The Seahawks wrapped up their offseason workout program on Wednesday with the final day of organized team activities. The entire team was on hand last week for mandatory minicamp, while this week's OTAs focused more on younger players with quarterbacks Geno Smith and Drew Lock sticking around for what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called a passing camp.
And with offseason workouts now over, this is a great time to open up the mailbag and answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to answer yours this time around. And remember, if Twitter isn't your thing, you can submit questions any time you'd like at Seahawks.com/mailbag.
Ken Katka from Warrenton, Oregon asks, "Where did the Seahawks rank in third-down conversions last season, and can we expect improvement with a new slot receiver and two new running backs?"
A: The Seahawks were up and down on third down last season, enjoying some strong stretches, including going 26 for 47 in their first four games, and 10 for 15 in a midseason win over Arizona, but they also struggled in that area for much of the season, contributing to a final third-down conversion rate of 37.8, which ranked 20th in the NFL. The Seahawks ranked 23rd in 2021 (37.3) and 20th in 2020 (40.2), so it isn't a one-year issue, and it's something the Seahawks know they need to improve upon for the offense to be at its best in 2023.
Quarterback Geno Smith has mentioned third down, as well as the red zone, as two of the areas he is focused on improving this offseason, so it's definitely something the Seahawks know they need to address, and to Ken's point in the question, their moves in the draft very well could help on third down.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the 20th overall pick, will play in the slot quite a bit and, in addition to the plays he will no doubt make, his presence should also take a little bit of focus off of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. And Smith-Njigba isn't the only receiver after Lockett and Metcalf that the Seahawks are expecting big contributions from in 2023. Dee Eskridge, a 2021 second-round pick, has battled injuries his first two seasons, but was one of the standouts in offseason workouts, and if he can stay healthy in 2023, he'll have every opportunity to earn a significant role in the offense to show off the elite athletic ability that made him a top pick in the first place.
At running back, the Seahawks drafted two players in Zach Charbonnet and Kenny McIntosh who showed off impressive receiving skills in college. A lot comes with being a third-down back in the NFL, most importantly showing you can handle pass protection, so it remains to be seen how much either of those players will be on the field on third down—the Seahawks like DeeJay Dallas in that role, and Kenneth Walker III has shown he can be an every-down back—but if and when those two rookies get a shot on third down, they definitely will have a chance to add to the diversity of the offense with their pass-catching skills.
@TodaySeahawks asks, "How's Boye Mafe looking at OTAs with Derick Hall gunning for his EDGE3 job?"
A: It's really hard to judge any line-of-scrimmage player in a padless offseason practice, but Mafe continues to show off the combination of size and athleticism that made him an early second-round pick a year ago. What I will say to this question is that I wouldn't look at it as a situation where Hall is coming to take snaps away from Mafe. The Seahawks want a deep rotation of edge rushers—Pete Carroll and Clint Hurtt have both said they'd like to reduce Uchenna Nwosu's workload a bit after he played 78.2 percent of the defensive snaps last season—so if you're considering Nwosu and Darrell Taylor as one and two right now for the sake of this question, there will be plenty of snaps to go around or both Hall and Mafe, and perhaps a couple other players as well. And one other name I'll throw into the mix to keep an eye on in camp is Tyreke Smith, a fifth-round pick last year who missed his rookie season with a hip injury. Now fully healthy, Smith has earned praise from coaches this offseason and very much looks the part of a player who could be a factor in the rotation.
Brigette Swift from Federal Way asks, "For Pete Carroll, what are you most proud of?"
A: I'm not about to assume I can speak for Pete Carroll, but luckily he was asked a very similar question just last week. Carroll has accomplished a ton as a coach, winning championships at the college and NFL level, taking USC and the Seahawks to previously unreached heights, being named to the 2010s All-Decade team as a coach, and so on. But for as competitive as he is when it comes to winning and losing, what Carroll might care even more about is the relationships he builds with players—he often compares how he treats players to a father-son relationship—and what might best highlight how strong the bonds formed between Carroll and his players can be is the way players so often find their way back to Seattle, even if they didn't leave under the best of terms thanks to the business side of the game. Sometimes that shows up in players returning as free agents, including Bobby Wagner this year or Bruce Irvin last year. Other times it is demonstrated by the way former players stay close to the franchise.
"It is important to me," Carroll said. "It's really important to me. It was important at USC, and it's important here. What it really is, it's being willing to develop the relationships where you can show them how much you care and they can count on you caring, and you'll be there no matter what happens forever. And I'm not doing that for me, I'm just doing it because that's seems like the right way to live this life. And so we have a connection with our guys. And my guys are still calling, they're still calling, and again asking me for one thing or the other, whatever it is. I just was with K.J. (Wright) and Doug (Baldwin Jr.) and Jermaine (Kearse) the other night at K.J.'s event. I'm really grateful for those relationships, yeah. But I'm also happy that they understand that they can count on people and they can trust people, and there's people that will stay with them and will always be part of their world as long as they allow it to happen. To me, that's part of winning, that's part of what comes from putting it together and staying together for a long time and having purpose in how we do things and all that. So I'm really grateful for that."
