The Seahawks returned from their bye with a win in New York, their third straight victory. Next up for the 4-2 Seahawks are the Houston Texans, but before we focus our attention on Seattle's Week 8 contest, it's time again to answer questions from you the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who took the time to submit a question, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around.
@KOALAF13D asks, "Is it just me, or does Shaquill Griffin look like he's becoming more and more like Richard Sherman every week?"
A: I'm going to assume this question is about his play, and not the fact that some people continue to confuse the two cornerbacks because of their similar hair and jersey numbers. And while it's too early to say Griffin has reached Sherman's All-Pro level of play, you are correct in observing that the rookie is playing very well and continues to get better.
Griffin opened the year as Seattle's third corner, coming in to join Sherman and Jeremy Lane in nickel packages, but with Lane injured the past two-plus games, Griffin has been an every-down player, and he has held up very well as teams continue to test him and avoid Sherman's side of the field.
"I'm continually impressed with that he's holding up such a consistent level of play, and he's getting checked out too, he's getting opportunities and all of that," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I think (defensive backs coach) Andre Curtis and (defensive coordinator) Kris (Richard) and our defensive coaches are doing a great job. For him to be playing at this level—he is aggressively playing; he's not just out there surviving it, he's going after it and taking on the challenges and he's played very consistently—that's what's really impressive that he hasn't wavered at all. And I think six games into it, I think he's going to be OK. I think he can hang in there and maintain against whatever the matchups are. We'll see; there will be another great one this weekend, and we should see how it goes. I'm really very confident in him at this point."
Carroll also mentioned after Sunday's win in New Jersey that Sherman has had a big role in Griffin's development.
And speaking of cornerbacks…
@Juistan asks, "When DeShawn Shead returns, and with the emergence of Justin Coleman, where does Jeremy Lane fit in when healthy?"
A: As the question notes, trade acquisition Justin Coleman has played very well as Seattle's nickel corner in Lane's absence, and Griffin looks very much like an NFL starter on the outside, and yes, DeShawn Shead is getting closer to returning from the knee injury that caused him to open the season on the physically unable to perform list. All of that being said, when Lane is back to full health, I have a hard time seeing him left without a role in this defense. Lane opened the season as a starter ahead of both Griffin and Coleman, and has proven himself to be a very valuable player for years. Shead did start ahead of Lane last year—Lane still played a significant role as the nickel corner—but Shead will be coming back from a long injury layoff, so he'll have to fight his way back and show in practice that he is game ready.
So basically all of that is a long way of saying, I don't really know what it will look like if/when everyone is healthy at the same time, but having to sort out who plays with that kind of depth is a very good problem to have.
@zach_silver98 and @Nnabue2 asks about the Seahawks offense's slow starts to games.
A: The Seahawks have indeed been a second-half team offensively this season, scoring nine points in the first quarter through six games, compared to 42 in the third quarter and 53 in the fourth quarter. And while a slow start is hardly ideal, Carroll will never be overly concerned with that if his team finishes games well. A coach who constantly preaches the importance of finishing would much rather see his team outscore opponents 53-9 in the fourth quarter, which is what Seattle has done this year, than get off to quick starts, only to fade late in games.
"Finishing is a big deal," Carroll said. "We make a big deal about it and executing down the stretch… That's great play on (the defensive) side of the ball and it's good play on the other side. It's playing together as we finish these games; we've all noted that we haven't played as smooth early in games, but we have finished very well. That will be hugely important as we go through the schedule, and all of these games will call for that, and that's why it has been such a big deal to us. It'd be nice to start a little cleaner and all of that, but really, it's about how you finish."
As for those starts, Carroll noted on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday that players, especially some of the young offensive linemen, could be pressing a bit early in games before settling down.
"I think it's a little bit of mentality," Carroll said. "I think we over-tried again. it's one of the No. 1 things—we're so hyped up, we say how fired up we want to play and all, but really there's a level in there of mentality so you don't get in your own way. They're trying to do things, and it's for the right reasons, they want to be really good, they're busting their tails and all, but sometimes they try to too hard. They reach and they don't need to, or they try to beat the cadence and they don't need to."
