With the Seahawks enjoying a little extra time off thanks to a Thursday night game in Week 7, it's time to dust off the Twitter mailbag for another Seahawks Q&A. As always, thanks to all those who submitted questions, and apologies if I didn't get to yours.
@damon_chlarson asks: "What is Paul Richardson's expected role going forward?"
A: We'll lead off with a player about whom a couple of questions were asked, receiver Paul Richardson. Richardson, last year's second-round pick, practiced Monday and will likely be back on the 53-man roster soon, possibly even for Sunday's game at Dallas. The question then becomes one of how Richardson will fit into a receiver rotation that is deeper than it was a year ago thanks to the addition of Tyler Lockett and the development of Chris Matthews. Right now Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Lockett are Seattle's top receivers in terms of both playing time and production, while Matthews and Ricardo Lockette see fewer snaps, but have big roles on special teams.
The short answer is that we simply don't know yet how Richardson will be used when he does come back, but it's safe to assume the Seahawks will find a role for him. Richardson was Seattle's top draft pick last year for a reason, and considering how much Seahawks coach Pete Carroll loves players with unique attributes, it's hard to see him letting one of the fastest players on the roster go unused on game day. One thing that stood out from Carroll's Monday press conference is the way he talked about the Seahawks doing "advanced stuff" with Richardson late in his rookie season. The Seahawks don't see Richardson as just a burner who can go deep, but rather as a more polished receiver who also happens to be very fast.
"Paul was really starting to come on late in the year," Carroll said after Richardson's first practice of the season Monday. "He was catching a lot of passes and kind of intricate route things that we were doing with him, advanced stuff, timing things that we were really counting on him, and he was getting in and out of his breaks beautifully. We really started to go to him late in the season, so it was a great sign, and it was unfortunate that he got banged up. I don't know where we're going to pick up from there. I don't know that. We're just going to wait and see. This is really the first hour we've had on the field all year. But we're hopeful that he'll be a real big factor for us when we can get him back in there, and we'll just fit him in."
@ORCWIZARD asks: "Are the Seahawks getting what they thought they would from Kelcie McCray?"
A: While McCray has not played on defense, he has been a big contributor on special teams, which was the No. 1 reason the Seahawks went after him in the first place. McCray, who came to Seattle in a trade with Kansas City, has a team-best seven special teams tackles, which is four more than anyone else on the roster. For McCray to contribute on defense, it would likely require Kam Chancellor to be unavailable, so it's good news for Seattle if the newcomer is making his mark only on special teams.
"He has been really good," Carroll said. "He has really been one of the real standouts for us on special teams. He's got tremendous discipline about him and he really has a great respect for the job that he has, and he applies himself beautifully. He is becoming a real leader in production," Carroll said. "That's a great pickup, that's a great job by John (Schneider) to find him."
@jetotten asks: "Will science ever achieve time travel? If so, wouldn't we already know because we would have met people from the future?"
A: I don't know enough about science to answer the first part of that question with any authority, but sure, maybe we'll get there someday. You make a good point about meeting people from the future if time travel were to someday become a reality, but what if in this future where time travel exists, there were very strict rules about what people from the future could do and say when they went back in time? And maybe there is a sort of law-enforcement agency that can go back in time and retroactively fix things if someone were to break those rules… Hey, I think we just started the screenplay for a complicated sci-fi movie. Future Christopher Nolan has already directed this movie, but he can't tell us about it.
@AlwayzB_M asks: "Although he looked good in Thursday's game, has Marshawn Lynch healed completely from his injury."
A: First off, just a heads up, it appears your caps lock key is stuck. But to answer the question, yes, by all accounts Lynch is back to full health and is running like his old self. Carroll made it clear after Lynch was held out of two games with a hamstring injury that the Pro Bowl back likely could have returned sooner, but that they wanted to make sure he was fully healed before bringing him back, and indeed in Thursday's game, Lynch showed no signs of being bothered by the injury.
But don't take my word for it. Here's what receiver Doug Baldwin said after watching Lynch rush for 122 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries Thursday: "That is Seahawks football. We go with Marshawn. He leads the way. The style in which he runs, the style in which he leads the huddle, that's what's important to us. That's what helps us get to where we want to be. We'll go as far as he takes us."
Even better for Lynch and the Seahawks, he gets extra rest for the Week 8 game at Dallas because they're coming off a Thursday game, and then Seattle has its bye, meaning more rest. So even if Lynch is still at all bothered by the injury, which again, he does not appear to be, he'll have plenty of time to get better for the second half of the season.
@hankyjohn asks: "Are the mighty Seahawks likely to be seen here in the UK in the next couple of years? Would love to see them."
A: Dating back to 2007, West Coast teams have only played in only three of the 14 NFL International Series games, with Oakland, San Francisco and San Diego each making the trip across the pond. Obviously the longer trip creates a disadvantage for teams in our part of the country, so it doesn't seem that likely that Seattle is heading to London or elsewhere in Europe soon, but this discussion probably falls under the category of "never say never." The league is clearly interested in growing its brand overseas, and recently announced it was extending the International Series through 2025 with the opportunity to play in countries outside of the U.K. So while getting the Seahawks in the U.K. might be less likely, if the league were to expand to other parts of the world which aren't quite as far as Seattle, maybe the Seahawks would be more likely to play a game in another country.