John Robberstad from Renton asks, "When will the throwback jerseys be available and will you be able to do custom throwback jerseys?
A: If you missed it earlier this month, it was announced that the Seahawks will wear their throwback uniforms for their Week 8 game against the Cleveland Browns. What we don't yet know, however, is exactly when fans will be able to buy those throwbacks, but information on that should be coming later this summer. And yes, you will be able to customize as you would with other jerseys. Lastly, while you wait, I can assure you that these 90s era throwbacks look spectacular and will be worth the wait.
Marc Whitmarsh from Crawley, United Kingdom asks, "I recently got married and am trying to convince my wife that Seattle, specifically between September and January, is a perfect honeymoon destination. She's less than keen if I'm being honest. Other than seeing the Seahawks play, what else can you recommend to do when in Seattle to help win her over?"
A: First off, the best advice I can give you is that, if your wife really isn't keen on a honeymoon in Seattle, perhaps consider doing what she wants instead and find another time to come visit that isn't your honeymoon.
That being said, if you do come to Seattle, I would strongly recommend doing so for a game early in the season when the weather is usually great in the northwest. Being from the UK, you no doubt know a thing or two about dreary weather, so no need to come experience that here in November or December. An early-season trip would be ideal to experience all the wonderful nature the Pacific Northwest has to offer—hikes in the Cascades or Olympics, water activities on Lake Washington or Puget Sound, ferry rides to numerous islands nearby. The Seattle area also has more delicious restaurants, wineries and breweries than I could list here, so there are plenty of culinary treats to be had. Depending on timing and how long you're here, you could also add to your trip another sporting event, checking out the Mariners, Sounders, Storm, OL Reign or University of Washington football.
All in all, Seattle is a wonderful place to visit in late summer/early fall, so you'd have no shortage of things to do. But again, it's your honeymoon so maybe just do what your wife wants for the sake of starting your marriage off on the right foot.
@TheSeahawksAri asks, "Which defensive lineman looks like he could really elevate our run defense this year?"
Jmack1204 asks, "How is Myles Adams looking? It seems like he's gunning for a big role this year?"
@Mehmet_305 asks, "What are the odds that the Seahawks will sign a veteran nose tackle to pair up with Cam Young? Having an all-rookie rotation at nose tackle sounds pretty risky.
A: I'm lumping these all together since they're all related, and also because, well, it's really darn difficult to know much about the play of interior linemen in May and June before they've practiced in pads.
First off on Adams, you're right that he has a very real shot to compete for a bigger role in 2023. In fact, with Bryan Mone still recovering from a knee injury, Adams is the only interior defensive lineman on the roster returning from last season. Cameron Young, a fourth-round pick, has made a good early impression and will have every chance to earn a big role, but to the point of one of the above questions, the Seahawks are very young at nose tackle, and adding a veteran at some point could make sense. As general manager John Schneider has noted this offseason, the Seahawks are tight on cap space, so there's only so much they can do, but they will no doubt be keeping an eye on what's out there, especially when some quality veteran inevitably gets released for salary cap reasons heading into the season. The Seahawks have a strong track record under Carroll and Schneider of finding quality veteran interior linemen at a reasonable price, so it's very possible, if not likely, they'll add to that group at some point.
And one other thing to note when it comes to this position group, while nose tackle is important and the Seahawks need to have good players there, they also will likely play plenty of fronts featuring two bigger defensive ends like Jarran Reed, Dre'Mont Jones or Mike Morris as their interior linemen flanked by outside linebackers, so nose tackle will not be an every-down position.
As for elevating the run defense, everyone mentioned above, as well as other players, will be expected to contribute to that, but more than anything listening to Clint Hurtt talk to the media earlier this offseason, I get the feeling that the Seahawks expect the bigger issue to be getting things cleaned up schematically. The defense played well at times last year, it was the lack of consistency that did that unit in, so regardless of who is on the field, doing things right play in and play out will be the most important thing.
"It's being consistent," Hurtt said. "Consistency has really been my name of the game for this whole offseason. The consistency with fitting the run game the right way—if I've got to turn the football back, turn it back, if I'm fast flow spill, be fast flow spill, if I'm a cutback defender, let's do that. But it has to be down after down, there' s a discipline to doing that. And again, that doesn't all fall on players, coaches, we've got to make sure we hold them accountable to that too. And obviously cutting back the number of explosives. Control the run game, don't let people run the football on you, and cut back explosives, because explosives lead to points. You fix those two issues, and you're going to have a dramatic improvement right there."
With the offseason program ending after the ninth OTA, the Seahawks get one step closer to kicking off the season with training camp.