The Seahawks have won three straight and once again appear to be hitting their stride in the second half of the season. Next up is a trip to Tampa Bay, but before we shift our focus to Seattle's Week 12 opponent, it's time once again to 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 yours this time around.
@eanorlin asks, "Baldwin to Wilson for a touchdown was pretty awesome. Are there other notable trick plays in Seahawks history that can compare?"
A:Doug Baldwin's 15-yard touchdown pass to Russell Wilson marked the first time a Seahawks quarterback has recorded a touchdown reception, so that was definitely a memorable trick play, but to me the best one has to be Jon Ryan's touchdown pass to Garry Gilliam in the NFC Championship Game. That fake field goal was great not just because it featured a punter throwing a touchdown pass—and making a goofy face while doing it—but also because of its significance. Without that play, which helped jumpstart a huge comeback, the Seahawks probably don't advance to Super Bowl XLIX.
And as any long-time fans would point out, any mention of Seahawks trick plays should include kicker Efren Herrera, who combined with quarterback/holder Jim Zorn on a number of trick plays, throwing passes to Zorn, catching passes from Zorn and blocking for Zorn as a runner.
@TruthisTold2U asks, "With the Seahawks once again leading the league in scoring defense, what are Bobby Wagner's chances at Defensive Player of the Year?"
A:Wagner does indeed lead the NFL with 108 tackles, and this year he has arguably been the best player on what is again one of the NFL’s best defenses, so he absolutely deserves to be in Player of the Year discussions, which so far have mostly focused on Broncos pass rusher Von Miller, Giants safety Landon Collins and Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters. What Wagner has going against him is what has kept any other Seahawks from winning DPOY during the team's historic run of leading the league in scoring defense for four straight seasons—the overall talent on the roster. It's tough for Earl Thomas or Kam Chancellor or Richard Sherman or Michael Bennett or Wagner to win a Player of the Year vote when it's hard to say, with certainty, that they're even the best player on their own defense. As great as Wagner has been this year, is he having a better season than Cliff Avril, who is tied for the league lead with 10 sacks, or than Sherman, who is still locking down opposing receivers as well as he ever has and who has four interceptions? It would be a strange anomaly if one of the great defenses in NFL history never produces a Defensive Player of the Year, but it would also speak to the amount of overall talent the Seahawks have had on defense in recent years.
@TablerDotCom asks, "With all the injuries at running back, do you expect the Seahawks to sign a free agent or promote George Farmer from the practice squad?"
A:The Seahawks unfortunately did have two running backs go down with injuries, including C.J. Prosise, who had started the previous two games. With Prosise expected to be out for a while and with Troymaine Pope battling an ankle injury, it does seem likely that the Seahawks could add help behind Thomas Rawls and Alex Collins, either via free agency or by promoting George Farmer off the practice squad. Farmer looked good at running back in camp after moving from cornerback to the backfield, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that adding Farmer to the 53-man roster is a move the Seahawks could consider.
@Christodafur asks, "What is your confidence level in Alex Collins as a backup running back?"
A:Well, my confidence level shouldn't matter much since I'm not a professional when it comes to evaluating talent or coaching it, so I'll defer to Carroll on this one, and the Seahawks coach likes what he has seen from the rookie back despite limited playing time.
"I think Alex has made a lot of progress," Carroll said. "Alex has really done some marvelous stuff. Since we were in camp he's kind of restructured his body a little bit. He's gotten in a different level of conditioning that we've seen him change, lost some weight and trimmed down. He practices with great intensity every day, so he's at his best, he's ready to go. He's really healthy and ready for the challenge. I really feel comfortable with him fitting in our offense. He can do all of our stuff, he can play third down, first down, short yardages. You saw him run down by the goal line well earlier in the year. He'll just figure in."
@Shaunblahblah asks, "What's the best Pearl Jam concert you've seen? Temple of the Dog last night doesn't count."
