The Seahawks bounced back from one of their worst performances of the 2016 season with one of their best in a 40-7 win over the Carolina Panthers, and now they turn their attention to this week's game in Green Bay. But before we shift our focus to this week's game here at Seahawks.com, it's time once again to answer questions from you the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who took the time to submit a questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around.
@DanCohen17 asks, "Am I allowed to be just a bit worried with Earl Thomas' season-ending injury?"
A:Of course you are. The Seahawks are very confident in Steven Terrell, who has started one game for Thomas this season and appeared in two others when Thomas was injured. But being confident in Terrell doesn't mean the Seahawks won't still miss Thomas, who is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Even if Terrell has physical attributes similar to Thomas', there's no replicating the experience Thomas has gained in six-plus seasons as a starter or the chemistry he and his fellow defensive backs have built over the years.
The Seahawks have a very talented defense at all three levels, and they believe in Terrell's ability to step in and play well, so they should still be able to play at a very high level, but that doesn't mean there won't occasionally be moments where you wonder if a play might have turned out differently had Thomas been on the field. Thomas is a five-time Pro-Bowler and a four-time first-team All-Pro, so it wouldn't be fair to Terrell to expect that there will be zero drop-off at that position, even if he plays at a high level.
And on a related note…
@kibbykibbykibby asks, "What can we expect from Steven Terrell this week?" and @marc_frenchy21 asks, "With Earl Thomas out for the season, how do you think the Seahawks defense will adapt and how will Steven Terrell fit in?"
A:Terrell isn't a complete mystery at safety, having filled in for Thomas for part of the Philadelphia game, all of the Tampa Bay game, and more than half of Sunday's win over Carolina, and for the most part he has played very well, particularly considering the big shoes he's trying to fill.
"Steven has played a lot," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday. "Steven has played in three games now. He's been out there playing with Kam (Chancellor), and they've been doing quite well. Everything has been going fine. Steve has been with us a long time, so he knows how things work around here, he knows the principles and concepts. He's really equipped, he's really fast, he covers a ton of ground and all that. He's a very disciplined football player. He has been a really active special teams guy for us for years, so this fits together. We're fortunate to have Steven stepping up.
"He has been a backup safety and he has played some corner for us as well, played nickel. He has been a core special teams guy for a number of years, and he has been working at our stuff and practicing with us all along and been in all those meetings, and he has gotten tons of work. We're very confident in him. He's a very disciplined kid, he's really strict to the rules and concepts and principles, he does a really nice job of holding up his end of it. He's a good communicator and all of that. And again, he has played three games for us and did a lot in those games; he has been very active."
Terrell might not make every single play that Thomas would, but he knows the defense well and has the speed and range to do the most important job of a free safety in Seattle's defense, which is eliminate big plays. And with so many playmakers on Seattle's defense, I expect that group will continue to play at a very high level even if Thomas is missed.
@MizzChrizzz asks, "Can the Seahawks sign a free agent with experience to replace Thomas?" and @mooseheadbond asks, "Does Steven Terrell keep his special teams duties or does that roll fall to someone else?"
A: These questions were asked before the Seahawks added Jeron Johnson on Tuesday, and Johnson both provides depth at safety, and an option to help on special teams. With Terrell starting, he'll likely do less on special teams, and Johnson is definitely a candidate to take on some of that playing time. Safety Tyvis Powell likely will also have a bigger special teams role going forward.
@rajuseattle says, "I still can't believe that the center position makes this much difference?"
A:While it's overstating things to say that the return of Justin Britt from an ankle injury was the difference between 5 points one week and 40 the next, he did make a big difference.
After the game Sunday night and again on Monday, Carroll mentioned, unprompted, the difference it made having Britt back on the field.
"Justin Britt really stepped back in and was a real positive factor," Carroll said Monday "…I started to realize later in the week, just seeing the guys come together and how the week went, we had a great week of practice and that was one of the focal areas to me, just picked up on it in Friday's practice, how sharp we were finishing the week. Without question, his factor of the confidence he brings guys, the knowledge and communication. Whereas Joey (Hunt) is a really smart player, he just hasn't been with these guys and worked together with these guys. He's been with the second group for the most part. I think it was very clear that getting Justin back was a big deal. He had a terrific game, too. He did a very good job."
