After a thrilling home victory over Washington, the 6-3 Seahawks are looking to keeping their winning ways going when they head to Los Angeles this weekend to face the Rams. But before we turn our attention to that Week 11 matchups, it's time once again 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 couldn't get to yours this time around. And remember, the mailbag is always open for online submissions at Seahawks.com/mailbag.
@HolliWinters asks, "Is Devon Witherspoon considered the team's nickel defensive back or the left cornerback? It seems like he has been everywhere on the field."
A: Is Witherspoon the left cornerback or nickel corner? The short answer is, yes.
Since making his debut in Week 2, Witherspoon has not only been one of the defense's top players, but a really versatile one, playing two distinctly different roles in the secondary in his first season in the NFL, a very impressive feat for the rookie.
For the most part Witherspoon's role has been defined by what personnel the Seahawks have on the field. If the Seahawks are in nickel with three cornerbacks on the field, as they were for much of last weekend's game against Washington, Tre Brown plays left corner and Witherspoon moves inside to nickel. When the Seahawks go with their three-safety big nickel look, or if they're in base defense with three down linemen and four linebackers on the field, then Witherspoon plays outside at left cornerback. From either position, Witherspoon has continued to show up and make big plays week after week, including on Sunday when he had three passes defensed, bringing his total up to 12 this season, as well as a forced fumble that was recovered by Riq Woolen.
"He continues to show us he's a very special football player," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after Sunday's win. "We're lucky to have him on our side."
Monique from Moses Lake asks, "Do you think Tyler Lockett will get any 100-yard games this season? I know he's two short of breaking a Seahawks record, and I'd really like to see him do that?"
A: What Monique is refereeing to here is Lockett closing in on catching Darrell Jackson for the second most 100-yard receiving games in franchise history, with Lockett sitting on 18 of them in his career, one fewer than Jackson. Like every Seahawks receiving record, second in team history means you're still a long way from Steve Largent for first, as Largent had 40 career 100-yard games. Lockett is also just three catches away from passing Brian Blades for the second most receptions in team history, and 27 yards from passing Blades for the second most receiving yards in team history. Lockett is also already second in receiving touchdowns with 58, meaning soon, quite possibly on Sunday, he'll be No. 2 in franchise history in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns behind one of the greatest receivers in team history. And just for fun, let's also point out that Lockett and Largent have the same birthday and were both born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Anyway, long Tyler Lockett appreciation post notwithstanding, there was a question there, and yes, I am quite confident he'll have a 100-yard game soon, and quite possibly several of them. Lockett has gone over 80 yards three times in the last five games, including 92 yards last week and 94 yards against Cincinnati, so it's only a matter of time until he breaks out for a 100-plus yard game to match Jackson, and probably not too long after, another 100-yard game to pass him.
@tompage asks, "Jamal Adams has been back for a few games, how is he doing?"
A: Since returning from his injury, Adams has made his presence felt on defense, recording 28 tackles, four tackles for loss and two passes defensed, one of which led to a Julian Love interception that set up a game-winning touchdown drive against Cleveland, doing that in essentially five games, having barely played in his Week 4 return before suffering a concussion. Quite of few of those tackles have been impact plays either near or behind the line of scrimmage, or in open space to get a stop on third down.
Has it been a flawless return from injury? Adams would be the first to tell you it hasn't. He was critical of himself for missed tackles two weeks ago, and he noted that he "missed a layup" of a sack when he was free on a blitz last week, only to see Sam Howell escape and throw a touchdown pass. But it's worth remembering that Adams is returning from a very serious injury, a torn quadriceps tendon, and one that by his own admission is still affecting him a bit. And even after that long layoff and some lingering injury issues, he's still making game-changing plays that help the defense.
As he gets back in the flow of things with the defense even more, I'd expect Adams to have a big impact in the second half of the season.
Ferlmel from Bataan, Philippines, asks, "With the exception of Boye Mafe, is the 2022 rookie class going through a sophomore slump?"
A: I wouldn't call it a sophomore slump, but the Seahawks are getting a little less out of last year's draft class simply due to injuries. Tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, who missed only one game between them last season, both were injured in the season opener, with Cross missing multiple games and with Lucas landing on injured reserve (he is expected to come back to practice this week), while Coby Bryant, last year's nickel corner, has been on injured reserve for most of the season with a toe injury. Riq Woolen, the breakout star of last year's draft class, missed a lot of camp with a knee injury that required surgery, and as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has noted, that affected him a bit early in the season, but he's still playing well and is coming off what might be his best game of the year so far, giving hope that a big second half is in store. Dareke Young, a special teams standout last year, just came back from injured reserve after missing the first eight games of the year.
So who haven't we covered from last year's class that contributed last year? The two players who have been healthy all season, Kenneth Walker III and Boye Mafe, both of whom are having really good second seasons. Mafe, of course, has been one of the team's breakout stars, recording a sack in seven straight games to break a franchise record. Walker hasn't had a monster game like he did on a couple of occasions last year, but he has still been very productive, rushing for 595 yards and six scores, putting him on pace for another 1,000-yard season, while adding 175 receiving yards, more than he had all of last season, including a 64-yard touchdown last week.
So you are correct that the Seahawks have maybe gotten less out of the 2022 class this season, but as more of those players get healthy, there's no reason to think that players like Cross, Lucas, Woolen, Bryant and Young won't all make big contributions down the stretch.
@TheRoller59 asks, "Why is Zach Charbonnet getting more snaps than Kenneth Walker since Week 8? We saw again Sunday how explosive Walker is."
A: You are correct that Charbonnet has been on the field a bit more than Walker the past three games, and you are also correct that Walker is quite explosive, though Charbonnet has proven to be pretty explosive as runner as well.
In the past three games since missing one with a hamstring injury, Charbonnet has played 103 snaps to 87 for Walker, which isn't a huge discrepancy. And it's worth noting that Charbonnet has handled most of the third-down and two-minute duties, roles that increase his snap counts, but don't come with as many carries. That's why, despite a bit more playing time, Charbonnet has 15 carries in the last three games to Walker's 36. And over the course of a long season, the Seahawks no doubt would love to maintain a pretty even split in playing time between those two to avoid overworking either one.
On a related note, it's a good problem to have when there are fans clamoring for both running backs to get more playing time and more touches, which has been the case the past few weeks.
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seahawks' Week 10 win over the Commanders. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.