With the Seahawks taking a day off one day later than usual thanks to the Monday night game, it's time once again to open the mailbag and answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked a question this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to your question this time around.
@KidReporter363 asks, "Will the Seahawks continue to use Jimmy Graham in the red zone, or was Thursday a fluke game?"
A:Graham's red zone production in Thursday's game was anything but a fluke. With two more red-zone touchdowns, Graham now has six such touchdowns, all in the past five games, matching Philadelphia's Zach Ertz for the league lead in red-zone touchdowns.
Graham has also been targeted 15 times in the red zone this season, the second most in the league behind Green Bay's Davante Adams. One of the biggest reasons Seattle traded for Graham in 2015 was because of the threat he can be in the red zone, and while it took some time to get him going in that area, he and Russell Wilson are very much on the same page right now and Graham is showing again why he is so dangerous in the red zone.
"It has been great," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Graham's red-zone production. "It has been great for him. He has been targeted a bunch down there and he's got a bunch of catches down there and six touchdowns already. He's off to really good start for the season. I'm really pleased about him, because it's what we all hoped would happen and we would get it done. It has taken a little time to find the real rhythm of but at the halfway point, we are just trying to utilize for his strengths and hope that we can continue to have some success down there. He is doing a great job, and Russ, you can see them working together. It's really obvious and hopefully we can make it tough on our opponents."
@g_pargas81 asks, "How will the cornerback situation look now with the addition of Byron Maxwell? Who starts opposite of Shaquill Griffin, and how will it look if/when DeShawn Shead comes back? @TruthisTold2U also asks who will play Sherman's spot on the left side of the field, or if Seattle will instead move guys around to match up with players.
A: The Seahawks unfortunately will play without Richard Sherman in the starting lineup for the first time since 2011, so obviously there is intrigue about what that will look like. While the Seahawks did bring back Byron Maxwell this week, he'll likely get some time to work his way back into the mix rather than be thrown into a huge role right away. Rookie Shaquill Griffin has taken over the starting role at right cornerback and played well, and Carroll said the plan as of now is for Jeremy Lane to slot into the other starting role. Justin Coleman has played well in the nickel spot, so expect him to stay there for now, but Maxwell does provide good depth at multiple spots and could contend for more playing time as he gets comfortable being back in Seattle's defense. Overall, the Seahawks feel good about their depth at corner, which also includes Neiko Thorpe, even if Sherman will be missed.
"We are very fortunate to have Jeremy Lane with us and ready to play," Carroll said. "Shaq has become a starter, and Jeremy has legitimately been a starter, so we couldn't be much more fortunate than that to have a guy step up and a guy that has been around the program and all that. Not to mention, there are other guys in the program that have done a good job too—Justin Coleman has done well, Neiko Thorpe has done well and now picking up Maxie to see where he fits into all of that. We are just very fortunate that we have the depth that we have, and I'm going to count on them to play really well. I'm not counting on anything taking a backward step. I think we are going to keep moving forward."
As for Shead, Carroll noted Monday that the cornerback has hit a bit of a plateau in his comeback, so there's no real timetable on if or when he'll return this season. If he does, he's definitely another option to start—he beat out Lane for a starting job last season—but given the long layoff, it probably wouldn't be fair to just assume he'd jump right back into a prominent role immediately.
@jnSLMN asks, "Since the Techno-Thursday short shorts have started taking hold, which brave Seahawk is wearing the shortest shorts? Have there been players who have been adamant long-shorts or pants wearers?
A: Now we're getting to hard-hitting, important questions. As Luke Willson, one of the leaders of this "movement" detailed, Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin have been two of the biggest short-shorts holdouts, as has Bobby Wagner. As for who has gone the shortest, short-shorts pioneer Jordan Roos is always one of the leaders, so to speak, in that regard. Neiko Thorpe has really embraced the movement of late and has worn some pretty short shorts, as has Richard Sherman.
@bill_schwener asks, "Do you think Mike Davis can make a difference in the running game?" And @kibbykibbykibby asks, "How many carries could Mike Davis get on Monday?"
A:Considering Mike Davis is behind the likes of Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls on the depth chart thus far—hence his being on the practice squad before this week's promotion—it's not fair to expect him to jump in and fix the running game. That being said, the Seahawks do have a high opinion on the former 49ers back, who they claimed off waivers this offseason, and he could provide a spark, kind of like J.D. McKissic did earlier this season.
"Mike has really been one of our favorites all the way back to camp," Carroll said. "He had a really good offseason and a really good camp with us and good preseason. He has been in the league running a little bit last year for the 'Niners. He can catch the football, he has contributed on special teams for us, so we see a little bit of a well-roundness in him, and he is real competitive. He is real hungry to go. He has been with us all year so the transition is seamless, and we are looking forward to see what he brings."