@SQLSoldier asks: "What are the Seahawks going to do to beef up the O-line and protect Russell Wilson better."
A: If by "Beef up the O-line" you mean look outside the roster for help, you might be disappointed. Generally if a player is still a free agent at this point of the season, there is a reason for that, so while the Seahawks will always keep an eye on who's available and work out free agents in case a need arises later in the season because of injury, it's not very likely that someone is signed halfway through the season to take over a starting role. The Seahawks did open up the competition at center, leading to Patrick Lewis starting at center in Cincinnati, and now that's he is coming back from an ankle injury, he and Drew Nowak will again likely compete for that job. That move showed that coaches are willing to mix things up, so it's not out of the question that an in-house candidate could push for playing time, but overall, the belief when this line was put together in August, which is also the belief now, is that this relatively inexperienced group will continue to grow throughout the season and be playing a lot better in December than it did in the first few games.
@tzahn asks: "Which Seattle player's house would you just have to go trick-or-treating at and why?"
A: Well seeing as I'm 35 years old, I haven't gone trick-or-treating in a while, but if I were to take my daughter trick-or-treating for her first Halloween (sadly, I can't this year because I'll be in Dallas), there would be a few good options. Obviously for any kid who likes Skittles, you would take him or her to Marshawn Lynch's house. If you're looking for a trick rather than a treat, Michael Bennett could probably come up with something interesting for you. Or if you're looking for a scare, Seattle's kicker might put on a pretty good haunted Hauschka (sorry, that was bad).
@JoshuaRyanYoung asks: "Which Seahawk has been your most pleasant surprise this year?"
A: Plenty of candidates for this one, from already good players who look to be playing even better (K.J. Wright and Cliff Avril), to rookies exceeding expectations (Tyler Lockett and Thomas Rawls), but for most pleasant surprise, I would go with two player who most people likely didn't expect to have big roles this season: Will Tukuafu and DeShawn Shead.
Shead, who has been around on Seattle's practice squad and active roster since 2012, has been a regular contributor on special teams for a while, but he has really made his mark this year with is versatility as a defensive back. After playing first-team free safety in offseason workouts while Earl Thomas recovered from shoulder surgery, Shead moved to strong safety in camp with Kam Chancellor absent. In the regular season, Shead has played left corner against St. Louis when Richard Sherman spent time in the nickel role, he has started at strong safety for Chancellor against the Packers, and since Marcus Burley went down with a broken thumb, Shead has been Seattle's nickel corner. He even played one snap at right cornerback when Cary Williams briefly left the Cincinnati game with an injury, meaning Shead has now played every defensive back position but free safety this season.
And Shead might not even be Seattle's most versatile player this season thanks to Tukuafu, who is listed as a fullback, but who has also played tight end, defensive tackle and multiple roles on special teams. Tukuafu was inactive for Seattle's first two games, making some people wonder why the Seahawks kept two fullbacks on the roster, but of late his value has been obvious.
"He has been great," Carroll said. "I'm so excited about Will. I just think it's the coolest story that he's playing both ways and he can do that when he does. But he's playing fullback, and he's playing tight end, and we're moving him around, and he's in special teams. And he'll play defensive tackle in a heartbeat when we need him. And he never bats an eye, he just keeps doing it. He's got a great attitude about it. He loves it, the more the better for him. And he's a fantastic competitor. So I love the story. I just wish more people realized how unique he is in being able to do all that."
@angelnek1 asks: "Who would be the best player to replace Michael Strahan on Live! with Kelly and Michael?"
A: Having not watched that show, I can't specifically answer this as to who would be a good fit with Kelly Ripa, but if we're just talking about what Seahawk would be good on a talk show, I'm going to go with linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis. While somebody outspoken with a sense of humor like Richard Sherman or Michael Bennett might be the more obvious choice, I'm going with KPL. In addition to being intelligent and articulate like the two players mentioned above, he is also a man of many interests (you can read more about that here). One day Pierre-Louis could do an on-air cooking segment, another he could bring a pet snake on the set, and then the next day, he could give art lessons. Sounds pretty watchable for daytime TV, yes?
@colemitchell asks: "Buy or sell: cornerback Jeremy Lane plays this year?"
A: Definitely buying that one. While Lane isn't quite as far along in the comeback from his injuries as receiver Paul Richardson, who returned to practice Monday, Carroll has sounded confident in recent weeks that Lane, who suffered knee and arm injuries in the Super Bowl, will be back soon.
"He's a couple weeks back," Carroll said Monday. "I think what we're aiming for is the week after the bye to try to practice him and start it up with him. He's close and he really wants to go. He's anxious, and the trainers just want to make sure that they do everything they can to get him as ready as possible. At this time, after you've waited this long, I think it's good to exercise caution here and make sure we don't go too quick."