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Seahawks Mailbag: Playoff Hopes, Russell Wilson's Return, Don't Be Like Jerry & More

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers. 

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The Seahawks are looking to bounce back from another tough loss this week after falling in overtime to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. A 2-4, the Seahawks have work to do to get back in the playoff picture, but they also know it's a long season. With that in mind, it's time once again 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 couldn't get to yours this time around.

Zach Jerchau from Lititz, Pennsylvania asks, "Can the Seahawks still make the playoffs even though they're in the bottom half of the NFC?" and @BabatundeJr21 asks, "What are our chances of making the playoffs if we win this week?"

A: The Seahawks have definitely left themselves a lot of work to do if they are going to make the playoffs, but it's far too early to declare this season over, even if plenty of folks seem to want to do just that. I get it, winning the division with Arizona at 6-0 and Los Angeles at 5-1 would be a very tall task, but even if the Seahawks aren't able to catch those teams—and again, there's a lot of season left—there are still three Wild Card spots in the NFC up for grabs.

The Seahawks obviously need to play better and can't afford to lose many more games, but if, for example, they can win the next two at home and get to 4-4 at the bye, going on a run in the second half of the season, especially when Russell Wilson gets back, is very much a possibility.

As Seahawks coach Pete Carroll put it on Monday, postponing judgement can be hard, but there is still so much that can happen both with the Seahawks and with the rest of the teams in the NFC.

"It is a challenge for all of us in that this didn't start the way we had planned," Carroll said. "So what's going to happen now? A year ago we were 5-0 and we were flying and going and you're really feeling the positive about it. This is a different challenge for us, and we will not be able to call the story of this season for a couple of months. It's going to take eight, 10 games before we know what's going on, and it's going to be a long ways down the schedule. There's a lot of things that will happen around the league, and we've got to take care of our business. But as is always the case, postponing judgment is really a powerful tool if you have it, and that's what we have to do. We've got to take one game at a time and we've got to stay really focused on that, and just postpone what this story is going to be. We know that's the truth, but it's hard to do, so that's what we're going to go about doing. It's a challenge, and I've got to lead the charge, and I'm going to kick ass on that."

Or, you can rush to judgement now and be like Jerry….

@Jerry37564104 says, "Seahawks are doomed this season. Don't know how they can make the playoffs."

A: Sir, that's not a question.

@RKmerica asks, "How much longer will Russ be out?"

A: Well we know Wilson will be out for at least two more games before he is eligible to return from injured reserve. Beyond that, it's just too soon to know how quickly he can get back from finger surgery. It helps that Seattle has a bye after its next two games, so in theory that gives Wilson an extra week to get back without missing a game, but can he be back for that Week 10 game at Green Bay? Nobody knows that for sure just yet, but as Carroll noted on Monday, if anyone is going to beat the odds and make a quick recovery, Wilson is the guy to do it.

"I don't know that because I'm not the medical side of this thing, but I know Russell, and if it's possible, it's going to happen," Carroll said. "If it's possible, it'll happen. I don't know if you guys saw him last night in the way he was preparing to going after it; he is not going to miss a trick, so I don't put anything beyond his capabilities, he can do some special stuff, so we'll see what happens."

Ken Vasko from Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania says, "No question, just a sincere wish for a speedy recovery to Darrell Taylor from everyone in the Steelers Nation!"

A: That's very kind of you Ken, and fortunately the news has been all positive on Taylor so far despite that very scary scene on Sunday, with Carroll saying Taylor's CT scan and MRI were clean, and that he even has a chance to play in Seattle's next game when they host the Saints Monday night.

Lorethea Garrett from Dupont and Sheldon Bassett from Bremerton both ask if the Seahawks will sign Cam Newton.

A: I don't know whether Newton is in the Seahawks' plans or not, but as Carroll revealed on Monday, they have been in touch with the former MVP, who has been a free agent since being released by the Patriots last month.

