It's Tuesday, which means it's time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this week.
@AGarrett90 asks, "Minus a potential return for Germain Ifedi, do you think the Hawks will tinker with the O-line combo before the bye week?" @KBottom2 asks, "If Ifedi is unavailable for the next game, will there be any changes made to the O-line?" @haaenson and @253Hawkman also asked about Ifedi's status for this week.
A: Ifedi, Seattle's first-round pick who has missed the first two games with an ankle injury, was scheduled to run on Monday, which would give trainers and coaches a better idea of where he is in his rehab process, but even though Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said there's a real chance of Ifedi being back this week, it's a safe bet that we won't hear anything definitive on his status until the end of the week, or perhaps even on game day.
When Ifedi does return, Carroll said the rookie "looks to be a tremendous factor for us. We were really excited about him. When he comes back out here I wouldn't be surprised if you see a little difference, because he was that impacting all throughout camp and the preseason all the way up to that Wednesday practice (when he injured his ankle)."
But if Ifedi can't make it back this week, don't expect to see a different line than the one Seattle used in its first two games. Asked about possible O-line changes, Carroll said the Seahawks are "not considering any changes" to their line other than hoping to get Ifedi back.
@legume_duprix asks, "What's the initial report on Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett?"
A:Carroll didn't give a detailed status update on either receiver Monday other than to say Baldwin "seems to feel OK" and that they'll learn more later in the week when practice resumes Wednesday.
Having two of the team's top three receivers banged up is hardly ideal news, but on a more positive note, both did return to the game, which usually is an indicator of an injury not being too serious.
And speaking of banged-up players…
@olyhomer asks, "Are the Seahawks looking forward to their Week 5 bye and getting Russell Wilson and others a week off?"
A:An early bye week is often viewed as a negative because it means playing 10-plus consecutive games without a break to finish the year. But given the status of several key offensive players, an early bye could be a good thing for the Seahawks this year. Again, we don't know details yet of Baldwin, Lockett or Thomas Rawls' injuries, but even if all of them are back on the field this week, they very well could be feeling the effects of their injuries from Sunday's game. Wilson's ankle held up on Sunday, but Carroll acknowledged Monday that Wilson isn't quite the same player right now as he is when fully healthy. Add to that list Ifedi and tight end Nick Vannett, who have yet to play, and running back C.J. Prosise, who missed Sunday's game with a hand injury, and an early bye might not be such a bad thing for a banged-up offense.
@RAYKation asks, "Do the Rams have a secret infiltrator inside the Seahawks locker room or something? How do they keep beating us?"
A: No, this isn't a case of espionage. Instead, the Rams have just been a tough matchup for the Seahawks, which is why they've won five of nine games against Seattle dating back to 2012. The Rams have a lot of talent, particularly on defense, and they've just found ways to pull out close wins against Seattle on a number of occasions, sometimes with big plays on special teams, other times with great defense, or in the case of last year's game in St. Louis, with a big play on offense late in the game.
Here's how Carroll described it last week leading up to the game: "We have not played them well the last few times out. We've had some good games against them but maybe not as many as other teams in our division. I think Jeff (Fisher) does a great job, I think they're well coached and they're tough and they make things happen. They have a lot of talent. They've taken advantage of their draft opportunities and they have a lot of people on this team who can play ball. I think they're as talented as anybody we play."
Add to that the fact that the Rams were playing their first home game since relocation to Los Angeles and were coming off of an embarrassing performance in their opener, and it's no surprise that they played the Seahawks tough on Sunday. Obviously the Seahawks feel like they could have and should have done more on offense to win the game, but the Rams deserve credit for making life hard on Seattle's offense.
@SlicVicTA asks, "What can the Seahawks do to make their offense better? They always say they are better than that, but don't show it."
A: First off, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with the second part of this question. Yes, the Seahawks offense has struggled so far, and players and coaches expect things will turn around soon, but to suggest that they always say they can be better and don't show it completely ignores the second half of last season. Seattle's offense had some issues last season as well, particularly early in the season, and we heard from players and coaches that they felt like things would get better; then in the second half of the season, the Seahawks averaged 32 points per game on their way to a 6-2 finish. Not sure how that doesn't qualify as showing it.
