It's Tuesday, which means it's time for another Seahawks mailbag before we turn our focus to Seattle's Week 6 game against the Cardinals. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to your question this time around. And remember, if Twitter isn't your thing, you can also submit questions online at Seahawks.com/mailbag.
@AgentJaspor asks, "It seemed like conventional wisdom had Seattle taking a QB early in next year's draft. Has that changed considering how well Geno Smith has played?"
A: As well as Geno Smith has played so far this season, it's definitely worth considering that he could be a long-term option for the Seahawks, and the team is no doubt considering that and all other options at quarterback, including, as you mentioned, the 2023 draft. It is worth remembering that, as of now at least, the Seahawks don't have a quarterback under contract beyond this season, as Smith is on a one-year deal and Drew Lock is in the final year of his rookie deal he signed with Denver. And even if the Seahawks do re-sign Smith, a possibility that seems more and more realistic with each strong outing, it could still make a lot of sense to draft a quarterback as well. We're a long, long ways off from knowing what the Seahawks might do at quarterback in 2023 and beyond, but it's a sign of how well Smith is playing that a lot of folks are now talking about him as a possible long-term solution.
Karen Gilmore from Kamloops, BC asks, "With Rashaad Penny out for the season, who besides Kenneth Walker III steps up at running back? And speaking of Penny, if the break in his leg is bad enough, will he be forced to retire?"
A: I'll start with the second question first—based on everything Pete Carroll has said, Penny is expected to make a full recovery and be ready to play again next season, he just won't be recovered in time to come back this season.
"He'll come back, he'll be able to play again and all of that," Carroll said on his weekly radio show. "It's a really clear surgery process and all of that, but it just does take a long time."
As for who steps up beyond Walker, who is expected to take over the starting role, I would imagine the bulk of the playing time will go to DeeJay Dallas, who has experience in the third-down role, which is one that asks a lot of that position in terms of pass blocking and pass catching. Carroll said Travis Homer is expected back in a couple of weeks when he is eligible to come off injured reserve, so he will add to the depth there as well. In the meantime, the Seahawks just added Tony Jones Jr. via a waiver claim this week, and have Darwin Thompson on the practice squad.
Megan Gaukroger from Inverell, Australia asks, "I made the trip to Seattle for the Cards game, in your opinion, name the one thing I must do at the game to have the best experience?"
A: Be loud.
But besides that, Lumen Field is blessed with a lot of good food and beverage options that allow you to eat and drink local, so be sure to sample plenty of good food and local beer. Oh, and make your way to the upper concourse on the west side of the stadium to enjoy some pretty great views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
Oh, and lastly, plan on being early and if possible, not driving to the game. With the Mariners potentially hosting a playoff game that day as well, it could be very crowded around the two stadiums on Sunday.
And be loud.
Joe Smith from Sacramento asks, "Why isn't Boye Mafe playing more? What I have seen of him seems really promising so why are his snaps limited?"
A: You are correct that Mafe has been impressive in limited action, and as a result his playing time has been increasing, from 29 percent of Seattle's defensive snaps in Week 1 to 45 percent, as well as a start at outside linebacker, in Week 5. Considering Mafe's percentage of snaps played has gone up every week, I'd expect we'll see his role continue to grow, though it's also worth remembering that both Carroll and defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt have talked about wanting to keep their pass rushers fresh, so I don't think you'll see Mafe or any other edge player suddenly on the field for every play. Either way, what Mafe has done early in his career has been promising and it bodes well for Seattle's future, as does the play of Seattle's rookie class as a whole.
@robertscody2125 asks, "What changes could help the defense?"
A: This is the big question right now for the Seahawks, who have given up 84 points in their past two games. While big overhauls, both in scheme and personnel, just aren't realistic in the middle of a season, the Seahawks are no-doubt trying to do anything and everything they can to get better on that side of the ball. We saw some personnel changes last week with Ryan Neal and Boye Mafe moving into the starting lineup, and coaches will continue to try to fine-tune what they're asking of their defense. But more than anything, the Seahawks need to clean up two big issues—the big plays they're allowing, and the crucial drive-extending penalties we've seen called on defensive backs, particularly on third downs.
If the Seahawks can keep potential modest gains from breaking out for huge plays—opponents have four 50-plus yard plays in the last two games—and if they can stop committing drive-extending penalties, the numbers could improve significantly in a hurry by simply changing a handful of game-changing plays.
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from Week 5 vs. the New Orleans Saints on October 9, 2022 at Caesars Superdome. Eye On The Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.