It's time for another Seahawks Q&A, and since Richard Sherman's celebrity softball game is coming up next weekend, we decided to make this a Legion of Boom-themed mailbag.
@JaredStanger asks, "Which of the current Seahawks WR would make the best convert to the LOB?"
A: Fun question, and one with a lot of possible answers. If we're going off of size, Douglas McNeil III (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) or Chris Matthews (6-5, 218) look like Seahawks cornerbacks. Then again, maybe Ricardo Lockette would make a good safety based off of his big hits on special teams. But to me, the answer would be Doug Baldwin at cornerback. For starters, he already does similar work on the punt return team, lining up like a corner to jam an opposing team's gunner. Baldwin also has the ability to change directions quickly, which is huge for a corner. And finally, you often hear Seahawks defensive backs talking about a player needing to "have that dog in him" to fit in the LOB, and Baldwin definitely has a little dog in him (don't worry, if you're not familiar with the term, that's definitely a compliment when it comes to a football player). Oh, and his initials don't hurt his case either.
@thanx4asking asks, "Will Ryan Murphy beat out DeShawn Shead to win the backup FS job and start during the preseason?"
A: Well, thanks for asking, thanx4asking. Murphy, a seventh-round pick out of Oregon State, has had some nice moments in offseason workouts, but he's going to have to be very good in training camp to beat out Shead. Not only has Shead made himself into a very important special teams player, but he has developed into a quality safety who is capable of backing up both spots. The fact that Shead was getting the first-team reps with Earl Thomas sidelined was a pretty clear indicator of where things stand for now at least. And don't leave Dion Bailey out of the conversation when talking about backup safeties. The undrafted rookie showed promise last year in camp before suffering an ankle injury, and later spent time on the practice squad. He too could factor into the competition for backup jobs.
@AaronHuff17 asks, "Has Earl tried to teach them all to play instruments and are they forming a death metal band called the LOB?"
A: Um, the short answer is no. Yes, Earl Thomas is able to play multiple instruments, having done so growing up both in his church and the high school band, but to my knowledge he has not been giving lessons on the side to his teammates. And secondly, based on the music I've heard in the locker room in my years covering the team, I don't think this hypothetical band would play death metal were it to exist.
@ZAGSALLDAY asks: "Is Tye Smith a starter at any point this season (not including starts due to injury)?"
A: First off, did you know your caps lock key was stuck when you signed up for Twitter? Secondly, I'd say it's just too early to know for sure what lies ahead for Smith. Right now Cary Williams is the most likely candidate to start opposite Richard Sherman, but as any Seahawks fan knows, the competition is always on, so sure, it's possible Smith, a fifth-round pick, could play out of his mind and win a starting job. The Seahawks clearly have a high opinion of Smith, who played at Towson, an FCS school. On the day the Seahawks drafted Smith, general manager John Schneider started to compare Smith to another NFL player before Carroll playfully cut Schneider off so as to avoid putting too high of expectations on the rookie.
@TheBlueprintTV asks, "Could you beat any Seahawk in a 40 time?"
A: Well since this is an LOB-themed mailbox, if we're talking defensive backs, the answer is definitely no. If we're talking the entire team, the answer is still probably no. But it would be fun to see me pull a hamstring while racing the team's slowest lineman, wouldn't it?
@Ricalloo asks, "what would the LOB theme song be?"
A: Well P.O.D.'s "Boom" is too obvious a choice, right? So let's try to come up with something else. Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust," would be another appropriate choice, and you can't go wrong with AC/DC's "Thunderstruck." Of course another option is to take the Homer Simpson approach from the episode where he was a boxer, and go with War's "Why Can't We Be Friends?" It might just confuse opponents enough to get in their heads.
Or maybe Earl Thomas' hypothetical metal band could just write a new LOB theme song.
@weekapaug009 asks, "What color power rangers would the LOB represent?"
A: Well, I guess this is what happens when I encourage off-the-wall questions. I have no idea what this means, but based on my extensive research (OK, Wikipedia) I learned that red and blue are the only two colors that appear in every Ranger team, so obviously the answer for the Seahawks is blue, right?
