The Seahawks took a big step forward in their dominant Week 4 win over the Colts, but now they face a big test on the road, facing the first-place Los Angeles Rams. But before we get to that matchup, and with players off Tuesday before their practice week kicks off Wednesday, now's the time 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 yours this time around.
@DanCohen17 asks, "Who is the No. 1 running back right now? Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy have both been healthy scratches in recent games." And @guapopilot007 asks, "Thomas Rawls or Eddie Lacy as RB1?"
A:With Chris Carson landing on injured reserve this week due to the leg injury he sustained last week, the future at running back is one of the biggest questions this week and likely for much of the rest of the season. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said there's an outside chance Carson, who had surgery Tuesday, could come back, but even if he does, he has to stay on IR for at least eight weeks before being eligible to return.
And as Dan notes in his question, it's hard to gauge what might come next based on what we've seen so far. With Carson dominating the work load early this season, there haven't been a lot of carries to go around for everyone else, and while Eddie Lacy was a healthy scratch in Week 2, it was Rawls sitting out Sunday's win over the Colts. For a while, Rawls was ahead of Lacy on the depth chart, so does that mean he'll be the starter this week? Does Lacy's 11-carry, 52-yard performance last week mean he's now ahead in that race, or was it just a matter of him being a better complement to Carson in that particular matchup?
My guess would be that, assuming the Seahawks can get to the level of rush attempts they'd prefer, you'll see a lot of both of those backs, but as for who will get the most carries? Too tough to call that one right now. Sorry, fantasy football players.
@LadyMoonRaven87 asks, "If Pete Carroll wasn't a coach, what would his choice of profession be? How about a sports announcer, because he's got so much energy!"
A:If Carroll did want a job in the media, I'm confident that networks would be lining up to offer him analyst jobs, but even though he has dabbled in media, writing a column for CNNSI.com during his year away from coaching in 2000, I'm not sure that's what he would do were he not coaching.
Given the impact Carroll has made in Los Angeles through A Better LA, and how passionate he is about that work—Carroll once called the work he did with his nonprofit "a million times more important" than football—I could definitely see Carroll making community outreach a fulltime profession. Or perhaps Carroll, who recently helped launch the Performance Science Institute at USC, would be at home as a college professor.
Luckily for Seahawks fans, Carroll is a coach, so all of those what-ifs will have to wait while Carroll tries to lead the Seahawks to the playoffs for a sixth straight season.
@WhiteCommaRob and @FrannkTheeTannk ask if J.D. McKissic will continue to be active on game days doing forward.
A:Pete Carroll pointed out that some of his players were quick to say "I told you so" when McKissic made a big impact in the first game he was active this season, scoring two long touchdowns. And with the Seahawks carrying one fewer running back on the roster following Chris Carson's move to injured reserve, there very well could be room on the game-day roster for McKissic, especially considering that he also played an active role on special teams Sunday. If C.J. Prosise does indeed return this week, however, it will be interesting to see how much and in what capacity McKissic is used since he basically stepped into Prosise's role last week.
Playing time and touches will be tough to earn when everyone is healthy, but in Carroll's always-compete world, McKissic will play if he keeps proving himself like he did Sunday.
@Jacearete asks, "What changed to give the O-line the success that it had in the second half?"
A:The line did indeed take another step forward, but it wasn't so much any drastic changes as much as it was just an example of a young group continuing to improve as a unit. The Seahawks were coming into the season as a young line, then made an unexpected change at left tackle because of injury, and have since made a change at right guard, so some growing pains were unfortunately inevitable.
Carroll talked about his line's growth Monday, noting, "They are just getting better. They've continued to do better. We projected that they would. You can see it happening. To rush for almost 200 yards in a game in the NFL is pretty big. We did some good stuff up there in pass protection as well, so we are just improving. They are just fitting together better and hopefully we can keep that group together and keep them growing.
"I thought we protected Russell well, and he was moving when he needed to and making things happen. I thought the first couple of runs weren't great, but after we got going, I think things were fine. It's really the consistency right now is what we're looking for, and in that sense that we can count on the guys to make their blocks and make their calls, and give us a chance, and make the same adjustments in the passing game. They're just doing better just because they've played together longer; it's taken us a month really to get to this point, and we have improvement ahead of us too. We have a chance to get better."
@g_pargas81 asks, "What will it take for Bobby Wagner's name to be at the top of the list of Defensive Player of the Year? Will it take more defensive touchdowns?"
A:Bobby Wagner definitely would have been deserving had he won defensive player of the year last season when he led the NFL with 167 tackles, and he's off to another strong start this year with 33 tackles, half a sack, one interception and a fumble return for a touchdown.
What Wagner has working against him, however, is that sacks tend to be rewarded more than anything when it comes to this award, so while there is recent precedent of a middle linebacker winning (Luke Kuechly in 2013), it has been dominated by pass rushers of late, with defensive ends/3-4 outside linebackers winning five of the last six DPOY awards.
So what's it going to take for Wagner to win? As a middle linebacker, he'll never be among the sack leaders, but if he could build on last year's total of 4.5 while getting more turnovers and again piling up triple-digit tackle totals, he could definitely find himself in the conversation come season's end. And as good as Seattle's defense has been for the past five-plus seasons, it would be nice to finally see someone win that honor for what will go down as an all-time great unit.
@Garfield360 and @robharvey5 ask if the Seahawks will play in England anytime soon.
A:With the league's annual London games under way, this always-popular question has come up a couple more times this week. I'll say what I have said in the past, which is that I don't necessarily see it happening soon, if only because the Seahawks, being on the west coast, have a pretty big disadvantage going to London over most of the league. The Rams do go to London again this year, but that's because the NFL can make teams playing in temporary stadiums sacrifice a home game to host an international game. So while anything is possible—the league could always decide to schedule a Seahawks at Rams game in London before the new Los Angeles stadium is complete—my uninformed guess would be that the Seahawks are more likely to play out of the country somewhere else if/when the league continues to extend its reach internationally. Take, for example, this year's game between New England and Oakland in Mexico City. If the league wants to play more games in Mexico, that would be a much more reasonable destination for west coast teams such as Seattle than would Europe. Of if the league ever wants to play a game in Asia, west coast teams would again make more sense in that scenario. Though on a personal note, if I ever have to take a work trip to London, you won't hear me complaining about it.
@ArrDJay asks, "I have no doubt the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund will support great programs. Will we be able to see which ones?"
A:If you missed it Friday, players announced the launch of the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund to "support education and leadership programs addressing equality and justice." People interested in donating can do so at Seahawks.com/ActionFund.
As to Rebecca's question, we should start getting more details on where the money will go soon, with an advisory board being worked on this week. Eventually, that board will decide on where grants will be used in order to, as the players stated is their goal, support education and leadership programs.
Team photographer Rod Mar shares exclusive behind-the-scenes images from the Seahawks' 46-18 win over the Indianapolis Colts during Week 4 at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.