The season came to an end earlier than the Seahawks had hoped due to a 24-22 playoff loss in Dallas, but the team heads into the offseason feeling optimistic about the future thanks to the way the team came together in 2018 and finished the year winning six of seven to earn a Wild Card berth. While there unfortunately won’t be a Seahawks game to talk about this week, there’s still plenty to discuss as we look back on the season that was and ahead to the offseason. With that in mind, it’s time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked a question this week, and my apologies if I couldn’t get to yours this time around.
@ArrDJay asks, in light of a Pete Carroll quote saying “nobody thought we were going to be here,” what were Coach Carroll’s expectations?
A: While few outside of the program expected the Seahawks to be a playoff team after an offseason that saw significant change to the roster and coaching staff, expectations were always high inside the building. While going 10-6 and making the playoffs is a very good accomplishment for a team in transition, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and his players also will lament all the close losses that could have made the difference between a Wild Card berth and a home playoff game had they won the division. Carroll generally doesn’t talk about big-picture goals such as Super Bowls, but one he will state is the desire to own the division, because with a division championship comes at least one and perhaps multiple home playoff games, thereby maximizing the chances of succeeding come playoff time.
So when Carroll was asked Monday if this team met his expectations, he said, “We were approaching it. We can see the future, and that’s kind of how I would say it, that we can tell where we can go. Our expectations is that we needed to further this year and keep going and keep playing, everybody feels like that. Nobody was satisfied with the outcome.”
@danstrada28 asks about the Seahawks’ play calling and if it is limiting Russell Wilson. @Bran_Just_Bran also asks about play-calling.
A: Carroll has said on a few occasions that one of the many benefits of a balanced offense is that it works hand-in-hand with quarterback play, and that was never more evident than in 2018 when Wilson had what was statistically the best season of his career while the Seahawks led the league in rushing. Could Wilson function well in an offense where he’s asked to do more? Of course, but that doesn’t mean it would be the best thing for the offense as a whole, nor would it bring out the very best in Wilson, who is among the best in football at using play-action and deep passes to torch a defense that is hell-bent on stopping the run.
Look, I get why people are frustrated, the Seahawks offense wasn’t at its best on Saturday, particularly on third down and in the running game, and that played a role in a season-ending loss, but to blame the play-calling is a pretty big overreaction to me. That same offensive strategy helped the Seahawks score the second most points in franchise history, finish sixth in the league in scoring for the season, and No. 2 in the league since Week 10, averaging 30.0 points a game over the last eight games. They also finished the year with 11 turnovers, one off of the record for fewest in NFL history. Dallas played a good game and has a great defense, and on Saturday things didn’t work out for the Seahawks the way they’d hoped, but to blame play-calling and offensive philosophy for one loss while ignoring all it did over the course of the season—and over a number of years under Carroll—just doesn’t add up to me.
@Drewdaddy34 asks, “Has anyone actually seen Dickson drop kick a long field goal? It would be awesome to watch.”
A: Dickson has drop-kicked field goals a number of times in practice, and can make them from 50-plus yards. The problem, however, comes from the timing of trying to get off a drop kick with a pass rush. The Seahawks have tinkered with it in practice, but as Carroll explained, they didn’t feel like the timing was going to work out, which is why if they had needed to kick in the second half, the plan was for Dickson to kick traditionally rather than a drop kick. But yes, it would be awesome to see, so hopefully one day it happens in a game.
@SamTheSportsGuy asks, “When do you see Rashaad Penny becoming our feature back?”
A: I’m not sure the Seahawks will head into the season feeling like they need to have a “feature back.” Chris Carson was the closest thing to that this year, rushing for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns, but the Seahawks still spread the ball around quite a bit, getting 515 yards from Mike Davis, 419 from Rashaad Penny and 376 from Wilson.
It’s hard to see a scenario in which the Seahawks suddenly want to drastically reduce the impact of Carson given how well he plays, but it is reasonable to assume that Penny will have a bigger role next year. For starters, Penny will go through the natural growth that occurs from having one season under his belt and a full spring and summer of offseason workouts, and secondly, his rookie season was set back a bit by the finger injury that caused him to miss much of training camp and the preseason.
“He’s going to be really good,” Carroll said of Penny. “He showed it again the other night. He’s going to be a really good player for us. It gives us a tremendous one-two punch, one-two-three punch. We’ve got combinations to throw at you with our guys. The competition, we’ll play that out.”
@vgsrini asks how many draft picks the Seahawks have this year.
A: As of now the Seahawks have just four picks, a first-rounder, a third, a fourth and a fifth. Seattle sent its 2019 second-round pick to Houston as part of the trade for left tackle Duane Brown, who has turned out to be a great addition for the offense. Their sixth-rounder went to Green Bay for quarterback Brett Hundley, while their seventh was sent to Oakland for safety Shalom Luani.
But while the Seahawks currently hold only four picks, it would not be remotely surprising to see them add to that total during the draft. The Seahawks are notorious under Schneider and Carroll for trading back in the first round in order to add more picks. And seeing as the Seahawks have never drafted fewer than eight players in a draft (2015) since Schneider and Carroll took over, it’s hard to see them standing pat the entire draft and using only four picks.
@Lougheed_E asks, “How many of our pending free agents do you see us being able to bring?”
A: So much of what happens with the Seahawks’ free agents will depend on how the rest of the league views those players. Short of A. getting a deal done before the new league year begins (that’s what Seattle did with Bradley McDougald last year), or B. using the franchise tag, the players set to become free agents can test their value on the open market, then leave it up to the Seahawks to decide if that player is worth the price.
Carroll was asked about a few free agents on Monday, and of course he would love to see his team retain its top talent whenever possible, but he also knows some tough decisions will have to be made.
On a related note…
@reza_aleaziz asks, “Are there any free agents out there that the Seahawks are eying?”
Oh, you mean who are they? Sorry, couldn’t tell you that as of now, but general manager John Schneider and Carroll take pride in leaving no stone unturned, so to speak, in order to improve their roster. That means at least considering just about every possible free agent who hits the market, even if that due diligence means quickly realizing said player is too expensive or not a fit. But yes, the Seahawks will have some cap space to work with and as always they will be looking to improve their roster by every means possible, which includes free agency. That being said, based off their past history, don’t look for the Seahawks to necessarily make a huge splash on the first day or two of free agency. Their M.O. under Schneider and Carroll has usually been to let other teams battle it out in those bidding wars, then look for more value a bit later in the process, the most notable example being when they signed Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to short-term, relatively affordable deals in 2013.
Eye On The Hawks: Seahawks at Cowboys
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks Wild Card game against the Dallas Cowboys.