As for the number of carries, I'd still expect Rawls to be the lead back, but Davis could get a decent amount of work if the Seahawks can establish a running game, perhaps something in the 5-to-10 carry range.
And speaking of the running game…
@lara814 asks, "Is there a defined timeline for Chris Carson's return?"
A:Short answer: no.
Carroll's answer on Carson, who is currently on injured reserve with a leg injury, but has a chance to return late this season: "He just looks good working out. I'm pretty optimistic about him. I'm hoping he can make it back and finish some football this year. I don't know. I'm looking at it about the same as C.J. (Prosise). We will see what happens. And the docs would be mad at me for telling you that, but I'm hoping that is what is happening, so what the heck?"
@RichardBoas notes that the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta pointed out only four of Seattle's 2016 picks are on the active roster, and wonders about the Seahawks' recent draft success/player retention, asking if John Schneider is "living on the success of 2012?"
A: First off, if we're going to say that general manager John Schneider is "living on the success" of past drafts, something I'd strongly disagree with, let's at least also give him credit for 2010 and 2011 as well as 2012, as those drafts yielded the likes of Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Russell Okung, Golden Tate, Byron Maxwell and other players who have gone on to become Pro Bowlers and/or quality starters.
As for Schneider's drafts since 2012, no, they haven't yielded the star power of those earlier drafts, but there are a lot of factors at play there, most notably that those drafts were so good relative to the rest of the league, it'd be unfair to ask anyone to repeat that success over time. Take, for example, this Washington Post article that determined that Schneider has been the best drafting general manager over the past 20 years, and that factors in all of his draft classes, not just his best ones. As that article notes, Schneider and company put together two of the best drafts in recent history in back-to-back years.
Yes, the 2013 class wasn't great, with only Luke Willson still here, but time has shown that to be a pretty bad draft, league wide. Other reasons why Seattle's recent drafts haven't been quite as noteworthy include that the early talent acquisition made it harder for picks in later years to make the team or win starting jobs; the fact that winning means picking later in each round, making it that much more difficult to get the best players; and the fact that Seattle traded away two first-round picks to acquire Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham.
Even with a few things working against them, the Seahawks still landed players in recent drafts who have been huge contributors such as Paul Richardson and Justin Britt (2014), Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett (2015), and Germain Ifedi and Jarran Reed (2016). As for the note Condotta pointed out, I'm guessing he made that point in part to show how injuries have affected that group, as two of Seattle's third-round picks, C.J. Prosise and Rees Odhiambo recently have been placed on injured reserve. Time will tell on the past couple of draft classes, but based on the contributions the Seahawks have already seen from the players noted above, as well as this year's rookies Ethan Pocic, Shaquill Griffin, Nazair Jones and Chris Carson, who have all started games, there's plenty of reason to keep the faith that Schneider and his scouting department didn't suddenly forget how to evaluate talent.
@memoero asks, "Baggy long sleeves. Delano Hill vs. Byron Maxwell, who wore it better?"
A:Definitely Maxwell. You have to go with the original in this case, right?
@keralajane asks, "When's the next season of Archer coming?"
A:Clearly my choice of gif gave me away as a fan of Archer, and yes, I'm looking forward to another season. Alas, my quick google search failed to discover a starting date, but considering the past two seasons started in late March and early April, I'd guess sometime around spring of 2018 for season 9. And hey, we've got a theme:
@RishChand12 asks, "Why is there such a lack of explosive and trick plays from the Seahawks this season?"
A:Going to have to disagree with the premise of this question at least a little bit, because "such a lack of explosive" plays is a bit inaccurate. Just past the midway point of the season, the Seahawks are tied for 16th in the league in explosive plays (16-plus yard passes and 12-plus yard runs) with 62, so while not great, they've hardly been terrible in that regard either. Where the Seahawks would really like to see that improve is when it comes with explosive runs, where they rank 21st with 15. If the Seahawks can get their running game going in the second half, expect them to be what they were every year from 2012 to 2015—one of the most explosive, efficient offenses in the NFL. During those four years, the Seahawks finished 11th, 6th, 1st and 7th in explosive plays, and were in the top 10 in scoring each year.
As for trick plays, I don't have any specific numbers, but I don't feel like the Seahawks have been a team to run a ton of trick plays in any given year, but they have tried a couple this season, they just haven't all worked out (Tanner McEvoy's intercepted pass, for example).
Team photographer Rod Mar shares exclusive behind-the-scenes images from the Seahawks' 22-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals during Week 10 Thursday Night Football at University of Phoenix Stadium.