, Pete Carroll wouldn’t rule Lane out for this week’s game, but considering this is his first week of practice since the Super Bowl, it would seem more likely the Seahawks give him a week or two before activating him from the PUP list (Richardson practiced leading up to the Dallas game, but still has not been added to the 53-man roster, though Carroll hinted that will happen this week).
When Lane does return, he likely will go back to being Seattle's nickel cornerback, a role in which he thrived last year. The Seahawks have gotten good play out of both DeShawn Shead and Marcus Burley in that position this season, but there's a reason Lane played ahead of both of those players last year.
"He's a really active football player, he's really quick, he's aggressive," Carroll said. "He's an attack guy, a good blitzer, playmaker too. He can match up with anybody. He's long enough that he can match up with the bigger guys, he's quick enough to match up with the smaller guys and he's a really good nickel fit for us. Catching him on highlights in preparation for this game, you can see the things that he can do. He's running around making some plays and stuff. It'll be exciting to get him back in the competition of it."
That being said, Shead and Burley have both played well enough that the Seahawks won't feel pressure to rush Lane back before he is ready. Also, don't forget what Lane can bring on special teams. With Ricardo Lockette out for the season, it wouldn't be surprising to see Lane take over a gunner role on the punt team at some point, something he has done well in the past.
@NeutronRaptor asks, "Do you see Seattle getting better in second-half scoring? Only scored 6 total points in the last two games after halftime?"
A: I do, and for a couple of reasons. Most notably, the Seahawks have struggled in the red zone this season, scoring on a league-worst 29.4 percent of their trips in the red zone. For a number of reasons, that number should go up in the second half, among them being improving chemistry between Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham, and perhaps most significantly, the growth of the offensive line. If the line can build off of the progress it has made in recent games, the entire offense—second-half scoring included—should improve in the second half of the season.
@craggasscomedy asks, "Can I hire Kam Chancellor during the offseason to follow me around and just eyeball people who I don't like?"
A: Well, Craig, I suppose you can try, but there's a good chance Chancellor will eyeball you for proposing such an idea. And for those who don't know Gass, he's a comedian who happens to also be a huge Seahawks fan. A few members of the Seahawks digital media team were even lucky enough to see him in a private show in Appleton, Wisconsin when the Seahawks played at Green Bay in September. OK, so it wasn't actually a private show, but Gass liked to make fun of himself for the sparse crowd that night, and I'm more than happy to play along.
@erikgoninan asks, "You a walk on the beach guy or do you like parks?"
A: I'm going to go with beach over park for a nice walk, though as my wife could tell you, if it's hot and humid enough, say in Thailand on a honeymoon, I'll complain about the heat, then turn that walk on the beach into a beer in the shade on the beach.
@Calvino Blanco asks, "Do you see a philosophical change in the approach of the offense, away from the run more towards the pass with Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham?"
A: The Seahawks are on pace to throw more this season than they have during Wilson's tenure, but I think that has been more situational—Seattle has had to come back or at least attempt to in several games this season—than the result of a philosophical change. Ever since a midseason shift in 2011 to focus on the run, Seahawks coaches and players have made it clear that a physical, balanced offense is the team's offensive identity, and they have no plans of changing that going forward. If anything, we're seeing the Seahawks get back to their roots a bit recently, using more two-back power running and less read-zone, though both should continue to be staples of Seattle's offense going forward.
@TheCrappyTotals asks, "At what point should a grown man stop wearing team jerseys?"
A: Well Matt Hasselbeck is still wearing a Colts jersey at 40, so apparently at least 40 is acceptable… Oh, you meant for fans, didn't you? I don't think there's any age a fan has to stop wearing his or her jersey, though maybe with age comes more limitations on when and where you should sport said jersey. An 8-year-old wearing his Seahawks jersey to a wedding might be kind of cute; the 60-something father of the bride doing so would not.
@KaliKath12 asks, "What do the Seahawks need to focus on to win this Sunday night?"
A: The Cardinals are doing so many things well this season, there are a lot of ways to go with this answer, but I'll focus on the Cardinals' big-play ability in the passing game. Carson Palmer, who is having the best year of his career at 35, is leading a passing attack that averages a league-best 9.1 yards per pass attempt, and the Cardinals have completed the third most passes of 20 or more yards this season with 37. What will make this a fun battle to watch is that stopping the big play has been a strength of Seattle's defenses under Carroll. After uncharacteristically allowing 11 passes of 20-plus yards in their first two games, the Seahawks have allowed only 14 in six games since, close to the pace they were on last season when they allowed a league-low 32 such completions.
@Glink_1228 asks, "How did John Schneider make the transition from Dukes of Hazzard to GM of the Seahawks?"
A: It's quite amazing that a former TV star could go on to be one of the league's best general managers, isn't it? Oh wait, different John Schneider. Oh well, would've made for a heck of a story.
@kittyspotted asks: "Where do the Seahawks stand in regards to the playoffs? I would like to see them 1st in the NFC West division. Possible?
A: Currently the Seahawks are 4-4, two games behind the Cardinals, and with St. Louis also at 4-4 and enjoying a 3-0 record in the division, the Seahawks certainly have their work cut out for them. But remember that it was later in the season last year that the Seahawks trailed Arizona by three games and still went on to not just win the division, but lock up the No. 1 seen in the NFC, so with two games left against the Cardinals and one against St. Louis, the Seahawks still have everything in front of them, even if they lost some margin for error with a 2-4 start.
@daystew asks, "Would a convincing win against the Cards on Sunday solidify the Seahawks as an NFC threat again?"
A: Well it definitely wouldn't hurt. Seattle has done enough over the past two years and has enough talent on its roster that most people view the Seahawks as an NFC threat, regardless of a sluggish start, but closing the gap on Arizona with a third straight victory would help get the Seahawks in better playoff position. In terms of being viewed as an NFC threat, the Seahawks aren't too concerned with how they are perceived, just with how they play in the second half of the season.
@Jo11nny asks, "When will the NFL bring a football game to Brazil?" And @RunningSushi91 asks, "Will the Seahawks ever play in Europe?"
A: For the second time in three weeks, we've gotten a few questions on the possibility of Seattle playing overseas—apparently that's a popular topic with NFL games happening in London. I addressed this in a previous Q&A, but since then Pete Carroll was asked about it on Q13 Fox's Seahawks Saturday Night, noting that while London is a long trip for a West Coast team, "It would be cool to play there in front of their fans… Maybe someday that happens."
I included the question about Brazil because, as the NFL continues to grow its brand globally, perhaps the Seahawks make a trip overseas not to England, but somewhere in the Western Hemisphere like Mexico, or yes, Brazil, should the league ever decide to play games in those countries.