Seahawks

Fann Mail: Has the Seahawks defense finally turned the corner for good?

Seahawks
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It’s time for this week’s Seahawks mailbag as Seattle preps for a Week 12 primetime matchup against the Eagles on “Monday Night Football.” At 7-3, the Seahawks control their own destiny in the NFC West with the conference’s No. 1 seed still in play.

Thanks, as always, to those who asked questions. Let’s dive in.

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Colby Parkinson will be active on gamedays now that Greg Olsen (foot) is on Injured Reserve, and Pete Carroll indicated on Tuesday that he’d be thrown into the rotation immediately. It may just be 10-15 snaps for Parkinson against the Eagles, but it will still be our first look at the fourth-round pick nonetheless.

I don’t think you can call either of Seattle’s divisional matchups against the Rams or 49ers at the end of the season a “trap game.” But any of the next four games on the Seahawks schedule would qualify. Out of those, I think the Giants are my pick. New York has just three wins, but every game but one has been decided by 10 points or less. Several of the Giants losses were games they choked away at the bitter end. They’re far more competitive than they get credit for, and I’d be impressed if the Seahawks were able to blow them out.  

This is the million-dollar question heading into Week 12. It’s probably an oversimplification to say that if you can hold the Cardinals to 21 points, you should be able to do the same against a hapless Eagles offense. But we have nine games of evidence that says Seattle’s defense isn’t very good and only one that indicates the contrary.

 

That said, Seattle’s defense has provided tangible reason for optimism for the first time all season. The Seahawks executed, avoided busts in the secondary and maintained impressive gap control against Arizona. It is truly remarkable how solid the baseline can be when guys simply do their jobs. That’s what Bobby Wagner and Pete Carroll indicated after the big win last Thursday, coupled with the benefit of growing continuity.

With Carlos Dunlap single-handedly transforming Seattle’s defensive line and Shaquill Griffin set to return following a two-game absence, there’s no reason why an encore defensively isn’t in order in Philadelphia.

The Seahawks have done their best to preserve Chris Carson all season. Seattle’s top running back isn’t the bell cow that he was a year ago as he was averaging just a shade over 12 carries a game over the first five weeks. Given that already reduced role, I don’t see the Seahawks limiting Carson’s reps any further.

I’d be shocked if Josh Gordon plays this year. I’ve reached out to a number of sources and can’t get a straight reason why this has dragged on so long. There are no indications that he’ll be reinstated over the final month and a half of the season.

This is an interesting point, and it’s sound logic to get you out of the Wild Card Round, but that’s about it. Even though the No. 2 seed no longer gets a first-round bye, there’s still an advantage to hosting two playoff games. The Seahawks need to find a way to play their Divisional Round game at Lumen Field. Risking having to go back to Lambeau Field in January is suboptimal, no matter how embarrassing the NFC East is.

I’m not sure if I got the same sentiment from Seahawks fans in my mentions. Brian Schottenheimer received tons of blame for the offense’s struggles in the losses. I also think Russell Wilson has gotten deserved criticism for trying to do too much rather than taking what a defense gave him. Regardless of the distribution of blame, the offense figured things out against Arizona. A simplified passing game that allowed Wilson to make stress-free, on-time throws worked wonders.

Teams are trying to take away Seattle’s explosives in the passing game. An efficient short passing game coupled with the return of Carlos Hyde and Chris Carson should lure defenders closer to the line of scrimmage and the open things up downfield once again over the final stretch of the season.

Yes. Absolutely. Shaquill Griffin is a homegrown player and arguably Seattle’s best draft pick of the last five years not named DK Metcalf. One hamstring injury shouldn’t deter the Seahawks. If anything, it’s possible Griffin has gotten cheaper to re-sign. Letting a quality player and standout locker room figure walk would be foolish.

 

It’s possible, certainly, but I think 5-1 is more likely with a 12-4 record for the season.