You've got questions, I have answers. The answers I provide here are solely my thoughts and opinions and do not necessarily represent those of the Seattle Seahawks organization. Here are 11 Seahawks questions for this week and my attempts at answering them:
From @RossRichendrfer: "People used to expect WRs would take three years to break out. Seems like we're more impatient now. Thoughts re: Paul Richardson, Tyler Lockett and Kevin Norwood?"
A: It's true that traditionally receivers have taken time to develop, including Seattle's—look at what Golden Tate did over the past two seasons compared to his first two—but the success of more and more rookie receivers, especially last year's class, has changed the expectations of many fans. In the case of the three players mentioned above, Richardson didn't break out as quickly as some might have hoped given that he was Seattle's top pick last year, but he was coming along well and becoming a big part of the offense before a knee injury ended his season. Norwood, meanwhile, was limited because of an injury in camp, and that hurt his ability to carve out a role for himself as the regular season got going, but it's way too soon to judge what kind of player he can be. As for Lockett, he has certainly looked good so far, and he'll have a role in the return game, but don't be too quick to judge if he isn't catching a bunch of passes in the first month of the season. And it's worth remembering in the case of any Seahawks receiver that Seattle's offense is regularly at or near the bottom of the league in passing attempts, so it's that much harder to stand out.
From @206_cuts: "Do you see any surprise cuts coming when it gets down to 53? Seems like there's 1-2 every year."
A: First off, how appropriate that a barber submitted a question about cuts? As for the question, yes, there will likely be a name or two in the final cuts that surprises you, but if we knew who those names were in early July, they wouldn't be surprises, now would they? That being said, now that John Schneider and Pete Carroll have been around for five seasons and have a roster almost entirely comprised of players they acquired—defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and punter Jon Ryan are only players left from the previous regime—there should theoretically be fewer surprises since the roster is one they built and not one full of players and contracts they inherited.
From @mmcdowe63_mike: "Last year Brock Coyle was the surprise to make the roster, any early predictions who may be a surprise this year?"
A: Similar to my answer in the last question, it wouldn't be a surprise if we already knew the answer, right? But yes, based on past history and Pete Carroll's "always compete" philosophy, there is a very good chance that an undrafted rookie or two emerges in camp and wins a job. As for whom that might be, it's too early to say, but the list of rookies who flashed in offseason workouts includes running back Thomas Rawls, safety Triston Wade, offensive tackle Jesse Davis and safety Keenan Lambert, who happens to be Kam Chancellor's half-brother.
From @Holli_Alexa: "Do any players have secret talents fans don't know about?"
A: Defensive end Greg Scruggs is a pretty talented drummer who played in the high school marching band, and he has even been known to perform with our Blue Thunder Drum Line from time to time. Safety Earl Thomas is another musically-talented Seahawk having played numerous instruments at his local church when he was younger. And everyone knows Russell Wilson played professional baseball, but you might not have known that tight end Luke Willson also used to be an accomplished baseball player, playing for the Canadian junior national team. Not surprisingly, many Seahawks excelled in other sports before making it to the NFL (Steven Hauschka in soccer, Ricardo Lockette in track and field, etc.) but more unique is Brock Coyle's other sport: ski racing. Coyle competed at a very high level before switching his focus to football when he was 16.
From @HolliWinters: "Who is the funniest Seahawks player?"
A: So apparently we've reached the questions-from-people-named-Holli portion of the mailbag. There are a lot of pretty funny characters in the Seahawks locker room, but the answer here has to be Michael Bennett. I mean, just take a look at this list of greatest hits, so to speak, compiled by the good folks at fieldgulls.com.
From @angelnek1: "Which Seahawk has the best chance of winning Dancing with the Stars?"
A: There are probably about 20 players (or more) in the locker room who would claim that title, but I've got to go with Richard Sherman. Fans have likely seen him dance between plays in games when the music is blaring, and he gets even more creative in practices. Nothing, however, will top this dance-off with former Seahawk Anthony Hargrove, as captured by Mike Robinson for The Real Rob Report (dancing starts around the 4:30 mark) back in 2012.
From @stretchjohnsen: "I've heard that 6-3 receiver Doug McNeil III has impressed the coaches at OTAs. What are the chances he makes the roster?"
From @12thmanJewett: "Do you think Chris Matthews has a strong chance for the 1 or 2 receiver spot being 6-5 and doing what he did at the SB?"
A: Lots of interest in receivers this week, huh? We'll go ahead and roll these into one answer. As for Matthews, he enjoyed a breakout performance in Super Bowl XLIX, and between his growth at that position and his value on special teams, it seems very likely that he will have a role on the team in 2015. Becoming a starter, however, will take a lot of work in training camp. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are established NFL receivers with a lot of big games under their belts, and unseating either would seem like a tough challenge. That being said, you can never rule anything out when it comes to Pete Carroll and a competition. As for McNeil, he did indeed impress at times in OTAs and minicamp, and his size will certainly help him get a good look in training camp and the preseason, but McNeil will have to surpass some pretty darn good players to earn a spot at what's looking like one of the deeper positions on the roster.
From @KingFridays: "We lost Jeron Johnson and Jeremy Lane is probably starting on PUP, who is the slot corner and backups for SS and FS at this point?"
A: First off, Pete Carroll said Lane has a chance to return at some point in training camp despite his ACL tear and broken arm happening in the Super Bowl, so the Physically Unable to Perform list isn't a given, but if Lane isn't ready for the start of the season, Will Blackmon looks like the leader in the clubhouse at the moment, but don't count Marcus Burley out of that competition. At safety, we saw DeShawn Shead work with the first team defense in Earl Thomas' place during offseason workouts, and he started games for Kam Chancellor last year when Chancellor was injured, so it's likely Shead is the top backup at both of those spots when the season begins.
From @nickjohnson440: "Who has the smelliest helmet after practice/games?"
A:First off, gross. Secondly, I'm happy to say in my years covering the team, I have never smelled a player's helmet, so I don't have a clue who would take that, um, honor. Based on hair alone, rookie lineman Kristjan Sokoli looks like he might be in the running, but again, I'm not speaking from actual experience.
From @AvanleahMusic: "I need to know, as hard as it must have been to review, what did we learn from the Super Bowl? Any regrets?"
A: Pete Carroll has been asked about the ending to Super Bowl numerous times, and it's clear he has no regrets about the play call that led to the game-deciding interception, but that doesn't mean players and coaches can't use that game as a learning experience. As Carroll has noted time and time again, winning the Super Bowl and handling that success was its own unique challenge heading into last season, and so too is learning how to put such a devastating loss in the rearview mirror and moving forward. Nobody involved in that game for the Seahawks wants to be defined by that play, but they do believe they will be better for it.