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Seahawks Mailbag: DK Metcalf's Season, Eggnog & More

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers.

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The Seahawks fell to the Rams on Tuesday to drop to 5-9, which unfortunately means they'll finish the season with a losing record for the first time since 2011. They don't have much time to wallow in that loss, however, with a game against the Bears coming up on Sunday. But short week or not, we're still making time to dive into the mailbag to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.

@RKmerica asks, "Is this hell?" While @FritzForever asks, "Why, God? What have we done to deserve this?"

A: Well then, this is quite the start to a mailbag. 

And no, this isn't hell, it's just a bad season for a franchise that hasn't had a lot of bad seasons this century. Since Paul Allen brought Mike Holmgren to Seattle in 1999, the Seahawks have had only six losing seasons, and they've made the playoffs 15 times, winning 10 division titles, three NFC Championships and one Super Bowl. So yeah, being 5-9 and in last place—the Seahawks haven't finished a season in last place in the division since 2000—is definitely not any fun. 

While there are plenty of reasons for Seattle's struggles including injuries to some key players, quarterback Russell Wilson among them, that doesn't make it any easier to stomach the team's first losing record since 2011, and fans have every right to be disappointed in the product they've seen this year. That being said, it also doesn't hurt to also remind yourself that if you've been a fan of the Seahawks over the past 20 years, you've seen a heck of a lot of good football and not very many bad seasons. Again, it's fair to expect more from your team, and there are issues to sort out in the offseason to be sure, but no, this isn't hell. Or if it is, just about every other team in the NFL not named New England has been in a much deeper circle of hell over the past couple of decades that the Seahawks are in now.

@akgrl33 asks, "Do you think the DK/Russ issues are due to DK not practicing? I believe I heard Pete talk about this?"

A: First off, I'm not sure "issues" is the word I'd use. Metcalf is still having a productive season and, while he's not quite on last year's pace, he is still got a good chance to post his second 1,000-yard season in a row, has a team-high eight touchdowns, has been targeted 7.4 times per game, down only slightly from 8.1 last year, and he just turned 24, so he's only going to get better. Also, Metcalf had Jalen Ramsey beat deep twice on Tuesday and Wilson went his way both times—the first one Wilson got hit and the pass fluttered and fell way short, though he happened to find Gerald Everett for a big gain, and the second was just underthrown, allowing Ramsey to recover and break up the pass—and had they connected on either or both of those, we'd be talking about Metcalf having a 100-plus yard game with one or two scores while going against one of the league's best cornerbacks.

All of that being said, Metcalf's production is indeed down from last season when he set a franchise record with 1,303 receiving yards, and he hasn't had more than 60 yards in a game since Week 7. So what's going on? Well for starters, few positions' production is more reliant on factors outside of their control than a receiver's. If the offense is struggling to stay on the field and running fewer plays per game, as Seattle's has been for much of the season, there are fewer chances to get any playmaker the ball, Metcalf included. And with Wilson missing time due to a finger injury, then playing not up to his usual high standard after returning, the level of quarterback play has not been as good as in past seasons, which obviously will affect a receiver's production. And finally, as the question notes, Metcalf has missed a lot of practice time this season due to a foot injury. Metcalf would be the last person to make excuses and has been able tough it out all season, missing that much practice is going to be a factor for any player, and especially for one whose position is so reliant on timing with the quarterback and the rest of the offense.

"He has a foot that has bothered him all year once we got rolling," Carroll said. "He's not able to practice on a normal regimen. There's no question for any player that it upsets your process, your learning process and all of that. You just have to try to overcome it. I don't know if you guys have realized it, but he has missed a lot of practice, he's made some walkthroughs, and he gets a day a week. That's challenging to any player."

Like the Seahawks entire season, and the offense as a whole, this year hasn't gone as well as Metcalf would have probably liked, but the fact remains that he is an elite talent who is just scratching the surface of what he can be as a receiver, and Seahawks fans should be thrilled to have Metcalf as a building block for the team going forward.

@HolliWinters asks, "Which makes the best eggnog, rum, whiskey or brandy?"

A: Personally, I'm more of a beer and wine guy than booze, and when I drink eggnog it's usually just a splash in my coffee this time of year. But if I'm going to have some boozy eggnog around the holidays, I'd have to say bourbon or whiskey.

@bigmarinersfan asks, "Is running back the top priority for the Seahawks this offseason, draft and/or free agency?"

