It's time once again to answer Seahawks questions from you, the fans. Thanks as always to everyone who submitted questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around.
@grahamegoop asks, "Does it makes sense to pay some individuals so much money that you can't afford to have a complete team, i.e. the offensive line."
A:A lot to unpack in this question, so first let's start with the line, which has taken a lot of heat lately. Has the Seahawks' offensive line been perfect this season? Hardly. Is there room for growth? Definitely. But is the line solely responsible for Seattle's offensive struggles? Not at all. Sacks aren't a perfect measure of quarterback pressure, but they're a significant one, and the Seahawks have given up 12 sacks through seven games, the second fewest in the league behind three teams that have allowed 11. Through seven games last season, the Seahawks allowed 31 sacks. That's a remarkable improvement, especially for a unit that has three new starters, and a fourth playing a new position, and that has seen its starting right guard miss three games and its left tackle miss one.
The Seahawks need to get their running game going and improve on third down, and as Russell Wilson gets healthier, he'll be better—all things Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is confident will happen. And yes, the line can be better too, but it's unfair to just lump all of the offensive struggles on one position group just because the Seahawks aren't spending a lot of money there this season.
Which brings us back to the original question on spending money on some players and therefore not having a complete team. The NFL has a salary cap in place because the league likes having parity, and with that cap comes the reality that it's pretty impossible to truly have a "complete team." About the only time you see teams unusually talented and deep all over the field is when they have a ton of young talent, and most importantly a good young quarterback who has not yet earned a big second contract. The 2013 Seahawks were an amazing team in part because players like Wilson, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, K.J Wright and Earl Thomas were all on their rookie deals, which is why that team was able to spend more money on its offensive line than any team in the league.
The Seahawks didn't set out to intentionally go cheap on their line this year, but after rewarding Wilson, Wagner, Thomas, Sherman, Kam Chancellor, K.J. Wright, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Doug Baldwin and others with new contracts in recent years, they simply couldn't afford to spend big money on every position.
"You have to (save) somewhere, and we're not in the business of letting damn good football players leave," general manager John Schneider said before the start of training camp. "… We like the (offensive line) group, it just so happens that it's younger guys who people don't necessarily know."
The Seahawks don't have a "spend big on quarterback and defense and ignore the offensive line" philosophy, it just so happened that in recent years, a lot of their best players due for a raise happened to be Wilson and defensive players, and Seahawks do, as Schneider put it, have a philosophy of not "letting damn good football players leave."
@AdotRic asks, "Is there a chance we could see Thomas Rawls back by the New England game?"
A:Thomas Rawls, who has been out since Week 2 with a fibula injury, is running again this week, but Carroll did say that the running back won't play in Seattle's Week 9 game against Buffalo. A return for Seattle's game at New England the following week hasn't been ruled out yet, but in all likelihood, we won't know about his availability until the Seahawks practice next week. The Seahawks are excited to get Rawls back, but Carroll has also made it clear that they'll be careful to not rush him back too soon. And it's worth noting that even if Rawls does play in that game, it might take a couple of games for him to work his way up to a full workload after missing so much time between last year's leg injury and this injury.
@TruthisTold2U asks, "Is Kam Chancellor playing Monday?"
A:Ask me again on Monday… OK, you probably want a different answer than that, but Chancellor's groin injury is proving to be a tough one to figure out, so I really can't tell you much on that. Carroll expressed optimism on Monday that Chancellor will play during his appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle, but in his press conference later in the day, he was less definitive, saying, "We're not going to know here until we get through this week. Unfortunately it has just been a lingering problem, and we've got to see if we can get through it. He's close, he's got full strength and all of that, but we've got to get him through and ensure that he's back. We don't want to just barely make it back, we've got to make it back where he stays back, so we'll be careful with that. We'll see what happens, and we won't know until late in the week."
Carroll has been optimistic over the past couple of weeks that Chancellor would get back quickly from the injury, only to have the Pro Bowl safety miss three games, so my guess is Chancellor's status will be something addressed later this week.
@okaken300 asks, "With two linebackers hurting, who is going to play strongside linebacker? Coyle or Marsh?"
A:Mike Morgan opened the season as Seattle's starting strongside linebacker, but is now on injured reserve because of a sports hernia injury, and Kevin Pierre-Louis, who took over for Morgan, has missed the past two games with an ankle injury. What that means for Monday night remains to be seen, but the Seahawks have options. Carroll hasn't updated Pierre-Louis' status yet this week, but if he is able to make it back, he's obviously an option there. Marsh, who's natural position is defensive end, started at strongside linebacker against Arizona, but then stuck to defensive end against the Saints with the Seahawks needing extra pass-rush help due to Michael Bennett's injury. Coyle, who has spent his career as a middle linebacker, held his own at strongside linebacker against New Orleans in his first start there, and keeping him there would free up Marsh to be an end until Bennett is back.