@tompage asks, "What has been the key in Rees Odhiambo's improvement?" @Clemoouu71 also asks about the progress shown by Odhiambo in Sunday's game?
A: Odhiambo did indeed take a step forward in last week's game, making big contributions to what Carroll said was one of the line's best games of the season. As for why Odhiambo got better, I don't think there was any magic solution found during the bye, but rather that we're just seeing the continued growth of a young, inexperienced player. Odhiambo saw very limited playing time last year, and then he spent most of camp and the preseason at left guard where he was competing for the starting job with Luke Joeckel. It was only after George Fant's season-ending injury that Odhiambo shifted his focus to left tackle full time, so there were always going to be some growing pains for the second-year lineman out of Boise State.
Also, even though Joeckel didn't play last week, playing five games next to an experienced veteran, and in particular one who has played a lot of left tackle, has certainly helped Odhiambo's development as well.
On a related note, @KBottom2 asks if, even after the improvements shown last week, the Seahawks could look to bolster the O-line with some outside help via trade.
A: With the trade deadline one week away, the Seahawks—and just about every team—find themselves attached to various reports and rumors when it comes to trade scenarios. And while you can never rule anything out with general manager John Schneider, who takes pride in at least exploring every possible option to make his team better, it would seem that a significant trade is not all that likely at this point. For starters, in-season trades are pretty rare in the NFL, and secondly, as Kevin's question notes, the line has continued to show improvement. If the right player becomes available at the right price, anything is possible, but the Seahawks do like the growth they have seen from their line and feel good about the direction that unit is heading.
@HolliWinters asks, "Who is your daughter's favorite Seahawks player?"
A: I'm presuming you mean our 2-year old and not the seven-week old, because I don't think newborns have opinions on football teams/players. I can't say for certain if our older daughter has a favorite player because my job means I'm never able to watch games with her. But I do know she's a fan of Michael Bennett and his family if only for the fact that they wrote a children’s book she has a copy of. I don't think she really understands football yet, but she certainly can dress the part:
@whompetgaming asks, "Will Ethan Pocic start at left guard?"
A: Can I answer this Sunday at about 1:05 to 1:15ish, depending on who wins the coin toss? My hunch is that Carroll and offensive line coach Tom Cable will again be vague when discussing their plan at left guard, but Pocic did get the start over Mark Glowinski last week, with both seeing fairly equal playing time, and Carroll praised the rookie's play, so I suppose you could consider Pocic the slight favorite there.
One other factor at left guard this week could be the health of center Justin Britt, who, despite finishing the game, has a sprained ankle that could keep him out of practice for most or all of this week. If Britt is unable to play, Pocic would likely start at center—he filled in for Britt for five snaps while Britt was on the sideline—with Glowinski getting the call at guard.
@TigerComet26 asks, "Seahawks, Sounders or Mariners? And why?"
A: Do I have to choose one? I mean, I work for the Seahawks, and it's a heck of a place to work, so that has to be No. 1 on my own list right? But growing up in the area in a baseball-loving family, the Mariners were my first sport love, so there's always a place in my heart for them. I also had a ton of fun covering the Sounders from their inaugural MLS season through 2015 when I left the Everett Herald for this job, so I've got nothing but good things to say about that organization as well (good luck in the playoffs!). Also, while we're on the topic of local sports team... Hey NBA, bring back the Sonics.
@Us3rN4metaken asks, "Are you pro or anti-peanut butter?"
A: Easy question. Pro peanut butter all the way. And you didn't ask, but crunch over creamy.
@mikkyjwright asks, "Did you find my iPhone charger? I left it at the Colts game."
A: No, sorry. Did you try the CenturyLink Field lost & found. I bet they have an iPhone charger if not your iPhone charger.
Team photographer Rod Mar shares exclusive behind-the-scenes images from the Seahawks' 24-7 win over the New York Giants during Week 7 at MetLife Stadium.