The Seahawks are still trying to find more consistency as they head into their Week 4 game against the Colts, but while they'd prefer to have a better record than their 1-2 start, there have been some good things through three games. With that in mind, we'll kick off this week's Q&A with a question from a fan who's looking for silver linings in Seattle's loss at Tennessee. As always, thanks to everyone who asked a question this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
@KrisPee_ asks, "What are the good sides to the Seahawks loss to Tennessee, if any?"
A: If you could take Seattle's first-half defensive performance and combine it with the second-half offensive performance, and get that play out of both units throughout the game, the Seahawks would have looked really good against the Titans, so there were some good things, even if not enough to win the game.
The Seahawks defense, which was very good in its first two games, forced four straight three-and-outs to open Sunday's game, and held the Titans to just 1.8 rushing yards per carry. Through three games, the stats show that the Seahawks have struggled against the run this season, but aside from three or four big runs, the Seahawks have actually been very good against the run. Of course, those big plays count, and the Seahawks need to clean those up if they're going to be the kind of defensive team they expect to be, but it's probably easier to fix a mistake that led to one or two big runs in a game than it would be to fix a defense that was constantly yielding 5 or 6 yards every time an opponent handed the ball off.
On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks offense, which produced just one touchdown in its first two games and started slowly in Tennessee, scored four touchdowns against the Titans and gained a season-high 433 yards.
So while there is still plenty to clean up for the Seahawks, if they can find more of that consistency that head coach Pete Carroll is looking for, there's still plenty of time to get this season on track.
@spdaman, @16thpick, @RealDustyGill and @e_hammond all ask if the Seahawks might use more no-huddle offense to get the offense going.
A: The Seahawks got going on offense late in the first half with an up-tempo drive that, while not exclusively no-huddle, saw them hurry things up between plays. They also had success in the second half going no-huddle, though they also had some good drives in which they did huddle, including an impressive and balanced touchdown drive to open the second half.
Given the Seahawks' success this season in limited instances of no-huddle offense, it's a fair question to wonder if they should do it more, but while it will be something Seattle will continue to mix in, that's not what Carroll wants his team to be all the time. Carroll talks frequently about wanting to have teams that complement each other with their play in all three phases of the game, and a big downside of hurry-up offense is that when it doesn't work, it puts the defense in a bad spot. Remember, before Seattle scored with that drive late in the first half, they also went no-huddle once late in the first quarter and went three-and-out, meaning the defense barely had time to catch its breath on a hot, humid day.
So while the no-huddle offense will continue to be something the Seahawks can use to give their offense a spark, I wouldn't expect to see it on a regular basis anytime soon.
@BellCowBack asks about Thomas Rawls' lack of carries, while @SGuchzilla asks about the plans for Eddie Lacy.
A:Rookie running back Chris Carson has emerged as a surprise starter this season, and so far has dominated the work load. And while that's good news for Carson and a very solid early return on a seventh-round pick, it has led to very limited action for two former starting backs, Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy. Rawls has dealt with an ankle injury early this season, limiting his playing time, but now that he's back and fully healthy, it will be interesting to see where things go from here.
Carson has played well, making it hard to take him off the field, but another factor has been a lack of carries overall for the offense.
"The running back needs more carries, I think," Carroll said Monday. "Our guys are still young and figuring it out and all that. There wasn't enough carries to share it, so Thomas and Eddie didn't get a shot to go much, they didn't do much to contribute. But it wasn't by their doing. We just really didn't get enough plays."
And though nobody is wishing injury on anyone, if you watched the Seahawks last year, you'll recall that having quality depth at that position, even if it isn't fully utilized right now, could be very important as the season goes along. As for Rawls and Lacy, they aren't necessarily thrilled to be limited in their playing time right now, but that's what Carroll would expect from two players of their caliber.
"It's hard for them," Carroll said. "They want the ball every snap and I don't blame them. They're great competitive kids and if they didn't feel like they wanted it, they wouldn't be who they are. So it's difficult."
@SesaHawkersGER asks, "In light of Oktoberfest, what's your favorite craft beer from the Seattle area?"