"He did a solid job first time out," Carroll said of Coyle. "He did a particularly good job supporting down on the goal line. He had some really good hits down there. He played pretty a solid game first time out. We were pleased with what he did for his first time ever playing SAM."
@bandofgypsys asks, "How come the Seahawks never wear throwback jerseys?"
A: I get this question a couple of times a year, and I completely understand why. It would be sweet to see the old uniforms, silver helmets and all, on the current team, but here's the problem: the NFL only allows teams to have three different jerseys (other than color rush). For some teams, that means home, road and throwback, but other teams, Seahawks included, choose instead to have an alternate third uniform. So unless that uniform policy changes, the Seahawks would have to get rid of their wolf grey uniform in order to do a throwback. Also, teams can only have one helmet, so unless they wanted to cover their blue helmets with a silver decal and the old logo, that's another issue.
@StevenDeJong93 asks, "If you could take the two west divisions and mix them up, who would you want in Seattle's division?"
A: Having grown up watching the Seahawks play in the AFC West, this is a fun question to consider. Some fans like the idea of going back to old rivalries against teams like Oakland and Denver, while others people like the current set up, especially with rivalries that have built in recent years between the Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals and Rams. If you're leaving it up to me, I'm going to go selfish and pick the Chargers and 49ers, because San Diego and San Francisco are two of my favorite cities to visit, and the Broncos, because maybe once every few years the schedule would send the Seahawks there late enough in the season that I could get a day of skiing in somewhere in the Rockies. OK, so there probably wouldn't be time for that, but at least playing the Broncos twice a year would give us ample excuses to bring this play up again. Or this game.
@KBottom2 asks, "With the signing of Demontre Moore Tuesday, does that mean Michael Bennett's recovery is going to be longer than expected?"
A: The Seahawks did indeed add pass-rush help Tuesday, signing Moore, a former third-round pick who has 9.5 career sacks, but I don't think that has to do with the length of Bennett's absence, but rather just the fact that Bennett will miss any time at all. Carroll said the optimistic timeline on Bennett was two to three weeks, and while the Seahawks did add Moore, they did release another defensive end, Malliciah Goodman, to make room on the roster. If something had changed significantly in regards to Bennett, the Seahawks might have opted to keep both of those players and find room on the roster at another position. We should hear a little more on Bennett from Carroll on Thursday.
@TWhitehead1081 asks, "How close is Russell Wilson to being fully mobile again, and will C.J. Prosise get a chance to run the ball more over Christine Michael?"
A:To the first question, I don't think anyone, Wilson included, knows exactly when he'll be at 100 percent, but he is making improvements, including the removal of his ankle brace and a switch to a smaller knee brace, and Carroll has said this week that they think we'll see a more mobile Wilson soon.
As for Prosise, last week's game was a good indicator that the rookie is becoming a bigger part of the offense, and Carroll said Monday that the Seahawks are "just scratching the surface" with what Prosise can bring to the offense. Michael will still be the lead back until Rawls is back and up to speed, but the Seahawks will keep finding ways to get Prosise involved.
@IceTiltHero asks, "What were the odds that Earl Thomas would score a touchdown and find two fans wearing his jersey in the end zone to give the ball to?"
A:That was pretty interesting that Thomas was able to find not just Seahawks fans, but fans in his jersey after scoring on a 34-yard fumble return, but a couple of things made that scenario a little more likely. First off, there were a lot of Seahawks fans at the Superdome on Sunday, and plenty of fans have bought Thomas jerseys over the years, so there were bound to be some in the building. Secondly, Thomas is from Orange, Texas, which is a three-and-a-half-hour drive from New Orleans, so he had some friends and family in the building.
@HolliWinters asks, "How do the Seahawks prepare their practice schedule differently when the game is on Monday night instead of a Sunday?"
A:Basically, the Seahawks just push their week back a day, so instead of starting practice on Wednesday, players got Wednesday off and the practice week will begin on Thursday. The tradeoff for the extra day off this week provides is that next week will be compressed with the Seahawks having one fewer day to prepare for their trip to New England.
@kibbykibbykibby asks, "Are the seahawks practicing this week to contain a mobile quarterback like Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor?"
A: Yes, the Seahawks know they have to worry about Tyrod Taylor's ability to run as well as pass—he has rushed for 319 yards and three touchdowns this season—but the Seahawks have a couple of things going for them when it comes to preparing for a mobile quarterback. For starters, backup quarterback Trevone Boykin is a very good athlete himself, so he should be able to give the defense a good scout-team look in practice this week. Secondly, Seattle's defense has been practicing against Wilson for years, so they know what it's like to see a quarterback not just escape form pressure, but make big throws after the fact. And perhaps most importantly, the Seahawks just have a lot of great athletes on their defense who also play with a lot of discipline, which are two big reasons they've generally been good against mobile quarterbacks in the past.
Team photographer Rod Mar shares exclusive behind-the-scenes images from the Seahawks' Week 8 game against the Saints in New Orleans.