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Seahawks Mailbag: Boye Mafe's Growth, Travel Logistics & More

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers.

mailbag oct 18

After beating Arizona to improve to 3-3, the Seahawks are back on the road this week to face the Chargers in L.A. But before we turn our attention to this week's game, it's time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around. And remember, in addition to asking questions via Twitter, you can also submit them online at Seahawks.com/mailbag.

@CrossChech asks, "How will the Seahawks work to get Boye Mafe going and in the conversation as part of this year's great rookie class. The tackles and cornerbacks are getting all the rave reviews, which is awesome, but hoping he'll start contributing."

A: I would argue that the Seahawks already have gotten Mafe going. To your point, he hasn't quite gotten the attention yet of the rookie tackles and corners, in part because to start the year he wasn't playing as much as Charles Cross, Abraham Lucas, Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant, and in part because what those four are doing is so unique it's bound to get extra attention. Cross and Lucas are one of just three rookie duos to open the season starting at tackle since the 1970 merger, while Woolen and Bryant have accounted for seven takeaways in the past four games.

All of that being said, we have seen Mafe's playing time increase steadily, and he has started the past two games, playing a season-high 36 snaps on Sunday. Because of the position he plays, Mafe will get the most attention when he gets sacks, and those will come, but for now what has stood out, and been important to Seattle's defensive improvement, has been his play as a run defender on the edge. A great example of that came on Arizona's first drive of the game when Mafe helped turn a Kyler Murray run from the 1-yard line into a 4-yard loss, a big reason why the Seahawks were able to hold Arizona to a field goal.

Between the five players we've already mentioned, as well as running back Kenneth Walker III, who has rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games since taking over for an injured Rashaad Penny, the Seahawks currently have six rookies either starting or playing significant roles on offense or defense. Add it all up, and this class has the makings of being a very special one, not just because it bodes well for the future, but because the rookies are already helping the Seahawks win games right now.

@Kodvab asks, "Do you think other teams will be able to exploit our tackles like the Cardinals did?"

A: Sunday's game was definitely a tough one for the Seahawks in terms of Geno Smith getting hit and taking sacks. But while rookie tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas would be the first to tell you they can play better, not every one of those hits or sacks was their responsibility. As Seahawks coach Pete Carroll notes on Monday, Smith held the ball longer at times than he has in past games, which was a factor. Arizona's front did do a good job getting pressure, however, and it's probably worth remembering that, for all the rookie tackles have done well, they're still rookies and there will be some ups and downs throughout their first season. All in all the good has far outweighed the bad, but it's not reasonable to expect those two to be perfect every week.

Randy Horn from Vancouver, Washington asks, "What does travel look like for the Hawks for road games? Do some of the of the guys have to share a room? How early do they show up for the game? After the game, how long does it take for them to get loaded up and take off for Seattle? Do they have an airplane designated for big guys?"

A: Hey Randy, lots of good questions here. Players get their own rooms, so sharing isn't necessary. On gameday, players arrive to the stadium about three hours prior to kickoff. One change that Pete Carroll has discussed in recent years is that players used to have the option of an early bus and a late bus, the latter of which showed up a little over two hours early, but players led a change to have everyone on the same schedule. After the game, it takes a bit of time to get out of the stadium. Players and Carroll have media obligations, everyone has to shower and change, and then in what is perhaps the biggest endeavor, the hardest working folks in the business, the equipment staff, have to get all the gear packed up and onto trucks that will be taken to the airport. Add all that up, and it's usually about 90 minutes after the game ends that the buses leave the stadium for the airport. And finally, no, there is not a special big-guy plane with extra-large seats or anything like that. The good news is the team charter provided by Delta has more seats than people on it, so players do have some room to spread out. Also, in recent years, a road win has meant that veteran players get to fly home in first class, moving coaches and executives back in the plane.

@CelestialMosh asks, "What's going on with Tre Brown?" And Don Cassady from Sallisaw, Oklahoma asks, "What's the latest on CB Tre Brown? And are there any plans to put Tariq Woolen in on offense for a 'Hail Mary' play?"

A: First, on Brown, Carroll hasn't been asked about the second-year cornerback in a couple of weeks, so I don't have any new update other than the fact that for now he remains on the physically unable to perform list and is around the team working out with athletic trainers. Carroll was asked about Brown a few weeks ago and said the corner was likely two to three weeks from returning to practice, which would put him on a timeline to get back on the practice field soon. It's worth noting here that, A. things can change with injury timelines, and B. Carroll is one of the most optimistic human beings walking this earth, and that has to be considered with injuries—he's always hoping for the best—so there are no guarantees we see Brown back on the field this week or anything. And remember, Brown hasn't played football since injuring his knee last season, so even when he does return to practice, he'll need some time to get up to game speed.

All of that being said, the prospect of adding a healthy Brown to the cornerback room at some point is very exciting for the Seahawks. Tariq Woolen has looked like a star in the making, and fellow rookie Coby Bryant keeps making plays every week as he looks better and better in the nickel role. Adding Brown to that group, which has also gotten strong play out of Mike Jackson at left corner, would just make the Seahawks that much deeper and more competitive.

As for the Woolen 'Hail Mary' idea, I've not yet heard that discussed, but it could make a lot of sense given his height and receiver background. NFL teams have been known to throw big-bodied receivers in on defense for a 'Hail Mary' at the end of a game, so why not throw in on offense a tall corner with great ball skills?

Ken Fischer from Apex, NC asks "Who are the women tattooed on Abraham Lucas' shoulders?"

A: Lucas was actually asked about one of his tattoos, the one on his left arm, during a press conference during training camp. He explained that it is Kateri Tekakwitha, a Catholic saint who was an Algonquin Mohawk, a nod to his Native American heritage and Catholic upbringing. I have not heard him address the tattoo on his right arm, but from the looks of it, and again, knowing he's Catholic, my guess would be that that's Mary.

Bryan Vinzat from SeaTac asks, "My friend is super interested in trying to find one of the outfits the Seahawks Dancers wore for the Cardinals game. Is there a store for their outfits? I can't find the flannel shirt with the sparkly 12 on it anywhere."

A: Bryan, you're a good friend for trying to find this out for your friend. I reached out to Seahawks Dancers director Courtney Moore, and unfortunately those are uniforms made for the dancers, and not available for sale. I dunno, maybe buy a flannel shirt and a bedazzler kit?

Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from Week 6 vs. the Arizona Cardinals on October 16, 2022 at Lumen Field. Eye On The Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.

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