A: It's way too soon to know what is the top priority seeing as we don't know what players the Seahawks might re-sign prior to free agency, but given the injury issues at running back this year—and really ever since Marshawn Lynch retired for the first time—I think it's safe to say the Seahawks will at least be looking at their options at running back. A lot will depend on how Chris Carson comes back from his surgery, but even if he is back to full speed in time for camp and you assume he's the starter, the injury rate at that position means you can never have too much depth. The other big question will be what happens with Rashaad Penny in free agency. It's been a disappointing career so far for Penny due to injuries, but he has stayed healthy of late and played very well the past few weeks, and a strong finish to this season will make for an interesting decision for a player whose market will be tough to predict when weighing his upside against his injury history. If Carson is healthy and Penny could be retained at a reasonable price, the running back group could look pretty similar in 2021, but if Penny leaves and/or if Carson's injury is any sort of concern, then the Seahawks could indeed be in the market for some help at running back.

@DanCohen17, who is flying to Seattle for the Week 17 game against the Lions, asks, "What are the chances the Lions game gets postponed?"

A: For your sake, I hope they're very slim, but in all honesty it's just way to soon to know. The good news is that from a Seahawks standpoint, they haven't seen a huge spike in numbers since putting several players on the list, and while the Lions do have more currently on their COVID-19 list, there's still plenty of time for many of those to get back, and as of now they're playing as scheduled this weekend anyway. The league's changes to COVID-19 protocols do make it easier for players to get back from the COVID-19 list more quickly, so hopefully both teams are in good enough shape, COVID-wise, for you to enjoy a game during your trip to Seattle.

Ken Paul from Klamath Falls, Oregon asks, "Are the playoffs still a remote possibility?"

A: They are, but remote is a good word to describe it. The Seahawks would not just need to win out to get in, but get a ton of help from teams facing all the NFC Wild Card hopefuls ahead of them in the standings. The issue isn't just that the Seahawks are two games out of the final Wild Card spot, it's that there's a ton of teams ahead of them, almost all of which have tiebreaker advantages either via head-to-head wins—New Orleans, Minnesota and Washington—or via better conference records. Basically, for the Seahawks to have a shot, a lot of teams are going to have to lose out and the Seahawks will have to win out. Unlikely? Absolutely, but until it becomes impossible, might as well hope for a Christmas miracle, right?

@johnnyw00 asks, "Why do you think Russell Wilson doesn't keep the ball on some of the option plays?"

A: For a few years now, the vast majority of Wilson's runs have been on scrambles compared to early in his career when he was part of the designed running game. For starters, the Seahawks run far fewer zone-read plays than they did early in Wilson's career, so there aren't nearly as many chances for him to keep the ball. Part of that is just the natural development that happens for most mobile quarterbacks over time—Wilson is a better pocket passer than he was early in his career, and in the name of keeping him healthy, the Seahawks and just about any team are going to be hesitant to design a bunch of running plays for a franchise quarterback throughout a decade-plus long career. The other factor is that NFL defenses have come a long ways in defending the zone read compared to early in Wilson's career when players like him and Robert Griffin III were torching defenses with their legs. Carroll discussed this a bit on Wednesday during his weekly appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle, and noted that defenses almost always have a player sitting on the quarterback and waiting to see if he hands off, so keeping is just not as viable as it might have been in the past when defenses weren't as used to defending the play.

@preenaaaa asks, "What Seahawk is most likely to make a guest appearance in a Tyler Perry movie?"

A: Well, center Dakoda Shepley actually has acting experience, stemming from his time at the University of British Columbia—a lot of movies are filmed in Vancouver and he stumbled into being an extra in films, which led to some actual roles, most notably appearing in Deadpool 2 as the character Omega Red. So he would be the obvious choice, but if we're looking for somebody without acting experience who just seems like he could be a movie star, I'm going with Darrell Taylor. The guy just exudes cool, as was evident in a preseason press conference in which he walked into the room in sunglasses, pulled on his shirt, causing a button to accidentally come undone, then just decided to roll with the look. I could absolutely see Taylor stepping into an acting role when his playing days are done.

Then again, maybe the best choice is Between Two Bellores host Nick Bellore, who is an expert when it comes do dry humor/deadpan delivery.

The Seattle Seahawks take on the Chicago Bears for Week 16 of the 2021 season, the 17th regular season meeting between the two teams. Take a look back at some of their previous matchups.

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