Fann Mail: How to get the Seahawks secondary back to respectability


It’s time for this week’s mailbag. The Seahawks are 6-2 with pivotal NFC West matchups ahead against the Rams and Cardinals. Topping Los Angeles on the road in Week 10 will be no small feat given Sean McVay’s success against Seattle.

Thanks, as always, to those who asked questions.

There’s no need for Seahawks fans to even locate the panic button, let alone push it. Seattle has drastic flaws, particularly on defense, but there isn’t an NFC team without obvious warts. The Buccaneers just got embarrassed by the Saints. Speaking of New Orleans, Drew Brees doesn’t have much of a vertical passing game at this point, and the Saints have looked awfully pedestrian for most of the season. The Packers, Rams and Cardinals are other flawed contenders.

The Seahawks have the best offense in football, and with half the season left, it’s too soon to lose all faith in the defense. Again, only minor improvements are needed on that front. Respectability is all Seattle needs from its defense.

This is a good question with a complicated answer. That’s because there’s lots of blame to go around. There are four main issues with Seattle’s secondary:

1. The coaching staff hasn’t done a good enough job putting players in positions to be successful. Pete Carroll has mentioned time and again that Seattle isn’t making in-game adjustments well enough.

2. Until Week 9, the pass rush hadn’t been getting home to take some of the pressure off of guys in coverage.


3. There are too many busted coverages and mental errors. Carroll harped on Seattle’s lack of execution against the Bills, all the way down to basic concepts that they’d repped in practice.

4. Guys are getting flat out beat. There isn’t a defensive back on the roster that has excelled in coverage. Pretty much everyone has regressed from a year ago, save for maybe Ugo Amadi.

It’s fair to say Seattle’s disfunction has been comprehensive, which is illustrated by the fact that the Seahawks are on pace to shatter the infamous record for most passing yards allowed in a single season. Shaquill Griffin’s hamstring injury hasn’t helped matters, either.

The best place to start is to clean up the mental errors and busted coverages. The pass rush should also be more consistent moving forward with Jamal Adams healthy and Carlos Dunlap in the mix. That leaves us with guys flat out playing better and coaches needing to hold up their end of the bargain. Everyone needs to be looking at themselves in the mirror and take it upon themselves to be part of the solution.

If Quinton Dunbar and Griffin each miss Sunday’s game against the Rams, my guess is that Linden Stephens would start opposite Tre Flowers. I don’t think Seattle would want to use D.J. Reed or Ryan Neal there.

This is a great question, one I’m going to ask Carroll on Wednesday. We’ve heard so many times about things he wishes he would have done or adjustments Seattle should have made sooner. Whether it’s helping the defensive line in the pass rush, offering more help to a struggling Dunbar against the Bills or coming to a quicker understanding that Buffalo had zero intention of establishing the run. Seattle’s inability to adjust on the fly has been a regrettable trend through the first half of the season.

The Seahawks should sweep the 49ers, even if San Francisco gets healthier by the time Week 17 rolls around. However, I’d be shocked if Seattle swept the Rams. McVay’s offense has been an enigma for Carroll, a conundrum he’s still yet to figure out. It took a Greg Zuerlein missed field goal just for Seattle to earn a split against Los Angeles last season.

After the season, if at all. Don’t expect any in-season coaching changes to be made.

Still radio silence on this front. At this point, you shouldn’t expect Josh Gordon to play at all this season.

I’d be shocked if Damon Harrison didn’t make his Seahawks debut in Week 10. Bryan Mone’s ankle injury should confirm Harrison’s promotion from the practice squad in some form or fashion.