"We're doing everything we can with everybody that's available, always," Carroll said. "So I talked to him a couple times, just trying to see what was going on his world and all that, and we're wide open and continuing to compete with. There was nothing to be done then, and we're really counting on Geno to do the job, and that's how the conversation went with him too, we were counting on Geno to do the job and all that. So we'll see, we'll see what happens. I don't know what's going to happen next."

@jon61843795 asks, "When will the defense use nickel or dime coverages when three or four receivers are out there?"

A: The Seahawks have played a lot of nickel this year, with Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair splitting time in that role. For the Seahawks, and just about every other team in the NFL, nickel (two linebackers, five defensive backs) is the new base defense, with teams playing that look more than any other, the one recent exception being the 2019 season in which the Seahawks played a majority of snaps in base defense (three linebackers, four defensive backs) in large part because of the strength of their linebacker group.

When it comes to dime (six defensive backs), the Seahawks didn't do much of that in the first three weeks of the season, then used a lot of dime looks against San Francisco, with Ryan Neal being the extra defensive back. Seattle went away from that more against the Rams in Week 5, then last week the Seahawks actually went with seven defensive backs for a number of third downs and other obvious passing situations, a look that allowed Jamal Adams to play more at the line of scrimmage.

We'll see how much the Seahawks use that seven-DB package going forward, but asked about it on Sunday, Carroll said, "Just trying to get our guys on the field and see what we can get out of them. We did a couple different things tonight. I don't know how well they worked. We were OK on third down in the second half—(the Steelers) were 1 for 6 in the second half, which is what gave us a chance to stop them. Those guys have a little bit of ability to make a play more so than some of the other guys that are out there. It's basically when we can put them in the spots that's good for them."

@eanorlin asks, "Do you prefer rhubarb pie with or without strawberries?"

A: Not much of a rhubarb pie guy in general, but if am having it, give me strawberries.

Seahawks J from Seattle asks, "Which sport of the major four (football, baseball, hockey and basketball) other than football is your favorite and who is your favorite player from that sport?

A: Growing up it was definitely baseball, and being from Seattle, the easy answer for favorite player was Ken Griffey Jr., though as I got older and Griffey moved on to Cincinnati, Edgar Martinez became my favorite player. As an adult, soccer has maybe become my favorite sport to watch outside of football—and in Seattle soccer is definitely a major sport—and while it may seem like a really obvious answer, I'd go Lionel Messi for favorite player simply because he's one of the greatest to ever do it, and his style of play is ridiculously fun.

@Urantian01 asks, "How can a team be 'competing' when it chooses to retain a backup QB who is happy being a backup?"

A: You are seriously mistaken if you think Geno Smith is content being a backup. Yes, he's had that role for much of his career, but he absolutely wants to be and believes he can be a starter, and is no doubt looking to use this time with Russell Wilson injured to state his case to be a starter somewhere going forward. Yes, Smith has stayed in Seattle knowing the Seahawks had Wilson ahead of him on the roster, but being a No. 2 in the NFL still means you're one play away from a significant role, as we are seeing right now. And should Smith continue to play well in Wilson's absence and that lead to teams offering him a chance to start next year, you can bet he'd jump at that opportunity, and that the Seahawks would wish him all the best with that chance.

@jasonaug9 asks, "Why isn't Bless Austin playing more, or at all?"

A: While Austin has yet to see action at cornerback since joining the Seahawks in September, he does have a substantial role on special teams, where he played 38 percent of the snaps on Sunday. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has spoken highly of Austin when asked about him, but the reality is that only two outside cornerbacks are on the field, and in general it's the same two players all game, so at this point at least, he's just not high enough on the depth chart to be playing ahead of D.J. Reed, Sidney Jones IV, and Tre Brown, who took over for Jones in Sunday's game.

Fantasy Insider Scott Engel identifies players to target on the waiver wire in the lead up to Week 7 of the 2021 season.

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