The Seahawks are coming off of their first victory of the season, a 24-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys, and now they turn their attention to their Week 4 game at Arizona. But before we dive into this week's game, with players off today it's time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked a question this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
@tompage asks, "One player who was not talked about much from the game is Tre Flowers. I saw a couple completions in front of him but not much, has he improved since the first game?" @DonnieJonester1 also asks about Flowers' development.
A: Short answer, yes he has, if only because any rookie starter is going to have room to get better every week. But I will add here that Flowers didn't struggle in the opener as much as some people might think. While Seahawks coach Pete Carroll isn't the kind of coach to call out an individual who did make the mistake, he has made it pretty clear that the breakdowns that led to a couple of big touchdowns in the opener weren't on Flowers, even if he was in the vicinity on those plays.
In Sunday's win over the Cowboys, it was Flowers who knocked the ball loose to set up Earl Thomas' first interception of the game, and overall, the Seahawks are very pleased with what they're seeing from the rookie, especially considering he is new to the position having played safety in college. And most importantly for a Carroll-coached cornerback, Flowers has kept teams from beating him deep.
"He's a real savvy, aware football player," Carroll said. "It makes sense for him. The game's not difficult for him at all, and I think it's because he's been in the middle of so much. Kind of like a quarterback has a feel for the whole game different than other positions, I felt like he had a real sense that could help him in making the transition.
"There's a whole mentality that playing out there (at cornerback), particularly when you're a press team like we are and we put you right on the line of scrimmage and you're playing the fastest, best athletes in the world playing the game, that can be overwhelming. It can be daunting to have to face that play in and play out. Not everybody always embraced that mentality, the challenge of that because they have to really be disciplined. They have to be disciplined mentally and not let what just happened affect them. It's the whole thing you think about with corners, but it's not just about getting beat deep and how do you come back. It's about allowing the information to go away and kind of come back to the technique, particularly the way we play and we're so dedicated to press. It's really about the discipline of the next snap and the next step you take and you're focused back in again. If you're a guy that has trouble turning the rest of the world away, then it's a harder process. He is really sharp, as is Shaq (Shaquill Griffin). Both these guys have been very similar in the way they've handled the start of this thing and really impressive in that."
@Martie_24 asks, "Are we going to see any changes with the O-line this week or the same group?"
A: The Seahawks line looked quite a bit different in Week 3 because of injuries, with Joey Hunt replacing Justin Britt at center and J.R. Sweezy filling in for Ethan Pocic at left guard, while D.J. Fluker returned from injury to start at right guard, where Sweezy had played the first two weeks.
As for this week, Carroll said Monday he expects Britt to make it back this week from a shoulder injury, so look for him to get back, but otherwise things could look the same depending on Pocic's status. Long-term when everyone is healthy, it will be interesting to see if Sweezy can push Pocic for that starting job at left guard, but regardless of how things shake out, with Sweezy able to play both guard spots, and with Hunt playing well in Britt's place, the Seahawks feel as good about their interior line depth as they have in a while.
And overall, the Seahawks are excited about the direction that group is heading in after a strong performance against a good Dallas defense, which came into the game with nine sacks in two games but recorded just two on Sunday.
"I thought the offensive line did a really nice job in this game," Carroll said. "We got to find their attitude and let them cut it loose up the line of scrimmage with all the runs that we had. They protected well too and just play good football game. I think D.J. Fluker coming back was meaningful, and also Sweez did a really nice job going to the left side. That was a nice performance by those guys."
@Dhaffie asks, "Is a hotdog a sandwich?"
A: Pretty sure this question has come up before, because somehow this became a pretty heated debate a few years back. I can see both sides of the debate because, after all, meat between two pieces of bread, perhaps with some condiments or other toppings on it, kind of sounds like a description of a sandwich. But then again, isn't a hotdog its own unique food group? I don't have a real strong opinion either way, but I'll go with no, not a sandwich.
Now on a somewhat related note that will anger some hotdog purists, ketchup is great on a hotdog, and you can't convince me otherwise you mustard-only snobs.
@Noa10114 asks, "Are the Seahawks considering signing Earl Thomas to an extension?"
A: Whatever is going on behind the scenes between Thomas and the Seahawks is way above my paygrade, so all I know is what I and everyone else has seen on the field, which is that Thomas is playing really good football this season, and what Carroll has said publicly, which is that as of now, all options remain on the table when it comes to Thomas.
"Everything's possible," Carroll said Monday. "We can do whatever we can do. There's a lot of guys that are also involved. This is not just one person's concern. We have a lot of things going on. It's a team and there's a lot of guys on this squad and there's a lot of guys who have contracts that are under consideration, which we're always working on, on a very long-range plan. Things fit accordingly and I think John (Schneider) has done a fantastic job of orchestrating it and we're continuing to work at it. We're on it."
@aqureshi73 asks, "I'm thinking with the Seahawks having so many home games in the second half of the season that maybe they can sneak into the playoffs. Wishful thinking?"
A: As much as some people have characterized this as a rebuilding season for Seattle, Carroll and general manager John Schneider have never looked at it that way. Yes there was some turnover, but the Seahawks still fully believe that they can compete for a playoff spot this year. So to your point, no, I wouldn't call it wishful thinking, especially not in an NFC where as of now there don't appear to be many dominant teams. As Schneider has said on a few occasions, in the NFL, the two most important people in the building are the quarterback and the head coach, and the Seahawks are in awfully good shape there. And as you note, the Seahawks have five of their final seven at home, so if they can stay in the hunt before then, they should be in good position to make a late playoff push.
@kmasterman asks, "Who is Coco's favorite player, is it Turf or Blitz?"
A: As most of you know who follow me on social media (because I'm that dad), Coco is the nickname of my 3-year-old daughter. She has not yet met Turf, though she loves dogs so I'm sure she'd be a fan. She does tend to like mascots a lot though, including Blitz, as well as the Mariner Moose, Rudy the Redhawk, Rhubarb (Tacoma Rainiers) and Dillon the Pickle, aka, "Pickle Man" (Portland Pickles).
Though after attending Sunday's game, Coco told me her favorite part of the game was the "big helicopters" that flew over before the game, so there you go.
@CorkyKneivel asks, "Asking because I genuinely don't know how to tell—is Duane Brown as great of an offensive lineman as everyone insists he is?"
A: I guess I'm not sure how great people are insisting Brown is, but I am confident in saying that, yes, he's a damn good football player. And to your point of not knowing how to tell, often times with a lineman, the best indicator is how much do you notice them—or the case of the great ones—don't notice them during a game because they're keeping defensive linemen from getting into the backfield and making plays.
And in addition to Brown's play on the field, Carroll has raved about his leadership ever since he arrived in Seattle in a trade midway through last season. So again, not sure of what level of "greatness" we're talking about here, but Brown has absolutely been a great addition to the team.