The Seahawks wrapped up their offseason workout program last week and players now have a break before camp opens in late July, which makes this a great time to open up the mailbag and answer some 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.
@hollberry03 asks, What game are you most looking forward to this season?
A: There are plenty of interesting matchups and exciting prime-time games all over the Seahawks' schedule, but to me the easiest answer is the Week 2 home opener against Tennessee, not because the Titans are a really good opponent, though they are, but because that'll be the first regular-season game with fans in the stadium since 2019, and Lumen Field should be electric.
Pam H from Puyallup asks, "Will the Hawks and the NFL still allow the disrespect of our flag and anthem this season? Will we only see value of humanity if they are POC or will all people matter?"
A: If by "disrespect our flag and anthem" you mean use their platform to peacefully protest racism and injustice, while challenging this country to live up to the ideals the flag and anthem represent, then yes, I'd imagine that Pete Carroll will again be OK with players exercising their right to protest during the anthem should they so choose.
As for the "value of humanity" you're talking about, anyone still playing the "all lives matter" card at this point has really been ignoring what these players and so many other Black people have been saying for the past few years, or they're just being willfully ignorant in order to uphold a talking point of people who are more concerned with keeping power than they are with trying to dismantle systemic racism. Black Lives Matter has never meant that Black lives matter more than white lives or any others; the point is that for centuries this country has treated Black lives like they matter less than others, starting with slavery and continuing with Jim Crow, and with systemic racism in just about every walk of life, from the criminal justice system to education to banking to real estate laws to health care, and with continuing voter suppression efforts that disproportionally affect minorities. So when a Black player takes a knee or raises his fist during the anthem, he isn't saying he wants his life to matter more than yours or anyone else's, he just wants Black lives to matter as much in this country as everyone else's.
OK, back to some football and more lighthearted stuff…
@DanCohen 17 asks, "Are you as excited as I am for 'Ted Lasso' season two?"
A: Only if you're incredibly excited about it. "Ted Lasso" was such a joy last year not only because it was so funny and heartwarming in a time the world really needed some joy and laughter, but also because it was so unexpectedly great, at least for me. I gave the show a chance because it was created by Bill Lawrence, the creator of Scrubs, one of the best and most underrated comedies of this century. But it was also a show based off of series of commercials. Yes, those Ted Lasso commercials promoting the Premier League coming to NBC were really funny, but funny commercials don't necessarily equate to a quality TV series (anybody remember "Cavemen" based off the Geico ads?). Yet Lawrence, Jason Sudeikis and everyone else turned a funny commercial gag into a funny show with a ton of heart. So yeah, very excited for season two next month.
Danny Broussard from Abbeville (South Carolina? Alabama? Georgia? Louisiana? Mississippi? France?) asks, "What do you think about the Seahawks' chances to win the Super Bowl?"
A: First off, there's apparently a lot of Abbevilles out there, so hello, Danny, wherever you are. As for the question of the Seahawks' Super Bowl chance, I believe they're close to as good as any other playoff-caliber team's chances. Given the talent on Seattle's roster, the presence of Hall of Fame caliber leaders at quarterback, middle linebacker and head coach, there is no reason to believe that the Seahawks, whose record has improved each of the past three seasons, shouldn't again be one of the top teams in the NFC. If anything hurt their odds relative to other good teams, it would be the talent in the NFC West, which could make it harder for any team in that division to emerge with a good enough record to earn a first-round bye.
And yes, I know people will see my optimistic take on a team that has been the playoffs eight times in the last nine years and point out that the Seahawks have not gotten past the Divisional Round since they went to back-to-back Super Bowl in 2013 and 2014. And yes, the expectations are higher than early playoff exits—I can promise you everyone in the building has very high expectations every year. But it's also worth remembering that it's really, really hard to get to the Super Bowl, even for the really good teams. Outside of the Belichick/Brady-era New England Patriots, who were a complete outlier over the past couple of decades, the only teams to make consecutive Super Bowls this century are the Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs, and there hasn't been a repeat NFC champion since Seattle did it. So again, the Seahawks believe they have a Super Bowl caliber team and will be disappointed if they don't get there, but it's also really, really tough to get there.
Mike Colbert from Lacey asks, "No masks at Seahawks games this year?"
