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Seahawks Mailbag: Offensive Line, Jersey Etiquette, Dogs & More 

The Seahawks are back to work preparing for their home opener against the Dallas Cowboys, hoping to bounce back from another tough loss on the road. But before we dive fully into the upcoming game, it’s time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked a question this week, and apologies if I wasn’t able to get to your question this time around.

@simongloom asks, “Is anything being done to keep the team’s spirits up during this harsh start?”

A: I’m leading off with this one because I think there’s a dynamic at play here that fans aren’t able to see. While the Seahawks are certainly disappointed, players rarely sit around all week hanging their heads about previous results, so the mood in the locker room really doesn’t go through huge week-to-week swings based on the previous result. Yes, the Seahawks would prefer to have won their first two games rather than lose them, but the focus isn’t on those losses, but rather on the game coming up this week and from a bigger-picture standpoint, on a long season that could still go a number of directions. For players, this is a job, and while they’d rather not have a bad day at the office, they’re not going to spend an entire week regretting said bad day, but rather use the week to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again the following weekend. There can definitely be a different feel around a team if it is eliminated from postseason contention or after a playoff loss, but when there’s still 14 games left and everything to play for, there’s a lot more optimism around the team than some might think.

“Obviously guys are upset, we’ve been grinding for a long time, we definitely expected a better start than this, but it is what it is,” safety Bradley McDougald said following Monday’s loss at Chicago. “We can’t dwell on it too long. We’ve got another big game on Sunday coming up, so we’re going to review it, get over it and get back to work, that’s the only thing we can do.”

McDougald added, “I definitely feel like we’re close. It doesn’t feel good to be close, but we’re close. It’s something here or there, a play here, a play there, a turnover, we’ve just got to stick to the game plan, stick to our fundamentals and just keep playing our ball, and things will turn our way.”

Or as cornerback Shaquill Griffin put it, “It's tough, but you can't harp on this game. You get 24 hours to think about it, but you've got to move forward to the next one. I was so proud of the whole team just for fighting through the whole four quarters and that's the main thing that you always ask for is continue to fight through the whole game and just give maximum effort through the whole game, so I'm proud that the team also continued to do that, we get 24 hours to think about it, go to the corrections, we've got to move forward. Dallas coming up, that's the next thing we got to focus on.”

Players who have been around this team for a while also know that they have shown the ability to finish seasons strong even when things didn’t start off so well, including 2015 when they started the season with two road games, lost them both, then went on to win 10 games and make the playoffs.

“Even in our successful (years), some of our best, best years, it didn't all look great in the beginning,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “But it's how you finish and how we can turn it around and just play the next game. We get to go back home and play in Seattle and we're going to need the 12s a lot and need that feeling.”

@smaine asks, “How is the relationship between Russell Wilson and Brian Schottenheimer developing?”

A: The Seahawks offense isn’t off to the type of start anyone was hoping for, but two weeks probably isn’t a big enough sample size to make sweeping judgements about this year’s offense, the coordinator or the quarterbacks. As for the relationship between Wilson and Schottenheimer, both spoke very highly of each other before the start of the season, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that relationship “has gone way beyond where I thought it would,” so while things can and should get a lot better than what we’ve seen so far in the regular season, let’s give it more than eight quarters before coming to conclusions.

@HolliWinters asks, “How many Seahawks players have dogs?”

A: To be honest, I’m not sure what the total is, but a number of players on the team are dog owners, including Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Duane Brown, Bradley McDougald (his two French bulldogs are father and son), and twins Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin.

Shaquem Griffin joked during training camp that his new French bulldog named Tank, who he described as “a very hefty puppy, big stomach,” was getting him in trouble with his twin/roommate.

“I just got me a little puppy, so now we’re taking up more room,” Shaquem said. “We are kind of taking over right now. (Shaquill) doesn’t like it that much.”

