It's time to answer more of your questions about the Seahawks, my questionable parenting and more. As always, thanks to everyone who submitted questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around.
@jeffdermond asks, "Any word on Jimmy Graham or Thomas Rawls?"
A: OK, so Jeff actually found the answer himself after sending me this question, but it's worth answering for anyone who missed head coach Pete Carroll's latest update on tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Thomas Rawls, who both ended last season on injured reserve.
While at the NFL annual meetings in Boca Raton, Florida this week, Carroll said of Graham, who is recovering from knee surgery, "I'm communicating with Jimmy regularly, he should be fine. It is a substantial recovery. He's doing great, he's doing what he needs to do, and he's really competitive about it. We're anticipating that he'll come back and we'll hope to have him by the start of the season. We'll see how it goes as far as camp and all of that, but he's an incredible football player and a great team member and we're thrilled to have him on our club. We were just getting going with Jimmy last year, so we'll be really excited to get him back into the lineup."
On Rawls, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 14, Carroll said, "He's doing really well. He should be fine. We anticipate that he'll be fully recovered and ready to go at least by the time the season starts and hopefully by camp."
@JoshPyle12 asks, "What's the status of Tharold Simon? Will he see more playing time in 2016 or is Jeremy Lane playing opposite Richard Sherman?"
A: Simon, who missed most of last season with a toe injury that required surgery, should be healthy and ready to go when training camp rolls around. What his role will be, however, remains to be seen. Carroll and the Seahawks like the potential they see in Simon, and it's certainly feasible to see him competing for playing time with Lane—Simon did start five games in 2014—but having missed so much time over his first three seasons, Simon will have some catching up to do. At the very least, a healthy Simon would make for a very solid backup option if he wasn't able to win a starting job. By re-signing Lane, and with DeShawn Shead playing well at cornerback last year, Carroll is excited about his depth at cornerback heading into 2016 because of those two as well as Simon, Mohammed Seisay, Marcus Burley, Tye Smith and others.
@GoHawksGoCougs asks, "Who takes a baby to a brewery?"
A: Seriously, who does that?
Oh wait… You were talking about this, weren't you?
@joerg_fabian asks, "Do you think there is a chance the Seahawks could play in Germany?"
A: For some quick background on this question, the NFL is considering regular-season games in Germany in 2017 and China in 2018, according to reports out of the NFL annual meetings this week.
So could the Seahawks play in one of those games? Sure it's possible, though I'd think China would make more sense for a West Coast team than Germany. Though if anyone in the league wants my opinion, a Seahawks game in Munich during Oktoberfest sounds like a fine idea.
@DennisGill10 asks, "Your favorite Hasselbeck moment?"
A: I covered the Seahawks during Hasselbeck's final two seasons in Seattle, and there were too many funny press conference moments to single out one in particular. As for on-field performances, his last game in Seattle might have been my favorite, and more significantly, Hasselbeck recently talked about it saying it was one of his favorite moments as well. After missing Seattle's final regular season game with an injury, Hasselbeck returned for the wild-card game against New Orleans to throw four touchdowns in a victory over the defending champs. After the game, he walked off the field with son Henry on his shoulders and daughters Mallory and Annabelle at his side.
"That game in particular—I had broken my wrist against Arizona in two places," Hasselbeck said after announcing his retirement earlier this month. "I had a cast on my hand most of the year. We'd cut the cast off for games and wear a brace. It was madness, it was insane, I can't believe we did it. Then getting hurt at Tampa (in Week 16), it was just a lot of adversity. I didn't even play the last game against St. Louis, I didn't know if Pete was going to go with me as the starter in the playoff game, and I'm very appreciative that he did.
"My (third) pass is tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted," Hasselbeck said. "I just remember coming to the sideline, and Pete kind of moved to me quickly. I wasn't sure what he was going to say. He could have easily said, 'Hey sit on the bench. I hate turnovers, I don't want to see you out there again.' And he didn't, he said something like, 'Don't worry about it, we need you today.' It was great. It was a great moment, it was a great game. We weren't the more talented team that day, so our coaches designed a game plan that was just awesome. And obviously Marshawn (Lynch) had his epic Beast Mode run at the end of the game.
