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Seahawks Mailbag: Pass Protection, Receiver Targets, Practice Squad & More

The Seahawks improved to 2-0 with Sunday’s win in Pittsburgh, their first 2-0 start since 2013, and next up is a home game against the New Orleans Saints. But before we turn our attention to that game, it’s time first 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 yours this time around. And don’t forget, you can now submit questions not just via twitter, but also online at Seahawks.com/SeahawksMailbag.

@AFC_Elite asks, “Were our pass protection problems in the first half due to scheme or players getting beat, and can we expect more of the positive second half we saw moving forward?”

On a similar note, Melvin Huff from Burien asked, “What did the Seahawks do differently in the second half to provide protection for Russell Wilson that they didn’t do in the first half?”

A: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked about this on a couple of occasions over the past couple of days following Russell Wilson taking four sacks in Pittsburgh, all in the first half.

While Carroll said that overall, the protection hasn’t been consistent enough,” he said the issue was less with players getting beat and more with mistakes handling blitzes. As the game went on, the Seahawks improved in that area and Wilson started getting the ball out faster, leading to a very productive second half in which the Seahawks scored three touchdowns while giving up no sacks.

“I thought the whole mechanism really got sharp as the game wore on,” Carroll said. “We missed a couple (blitzes) and that’s why we got sacked a couple of times. We missed the read and missed the call, it wasn’t just getting whipped on a block. Schematically, we could’ve done better. The coordination in the second half was just on it. The guys did a great job and they’d seen it once kind of and everybody came back out after halftime and everybody felt pretty comfortable with making the adjustments. Russ was on the mark and he was quick with the football and just didn’t let the pressure get even close to him.”

While every week will present different challenges, Carroll wants to see elements of that quick passing game continue while also mixing in the deep ball that is a strength of Wilson’s game.

“That what we really want, the tempo with the ball out. Russell can do it, and we’ve just got to continue to make that happen with every aspect of the throwing game, as well as using it to bomb you, he’s so good at it, he’s just good at it. We need the whole spectrum. But we’re coming together.”

@Shockfanatic09 asks, “Jaron Brown has had a rather quiet start to the season. Will they start getting him more involved?” @Lougheed_E asks also asked about the lack of targets for Brown.

A: It has been a bit surprising to see Brown shut out on the stat sheet in the first two games—though in the opener the Seahawks had a hard time getting all their receivers, other than DK Metcalf, involved.

“We’ve just got to get JB meshing with (Wilson),” Carroll said. “At this point, he hasn’t gotten going yet just because it hasn’t happened yet. It will.”

Asked why Brown hasn’t been involved thus far, Carroll said, “It’s just because the way plays are called and all that. We love what he can do, and it just happened that way. This game became a really quick-oriented game. Tyler [Lockett] just was in all the right spots for all of the action. But JB will, he’ll make his plays.”

@Mortomer007 asks, “What sort of snap count will L.J. Collier be on for the next few weeks?”

A: This will be an interesting one to monitor throughout the next couple of games. Collier, Seattle’s first-round pick this year, played only 28 percent of the snaps in his debut, and Carroll said the defensive end was a bit rusty in the game. Neither a limited role nor some rust should be all that surprising however, considering how much time he missed. Collier injured his ankle early in camp, meaning he missed all four preseason games and almost all of camp. And while it’s one thing for an established veteran to miss a lot of time and jump right back into action, it can take a rookie a little while to get going. We’ll have to wait and see how things play out, but my guess would be we’ll see Collier work his way into more playing time over the next few weeks, then his performance will ultimately dictate just how much playing time he gets.

Susan Holland from Spokane asks, “How did Jadeveon Clowney get Jarran Reed’s number?”

A: Just a guess, but he probably paid him for it. It’s pretty common when a veteran joins a new team to have to “buy” his number from the current player wearing it, especially if that player is an established starter, as Reed is. Sometimes that comes in the form of a gift, or a nice meal or a donation to that player’s charity of choice, or sometimes, in the famous words of Randy Moss, the payment is “straight cash, homey.”

@Dubssesed asks, “Are we going to see George Fant catch a pass any time this season?”

A: Let’s hope so. Few things in football are more exciting than big guys with the ball in their hands, and I can assure you that the Seahawks tackle/big tight end would welcome the occasional target. That being said, I wouldn’t expect it to happen often, and it’s also worth noting that a healthy Will Dissly probably means a little less six-linemen looks for Seattle. Using Fant as a tight end began last year because the Seahawks were thin at tight end, but it worked so well they kept it in their offense into this season. But with Dissly being such a good blocker, Fant has been used a bit less in the first two games than he was for much of last season. After often playing nearly a third of Seattle’s offensive snaps last season, Fant has played 20 percent and 18 percent in the first two games. Even so, that’s enough snaps to get the big man a target or two, right?

Alan Schein from Shelton asks, “Two part question: are practice squad players on the sideline at home games, and do they travel to road games?”

A: Yes and yes. Carroll has long talked about treating practice squad players like any other member of the team—after all, it’s very common for practice squad players to be promoted to the active roster during the year. So if the Seahawks know they might need to count on those players at some point this year, they want them to be as prepared as possible, which includes knowing what it’s like to go on an NFL road trip.

Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 2 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.

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