A:It has come up here and on my Twitter account plenty, but if you didn't know, I'm a rather big Pearl Jam fan, and yes, I was lucky enough to be at the Temple of the Dog show at the Paramount Monday night. That was pretty spectacular, but Shaun rightly disqualified it from consideration since it wasn't Pearl Jam, but rather several members of Pearl Jam in a different band playing different songs.
So, as for my favorites of the 17 (I think) Pearl Jam concerts I've been to, well that's an awfully tough question. First off, thanks for sending me down an internet rabbit hole of YouTube videos and old set lists to try to answer this… To be honest, I probably put a little too much time and effort into this question, to be honest.
Anyway, in no particular order, I'll go with the mostly-acoustic show they did at Benaroya Hall in 2003, the final show of their 2000 tour at KeyArena, the two shows at Memorial Stadium in July of 1998, their shows at the Gorge Amphitheatre both in 2005 and 2006, and their 2013 show at San Diego State University. That last one makes the list both because it was a great show, but also for sentimental reasons. I was at that show with my wife only a few months after we got married, and before playing "Just Breathe," which was the first dance at our wedding (like I said, big Pearl Jam fan), Eddie Vedder said, "to all the great couples, this one's for you." Sorry, that's really cheesy. Let's get back to football.
@DennisGill10 asks, "Is Doug Baldwin the best undrafted receiver to ever play in the NFL (for example, Wes Welker and Victor Cruz)?"
A:I don't think Baldwin is there yet, but he very well could be by the end of his career. As Dennis mentions, Welker should definitely be in the best-undrafted-receiver conversation having been named a Pro Bowler five times and having led the NFL in receptions three times. Former Broncos great Rod Smith should definitely be inconsideration having earned Pro Bowl honors three times while also winning two Super Bowls with Denver, as should former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson, who was a three-time Pro Bowler and the league's receiving leader in 1972. Baldwin hasn't played long enough to match the numbers and accolades of those three, but he has a lot of good years left ahead of him, so if he keeps playing well and the Seahawks keep winning, he could definitely go down as an all-time great undrafted player.
@thegoatdavidm asks, "How are Earl Thomas, DeShawn Shead and Michael Bennett doing? And is Bennett coming back this week?"
A:Carroll addressed all three of these players on Monday. On Shead and Thomas, who both left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, Carroll said. "Both those guys have hamstring strains, kind of first-degree strains that we're going to have to wait and see how it goes, how they handle it, and whether or not they're able to get back [this week]. We don't know that right now."
Bennett, who has missed four games following arthroscopic surgery, does have a chance to make it back this week, but his status for Sunday's game won't be known until later in the week.
"We're going to see what happens," Carroll said. "He's going to see how far he can take it. We'll find out. The trainers and doctors are open for if he can make it back, he can play. So we'll see if he's able to do that."
@tisdale57 asks, "With Earl Thomas and DeShawn Shead having hamstring injuries, will Richard Sherman follow Mike Evans?"
A:The Seahawks have used Sherman to shadow opposing teams' top receivers at times this season, though usually not for every single play throughout a game, so yes, there's certainly a chance that will happen to some degree against the Buccaneers and Evans, who ranks in the top five in the league in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions. The Seahawks like what they saw from their secondary depth last week, so they'll be confident in whoever plays if Thomas and/or Shead is unavailable, but if one or both of them is missing, knowing Sherman is on one of the league's top receivers might make things easier for the rest of the defense.
@Gink_1228 asks, "On Thanksgiving, do you make a little "lake" in your mashed potatoes for your gravy?"
A:Of course. You have to, right? Otherwise the gravy gets everywhere on what should be a very crowded Thanksgiving dinner plate. And while gravy on turkey sounds good to me, gravy on, say, salad or cranberry sauce is less appetizing. So yes, give me a potato lake every time.
@olyhomer asks, "Better receiver, Russell Wilson or Seneca Wallace?"
A:As good of an athlete as Wilson is, I'm giving the nod to Wallace, who actually lined up at receiver at times during his career, including when he hauled in a difficult over-the-shoulder catch in Seattle's NFC Championship Game win over the Carolina Panthers that sent the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL.