The NFL virtual offseason is over, which means it should be a pretty quiet month or so between now and the start of training camp. But even if there isn't much going on in the NFL right now, it's always a great time 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.
@tompage asks, "I've heard of a new position on the coaching staff, passing game coordinator. Do we know what the responsibilities are for the new role or what impact we'll see on the offense?"
A: You heard correct that there is a new role of passing game coordinator, which is held by Dave Canales, who spent the past two seasons as the quarterbacks coach—Austin Davis, Russell Wilson's backup quarterback in 2017, has taken over the quarterbacks coach job after serving as an offensive assistant last year.
What exactly Canales' role will look like remains to be seen—Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has not yet addressed the change—but it's safe to say, given the title, that Canales will work closely with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in all things passing-game related.
As for how much the offense will change, again, we'll have to wait and see what happens when the season starts, but Carroll did acknowledge during the NFL Scouting Combine that they're always looking for ways to get better in everything they do, and that includes the offense.
When Carroll was asked at the combine about Russell Wilson saying he'd like to use more up-tempo offense, Carroll smiled and said, "He mentioned that to me, too. Yeah, we've been talking about that for years. We've been in and out of tempo throughout. So you'll see what happens."
Carroll will always value a quality running game and balance in his offense, but that doesn't mean he isn't open to changing things to highlight his team's strengths, one of which is obviously the quarterback.
"He is the best he's ever been," Carroll said of Wilson. " He came out of the season healthy. He goes into this offseason with a real opportunity to work really hard again, and all this stuff will develop to take advantage of another year under his belt, where he just gets the game, sees the game better. He did so much stuff this year, run game, pass game, protection-wise, concept-wise in the throwing game. And he just continues to grow; he's not through. He's going to keep getting better, so we want to take advantage of that as we get through this next season."
Does that mean the Seahawks will abandon the running game and throw 60 times a game? Hardly, but it isn't out of the question that Carroll, Schottenheimer and Canales look to find ways to better maximize Wilson's considerable talents.
@Dommy_Digital asks, "In your opinion, which stadium (other than CenturyLink Field) has the best press box food?"
A: First off, thanks for taking CenturyLink Field out of the equation, because the food there is top-notch—can't beat that omelet bar on a Sunday morning—but I'd come across as a homer if I picked CenturyLink.
In general, press box food has gotten better over the years, and in particular in newer stadiums such as Minnesota's U.S. Bank Stadium and Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. I've been to all but three current NFL stadiums, Buffalo, Miami and Washington, though it isn't like I've taken detailed food notes over the years. That being said, the one that sticks out off the top of my head is Dallas' AT&T Stadium, which is tough to beat both in quality and quantity of choices. They also have a ton of dessert choices, as well as beer on tap after the game. Two new stadiums open this year in L.A. and Las Vegas, so I'm sure they'll be contenders as well, but for now I'd go with Dallas, again, if we're leaving the hometown stadium out of the debate.
@Nbfd00224 asks, "Do you see the Seahawks making any more free agent signings?"
Will they be big-name, splashy additions? We'll see. In any season, the Seahawks and other teams continue to make additions throughout training camp and into the regular season, either because there are players who remain unsigned, or because teams release good players in salary cap-related moves. So you should expect to see some additions in any year prior to and even after the start of the regular season, but there should be a few more noteworthy signings this summer—not necessarily by the Seahawks but league wide—than in most years. With the COVID-19 pandemic still limiting travel and teams' ability to meet with players, a lot of good veteran players remain unsigned, including defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, a player the Seahawks could still re-sign—both Clowney and Carroll & John Schneider have left the door open to that happening. I'm not about to make predictions on the future of Clowney or any other free agent, but I'd say it's all but certain that Seattle's Week 1 roster will feature at least a couple of players who aren't currently on the team.
@LibertyOrUWU asks How many times could "DK Metcalf bench press Pete Carroll?"
A: OK, so let's break this down a bit. Metcalf benched 225 pounds 27 times at the NFL scouting combine, which is a lot for a receiver. In fact, according to Pro Football Reference, that's tied for the most by a receiver at the combine since at least 2000, which is as far back as their data goes. And while coaches' weights aren't on the roster, I'm confident in saying that the quite-fit Carroll weighs significantly less than that. However, benching a rigid metal bar is a lot easier than a human, so let's say Metcalf gets to 25 or so Carroll reps before either running out of steam or before Carroll runs out of patience.
