The Seahawks are 1-0 in 2019 thanks to a 21-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, and up next is a trip east to face another AFC North foe, the Pittsburgh Steelers. But before we turn our attention to that game, it’s time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked a question this week, and apologies if I wasn’t able to get to yours this time around. And remember, you can now submit questions not only via twitter, but also online at Seahawks.com/SeahawksMailbag.
@OvvvalavvvO asks, “Was the game so close due to our team, or did the new Bengals coaches really make that big a difference between last year and this year?”
A: For starters, it isn’t really realistic to expect blowouts all the time in the NFL, regardless of the opponent. With so many rules in place to create parity, the level of talent between teams isn’t as big as you might think based on teams’ record. And the Bengals still have plenty of talent despite a losing 2018 season, particularly on their defensive line, which was one of the elements of their team that gave Seattle the most trouble. And yes, the Bengals had a rough 2018, leading to a coaching change, but it’s worth remembering that four of their seven losses during a bad closing stretch were by eight points or less, because again, there isn’t usually a ton of separation between teams at this level.
But yes, the new coaching staff led by Zac Taylor, was also a factor on Sunday. Taylor’s offense was impressive, it did a good job scheming receivers open, and perhaps most significantly in Week 1, it was an unknown commodity. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted after the game that while he hated to see his defense give up some of the big plays it allowed, most notably the two long touchdowns to John Ross, they knew all along that they would have to concede some things—most notably short completions—while figuring out that unknown offense. And had it not been for two pretty clear miscues leading to those big touchdowns, we might be talking about the Seahawks giving up a lot of passing yards, but perhaps only a few field goals, which would have been a heck of way to start the year.
“We had to give up a lot of yards,” Carroll said after the game. “We rope-a-doped a little bit today, and that’s how it goes sometimes… We didn’t know what they were going to do, and we weren’t sure. A brand new offense with a lot of stuff in their background that they could have done, so we just wanted to make sure we controlled it. That’s why those two big plays stand out so much. That was supposed to be eliminated by the way we played it, and unfortunately they got a couple of them.”
William Sutter from Lake Tapps asks, “Every year teams from around the league wear their old-school uniforms, why not us?”
A: We get a lot of questions about throwback uniforms, and for good reason—Seattle’s old blue/silver/green color scheme was pretty sweet. And while things can always change down the road, a couple things are preventing the Seahawks from wearing them right now. For starters, teams are only allowed one alternate in addition to their home and away jerseys, plus the recently added color rush uniforms. For now Seattle’s alternate remains Wolf Grey, so to add the throwbacks, the league would either have to relax its uniform rules, or the Seahawks would have to ditch the greys.
Another issue is that of the helmet. For safety/fit reasons, players aren’t allowed to have multiple helmets, so unless the Seahawks wanted to have clashing blues between a throwback jersey and the current helmet, they’d have to get a giant decal to cover the entire helmet and make it silver, or repaint the helmets for a throwback game, then repaint them again after, neither of which is a super practical option.
@Lougheed_E asks, “After an impressive debut, will we be consistently using DK Metcalf as much, if not more, the rest of the season?”
A: Metcalf was indeed impressive, posting 89 yards on four catches, giving him the most receiving yards by a Seahawks rookie receiver in his debut, and it seems pretty clear he’ll be a big part of the offense going forward.
That being said, expecting 89 yards a game, which projects to a 1,424-yard season, probably isn’t realistic. There are growing pains for every rookie, and receiver can be a particularly difficult position for making the adjustment to the NFL.
Given his big-play ability, I would expect we’ll see plenty of big games out of Metcalf this season, but there will also be games where defenses make it hard on him.
Overall, however, that was one impressive debut that should have Seahawks fans excited about the rookie receiver.
@DavCarroll42 asks, “With Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Neiko Thorpe being named team captains, who are the other unsung leaders of the team?”
A: While those three were voted captains, there are plenty of other strong leaders on the roster, as this question implies. A couple of names that Carroll regularly mentions when talking about leadership are left tackle Duane Brown and linebacker K.J. Wright. Bradley McDougald has also taken on a leadership role in an otherwise young secondary, and Tyler Lockett talked this offseason about taking on a bigger leadership at receiver following Doug Baldwin’s departure.
Michael Mattson from Anacortes asks, “Is there anything Seahawks fans can do to help John Schneider get the NFL Executive of the Year Award?”
A: One of the stranger aspects of Seattle’s current run of success is that neither John Schneider nor Pete Carroll has ever been named executive or coach of the year, respectively, despite the fact that they took over a franchise that won nine games in the two seasons prior to their arrival, and has since become one of the league’s most successful teams of the past decade, reaching the playoffs seven times in their nine seasons together, playing in two Super Bowls and winning one.
The problem those two now face when it comes to those awards is that they tend to go to coaches and general managers who turn a team around, and the Seahawks have been good for so long, it might not impress some voters if Seattle goes back to the playoffs once again. Really, one or both of them probably should have won the award earlier in their tenure. If we’re talking about Schneider, since he is the subject of this question, 2012 would have been a good choice seeing as he drafted Bobby Wagner in the second round and Russell Wilson in the third, two players who might very well end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Or maybe the next year when shrewd offseason additions like Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril helped put Seattle over the top to win a Super Bowl. Or maybe 2010 when he drafted Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Russell Okung, and traded for Marshawn Lynch, helping start the process of building an eventual championship roster.
Again, an award like that is most likely to go to somebody whose team goes from a losing record to the playoffs, but if the Seahawks have a big season, getting contributions from newcomers like Ziggy Ansah, Jadeveon Clowney and what looks to be a very strong draft class, maybe this will be the year Schneider gets the recognition he deserves.
Then again, maybe Seahawks fans shouldn’t want Schneider to get it seeing as seven of the last 10 winners have since been fired, leading some to wonder if the award is cursed.
@SajKarsan asks, “What’s the reason behind using a roster spot on a long snapper? Is this not something a backup lineman can learn to do, thus freeing up a spot?”
A: For starters, it’s a more difficult skill than you might think, so just assuming it’s something that a backup lineman—who has to practice being a lineman—can do on the side when he has a few plays off, doesn’t give credit to what long snappers have to do. Yes, it might not seem like much, but one mistake can make the difference between a win or a loss, so with the game on the line, wouldn’t you want your best possible player for the job making that snap?
Another factor is the risk of injury to that hypothetical backup lineman/long-snapper. Let’s say in your scenario Joey Hunt was the backup center and long snapper. He still has to do his job as center, which in the preseason meant playing a lot of offensive snaps, and in doing so he sustained an ankle injury that kept him out of the opener. In that scenario, you’d now be scrambling to get someone else ready to be the Week 1 long snapper, which, again, is a pretty important job in what ended up being a one-point game. And yes, there is some risk of an injury to the long snapper, which is why teams always have an emergency long snapper who practices it on occasion—who can forget cornerback Kelly Jennings long-snapping in a 2009 game? But having a dedicated player at that position is worth the roster spot to teams to make sure a crucial snap late in a game doesn’t lead to a big special teams blunder.
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 1 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.