Seahawks

Overreaction Tuesday: Can the Seahawks live without Chris Carson in 2021 and beyond?

Seahawks
USATI

The Seahawks playing on Monday night means we get to comb through your hot takes on Tuesday this week. Seattle topped the Philadelphia Eagles 23-17 in a game that was predictably ugly, but the Seahawks improved to 8-3 nonetheless. They now sit alone atop the NFC West following Week 12 losses by the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams.

Thanks, as always, to those who submitted their Seahawks takes. Let’s check them out.

Overreaction? Yes (I think?)

This will be the most difficult question that the Seahawks must answer next offseason. I’ve long been of the thought that running back is the most replaceable position in football. I still believe that, but I do think there are a special few that are exceptions to the rule. There’s no denying that Seattle’s offense hits a different gear when Chris Carson is healthy. When healthy, he’s genuinely one of the game’s best running backs. The Seahawks know that, which is why they took a conservative approach to his touches on Monday night and are desperate to keep him healthy for the playoffs.

When looking down the road, the reality is that Carson is often injured. The other issue is that Seattle has a number of players to pay this offseason. Jamal Adams and Shaquill Griffin are both likely to get paid before Carson. Extending Ethan Pocic might be a bigger priority as well. But that doesn’t mean the Seahawks won’t think long and hard about meeting Carson’s demands.

 

Banking on Rashaad Penny taking over as the No. 1 guy while being supplemented by DeeJay Dallas, potentially Carlos Hyde (or another cheap free agent) and another draft pick is a roll of the dice, at least to some degree.

I think I’ve landed on this stance: I will understand whatever the Seahawks choose to do here. Letting him walk is certainly understandable, as is recognizing him as player you want to be a franchise cornerstone for another 2-3 years. As long as any contract doesn’t surpass three years in length while giving the team a reasonable out after two years, that would get my sign off.

Overreaction? Yes.

This is only a slight overreaction because while 12 targets a game is a bit too much to expect on a weekly basis, you’re absolutely correct that the Seahawks can’t go entire games without targeting Metcalf aggressively. It doesn’t matter if Jalen Ramsey is covering him, four targets isn’t going to cut it. Metcalf proved on Monday night that he’s capable of winning 50/50 balls at a high rate, which shouldn’t surprise anybody given his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame.

I’d say Metcalf needs at least seven targets a game. He’s reached that number just six times this season.

Overreaction? No.

The Seahawks clock management issues have plagued them for years now. Seattle repeatedly got out of the huddle too late, but the offense’s biggest infraction was needing to call timeout prior to both fourth-down attempts. Fourth downs should be treated like two-point conversions: Understand your very best plays and trust they’ll work. The decision to go for it on fourth down can’t require a timeout on each occasion. Beyond that, it would be nice to see Seattle work out of tempo a bit more in the weeks to come.  

Overreaction? Yes.

There’s something to be said for Seattle’s clock management problems. As I just noted, I think the Seahawks utilize an up-tempo approach more frequently. It’s also important for Seattle to keep Tyler Lockett involved. Three catches for 23 yards isn’t going to cut it for the Seahawks most reliable chain mover.

Still, I’m not sure I would call this a slump. The Seahawks scored 23 points in Philadelphia and should have had far more if not for DK Metcalf’s dropped touchdown, Cedric Ogbuehi’s holding penalty that negated Hyde’s touchdown and the pair of misfires on fourth down. Seattle’s scorching start to the season was never going to be fully sustainable. It was inevitable that defenses would figure out some sort of counter punch and they have.

The Seahawks had one really bad game against the Rams. They’ve since scored 28 points versus the Cardinals and fared well enough against a better-than-advertised Eagles defense despite Ogbuehi's woeful play at right tackle. Is there room for improvement? Definitely. Has it been bad enough to qualify as a slump? No, not in my opinion.

 

Overreaction? No.

The Seahawks should win their next three games. If that happens, Seattle will face a division-deciding Week 16 game at home against the Rams. That’s assuming the Rams also win their next three games, of course. Regardless, having Carson in the lineup will absolutely help the Seahawks earn a season split.

Overreaction? Yes.

The New Orleans Saints have a one-game lead over the Seahawks and Green Bay Packers. A loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in a few weeks could bring all three teams even, but Seattle would still have to win a three-team tiebreaker if that ends up being the case. The Seahawks need to hope for New Orleans to lose two games and for Green Bay to drop one. I’ll give the Saints 50% odds to claim the No. 1 seed with the Seahawks and Packers having 25% each.