@Sturmi__13 asks, "How many players have scored four kinds of touchdowns (kickoff return, punt return, receiving and rushing) like Tyler Lockett has?"
A:After checking three of those four of those kind of touchdowns off his list as a rookie, Lockett added a rushing touchdown with his 75-yard score against Carolina, and while Lockett is the first Seahawks to accomplish that feat, it's not all that rare in league history, with 54 players having accomplished it in their careers according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Lockett accomplishing that in his first two seasons, however, is a bit more unique. Nineteen players have scored rushing, receiving, punt return and kick return touchdowns in their first two seasons, and just nine since the NFL-AFL merger, and Lockett is the first since Atlanta's Tim Dwight in 1998 and 1999.
@listenhearmedia asks, "Do you think Kam Chancellor should consult with Ken Griffey Jr. on steak settlements for the hit on Earl Thomas?"
A:For those not familiar with the rather humorous moment in Seattle sports history that is being reference here, Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. once settled a bet of a steak dinner with manager Lou Piniella by delivering a live cow to his office. And as somebody who spends a little bit of time in the Seahawks locker room, I could do without running into a cow, so no, Chancellor should not consult Junior on this.
@UnintendeMax asks, "Are Steven Hauschka's four field goals noteworthy in the win over the Panthers?"
A:While none of the four field goals made by Seattle were long kicks, it was a good sign that Hauschka was 4 for 4 on field goals and 4 for 4 on extra points. As great as Hauschka has been in his career, the Seahawks have had some issues in the kicking game, ranging from kicks getting blocked to a couple of uncharacteristic misses, so having everything go smoothly—not just the kicks, but the snaps, holds, protection, etc.—was a positive sign, as were Hauschka's kickoffs.
"Hauschka had a very good game," Carroll said. "Ball was elevating quick, he spotted the ball really well. We got them in position to return like we liked in the game. I thought he had a really solid football game, it's good to see that, the whole mechanism was tight and everything."
@jcesar240187 asks, "Could the Seahawks clinch a playoff berth with a win in Green Bay?"
A: Indeed the Seahawks have a chance to clinch the division this week, but they do need some help to do so. The Seahawks would win their third division title in four years if they win and if Arizona loses or ties at Miami, or if they tied Green Bay and the Cardinals lose to Miami.
@foxpaws asks, "Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?"
A: Are you kidding? Definitely the little horses. I'm no expert, but I'd think a horse's main weapon in a fight would be kicking, and while a whole bunch of kicks from little horses would be annoying, I don't think they'd do that much damage. A horse-sized duck, however, could really mess you up with its giant bill.
@Shaunblablah asks, "Best Christmas Movie?"
A:If we're going with actual Christmas movies, I'd start with "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." Predictable answer? Sure, but it's a great choice. If we can include movies that take place during the holiday's but aren't really about the holiday themselves, I'd make an argument for "Die Hard" and "Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang."
@seattlevandal asks, "Road trip with Seahawks beat writers, who drives, who chooses the music, who gets shotgun and who brings snacks?"
A:If you've ever seen pictures that get tweeted out from the media room's annual holiday potluck, you'd know that unhealthy snacks would not be an issue, but I'd put 710 ESPN Seattle's Liz Mathews on that, if only for the delicious cheese dip she makes. Danny O'Neil definitely isn't driving, but I won't tell you why. That story is between Danny and a bus. Sorry, I've already said too much.
I'll give the TNT's Gregg Bell shotgun both because he's taller than most in the media, so he could use the leg room, and also because he ought to be able to navigate given his Army background. I'm making Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times the driver, because he's a pretty responsible guy, and if he drives as fast and aggressively as he types, this car would get wherever it's going in a hurry. Seattle PI reporter/former ska band member Stephen Cohen definitely doesn't get to pick the music. That job will go to fellow Pearl Jam aficionado/AP reporter Tim Booth. Curtis Crabtree, who splits time between KJR, ProFootballTalk.com and the AP will be the guy on the trip just gets stuff done to make the road trip work, because he's one of the hardest working guys in the business. Oh, and Jayson Jenks can ride in the trunk.
Team photographer Rod Mar shares exclusive behind-the-scenes images from the Seahawks' 40-7 Week 13 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field.