It’s Week 17 of the NFL season, which for the Seahawks means one more regular season game at San Francisco before they begin postseason play for the fifth consecutive season. And since it’s Tuesday, that means it is time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who took the time to submit a question this week, and apologies if we weren’t able to get to yours this time around.
@tompage asks, “How did K.J. Wright get the Spider-Man nickname?”
*A: *Wright’s Spider-Man nickname dates back to when Ken Norton Jr. was the team’s linebackers coach, and it has everything to do with the strongside linebacker’s instincts. Wright possess all of the usual physical traits teams look for in a linebacker—he’s big and fast and athletic—but what really helps set him apart is the way he can diagnose a play before it happens. Teammate Bobby Wagner has called Wright the “screen master” for his ability to sniff out a screen and blow it up in the backfield, and linebackers coach Michael Barrow, among others, has referred to Wright as Spider-Man after the Marvel Comics character whose “spider sense” allows him to detect danger before it happens.
@KBottom2, @Natercom and @baterang2000 all ask about what seed the Seahawks could end up with in the postseason and who they might play.
A: The Seahawks, who have clinched the NFC West and with it at least one home game in the playoffs, can still finish as high as the No. 2 seed, which comes with a first-round bye, and as low as the No. 4 seed. With a win at San Francisco Sunday, the Seahawks will finish as either the 2 or the 3 seed, depending on what Atlanta does in its game against New Orleans. If the Seahawks win and the Falcons lose, Seattle is the No. 2 seed, while if the Falcons win, they get the No. 2 seed. Seattle would be the No. 4 seed with a loss to San Francisco, meaning a home game in the Wild Card round against the New York Giants, who are locked in to the No. 5 spot.
Obviously if the Seahawks do get a bye, their next opponent won’t be known until after the Wild Card round, but if they are the No. 3 seed, they would host the No. 6 seed in the Wild Card round. Heading into this weekend, three teams—Green Bay, Washington and Detroit—could all finish as the No. 6 seed.
@BellCowBack, @danimichlson00, @Brwndwg and @NintraAa all ask about Jimmy Graham’s lack of targets over the past few games.
*A: *This has for the most part been a very productive season for Jimmy Graham, who through 15 games has 859 receiving yards, the most by a tight end in franchise history, and six touchdowns, as well as a 14.1 yard-per-catch average that would match a career-high. But over his past three games, Graham has only four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. As a result, plenty of people have been wondering why the ball isn’t going Graham’s direction more often, and while the answers to questions like that are above my paygrade, Graham’s production is a topic Seahawks coach Pete Carroll addressed Monday during his weekly appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle.
“It just didn’t go that way,” Carroll said on the Brock and Salk Show. “They were re-routing him at the line of scrimmage more than we’d like, but we’re always trying to get him the ball—he’s got almost 1,000 yards this year. It happens by games. He did a great job when he caught the ball to take off and run again. We’d love to get him the ball more; the ball just kept going towards Doug (Baldwin) in this game. It just happened that way. That was not by design, although we did go into the game knowing that we should have good matchups with Doug with their guys who were banged up, so it just kind of flowed that way. We really did well in the second half doing everything that we did, but we always want Jimmy to get the ball more.”
@TilenL and @Jannis140 ask if the Seahawks might sign a receiver to take Tyler Lockett’s spot on the roster.
*A: *These questions came in ahead of Tuesday’s roster move, but if you missed it, the Seahawks placed Lockett on injured reserve as expected, and promoted Kasen Williams from the practice squad to fill the open roster spot.
@HolliWinters and @aarikaG ask who will take over return duties with Tyler Lockett out, while @aCrawfordz asks about return duties as well as who will step up at receiver.
*A: *When it comes to the receiver rotation, Paul Richardson is expected to step into the role as Seattle’s No. 3 behind Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, and Tanner McEvoy figures to see a bit more playing time as well.
“He did a very nice job in the game and came through for us for some big third-down plays and a big touchdown catch and all of that,” Carroll said of Richardson, who scored his first touchdown since 2014. “He really jumped at the opportunities, which is so often our case that we see our guys do that. When you give them a shot, they come through and they do something, and I thought Paul really responded beautifully for us."
