Seahawks

Fann Mail: How much will the Seahawks limit Chris Carson’s workload in 2020?

Seahawks
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It’s kind of crazy that the Seahawks opener against the Falcons is just days away, isn’t it? Even after watching practice every day during camp, it’s still hard to believe that the regular season is here. That’s likely a biproduct of not having a preseason.

We usually rely on our mild excitement for “fake” football to really get us tuned up for the real thing. It won’t take long for the switch to flip, though. Watching the Chiefs host the Texans on Thursday night will be a fantastic way to kick off the 2020 NFL season.

Just three days after that matchup, we’ll get to see Russell Wilson, Jamal Adams and the Seahawks play Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Falcons. This week’s mailbag is focused on some of the week’s biggest storylines and questions that still face Seattle even after roster cuts.

Thanks, as always, to those who asked questions.

I’d be shocked if Chris Carson continues to dominate touches the way he did last season. Carson had eight games with at least 20 carries in 2019 and owned a true workhorse role apart from a few games where Rashaad Penny went off. My guess is that things will be much more of a timeshare this year. Carlos Hyde will likely be utilized for series at a time in order to spell Carson. DeeJay Dallas has also earned playing time as a third-down back.

Seattle has some scars from the way last season ended. Carson, Penny and C.J. Prosise all went down with season ending injuries in a matter of two games. Keeping Carson healthy throughout the season will be one of the Seahawks top priorities offensively. He should still receive most of the goal line work and dominate touches in crunch time. In a perfect world, I bet Seattle would like to keep their top back around 15 carries per contest.

 

I’ll pick Jarran Reed to lead the Seahawks in sacks with 7.5, followed by Bruce Irvin at 6.0, Jamal Adams at 5.5 and Benson Mayowa at 5.0. I think Collier will get plenty of reps given his ability to play. The 5-tech and on the interior on passing downs, but I’m not expecting him to contribute much from a sack total perspective.

The reality is that it will take a sum of the parts for the Seahawks pass rush to improve in 2020. As Mayowa put it during training camp, “It takes a village.” Seattle is counting on major contributions from the players mentioned above as well as Alton Robinson and, potentially later on in the year, Darrell Taylor.

There’s no update on Josh Gordon’s potential reinstatement, and Pete Carroll declined to comment on the matter on Monday. It’s kind of bizarre that the Seahawks signed him last week, given they could have brought him on at the beginning of camp. That means Seattle has either gotten word that his reinstatement is coming soon or that another team was interested in signing Gordon and that forced the Seahawks hand.

Griffin first brought up the idea of shadowing receivers in an interview with NBC Sports Northwest down in Miami ahead of Super Bowl LIV. It was a fun thought from a corner who is emerging as one of the best in the NFL. It only makes sense that Griffin would want to be tasked with spending an entire game going 1-on-1 against an opponent’s best receiver.

But that’s just not how Seattle does business. Griffin will continue to occupy the left side of the Sehawks defense with either Tre Flowers or Quinton Dunbar starting opposite him. Exceptions might be made down the road, but don’t expect to see Griffin travel with Julio Jones on Sunday.

Speaking of Griffin, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported over the weekend that the Seahawks were in contract talks with their top corner. I wouldn’t read too much into that in terms of anything happening in the near future. Contract negotiations take months usually, and so it’s unsurprising that the two sides would be in preliminary talks now. With the season starting in a matter of days, it makes sense for Griffin to bet on himself to have another big year and increase his value going into next offseason.

He won’t come cheap, especially if Seattle attempts to get him locked up long term without letting him hit the open market in free agency. There’s no reason why the Seahawks won’t pony up and pay the $14-17 million annually in order to keep him around. Griffin, a third-round selection in 2017, is one of Seattle’s best draft picks since 2013, and it would be foolish to risk letting him walk.

 

Tyler Lockett is listed as the starter for both return spots on the team’s first unofficial depth chart of the year. However, I’d be shocked if he took all those reps. David Moore (PR) and Travis Homer (KR) are listed as the backups to Lockett. They will likely be the ones who get most of the work. Don’t be surprised to see DeeJay Dallas and Freddie Swain get into the mix at some point as the season goes along.

The offensive line should be better than it was a year ago, especially if Duane Brown is able to stay healthy. That’s a huge, if, of course after Brown missed six games in 2019. The right side of the line could be significantly better with Damien Lewis and Brandon Shell getting rave reviews during camp.

The group as a whole doesn’t even have to be stellar with Russell Wilson being the ultimate band-aid. Wilson has been masking the deficiencies in front of him for years. So as long as the group isn’t a complete liability all together, Seattle’s offense should have the chance to be one of the best in the NFL.

Thanks for the question, Daniel! My all-time favorite Seahawks player in Kam Chancellor. I had the opportunity to work with him some when I was an intern for the Hawks back in 2012, and I’ll never forget his kindness. He has a wonderful personality, and it was pretty rad to have the chance to get to know him a bit. As a player, he was as unique of a safety as the NFL had at the time. Chancellor’s physicality induced literal fear out of opponents as you’d commonly see offenses try to avoid him.  I think we can all agree that he had a performance worthy of Super Bowl MVP when the Seahawks beat the Broncos to hoist their first Lombardi Trophy.

As for my role model, I was a much bigger Mariners fan than Seahawks fan growing up, and so I’d have to go with Ken Griffey Jr. or Edgar Martinez.