Shaquill Griffin, who already had a dog at his place, a 3-year-old Yorkie named Melo, said of Tank, “He needs to be potty-trained quickly. I just keep him in his room. I let (Shaquem) deal with all that stuff, because I actually have a dog also. We got a Yorkie and then we got a blue French bulldog. When those two run around, it’s crazy and they fight 24/7. His dog acts just like a little brother because my dog is older than his and he acts just like a little brother. I could see why they argue so much but so far, he’s not doing too bad but he needs to get him potty-trained quickly.”

@FellowNick asks, “When will the O-line play be addressed?” @Bleedblue062, @RayThaGawd7 and several others asked about the offensive line.

A: The Seahawks have addressed their offensive line in a number of ways the last couple of years, ranging from the trade they made to acquire Pro-Bowl left tackle Duane Brown to using a second-round pick on Ethan Pocic in 2017 to signing D.J. Fluker this offseason to a change at offensive line coach, so regardless of what you think of the results, it’s not really accurate to say the Seahawks haven’t addressed their offensive line play.

As for the on-field product, Seattle’s linemen would be the first to tell you that they can play better than they have the past two weeks, but if you’re just looking at 12 sacks through two games and assuming it’s because the line has been a disaster, then you’re not really paying attention. Whether you ask Carroll or Wilson or anyone else involved in the offense, a number of issues have contributed to those sacks, ranging from Wilson holding the ball too long at times while trying to make something happen—Carroll described it as “pressing” on 710 ESPN Seattle Tuesday—to pass-catchers not being available on a hot-route, to, at times, the line getting beat. So yes, the offensive line can get better, but those five players are hardly the only reason the offense hasn’t been at its best through two games.

@EdinburghImp asks, “Something I’ve always wondered, as a fan in the UK, do fans still wear team jerseys with the names/numbers of players who no longer play for their team, or is that a big no-no?”

A: I think it depends on the player, but in general I’d say if you spent your hard-earned dollars on a jersey and still feel good about wearing it, then go for it. That’s particularly true if we’re talking about a former player who is no longer playing anywhere, especially if he ended his career as a Seahawk. As for players still in the league, that’s up to you to decide.

And for a more specific version of this question…

@Tomhag asks, “I’m a Norwegian fan and I came to love the Seahawks through Beast Mode. Now I’ve got tickets for the NFL UK match vs. the Raiders, and I wonder, is it blasphemy to wear my No. 24 Lynch Seahawks jersey?”

A: Again, that’s a personal call, but considering all Lynch meant to the Seahawks and all the memorable plays he made wearing that jersey, it seems fair to me to go with that jersey, even if he will be playing for the opponent that week. Now does that mean that no Seahawks fans will give you a good-natured hard time for it? Probably not, but considering the player who got you into the Seahawks is going to be playing against your team, it might be the perfect way to show your support for both Lynch and the Seahawks.

@BellCowBack asks, “Rashaad Penny was a prolific kick returner in college, scoring seven touchdowns. Has the team considered using him as the kick returner?”

A: Have the Seahawks considered it? Of course. Carroll and general manager John Schneider even talked about Penny’s return abilities when they drafted him. But it’s worth remembering that Penny missed a good portion of training camp and three preseason games with a finger injury and is still getting back to game shape, so to speak, so now might not be the best time to add more to his plate. Also relevant—Seattle’s current kick returner, Tyler Lockett, has been a very prolific kick returner in the NFL, so it’s not like the Seahawks need to force Penny into that role, even if he may do that somewhere in the future.

@BrandonSperry3 asks, “Why is Chris Carson playing special teams when he’s the starting running back?”

A: For starters, Carson only played two snaps on special teams on Monday, so even though Carroll pointed to that after the game—something he acknowledged wasn’t the case a day later—it wouldn’t be unusual for a starter to have a big role on special teams had Carson been asked to do that.

The Seahawks have long preached the importance of special teams, and backed that up by using front-line players in that phase of the game. For example, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor were on Seattle’s kickoff coverage team long after they had established themselves as two of the best safeties in the NFL. And Doug Baldwin was a regular on punt coverage while also being Seattle’s most productive receiver, even bringing that role up during his press conference after signing a lucrative contract extension with the Seahawks.

Go behind-the-scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he captures exclusive images from the Seattle Seahawks' road game against the Chicago Bears during Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season.

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