“He has been solid throughout," Carroll added. "He’s been in the rotations, but it’s hard to get guys a lot of turns when they’re rotating in. He’s got great speed, he can make big catches and he’s doing great things. We’re going to throw him in there and away we go.”
As for Lockett’s return duties, Richardson took over as the kick returner in Saturday’s game, and could stay in that role, Carroll said. Another option could be running back J.D. McKissic, who just signed with Seattle last week and was inactive for Saturday’s game. McKissic spent most of the season on Atlanta’s practice squad, but returned a kickoff 101 yards for a score in the preseason.
Richard Sherman was the punt returner on Arizona’s lone second-half punt, though Carroll did not say whether or not that will be the plan moving forward.
@taylorco64 asks, “Throwback jerseys, where are they?”
*A: *This question, along with “when will the Seahawks play in London?” is one of the most frequent in these Q&As, and I understand the reasoning—those old Seahawks uniforms are sweet. But unless the NFL changes its uniform rules or the Seahawks give up wolf grey, throwbacks aren’t happening anytime soon. The NFL allows team to have one alternate to their regular home and away jerseys—other than color rush—and since 2012, that has been wolf grey for Seattle. And even if Seattle were to give up wolf grey and decide to do a throwback, the helmet is another issue. For safety reasons, the league doesn’t allow teams to change the helmet shells during the season—the facemask or decals can be switched out. So unless the Seahawks were going to repaint all of their helmets silver for one game, wearing throwbacks would mean having a royal blue jersey and a navy helmet, which would look kind of weird.
@kibbyykibbykibby asks, “Which running back would get the start if Thomas Rawls is unable to play?”
*A: *The good news for the Seahawks is that when Carroll was asked about Rawls on Monday, he said, “I think he will end up going.” But to answer the question, based on what we saw after Rawls left the game, it would appear that Alex Collins would be the next man up. The rookie out of Arkansas saw his most significant playing time of the season in the second half of Saturday’s game, and carried seven times for 28 yards.
@MUT_12s and @jarjarsky ask if C.J. Prosise will be back for the playoffs.
*A: *While the status on Prosise is still not certain, Carroll did say last week that the rookie back still has a chance to get back from a fracture scapula in the postseason.
“He’s doing well,” Carroll said last week. “We’re getting some good feedback, he’s doing a lot of movement stuff now, his rehab is getting real serious now. He’s four weeks now into it, so a couple weeks from now there’s a chance that he’s in pretty good shape. He’s got to work really hard these next two weeks to get back in conditioning, because there was a good part of this, the first three weeks, where he couldn’t run. He’s having to catch up now, so we’ll see what happens. We’re hopeful, that’s why we’ve kept him on (the roster) and all that. We’ll see what happens.”
@marcfrechy21 asks about the Seahawks’ inconsistency this season, @B_tube asks, “what happened to the Seahawks team that went into Foxborough and beat the Patriots," while @FaruqE10 asks, “are the Seahawks Super Bowl contenders?”
A: I’m lumping all of these together because in a way they’re all related. The Seahawks are in the playoffs and they’ll get at least one game at home, so yes, they’re contenders. And as that win at New England so clearly demonstrated, the Seahawks are good enough to beat anyone, anywhere if they’re playing well. But to the question about consistency, the Seahawks have had their struggles at times this season, particularly on offense in a few games.
Carroll talked about that topic quite a bit Monday, noting that his team has struggled in the first half of its past two games while putting up big second half numbers.
“It was one way, then it wasn’t, so it’s there to be had, it’s there to be done properly and well and all of that,” Carroll said. “Really, the last two weeks both show that. The numbers in the second half of the last two games, we put up (490) yards and 42 points, and in the first halves of those games we put up 13 points and 200 yards, so it’s pretty clear that it’s something we can latch onto here and get cleaned up.”
Team photographer Rod Mar shares behind-the-scenes images from the Seahawks' Week 16 game against the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Eve at CenturyLink Field.