That or the answer is zero because Carroll decides letting one of his players try to bench him is a dumb idea for all parties involved.
@kmasterman asks, "If your girls could have any animal as a pet, what would they pick?"
A: Any animal? Probably a rainbow unicorn or something like that. Practical pet? They'd love a dog, but that's not happening anytime real soon (not enough room, two small kids are enough work, etc.). Fortunately, we have new neighbors moving in next door with a dog, so while our girls don't have their own pet, they can visit Aspen, who is a very good boy, about as often as they'd like.
And speaking of pets…
@thefritzwhitney asks, "Why is my cat such a (jerk)?"
A: Because it's a cat and not a dog.
G.S. Sims of Ridgefield and several other expressed concern about Seahawks players potentially kneeling during the anthem and "disrespecting the flag."
A: I don't know what any individual Seahawks players have planned for this season in terms of protests, but plenty of players around the league have said they plan on kneeling during the anthem, and given how outspoken some Seahawks players are when it comes to topics like racism and inequality, and given how Carroll is supportive of his players expressing themselves, it certainly wouldn't be surprising to see Seahawks players take a knee this year.
And should that happen, I implore anyone who's knee-jerk reaction is that it is "disrespecting the flag" or anti-American or anti-military to please pause for a second and listen to what players have actually been saying since Colin Kaepernick started kneeling in 2016.
This has never been about protesting the flag or the national anthem; it's a protest of racial inequality and police brutality. It's about pointing out that for centuries our country has failed People of Color when it comes to living up to the standard that the flag and our constitution purport to represent. It's about generations of systemic racism that meant a black soldier who fought for that flag in World War II still had to face segregation when he came back home, and about the black player who might be a millionaire, but who still fears being pulled over, or fears for the safety of his son, and about inequalities in the legal system, health care and education.
The protests aren't about the anthem or the flag; they never were. It's about challenging America to live up to the ideals it claims to stand for. And now more than ever, the NFL plans to be a part of making change happen.
As Pete Carroll said earlier this month, "Just being with it isn't good enough. Just being on board, that ain't good enough. We've seen that before, we've got to go… It's absolutely what has to happen. I feel like we're right in the middle of it, and we have to get activated, because we may have an opportunity to help more than some other groups would, and we're going to go for it. Our guys are committed and determined and we're all doing this together. It's an extraordinary time and we've got to make this really work for us. We've got to do the right thing."
"That message comes from our guys, and we have to listen to them and grow with them and respond to them and make sure that we represent them. The NFL is as powerful an institution as there is in the country, and this freakin' league needs to stand up for the right stuff and make things move where we can make things move. We have a lot of power. Something happened and the next thing you know the president is commenting on it. We have the platform to do great stuff, well let's let our guys be in position to do that, and let's make sure that we support them and promote them. Black people know what's necessary, they've been living this live. It's white people that have to come on board and figure it out. We need our guys to speak on behalf of what is right and what is necessary…. We need to follow these guys, they know what's going on. They're coming from exactly the right place, they're coming from their hearts and coming from their experiences that they uniquely know, and they will teach us an extraordinary amount that will make it all come to life if we do it right."
Using homophobic language that I'm not going to repeat, someone who I won't give any attention to here asked about the Seahawks supporting Pride Month.
A: In the past I might have just ignored this question, or the one above about kneeling, to avoid any "controversial" topic, but what has become clear over the past month, whether in the form of players speaking out, or Pete Carroll saying "Black Lives Matter," or him, general manager John Schneider, Seahawks Vice Chair Bert Kolde and other executives joining the "Bridge to the Future" march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, is that trying to remain "neutral" at the expense of doing the right thing is no longer an option.
Here is the Seahawks' Core Value Statement:
"The Seahawks organization is guided by overall principles of acceptance and understanding that help us create a culture of respect, equality and inclusiveness both on and off the field. It is our goal to use these core principles and our commitment to passion, character and excellence to empower change within our community. We, as an organization and as individuals, represent and respect a wide range of human differences, personal experiences and cultural backgrounds."
And it really is as simple as that, whether we're talking about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement or lighting up CenturyLink Field's arches with rainbow colors to support the LGBTQ+ community, this isn't about politics or P.C. culture or whatever you might want to label it; it's about fighting for equality and basic human rights for everyone.