A:Oh man, I could spend a lot of time on this question. There are so many choices with new breweries popping up seemingly every week and with so many different styles of beers being made. I'm a fan of hoppy beer, so a few of my favorites are Two Beers' Wonderland Trail IPA, Georgetown's Bodhizafa (or almost any other IPA they come up with), Seapine's Mosaic Pale, Elysian's Dayglow IPA, Reuben's Crikey IPA, Bale Breaker's Topcutter IPA and Flying Lion's Another IPA.
@andthatswhy asks, "With teams deploying heavier TE sets, can we expect more of that big nickel in place of base defense?"
A:The Seahawks have used Bradley McDougald as a third safety for a few plays in each of the past two games, creating the "big nickel" look being referred to here. The idea is that an extra safety can cover better than a linebacker who would be playing in base defense, but give a little more size than a third cornerback in nickel, whether that is to cover a tight end or to combat a team that might be known to run out of pass looks.
Either way, I think this is something we'll see more of as the year goes along, depending on matchups. McDougald is new to the team, so he should only continue to get more comfortable in the defense, allowing coaches to find more ways to use him. And Carroll, general manager John Schneider and others have spoken very highly of McDougald since they signed the former Buccaneers starter, so if there are more ways to get him on the field going forward, the Seahawks won't hesitate to do just that.
@TristanTKnight ask, "Will Jimmy Graham ever be utilized like he was with the Saints?"
A:Short answer: No.
More detailed answers: The Seahawks don't throw the ball as frequently as the Saints, nor do they have a desire to do so, so Graham will never get the volume of targets in Seattle that he received in New Orleans. Seattle also has asked Graham to be a more complete tight end, meaning he has some blocking duties on top of his pass-catching responsibilities.
All of that being said, Graham is still a very important part of Seattle's offense, as was evident in his seven-catch, 72-yard performance last week. And don't forget that last season Graham made the Pro Bowl despite coming back from a serious knee injury, catching 65 passes for 923 yards, both franchise bests for a tight end.
@whompetgaming asks, "Will Oday Aboushi stay at right guard?"
A:Aboushi took over the starting job in Sunday's game at Tennessee, and Carroll said Monday that Aboushi played a role in some improvements they saw out of their offensive line.
"I think Oday Aboushi had something to do with that," Carroll said. "I think he helped us (Sunday) and it was a nice performance by him. I think he complemented well for his first time out with us, so that was good."
So while that doesn't guarantee anything for Aboushi going forward, it sure sounds like he'll be back in the starting lineup this week to try to build off of his first start as a Seahawks.
@FreshRynO asks, "I'm going to Seattle tomorrow, which places should I visit?"
A:You mean besides some of the breweries mentioned earlier? Well if you've never been to Seattle, the Pike Place Market is a must. Is that a cliché pick? Sure, but it's also a very cool and uniquely Seattle place. I've lived here my entire life I and still love visiting the market. For a day/half day trip, a ferry ride to Bainbridge or Vashon (if you have a car) is fun. Or if you're the outdoorsy type, the weather is supposed to be good the next few days, so head east for a hike in the cascades, or west to explore the Olympic peninsula, or find an outdoor adventure within the city somewhere like Discovery Park or Seward Park. Or rent a bike or walk to explore Alki, or rent a paddle board and explore Lake Union. For drinking and dining options, Ballard and Capitol Hill offer more quality options than I have time to list here. Ballard is also worth a visit to see the locks.
If none of that sounds fun, tweet at me again and I'll come up with some more options.
@ORCWIZARD asks, "How is Ethan Pocic progressing?"
A: By all accounts he's progressing well. The unfortunate reality for offensive linemen is that they aren't on the field if they're not starting, so for now at last his work comes in practice, but coaches remain excited about the second-round pick's prospects. The Seahawks love Pocic's versatility, so even if he's not starting at the moment, he does have a lot of value on gameday when the Seahawks have kept only two backups active the past two weeks, Matt Tobin as a swing tackle, and Pocic as the backup at all three interior spots.
Team photographer Rod Mar shares exclusive behind-the-scenes images from the Seahawks' game against the Tennessee Titans during Week 3 at Nissan Stadium.