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Seahawks Mailbag: The Future On Defense, Getting The Mojo Back & More

Seahawks Mailbag: The Future On Defense, Getting The Mojo Back & More

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The Seahawks will play the penultimate game of their 2021 season this weekend when they host the Lions, and they'll play that game as well as their Week 18 game against Arizona in an unfamiliar position, having been eliminated from the playoffs already. Prior to this week, the Seahawks haven't gone into a weekend while out of playoff contention since their final game of the 2011 season. But while this season hasn't gone according to plan, we're still going to carve out some time 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 wasn't able to get to yours this time around.

Jim Bowen from Hanna City, Illinois asks, "Has there been a Seahawks team that has caused more confusion for fans that this year's team?"

A: That's a great question, and no, I can't think of a more confusing team in recent memory when you factor in A. the expectations heading into the year, and B. how Seattle has gotten to this point where it sits at 5-10.

A year ago, the Seahawks went 12-4 and won a tough NFC West, and for the most part they brought back the nucleus of that team. Russell Wilson's injury has definitely been a big factor in the team's struggles, both in the time he missed and also in some of his subpar performances after returning, but there's more to this team's losing record than just that. A new-look offense that has looked so promising at times, including the opener, has been inconsistent throughout the year, while the defense has done a lot of things well, most notably allowing just 20.5 points per game, that unit has also been inconsistent at times, including last weekend while allowing two long touchdown drives in a Bears comeback win. Most confounding, however, has been Seattle's struggles in close games. A signature of Pete Carroll coached teams has always been the ability to finish games strong, and year after year the Seahawks have had a very good record in one-score games, in no small part due to the presence of Russell Wilson, who has been a very clutch quarterback throughout his career. This season, however, with or without Wilson on the field, the Seahawks have had a hard time closing out games, and they're 0-5 in games decided by three or fewer points.

With those struggles in close games, the Seahawks are 5-10 despite giving up just one more point than they've scored this season, the type of point differential you'd expect to see from a team with about a .500 record, not one that's lost twice as many as it has won. And while 8-7 or 7-8 would hardly be considered a success for a team with championship expectations, it would be a bit more palatable for a team that was without its Pro-Bowl quarterback for a stretch, and without starting running back Chris Carson for most of the season, and without Pro-Bowl safety Jamal Adams for the past three and a half games.

@CreativeDenise asks, "How do we get our mojo back?"

A: If I knew the answer to that, I'd have a different title and bigger paycheck. But while I don't have the answer, I assure you that will be a big topic for ownership, Pete Carroll and John Schneider to sort out this offseason. Every NFL offseason brings some change, and losing seasons tend to come with bigger changes, but I couldn't begin to guess what changes will be in store for Seattle this offseason.

To touch on a topic addressed in the last question, one thing the Seahawks will need to do better if they're going to get their mojo back is start winning more close games. As narrow as the margin is in the NFL, a team simply can't go winless in games decided by 3 points or less and expect to have a good season. That's not to say those close losses are the difference between what we've seen this season and everything being great and happy and exactly how the Seahawks want the season to go, but for any team to reach its potential in an NFL that is designed to foster parity, winning close games is essential.

@EddieRuckus asks, "Is there reason to hope for a better defense next year with a lot of young emerging playmakers like Jordyn Brooks, Darrell Taylor, Tre Brown and so on?"

A: I do think you're onto something here, Eddie, though to know what Seattle's defense will look like in 2022 and beyond, it would be helpful to know what is going to happen with some of Seattle's top free agents, most notably safety Quandre Diggs and cornerback D.J. Reed. Diggs has arguably been Seattle's best defensive player this year, while Reed has been a great addition and has thrived since taking over a starting role last season. Another name to watch this offseason is defensive end Rasheem Green, who is tied for the team lead with Carlos Dunlap II with 6.5 sacks.

But to your point, the Seahawks have seen some young defensive players develop this year, which bodes well for the future. As much as cornerback was a huge question mark heading into the season, the development of rookie Tre Brown, as well as the play of Reed and Sidney Jones, has changed the outlook there quite a bit. Brooks and Taylor, Seattle's top picks in the 2020 draft, both have been big contributors this year—Brooks ranks third in the NFL with 155 tackles and leads the team in tackles for loss with 8, while Taylor has 6.0 sacks in his first season after missing his rookie year due to injuries. Add to that the likes of Jamal Adams and Poona Ford, who both only recently turned 26, and if he can come back strong from another season-ending injury, Marquise Blair, and there are a lot of young players to like on this Seahawks defense moving forward, particularly if at least some of the aforementioned free agents are retained.

@HolliWinters asks, "After the snow game Sunday, is there any way the Seahawks can get a stadium with a retractable roof like the Mariners have? Might help get a Super Bowl to Seattle"

A: As rare as snow is in Seattle, I don't see the Seahawks trying to get a retractable roof stadium to deal with the weather. It absolutely makes sense from a baseball standpoint to avoid rainouts, but for football in a region where we maybe get one significant snow storm a year, it doesn't seem like worthwhile investment from a weather standpoint. Now if you're talking about trying to get a Super Bowl, that's another topic all together. The league has tended to award Super Bowls to cities that build new stadiums in recent years, so yeah, if a Super Bowl was a big goal, then a new stadium might help, not because Lumen Field isn't a fantastic venue, but because the league likes awarding Super Bowls to cities that build new stadiums.

@DanCohen17 asks, "John, please can you have your people ensure SeaTac is clear of snow for our landing in 48 hours, otherwise I'm going to be exceptionally annoyed!

A: My people? You think I have "people" who can get things done like clear an airport runway? No chance, Dan. The good news for you is that, despite my lack of connections, it looks like by the time you arrive the weather might be cooperating to help your travel go smoothly. While it's going to stay unusually cold, it doesn't look like there's much more snow in the forecast. Then again, I don't we were supposed to get as much snow as we did Sunday morning so, um, good luck.

A snow storm hit the Pacific Northwest on December 26, 2021, turning Lumen Field into a snow globe during Week 16 vs. the Chicago Bears.

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