"We win the game, and never, ever had my kids been on the field after a game, but someone, one of the other wives I think, must have known what I did not know—that it was my last home game—and she handed my kids to a police officer who then got my kids on the field," Hasselbeck said. "I had a broken wrist, so I couldn't hold Henry's hand, so I put him on my shoulders. I gave my daughter the ball that I had taken the final knee with, which I found out later was probably the ball from the Beast Mode run. For whatever reason—I think I did some interviews on the field—I was one of the last guys coming off the field with my kids there, and it's a picture that I'm proud of. It was an emotional moment. My kids love the photo, my family loves the photo. I remember looking up at that tunnel, my family was sitting right there. It was a very, very cool thing."
@JoshHarris1997 asks, "What will the Seahawks do with their first-round pick? Trade? If not, then what is the greatest position of need?"
A: It's fair to ask if the Seahawks will trade their first-round pick seeing as they have done so in three straight times, twice trading the pick before the draft for a player (Graham last year and Percy Harvin in 2013) and moving back to acquire more picks in 2014. General manager John Schneider has made no secret of the fact that he likes having a lot of picks in the draft, so it wouldn't be a shocker if Seattle traded back, but if history has taught us anything, it is that there isn't much point in trying to guess what the Seahawks will do in the draft.
As for needs, most will point to the offensive line seeing as the Seahawks lost two starters in free agency. But as strong as the Seahawks are overall, and picking where they do near the end of the round, they aren't going to reach to fill a specific position if a better player is available at another position.
@scfan37 asks, "How do the Seahawks answer the departure of Russell Okung?"
A: That's been a big question since news came out that Okung had signed with the Denver Broncos. But while a lot of people are worried about that spot, Carroll said this week that he likes Seattle's options there.
With free agency still ongoing and the draft coming up, things can change, but as of now, Carroll and Schneider both said Garry Gilliam, the starting right tackle last season, and recently-signed tackle Bradley Sowell will compete for that job.
@AGarrett90 asks, "Have the Seahawks ever considered becoming a 3-4 defense instead of a 4-3?"
A: Short answer? No, not as long as Carroll is in charge. Carroll has been running a 4-3 "under" defense (meaning the defensive line aligns away from offense's strong side) since learning it from Monte Kiffin in 1977 when Carroll was a graduate assistant at Arkansas. So A., he's been doing this a while, and B., it has worked pretty well for him, as is evident in the fact that the Seahawks have allowed the fewest points in the NFL for four straight seasons, making them the only team to do that in the Super Bowl era.
All of that being said, however, there are certain 3-4 principles involved in Seattle's, including the personnel involved. As Carroll himself said in 2012: "Our defense is a 4-3 scheme with 3-4 personnel. It's just utilizing the special talents of our guys."
@TruthisTold2u asks, "Does the touchback rule change to the 25-yardline decrease return game value? Kick returns are a strength for Seattle.
A: NFL owners approved a rule change Wednesday to move the spot on touchbacks from the 20-yard line to the 25, a move they hope will improve player safety by lowering the number of returns. How things actually play out, however, remains to be seen. Some coaches and players have already commented via social media and elsewhere that this rule change could result in the same number of returns, if not more, because teams might start intentionally kicking high kicks just short of the end zone, the thinking being that they can keep a returner from reaching the 25 even if they wouldn't have been able to pin him inside the 20.
As for the Seahawks and Tyler Lockett, who earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors as a rookie last season, this rule change could lead to a few fewer returns, but my guess is that the Seahawks will trust Lockett's judgement and ability enough that he'll still get plenty of chances to return the ball should opponents try to kick it into the end zone. If the Seahawks did decide to try the kick-it-short strategy, that could work out well for them, as kick coverage has been a strength under special teams coach Brian Schneider.
@Apprentice207 asks, "What positions other than offensive line do the Seahawks need to answer?"
A: Because the Seahawks have built such a strong roster under Carroll and Schneider, there aren't a lot of glaring holes that absolutely have to be filled this offseason, but that being said, the Seahawks would like to improve talent and depth at a number of spots, including, as you mentioned, the offensive line, which lost two starters in free agency.
Beyond the O-line, another area Seattle will likely look to bolster is the defensive line following the departure of starting nose tackle Brandon Mebane, and linebacker Bruce Irvin, who also played significant snaps at defensive end. Irvin's departure also leaves a vacancy at strongside linebacker, and while the Seahawks like what they have in Mike Morgan and Cassius Marsh at that spot, they could also look to add more depth in the draft. While not a starting spot, the Seahawks could be looking for a backup quarterback with Tarvaris Jackson currently unsigned.
Take a look at which Seahawks players' alma maters are still alive in the Sweet 16 of the 2016 NCAA men's basketball tournament.