The Seahawks head to Los Angeles this weekend to face the Rams, and are looking to clean up some of the issues that have led to consecutive losses and bounce back with a divisional win. But before we turn or attention to that game, it's time once again to answer some 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. And remember, in addition to asking questions via Twitter, you can also do so online anytime you please at Seahawks.com/mailbag.
@SachinePhadke asks, "What's the story with the Run D?" And @Rjones3438 asks, "I have to echo the run defense questions, that has happened, especially in these last two games? Will we look back and point to the Germany game being a turning point for the season?"
A: Not long ago, Seattle's win over Arizona, which started a four-game winning streak, felt like the turning point in the season, but Rick is correct that, if the Seahawks don't right the ship quickly, the loss to Tampa Bay in Munich could feel like that. Luckily, the Seahawks have plenty of games left to get it right and they are still in pretty good shape with a 6-5 record, but all the questions this week about the run defense are merited. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked about this several times Monday, and while he's obviously not happy with how things turned out, he is confident the Seahawks can get back to playing good run defense, which they had been, minus a few Kyler Murray scrambles, for four straight weeks. Heck, they held Saquon Barkley, one of the NFL's premier backs, to just 53 yards on 20 carries.
One reason Carroll isn't making too much of back-to-back poor performances is because he sees them as fixable one-off situations. Against Tampa Bay, the Seahawks simply weren't expecting the Buccaneers to try to run the ball much and were caught somewhat off guard, both schematically and in terms of personnel, making run-stuffing defensive tackle Bryan Mone inactive. Last week, as Carroll has noted, the Seahawks may have overcorrected when it came to slowing down All-Pro receiver Davante Adams. They did a pretty solid job against him, but at the expense of their run defense. Now, as Carroll would be the first to admit, those aren't good excuses for losing games—there's a reason he has said after each of the past two losses that he needs to be better—but he sees what happened the past two games as a lot more fixable than if it had been as simple as teams running the Seahawks over all season long, which hasn't been the case.
Ferimel Guzman from Bataan, Philippines asks, "Just as the Seahawks were overlooked this season, which nation do you think is under the radar to win the FIFA World Cup."
A: David Helman of FOX Sports (real good guy who also happens to be a big Mariners fan despite Louisiana roots) did a piece comparing World Cup squads to NFL teams, and he matched up the Seahawks with Croatia. The reason? Croatia, the story notes, is led by the ageless Luka Modric, while the Seahawks are led by the ageless Pete Carroll. And while I like that comparison, as well as Croatia's chances to make some noise, I'll make Senegal my Seahawks comparison, because much like the Seahawks heading into the 2022 season, Senegal came into this tournament minus some serious star power thanks to an injury to Sadio Mané, one of the best players in the world. And coming into the World Cup, the absence of that one star player might have some people sleeping on Senegal's overall talent and depth (sound familiar?). Senegal was still considered a favorite to get out of the group stages, which they have, so they're hardly a Cinderella story, but if they can get past England in the round of 16 without Mané, that would definitely raise some eyebrows, and perhaps have Senegal not writing back to those who wrote them off.
@PhillipsScottA asks, "You can finally answer throwback jersey questions? Great! What year jersey will it be? How many games will they wear it? Did the number of jersey that can be worn change, or what jersey will it be replacing?"
A: Ha, I asked for this. So when I said I can finally answer throwback questions, I meant that we can finally say that throwbacks are indeed coming in 2023, with that announcement coming during Sunday's game against the Raiders. The reality is, however, that most of the details on the jersey—exact specifics, when they'll be worn, etc. won't come until 2023.
Pretty much for as long as we've done this mailbag, the most asked questions were, prior to 2018, when will the Seahawks play in London, and when will they wear throwbacks. We don't yet know the exact date, but they will indeed be worn during the 2023 season. I couldn't tell you the exact year either, but they will resemble the ones worn in the 1990s. As for the number of uniforms teams can wear, I have not heard if the NFL has any plans to relax that, but if nothing changes there, then you're correct that one of Seattle's other alternates would have to go to make room for the throwbacks. Again, guessing we'll learn more about that sometime in the new year.
George Wright from Leeds, UK asks, "What would you choose to do about the QB situation next season? Re-sign Geno Smith and draft a QB? Don't re-sign Geno?"
A: It must be World Cup season because I saw Leeds and immediately thought, "Tyler Adams!" Anyway, that doesn't have much to do with your question, so anyway… First off, let's make it very clear that what I would choose has no bearing on what the front office will actually decide, because, well, they aren't going to listen to me on topics that important. But someone who does have a big say in things, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, has said when asked about this that the team would love to have Smith back, which obviously makes a lot of sense given that he has been one of the NFL's best quarterbacks this season.
Both sides will have to agree on a contract for that to get done, but it makes a lot of sense both for Smith and the Seahawks to try to keep a very good thing going beyond 2022, presuming they can make the financial side of things work out. And if the Seahawks are able to re-sign Smith, that allows them to head into the draft with the luxury of two first-round picks and two second-rounders, none of which have to be used on a quarterback. All of that being said, if there's a quarterback the Seahawks like in the early rounds, I think it could make a lot of sense to both re-sign Smith and draft a player who can then develop behind Smith without being rushed into action. Seahawks general manager John Schneider often cites the way Green Bay did things when he was there, referencing the way the Packers would frequently draft quarterbacks even when it wasn't a need thanks to the presence of Brett Favre. That strategy can set a team up to trade quality players if there is no room for them to start on that team (Matt Hasselbeck, for example) or to have a starter available should a veteran eventually retire or move on (Aaron Rodgers). And yes, I realize that while Schneider has said that a bunch, the Seahawks don't actually have much history drafting quarterbacks since selecting Russell Wilson in 2012, but given the significant draft capital Seattle has, and depending on what type of deal the Seahawks and Smith might get done in terms of years, I could definitely see a scenario where it makes a lot of sense to both draft for the long-term future while also bringing back a Pro-Bowl caliber QB in Smith.
@AaronDoherty10 asks, "I've noticed Cody Barton playing a lot more in the last two games? Is there correlation to him playing more and our struggles in those games?
A: You're correct that Barton did play more in the past two games than he had in the previous four, but I wouldn't pin the defensive issues on him. The Seahawks were playing a lot more with an extra safety and only one linebacker in recent weeks prior to their game in Munich, with Barton playing 39, 63, 51 and 43 percent of Seattle's defensive snaps during the four-game winning streak, then 80 and 73 percent in the past two weeks. But to me, that had a lot more to do with how opponents were attacking the Seahawks than any designed plan to get Barton into the game more. The Buccaneers ran the ball a lot more than the Seahawks were expecting them to, especially once they got ahead, so the Seahawks were naturally going to play a linebacker over an extra DB if their opponent keeps running the ball, and they knew coming into the game this past weekend that the Raiders were going to look to get Josh Jacobs going. And in fact, despite the end result, Carroll spoke highly of Barton's play in Sunday's game.
"I liked the way that they played," Carroll said Monday when asked about Jordyn Brooks and Barton. "They played very aggressive, and they were downhill, and I thought Cody maybe had his most physical game with a couple of key tackles, and a really big play on the passing game on the pick that (Quandre Diggs) gets a second time. He had a big tackle on the short yardage situation. We've been seeing it out of Jordyn the whole time. They were really hitting their blocks pretty well in this game, but we need everybody working together to help the effectiveness of that out."
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from Week 12 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders on November 27, 2022 at Lumen Field. Eye On The Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.