The Seahawks are coming off a tough loss to the Packers in Week 10, but win or lose, we always make time for a mailbag so we can answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around.
@12Hawksfootball asks, "Do the Seahawks have to basically win out to get a shot at the playoffs?"
A: Do they have to win out? No, I don't think they do, but obviously doing so would really help their postseason chances. Winning out would give the Seahawks an 11-6 record, and I have a hard time foreseeing a scenario in which an 11-win team doesn't get one of the three Wild Card spots.
And while winning out would obviously be the best-case scenario for the Seahawks, I suspect that a 10 or even 9-win team will get a Wild Card berth in the NFC. As things currently stand, the Cowboys, Cardinals, Packers and Buccaneers lead their respective divisions, and the Rams are in a solid playoff position with a 7-3 record, but after those five teams, the NFC is wide open. Outside of those aforementioned teams, only the Saints have a winning record at 5-4, and the 5-5 Panthers are the only other team with a non-losing record. So no, I don't think the Seahawks need to win out to get back in the playoff mix, but obviously it wouldn't hurt to do that.
@Jasper_Shiner asks, "There was a lot of offseason hype surrounding Shane Waldron and the offense, what has gone wrong?"
A: Obviously when a team gets shut out for the first time in a decade, as was the case for the Seahawks in Green Bay, there are going to be a lot of questions and concerns about the offense. Before we dive into the Seahawks' offensive issues, it is worth first giving a lot of credit to Green Bay's defense, which a week earlier allowed only one touchdown to the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs, and two weeks ago kept Kyler Murray and company in check in handing the Cardinals their first loss of the season.
But no matter how good the defense, it's fair to expect more out of an offense than what Seattle showed, so what's going on with that group?
"We are really frustrated with the way it came out," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday. "We intended to get some stuff going, but it didn't work out for us. We couldn't get into a rhythm again. These guys played really well on defense again and they gave us a really hard time. We go back to every play, we are looking at every play that could have gone the other way, completions or runs. We are just frustrated that we aren't finding the rhythm that we need to find."
As for Waldron's role in things, Sunday's game obviously didn't look like he or anyone else would have liked, but it's way too early to make any big judgements about the job he has done in his first year as Seattle's offensive coordinator. There was always going to be somewhat of a learning curve when it comes to changing coordinators and installing a new offense, so it was probably realistic to expect Seattle's offense to get better as the season went along. And then Russell Wilson went down with an injury in Week 5, an unexpected development that no-doubt hindered the growth of the offense.
None of that excuses a shutout loss. Everyone, from players to coaches, needs to be better, and in particular the Seahawks need to find ways to convert more third downs—or just avoid them all together by being better on early downs—and stay on the field longer. Because the Seahawks haven't been able to sustain drives, and because some of their scoring drives have been brief due to big plays, the Seahawks rank last in the NFL in total number of offensive plays. Not getting enough total plays has also kept the Seahawks from getting the running game going like Carroll would like.
"I didn't like that we didn't get to run the ball more," Carroll said. "In a close game like that, I would have expected that we would have run the ball more than we did. The running backs carried the ball 11 times, that's not enough. It's not enough to get into a rhythm and it's not enough to get a feel for the game. We had so few plays run in the first half in particular. We just never got going."
Nine games into the season, the offense has had flashes, but overall hasn't been what Waldron or anyone else would have hoped for. That's not ideal, but it's also too soon to make any final judgements on a first-year coordinator who has also had to deal with an injury at quarterback.
@JMKAUF asks, "Was there any talk behind the scenes of whether to sit Russell Wilson until he's really back?"
A: To be clear I'm rarely if ever behind the scenes, so I can't tell you what was discussed internally about Wilson last week, but for Wilson to play on Sunday, he, his coaches and the team's medical staff all had to on board in believing he was "really back," to use your phrasing. No, Wilson didn't play well on Sunday, and he was the first to admit it, shouldering the blame for the loss, but both he and Carroll were adamant that his struggles weren't related to his surgically repaired middle finger.
And while the injury itself wasn't a factor according to those involved, it is entirely possible that the layoff caused by the injury was an issue, as Carroll noted on Monday.
"We expected to come out and pop the ball around and look like we did in practice, but we weren't as sharp at getting the ball thrown and caught," Carroll said. "They had something to do with that, but I would say that there is no question that if you don't play for a month, it's going to affect you. We were hoping that we would be able to find our way and get going, but unfortunately, it wasn't quite as sharp. Maybe in this week coming back we will be a little more on it and more precise. I don't know if we were underestimating anything, it's just that you have to deal with it, and these are the circumstances. You are going to come back after a layoff, you are going to have to play, and you have to get going. We had to do that, and this is the game that it was."
@preenaaaa asks, "Can Blitz do a flip on TV if we get a touchdown on Sunday?"
A: I texted Blitz—yes, birds can text—and was told that no, there will be no flipping the bird on Sunday. Sorry.
Charlie Weiseth from Holliston, Massachusetts asks, "I see the Seahawks decided not to pay $7.25 million for Odell Beckham Jr., what will that cap space be used for?"
A: While Carroll, then later John Schneider on the pregame radio broadcast, acknowledged there was interest in Beckham, the Seahawks, like every other NFL team, elected not to claim him off waiver and take on the $7.25 million salary they would have inherited with a waiver claim, and ultimately Beckham chose to sign with the Rams.
And while yes, the Seahawks did have enough cap space to claim Beckham, there are reasons not to spend that money even if they don't end up using that cap space this season. NFL teams can roll over unused cap space, and the Seahawks may very well be looking at their current cap space as money they'll need heading into 2022, particularly if they're hoping to re-sign pending free agents like Quandre Diggs and Duane Brown, or if they plan to give D.K. Metcalf a lucrative contract extension in the offseason prior to the final season of his rookie contract. And as others have noted, the Seahawks and a lot of other teams used voidable years on short-term contracts this year to spread out the cap hit in a 2021 season in which the cap was lower than projected due to the affects COVID-19 had on the NFL's bottom line in 2020. While those void years helped teams get deals done with limited cap space in 2021, the bill comes due, so to speak, at some point, so having some money to roll over in 2022 could help give the Seahawks more financial flexibility next year.
@zipkalmia asks, "Who's your favorite Golden Girl?"
A: I never really got into Golden Girls but remember watching it at times when I was a kid. So while I'm no expert, I'll have to go with Dorothy, because who doesn't love some quality sarcasm at the expense of her friends? I mean, this is just great:
The final Blue Friday Night Lights celebration of the season was held on Friday, November 12 at Renton Memorial Stadium, featuring the Eastlake Wolves vs. the Eastmont Wildcats in the first round of the Washington State 4A high school football playoffs. Seahawks Legend Ray Roberts, Blitz, the Seahawks Dancers and Blue Thunder were all in attendance.