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Seahawks Mailbag: Super Bowl XLVIII Reunion, Third-Down Defense & More

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers.


The Seahawks improved to 2-1 with their Week 3 win over the Panthers, and now they're getting ready to head east for a Monday Night Football showdown with the New York Giants. But before we turn our attention to that NFC matchup, it's time once again to open up the mailbag and answer some questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who sent in questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around. And remember, the mailbag is always open for submissions at, or you can me up on the website formerly known as Twitter (@johnpboyle) or if you see me walking around Seattle, just yell your question at me… come to think of it, don't do that.

Anyway, let's get to it, shall we?

@wenfot asks, "What were the highlights for the players who returned for the 10*th*anniversary of the Super Bowl? It was amazing seeing them at the game.

A: Hearing from Pete Carroll and players, the biggest highlight was just a chance to catch up and reconnect with people that, in some cases, they hadn't seen in years. Former players and coaches got together for an event on Friday night, then again at Saturday's walkthrough where Red Bryant gave an impassioned speech that current players said helped them get fired up for the game. Some players also got out in the community to give back, volunteering at food banks around the Puget Sound region, then of course there was the celebration during Sunday's game.

"It was really good," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of the weekend's celebration. "I'm so glad we won a game and played a game like that with the fans being part of it and coming from behind and all that kind of stuff. It was really a thrilling weekend; way more than I thought it would be. I didn't know it would feel so emotional connecting with the guys, because they love the recollection of this time that we spent together, and they've all carried it with them, and it's been a big part of their life. They deserve to cherish and relish in all the memories of that, and they are doing that. It just lives on because of that, really special."

As Doug Baldwin said earlier in the week, it can be hard for players to appreciate accomplishments while they're still playing, even something as big as the Super Bowl, because there's always another game or another season to focus on, but now that, with the exception of Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson, everyone from that team is retired, a weekend like this was a great chance to really soak it all in and appreciate such an amazing season.

"I remember very vividly, I remember picking up the confetti off the ground and putting in my helmet, and I was just like, 'I've got to get here again,'" Baldwin said last week. "Then we just went right back to work.

"I feel like now is the time we get to actually celebrate that. And it's a beautiful thing that we get to celebrate a championship. We were young men coming into the NFL, I got to spend the majority of my career with Jermaine, K.J. and I all came in at the same time, Cliff became my brother immediately when he got here, and we were all growing up and maturing at this time. We were all becoming adults in a very unique and specific environment that only a few folks get to experience. It's very special, and for us to be able to sit up here and talk about a championship-winning team, organization, culture, and memorialize that for the 10-year anniversary… I typically have the words, but I don't have the words. It's very special."

@DanCohen17 asks, "As a budgetary individual, how far out do we know who we might be playing home and away next season outside of the NFC West? Are we playing in Charlotte, Atlanta or Jacksonville?"

A: Lucky for you, Dan, teams' future opponents, aside from a couple of games determined by like finishers at the end of the season, are known several years in advance. We obviously won't know the order of the games until the schedule comes out in spring, but what I can tell you by looking at the handy NFL Record & Fact book is that the Seahawks will play road games in Chicago, Detroit, New England, New York (Jets), as well as a road game against the like finisher in the NFC South. So none of the cities you mentioned are definite destinations for Seattle, but Atlanta and Charlotte are in play as possibilities depending on where they and the Seahawks finish in the standings. Start budgeting now for 2025 though, because the Seahawks will play road games in Atlanta, Carolina, Jacksonville and Tennessee that year.

@kmasterman asks, "If Taylor Swift fans are called Swifties, what are Pearl Jam fans called?

A: 40-something sports writers.

Colby Mason from Gilbert, Arizona asks, "Is there a specific reason that Jaxon Smith-Njigba has not been getting much action or has there just not been much opportunity for him yet?" Several other folks asked about JSN on twitter, including @sgavagecookie, who asks if the rookie's lack of production is related to the amount of 12 and 13 personnel (two and three tight-end sets) Seattle is playing.

A: Carroll was asked about Smith-Njigba on Monday, and seemed to have no concerns about the rookie's play so far, even if the big numbers have not yet come.

"He's doing everything fine," Caroll said. "He's doing just fine. He hasn't got the ball a lot yet, but there's no reason for that other than we're just mixing it up."

The most obvious factor is that the Seahawks have, in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, two of the best receivers in the NFL also taking up targets, and it's also worth remembering that, as impressive as Smith-Njigba's quick comeback from wrist surgery was, he did miss some valuable time leading up to the opener.

And to the point made by several of you on Twitter, the Seahawks have also been playing with two and three tight ends quite a bit, in part because they like what Will Dissly, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson bring to the offense, and also more recently, because those tight ends can help out on the line of scrimmage with both starting tackles missing the past two games.

"It's a good part of our game because guys are versatile, they can do things, our guys can block and they complement in the styles of blocks and the way we use them," Carroll said of the tight end usage. "It's a nice part of our package. It does take the receivers off the field in the plays that you're in it. We have one guy out there. There's some give and take there. We like the versatility; we like the power you get when you load it up on the edges. Our guys are versatile enough that when we go in there, we're not just running the football, we're using those guys to do what they can do."

The season is still only three games old, and based on what we saw from Smith-Njigba in camp and the preseason prior to his injury, I'm quite confident in saying that a big game for the rookie is coming sooner than later.

@RajeshP74187015 asks, "How are the Seahawks going to improve their third-down defense?"

A: Seahawks opponents are converting at a 57.4 percent rate through three games, the second-highest number in the NFL, so obviously that's a concern and something Carroll has brought up on a few occasions.

But it's also worth noting that, while third-down struggles were a big factor in a Week 1 loss, the numbers were a bit more misleading last weekend. Carolina finished the game 10 for 19, but four of those 10 conversions came in the fourth quarter after the Seahawks built a two-score lead and were playing somewhat more conservatively on defense, including Carolina's final drive that came with several starters watching from the sideline, including safeties Quandre Diggs and Julian Love.

"We gave up 100 yards in the fourth quarter of a couple of games," Carroll said. "I think they were six-of-eight on third down of their last eight third downs. We were playing third-down defense really well and then in that mode they were able to move the ball. I don't like it though, I like to cut them down."

Again, the Seahawks know they still need to be better on third down, but the overall improvements we've seen in the past two games when it comes to the pass rush, should help, as has the play of rookie Devon Witherspoon, who missed the opener. It also should help to get Jamal Adams back in the mix this week.

Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seahawks' 37-27 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, September 24, 2023. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers

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