The NFL postseason isn’t even over yet, but the Seahawks have already had an eventful offseason. Head coach Pete Carroll made several notable changes to his coaching staff, and last week the NFL announced that the Seahawks are heading to London in 2018. So with all of that in mind, it’s time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who took the time to ask a question this week, and apologies if I couldn’t get to your question this time around.
@TonyCooley99 asks, “What are your thoughts on the Week 6 London game?” And on a related note, @dannyking says, “We are buzzing that the Hawks are finally coming to the UK! How have the players reacted?”
A: Over the past few years doing these Q&As, I’ve been asked about the Seahawks potentially coming to the UK nearly every week I put out the call for questions, so first and foremost, I’m excited about the Seahawks playing in London because of how many fans the Seahawks have in the UK (as well as Germany, and I’ve heard plenty of those fans will be making the trip as well). The game will certainly present some logistical challenges that not every player and coach will love, but this is also a unique opportunity to see a world-class city as well as a chance for fans across the pond to see the Seahawks, so overall I think it should be a great experience, even if some jetlag is inevitable.
Sticking with the London theme…
@Zagori3 asks from Germany, “Really looking forward to seeing the Seahawks play in London. It’s a much shorter trip to go there from Germany. But when will tickets be on sale?”
A: Unfortunately for fans eager to secure tickets, the fact that the game is being played in a new stadium that is not yet completed complicates tickets a bit. The league announced Thursday a start time for the game (10 a.m. PT, 6 p.m. in London) but said tickets won’t go on sale until sometime in April.
@MattHeyzeus asks, “What do you think the immediate impact of the new coaching hires will be? How will it affect play-calling and schematics in general?”
A: As most everyone knows by now, the Seahawks made some big changes to their coaching staff, making changes at offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and offensive line coach. We’ll have to wait to hear from the new coaches and from Carroll to know exactly how things could change with those new coaches, but new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s track record suggests he’s open to the balanced approach Carroll wants to get back to, having led offenses that ranked at or near the top of the league in rushing while with the New York Jets. Getting back to running the ball is a priority for Carroll, so he wouldn’t have hired Schottenheimer if he didn’t think it would help in that regard.
“We have a real formula for how we win, and we’ve been unable to incorporate a major aspect of that, and that’s to run the football the way we want,” Carroll said in his year-end press conference. “There are tremendous examples around the league of teams that have turned their fortunes around, and they’ve turned it around with a formula that should sound familiar to you: teams running the football, teams playing good defense and doing the kicking game thing. That's the formula that has proven historically the best in this game. We have been committed to that from the start, but unfortunately we have not been able to recapture it the way we have in years past.”
Schottenheimer’s history as a quarterbacks coach, who aided in the development of a young Drew Brees in San Diego, should also allow him to have a good influence on Russell Wilson's continued development.
On defense, I wouldn’t expect much to change in terms of scheme with Ken Norton Jr. coming back to the team. Norton’s long history coaching under Carroll means he knows the defense Carroll wants to run. As for what Norton can bring to the defense, linebacker K.J. Wright addressed that during an appearance on Sports Radio KJR Wednesday.
“When they told me it was coach Norton, I was just very happy, very relieved, because he’s a guy that knows (the system),” Wright said. “He coached at USC with coach Carroll, won Super Bowls in the NFL (as a player) and with us. So he’s going to be just fine, he’s the type of guy that can not only impact the defense but the entire team because he’s that great of a guy and that influential. When he gets in here I believe you’ll see a big turnaround with the whole team.”
@yo_ger asks, “What does the new O-line coach offer and what changes do you think he’ll make for the better?”
A: In addition to hiring new coordinator, the Seahawks also have a new line coach, Mike Solari, who previously coached in Seattle in 2008 and 2009. It’s too soon to know what type of changes he/the team might make on the line either in terms of personnel or scheme, but Solari has a strong track record in the NFL.
"You've got a complete gem with Mike Solari," former Seahawks lineman Rob Sims said on 710 ESPN Seattle. "He's a guy I attribute a lot of my success to.
"He definitely developed me into the player that was a consistent player, a player that ended up starting 80-straight games for the Lions. I just attribute a lot of my success to him. I wish I had more time, I would've love to come back and to play for the man."
Another fan of Solari's is former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, who hired Solari in 2008 after years of coaching against him.
"Mike Solari, they couldn't get a better a guy," Holmgren said on Sports Radio KJR. "… He is really, really a good line coach. That's a good get."
