ESPN NFL analyst and well-documented Seahawks fan Mina Kimes joined the Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast this week. She discussed all of the top storylines facing the team going into 2020, both from a micro and a macro level.
You can listen to the full podcast below, but we pulled some of her most noteworthy quotes from the conversation.
Will the Seahawks regress in 2020?
Kimes’ ESPN colleague Bill Barnwell recently wrote a column that stated his belief that Seattle would regress this season.
Kimes said there were aspects of Barnwell’s argument that she agreed with…
“I subscribe to a lot of the same beliefs as Bill where certain metrics naturally predict regression, like winning a disproportionate amount of one-score games, for example, which Seattle did (in 2019). … Seattle was fortunate in those circumstances last year in a way they have not been in the Russell Wilson era.”
…and other points where her opinion differed.
“I do think Seattle has a good chance of being better on defense in a way that combats some of that regression. With Quinton Dunbar being cleared to play and with the Jamal Adams trade, regardless of how you feel about the value of it, gives Seattle one of the best secondaries in the NFL, and I like the fact that they sort of built (their defense) back to front. By virtue of the fact that they no longer have to ask Bobby Wagner to play more coverage than any linebacker should, this defense will have some improvement.”
How much blame do Pete Carroll and John Schneider deserve for the Seahawks inability to get back to the NFC Championship Game since 2014?
“There’s so much he’s done right, and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, even at this point. For example, take the defense. I think the defense overperformed last season. Everyone complained, ‘Why are we playing so much base?’ When, if you look at the underlying metrics, they were better at pass defense when they played base due to the personnel that they had. I actually think they were an exceptionally well-coached unit. I still think he’s really good at developing guys on that side of the ball as well. Shaquill Griffin has really emerged into one of the better young corners in the NFL, and he doesn’t get talked about at all. Quandre Diggs is another example. We love him in Seattle, but he was not playing well in Detroit at times. Then he comes into Seattle and he balls out.
“But, like many Seahawks fans, I have been very frustrated with the focus on the run, particularly on early downs in neutral situations. Sometimes we can overestimate, ‘OK, if Russell Wilson passed X amount of times on play action, we’d be so much better.’ But I think undeniably, you could seek out some advantages on the margins that they’re not getting in terms of aggressiveness on that side of the football.”
“I look at something like the Adams trade, and I completely see the argument against it and what a risk that was. But I also love that he takes those risks, and I like it from a football perspective. Then I look at the trades like the ones for Diggs and Dunbar, where I feel like he did get great value. I think you can definitely criticize the drafts over the last few years. Yes, they’ve had Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, but in the trenches on both sides of the football there’s been a lot of misses. I think that’s a totally valid criticism.”
Is it more impressive that the Seahawks are never out of a game, or more frustrating that they commonly get down multiple scores so often in big games?
“It’s probably both. It kind of goes back to what I was saying about how you could do so many things on the margins to make the offense’s life easier, and not just passing it more, but being more aggressive with your fourth down strategy. I think you can point to certain games over the last few years where the Seahawks have missed field goals when you kind of wish they’d put the ball in Russell Wilson’s hands. If you look at the second-half statistics, I think it’s undeniable they would be alleviated if they made some of those changes.”
What Seahawks storyline are you most intrigued to see play out in 2020?
“They’ve got Atlanta Week 1, yeah? Atlanta is a team that plays a ton of 11 personnel, and so they get their wide receivers on the field. I’m very curious to see what that Seahawks defense looks like, because we are hearing that we’re going to see the sub packages. I’m so excited and curious to see how Pete Carroll uses Jamal Adams, because in the NFL, he hasn’t really had a player like that. When the trade happened, people were making a lot of comparisons to Kam Chancellor, and I get the physicality and all that, but I think it’s going to be really different. The hope is that Pete is excited and sort of experiments with this player. To get the most out of Jamal Adams, you have to use him a thousand different ways, and I think we’ll see pretty early if Seattle is committed to that.”