A: This question came before plans for the 2021 season were announced, but for those who missed the news on Tuesday, the Seahawks have received clearance to have full-capacity crowds at Lumen Field this season. As for masks, if you're vaccinated, masks won't be necessary, but unvaccinated fans will be required to wear masks.
@NurseMarley asks, "K.J. Wright's contract status?" Lori Cuffe from Seattle also asks about Wright.
A: Pete Carroll has said whenever he is asked about Wright that the door is still open to a potential return, but the fact remains that Wright is a free agent as we approach July, so the Seahawks appear to be at least somewhat comfortable moving forward with what they have at linebacker. If Wright doesn't end up coming back, presumably that means 2020 first-round pick Jordyn Brooks would then take on an every-down role—he started at weakside linebacker much of last season but came off the field in nickel packages with Wright and Bobby Wagner staying on as the two linebackers—and the Seahawks would have a competition at strongside linebacker, most likely featuring Cody Barton and Darrell Taylor, a 2020 second-round pick who could end up playing a Bruce Irvin-type hybrid LB/DE role.
Jojo Reantaso from Hampton, Virginia asks, "Which undrafted free agent do you think has the best chance of making the 53-man roster?"
A: It's way too early to tell considering that camp hasn't even started, and that most UDFAs make the team in large part for their play on special teams, something they won't really be able to demonstrate until the preseason.
That being said, it's probably a safe bet that a couple UDFAs or more will make the team, both because that is the case almost every year, and because the Seahawks only drafted three players this year, so in theory there's room for a few more undrafted rookies than usual to make the team.
And while I won't predict individual players this early in the year, I would think to positions where UDFAs have a good shot could be safety and receiver. The Seahawks have really good history with UDFA receivers, most notably Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, and once you get beyond Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, second-round pick D'Wayne Eskridge and Freddie Swain, the competition for the final roster spot or two at receiver seems to be pretty wide open. At safety, the Seahawks don't have a lot of depth beyond starters Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, and top backup Ryan Neal. Yes, Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi are both listed as safeties and can still be options there, but as of now they'll be the leading contenders for the nickel corner job, so an undrafted player could definitely fight his way on to the roster at safety, particularly if he shows value on special teams.
@TrushisTold2U asks, "Offensive line evaluation, and is it time to make a last-minute move for Morgan Moses?" While Gilbert Neal from Madison, Indiana asks, "Did the Seahawks improve their offensive line over the offseason?"
A: Starting with the latter part of the question, I'll say this every time a free agent is brough up, because it's how the Seahawks operate, but they almost certainly at least considered the idea when Moses, a longtime starting right tackle in Washington, was released earlier this offseason, because the John Schneider and the rest of the front office take pride in being in on everything that could possibly help the team. Sometimes that goes as far as signing or trading for a player, while sometimes it means a very quick discussion that doesn't lead to anything, either because the player isn't a good fit or because they don't see that player as an upgrade or because the cost is too great. I have no idea what the Seahawks think of Moses, but I do get the feeling they're higher on their options at right tackle than some folks on the outside might be. Brandon Shell played very well when he was healthy last season, and when he was injured late in the year, Cedric Ogbuehi was very solid taking over that role after a few hiccups in his first game. Those two are both back, and the Seahawks also added Stone Forsythe in the draft, so they have options at tackle regardless of whether or not they add anyone else.
As for the rest of the line, the Seahawks obviously feel great about Duane Brown at left tackle, they added a very good veteran guard in Gabe Jackson, and in guard Damien Lewis, who was a PFWA All-Rookie selection last year, they have another guard with both talent and plenty of room to grow. At center, Ethan Pocic will be the leading contender to keep the job he held last year but will likely have to hold off one or two challengers. If Pocic does keep the job, he should only get better seeing as last year was his first at center, and if somebody like Kyle Fuller were to unseat him for the job, then that would just mean Lewis or whoever else it was offered what coaches considered an improvement there, so either way that position figures to get better. So all in all, I do believe a line that, when healthy last year was better than a lot of people want to give it credit for, should be even better in 2021. Obviously, the Seahawks need to be relatively healthy to be at their best up front, but that's true of every NFL team. And one last point on the line, I do also think we'll see changes in the offense under Shane Waldron that will help with pass protection, be it plays that get the ball out quicker, or plays that put Russell Wilson on the move, or misdirection that can make life a little tougher on a pass rush.
Photos from Seattle Seahawks minicamp on Thursday, June 17 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.