Nathan_12thMan asks, "With WRs like Megatron (Calvin Johnson), Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Kelvin Benjamin, Alshon Jeffrey playing us in 2015, will Richard Sherman NEVER follow, leaving new (to us) CB Cary Williams to defend against those monsters. Megatron specifically?"
A: If you're wondering how Nathan asked such a long question, he used two Tweets to do so. As Nathan noted (in yet another Tweet), Sherman has followed another team's top receiver from time to time, including Dez Bryant last year when Byron Maxwell left that game with an injury. So while in general the Seahawks like to keep Sherman on one side, they're not completely opposed to moving him around for certain matchups (Anquan Boldin is another example).
So while I expect, for the most part, that we see Sherman staying on his side of the field, it's possible we see it on occasion, or especially if another situation arises like last year where an injury forces somebody into action mid-game.
@Cougarboy85 asks, 'What will be the health status of the LOB come September?" And @mmento asks, "with the exception of Jeremy Lane, what are your thoughts on being 100 percent healthy in the secondary by the start of the season?"
A:We'll take care of two related questions with this answer. Pete Carroll has indicated that Lane, who also tore his ACL in the Super Bowl, had a bit of a setback with his arm injury, so while the possibility exists for him to be back for training camp, the Seahawks know they can't assume he'll be ready for the start of the season.
Of the other players who sat out or were limited in offseason workouts, their prognosis is pretty good. Tharold Simon (shoulder) should be back for the start of camp, Carroll said, and Earl Thomas (shoulder) even did light work in parts of OTAs. While the Seahawks won't feel the need to rush Thomas back in full-contact situations such as preseason games, there is little doubt that he and everyone else but Lane will be ready to start the season.
@TMoneymakeer asks, "How are the new LOB members doing?"
A: Cary Williams, a veteran with years of starting experience under his belt, is drawing rave reviews from teammates and coaches alike, and despite his experience, he is coming in ready to find ways to improve. As mentioned above, rookie Tye Smith has potential, while Will Blackmon, who spent camp with Seattle in 2013, looks like a good bet to win the nickel corner job if Lane isn't back. The losses of Byron Maxwell and Jeron Johnson to free agency won't be easy to overcome, but the Seahawks are confident in the pieces they have added.
@tompage asks, "Richard Sherman is listed at 6-3, 195, which was his weight coming out. Look at him, no way he still weighs 195. What is his true weight?"
A: While I don't have Sherman available to weigh at the moment, nor do I have a scale handy, I agree that Sherman does look a bit more muscular now than he did as a rookie. Some of that is likely just Sherman maturing a bit physically, but it could also be tied to his desire to make himself a more complete player. Sherman said one of his goal last season was to improve as a tackler, in particular when helping stop the run, and it showed in his play.
@Coltgoen asks, "When was the first time you thought of the name LOB and when did you know you were part of something special?"
A:full disclosure, based on @Coltgoen Twitter avatar, which is a Tom Brady jersey, I presumed he was just being sarcastic, but after a nice back and forth, I discovered he is not only a Patriots fan, but a fan of good defense, so his question was legitimate and that the "you" was directed at players, not me. Anyway, for those who don't know, the nickname dates to the beginning of the 2012 season when the secondary consisted of current starters Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, as well as Brandon Browner. Players are quick to point out, however, that the entire secondary is part of the Legion, not just the four starters.
As for the second part of the question, it's safe to say that everyone knew the Seahawks were onto something good by late in the 2012 season when they earned a playoff berth, then nearly advance to the NFC championship game while being led by a rookie quarterback named Russell Wilson. Dig a bit deeper, however, and you'll find a lot of players who say the turnaround really began midway through the 2011 season, leading to a stretch of five victories in six games. By that point in the season, Richard Sherman had taken over a starting role, and the defense, and secondary in particular, was starting to look like something special. Just as significantly, that's when Pete Carroll and offensive line coach Tom Cable decided it was time to commit to the running game, leading to a big turnaround for the offense and laying the groundwork for the championship that was to come two seasons later.