Thoughts on Thomas Rawls, Tyler Lockett and More in a Seahawks Q&A

Answering questions from fans on the Seahawks' day off.

With the Seahawks hosting Monday Night Football for their Week 4 game against Detroit, this week's schedule is a bit different, with players getting Wednesday off before starting their normal week of practice Thursday, a day later than usual. So with it being a slow day, there was time to field some questions from you the fans, via Twitter. Thanks to all who sent in questions.

@johnpboyle @Seahawks What are your thoughts on Thomas Rawls after 1 game? — Go Hawks! (@HooliganHawk) September 30, 2015

Q: @HooliganHawk asks: "What are your thoughts on Thomas Rawls after one game?" And @dkrom59 asks: "With Marshawn Lynch banged up, how many touches per game would you anticipate Thomas Rawls getting?"

A: These were just two of many Thomas Rawls and Marshawn Lynch questions to come up today. First, on Lynch, there's nothing new to report other than what Pete Carroll said Monday, which is that Lynch, who left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, is expected to have an MRI this week, and that it will likely be late in the week until his status is known.

In terms of Rawls, I was quite impressed, just like a lot of other people. Rawls obviously did enough in camp and the preseason to win a spot on the roster, but nobody was expecting him to become Seattle's first 100-yard rusher this season. If Lynch misses a game or even is limited, the Seahawks know they have somebody who can fill in and be productive, and going forward, I would think Rawls will have some sort of role in the offense even when Lynch is healthy.

Q: @rosepetalzzz asks: "What do you think of the great Tyler Lockett?"

A: Well, we know what you think about him, eh? But yes, Lockett has been pretty great through his first three games, returning both a punt and kickoff for touchdowns. What has perhaps been more impressive, though not quite as obvious on game day, is how far along Lockett is as a receiver. The Seahawks drafted Lockett thinking he was going to be a return specialist for now and someone who could contribute at receiver somewhere down the road, but his play in camp changed that perception a bit, and he is now the No. 3 receiver behind Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse.  

Q: 710 ESPN's @WassellSeattle asks: "Favorite Beatle?"

A: Hmmm… I've honestly never given this a lot of thought, but as a I writer, guess I've got to go with John Lennon, who along with Paul McCartney was responsible for writing most of the band's best-known songs. Plus, Lennon wrote "Imagine" which isn't a Beatles song, but it's just a darn beautiful song. And if you don't think I'm going to use this as an excuse to post a video of Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder covering "Imagine," well you don't know me very well.

Q: @djmobey asks: "Is Russell Wilson's decreased rushing his idea or the team's?"

A: Wilson will always tell you that, when it comes to the read option, his first goal is always to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch rather than keep it himself. That being said, for the read option to work, there has to be a threat of the quarterback running, which is something Darrell Bevell brought up after a season opener in which Wilson didn't run often.

And Wilson is actually running quite a bit through three games with 24 carries. If he kept that pace up, he would finish with 128 carries, which would be a career high, and he is also on pace to finish with 731 rushing yards, which would be the second highest total of his career.

Q: @purplebooks asks: "I thought it would be great if we always play out of a two tight end set with Jimmy (Graham) and Luke (Willson) and two WR."

A: OK, so this is a statement/suggestion more than a question, but I'll address it anyway. The Seahawks certainly like what they can do from a two tight-end formation, and will continue to do plenty of that, but to always use that formation would be to limit the offense quite a bit. For starters, the Seahawks like what they can do with Tyler Lockett on the field as a third receiver, and they also like to use a fullback a decent amount, and to do either, a tight end has to come off the field (unless they go empty with two tight ends and three receivers, or go fullback, running back, two tight ends and one receiver).

Secondly, if they were to always keep the same personnel on the field, the Seahawks would be a lot more predictable to defend.

Q: @strayts asks: "Any update on Jeremy Lane?"

A: Lane, who suffered serious knee and arm injuries in the Super Bowl, is currently on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he'll be out at least the first six weeks of the season, and as a result his status has not been asked about, nor updated by Pete Carroll, since the season started. Carroll indicated during training camp that Lane had a bit further to go in his recovery than did Paul Richardson, who is also on PUP with a knee injury, but the Seahawks believe there is a chance of getting Lane back at some point this season. It's too soon, however, to put any sort of time table on that possible return.  

Q: PMartinKatyTX asks: "Three games so far, three slow starts. Will Seattle make changes to start better on Sunday? What can they do?"

A: It's never the Seahawks' goal to start off slowly in a game, but neither is a fast start. Ask Carroll about a sluggish start, and the answer you're sure to get is, "It's not how you start, it's how you finish" which is why Carroll was a lot more concerned about his team losing fourth-quarter leads in Weeks 1 and 2 than he was with how those games started.

Carroll addressed this very topic Monday during his weekly show on 710 ESPN Seattle, saying, "That fast start doesn't always do what you want. We need to see what's going on in the game, we need to figure it out, and then we need to take advantage of it. I think we were able to do that (against Chicago), we ran the ball for a lot of yards in the second half and threw the ball well, and a lot of good things happened."

So no, the Seahawks aren't opposed to starting off well, that's just not their main focus heading into a game.

Q: @scott_peterson4 asks: "Do you see Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril getting their workload reduced?" And also, "Frank Clark has played 30 percent of defensive snaps so far. Do you see him getting more run?"

A: We'll roll these two together because they're somewhat related. Bennett and Avril were both on the field for at least 80 percent of the defensive snaps last week, which going back to last year has been a relatively normal number. In 2013, those two played less as the rotation, which included Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, was deeper. But they've gone more than a season now regularly playing anywhere from 70 to 80-percent of the snaps, so I don't see that changing drastically. That being said, Clark did play more last week than he had in the first two games, and Carroll made it clear that the Seahawks want to find a bigger role for the rookie, so while he might not take a ton of snaps from Bennett or Avril, an extra series here and there replacing one or the other—Clark is Avril's backup in the base defense, but plays an inside-rusher role like Bennett in the nickel defense—could be a good way to give the two veterans an occasional rest while adding to Clark's work load.

Q: @OlFootball asks: "Currently I'm learning how to manage stock market methods. Is spreading my investments going to decrease risks of rapid downturn?"

A: Well, I guess I did say non-football questions were OK, but I've got nothing for you on this, sorry. I do have an economics degree, but college was a while ago, and besides, do you really want to take financial advice from somebody who voluntarily pursued a career in journalism after earning said economics degree?  

Q: @Dah_knee asks: "Do you think the loss of Tony McDaniel has hurt the run D?"

A: Fair question, but while I think we need more than a three-game sample size to make any determinations, the Seahawks are pretty happy with what they're getting out of Ahtyba Rubin so far. That's not to say McDaniel wasn't a big part of Seattle's success over the last two seasons, but that particular position is one the Seahawks have been willing to turn over, having used Alan Branch next to Brandon Mebane for two years, then McDaniel for two more.

So far through three games—again, too small a sample size to really determine much—the Seahawks are allowing 100.3 rushing yards per game and an average of 3.7 yards per carry, which is worse than last year's run defense (81.5, 3.4), but similar to their 2013 numbers (101.6, 3.9).

Also worth pointing out when it comes to the run defense is that the return of Kam Chancellor will make a difference in the run game. As Carroll noted Monday, Chancellor is important in getting everybody positioned right in their run fits, and obviously he's a good tackler in the running game, so things should only improve now that he's back.

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