Asked about Solari's skills as a teacher, Holmgren said, "He is really good. I coached against him all those years when he was in Kansas City, and then he was with the 49ers. I've always admired him… That's a good (hire). And he'll make those guys better. There's not a doubt in mind."
@SWAGGER42YT asks, “Do you think the new coaches will be a step in the right direction for next season?”
A: I’m not going to pretend to know enough about these new coaches to give a definitive answer, but I’ve been around the Carroll-led Seahawks long enough to know he’s not the type of coach who will make change just for change’s sake. So obviously Carroll made these moves believing they will help the Seahawks improve next season. That’s not a knock on the coaches who were previously in those roles, but sometimes new voices and ideas can provide a spark.
@isumeander asks, “What do you see as the biggest free agent priorities, both on re-signing current players and potential targets?”
A: Unlike last year when the Seahawks had very few free agents heading into the offseason, several starters, including players like tight end Jimmy Graham, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and receiver Paul Richardson are set to become unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins in March. Carroll was asked about both Graham and Sheldon Richardson earlier this month and said he would like to see both players come back, but as is always the case in free agency, the market for those players will play a role in whether or not the Seahawks can keep them.
As for outside free agents, it’s too soon to speculate on any particular players or position groups, but general manager John Schneider and company pride themselves in leaving no stone unturned, so they’ll at least look into just about everything you can imagine, though again, the salary cap will be a big factor in those decisions. In general, the Seahawks have waited to make most of their free agent moves until the initial frenzy has passed, so don’t necessarily expect to see them dive into the market in those first couple of days of free agency.
@KBottom2 asks, “When can we hope to see a Seahawks schedule for next season?”
A: Well, I can tell you the Seahawks will play the Raiders in London in Week 6 if that helps, but otherwise we’ll have to wait a few months to know the schedule. The NFL usually announces the schedule a week or two before the draft, so look for that news in April. We do, however, know who the Seahawks will be playing in 2018.
@The_KayBee asks, “Is there a Techno Thursday playlist somewhere?”
A: Not that I know of, though if there is, I’d imagine Luke Willson, Nick Vannett and friends have it downloaded for enjoyment this offseason. I do know that one of the more popular Techno Thursday songs, “Flute,” is by New World Sound and Thomas Newson.
@LaCollinBall asks, “How do you see the defensive backfield playing out next year?”
A: This will be one of the more interesting position groups heading into 2018. Kam Chancellor’s status for 2018 is still unclear because of a neck injury, Richard Sherman is coming back from a serious injury, and two players who ended the year as starters, safety Bradley McDougald and cornerback Byron Maxwell, are free agents. I can’t begin to speculate on who all will be on the team in 2018, but regardless of who returns and who doesn’t, or of who is added in the draft or free agency, this will be a competitive group to keep an eye on in camp.
@gnarlyraddad asks, “Will we see more of Mike Davis next year?”
A: Considering Davis played well enough to take over the starting job following a late-season promotion off of the practice squad, yes, I think it’s safe to assume he’ll have every opportunity to compete for playing time next year. That being said, Carroll mentioned running back as a position that he’d like to see get more competitive, so it seems very likely that in addition to the players already on the roster, the Seahawks will bring in more running backs either through the draft or free agency.
@KINGKDOUGH asks, “Did we see enough of Chris Carson to count on him for the future, or does Seattle need to make a splash in free agency or the draft for another running back?”
A: Carson, as seventh-round pick who won the starting job as a rookie, really impressed coaches and teammates prior to sustaining a season-ending leg injury. Considering he was the starter early in the season when everyone was healthy, he would appear to be one of the front-runners for the starting job as things stand right now, but again, it’s very likely that the Seahawks will add to that competition between now and this summer. Regardless of what happens this offseason, it’s safe to say the Seahawks have high hopes for Carson.
“I was so excited about Chris, and I know not a lot of people were—he was available to us in the seventh round, so not a lot of people saw that,” Carroll said. “But I’ve been so excited about what he showed us in the short time that we had and his dynamic play. He’s a catcher, he’s a runner, he’s a blocker, he’s a special teams guy. He’s big, strong and fast. He’s all of that stuff. He just had some problems in his career to establish that where it wasn’t recognized by the rest of the people around the league, but he’s a marvelous guy to be coming back to.”
Take a look at some of the best sideline images captured during games throughout the 2017 season.