As for improving this season, there are a lot of things the Seahawks want to do better. In particular, Carroll pointed to the need for more offensive balance and improved success on third down.
"We're not getting the same balance that we felt—mixing the run game and the pass game where we can play off the running game—it just hasn't been as obvious right off the bat," Carroll said. "That's an issue… Just not as much balance as we like to see, so we have to work harder to get that done."
If the Seahawks can get their running game going, that will also help on third down because it should create fewer third-and-long situations.
"We had nine third-and-sevens and higher," Carroll said. "That's too many. That's staying on schedule, that goes back to the running game. Remember last year how much we talked about third down, and you saw third down shift and you saw everything changed; that's still the key. Converting and creating a new set of downs and all that is crucial. We just found ourselves, by our own doings, in a bunch of third and longs. I think we were pretty efficient on the ones that were third-and-six or less—we were four out of five or something like that. We need to control the sticks better and that's what balancing out the run game will mean to it. So that's why it was a difficult game for us."
@kittyspotted asks, "What is your take on the Seahawks being penalized for violating offseason workout rules?"
A:Obviously it's not good news from a Seahawks perspective that the team lost a draft pick and a week of OTAs. I don't think that punishment will drastically affect Seattle's play in 2017 and beyond, especially with the Seahawks expected to again get multiple compensatory picks for free agents lost this offseason, but losing a draft pick or a chance to practice a few more days doesn't exactly help either.
The Seahawks practice fast and they practice hard—it's a big reason why they've been so good under Carroll, but as he said yesterday, "I've got to do a better job. I've got to make sure we're toeing the line within the standards. It was hard, because we had such a good year last year, and we did it the same way, just with more alerts. We've gone through a lot. At times when a guy has seemed to be overzealous, we've taken him out of practice, we suspended a guy from a practice because of efforts we thought were out of line, stuff like that. But still, we didn't quite meet the standard that they want, so this is what happened… I just have to make sure I do a better job of this. We have to work harder to understand what everybody else is doing and just stay within the lines they think are right."
@PureGMTELigence asks, "Are you a seagull or a giraffe?"
A: Um… I'm really not sure how to answer this question. Does the answer reveal something important about me? Well, I'll go seagull, if only because giraffes are tall, and I'm, well, not tall.
@Stepfan_Brown asks, "How is the offense going to utilize Jimmy Graham more?"
A:This was one of a handful of questions concerned with the use of Graham, who was the team's second-leading receiver Sunday with three catches for 42 yards. But before everyone worries too much about how the Seahawks are using Graham, let's take a step back and remember that this is a player who missed a good portion of training camp, all of the preseason, and who played only 17 snaps in the opener. Graham feels good about where he is physically, but that doesn't necessarily mean he and Wilson are going to pick up right where they left off 10 months ago. And speaking of picking up where they left off, it's worth noting that Wilson, Graham and the rest of the offense were really starting to click right about when Graham's injury happened. Had Graham stayed healthy, there's no doubt in my mind he would have had a big second half of the season just like everyone else involved in the passing game, and for all the concern about how the Seahawks used Graham, he was still the team's second-leading receiver behind Doug Baldwin before the injury.
@TheCrappyTotals asks, "Just between us, who punched @JaysonJenks?" And @ByTimBooth asks, "Why did you beat up @JaysonJenks?"
A: If you're not up on Seahawks media gossip—and believe me, there's no reason to be up on Seahawks media gossip—Seattle Times reporter Jayson Jenks arrived in the press box with a very swollen face on Sunday. But nobody punched Jayson. Instead, he apparently had a hard time finding his bed in the dark.
Seattle served as the Rams' opponent for the team's first game in Los Angeles since 1994, and Seahawks team photographer Rod Mar was there to capture exclusive moments from the NFL's historic return to Southern California.