Seattle Seahawks

How concerned should you be about the Seahawks offensive line?

How concerned should you be about the Seahawks offensive line?

We heard throughout training camp that the Seattle Seahawks felt more confident than ever in their offensive line. Seattle returned four starters and added four-time Pro Bowler Mike Iupati at left guard. The Seahawks envisioned that group setting the tone for their physical, ground-and-pound identity on offense.

However, those expectations haven’t been met through two games.

The Seahawks have allowed eight sacks, tied for fourth-most in the NFL. The run blocking hasn’t been much better as Seattle is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. If you take away Rashaad Penny’s 37-yard touchdown run against the Steelers, that number nosedives to 3.26.

Seattle often gets criticized for running the ball too often on early downs, but that hasn’t been the problem. On 1st-and-10, the Seahawks have passed the ball 26 times and ran the ball 25 times. The issue is that they’ve only gained 24 yards on those 25 rush attempts.

“Not quite up to our standard at all,” Duane Brown said on Wednesday. “We ran the ball decent last game, but we can be more consistent. Pass protection hasn’t been up to par. We have stuff to clean up but we’ll get there.”

Pete Carroll did his best to put an optimistic spin on the o-line’s early struggles.

“Yeah, we’re concerned,” Carroll said. “I like what we did in the second half last week. We really caught up with the rhythm and the style. (Russell Wilson) was phenomenal, but he worked together with his guys up front in really good fashion.”

Seattle didn’t allow a sack over the final two quarters against Pittsburgh in Week 2 after giving up four in the first half. The quick passing attack kept the Steelers pass rush in check. Wilson got rid of the ball in 1.89 seconds on average per pass attempt, the quickest of any NFL quarterback in a game since 2016. So how much credit does the offensive line deserve for the Seahawks second-half improvements? It’s hard to tell given just how quick Wilson was getting rid of the football.

Pro Football Focus has Seattle ranked dead last in pass protection. In addition, just one member of the offensive line has an overall grade over 60 per PFF (Brown – 60.8).

“We take pride in pass protection,” Brown said. “We have an incredible quarterback, and we’ve got to keep him upright. We have to get the job done … and we will.”

Brown reiterated that preparation hasn’t been the issue, merely the execution. It’s been a mix of losing 1-on-1s, miscommunications on stunts and allowing blitzes to get through. That comes down to fundamentals and technique, offensive line coach Mike Solari said on Wednesday.

Penalties have been a pain point as well. Seattle’s offensive line has been flagged 11 times (eight enforced) through two games. Sacks and penalties have put the Seahawks consistently behind the sticks.

“Any time you get those calls, it sets you up for failure,” Brown said. “When you’re in 2nd-and-15, 2nd-and-20, it’s so hard to dial up the plays you want to have. Defenses know you have to pass it, and so they’re pinning their ears back.”

There’s a sense of urgency to take a big step forward in Week 3 with the New Orleans Saints coming to town. The Saints pass rush, led by four-time Pro Bowler Cameron Jordan, leads the NFL with nine sacks.

Carroll is banking on continuity – namely Mike Iupati and George Fant settling in – as the primary reason why the offensive line will improve as the season goes on.

“We’re kind of counting on it as we stay together and keep making progress,” Carroll said.

And he needs to be right. Barring a blockbuster trade, there are no reinforcements on the horizon. Seattle will have to make do with what they’ve got.

What trading for DB Quandre Diggs means for the Seahawks

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USATI

What trading for DB Quandre Diggs means for the Seahawks

We saw the San Francisco 49ers make a move to acquire Emmanuel Sanders earlier on Tuesday. Now its the Seattle Seahawks who have made a move to bolster their roster.

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Seattle has made a deal with the Detroit Lions to acquire veteran defensive back Quandre Diggs in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round pick. The Seahawks also received a 2020 seventh-rounder in the trade.

Diggs was drafted by the Lions in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Texas. He's appeared in 65 games (40 starts), splitting time at corner and strong safety. He figures to play strong safety for the Seahawks will Marquise Blair assumed to be taking over at free safety. It's very possible that this trade indicates Seattle is worried about Bradley McDougald's back. The Seahawks are already without Lano Hill, who is out with an elbow injury.

So if McDougald is out for the foreseeable future, it's possible that the Seahawks utilize Diggs and Blair as their two safeties. Regardless, this isn't good news for Tedric Thompson, who seems to be falling out of favor with Pete Carroll after allowing a 50-yard pass to Miles Boykin on the Ravens first possession last Sunday.

The other option, albeit more unlikely in my opinion, is that Seattle uses Diggs at nickel and stops using all three linebackers as frequently. That option would obviously mean that the Seahawks are ready to move on from Jamar Taylor.

Diggs has 20 total tackles in five games in 2019. He has six career interceptions, three in each 2017 and 2018.

Pete Carroll speaks to the media next on Wednesday afternoon. Hopefully he'll provide clarity as to how Seattle plans to deploy Diggs.

49ers trade for Emmanuel Sanders: Will that impact Seahawks deadline decisions?

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49ers trade for Emmanuel Sanders: Will that impact Seahawks deadline decisions?

The NFL trade deadline is still a week away (Oct. 29), but the dealing has already begun around the league. The New England Patriots, just hours after embarrassing the New York Jets on "Monday Night Football," traded a 2020 second-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for Mohamed Sanu.

Now the San Francisco 49ers have made a move to acquire a receiver as well. The 49ers made a deal with the Denver Broncos for Emmanuel Sanders. San Francisco sent Denver a third- and fourth-round pick in 2020 in exchange for Sanders and a 2020 fifth-rounder, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The 49ers are currently 6-0 and in first place in the NFL West. They're two games up in the loss column on the 5-2 Seahawks and three games up on the Rams.

Now the question is whether or not San Francisco's aggressive approach to the trade deadline will spur any action from the Seahawks.

Seattle opted not to make a deal for Jalen Ramsey, who was ultimately dealt to the Rams in exchange for two first-round picks. But who else could be available around the league?

The Seahawks most glaring void right now is at tight end following Will Dissly's torn Achilles, and the obvious name being thrown around social media is Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard. New England recently inquired about Howard and was told he's not available. But every player has to have a price, right? That should be especially true for a player who seems to have fallen out of favor with first-year head coach Bruce Arians.

Howard is an incredible talent but, for one reason or another, has gotten off to a dismal start to 2019. Tampa Bay's 2017 first-round pick has just 13 for 176 yards and no touchdowns through six games.

Seattle could also use help at receiver, but my best guess is that the Seahawks think highly enough of Jaron Brown and David Moore to feel like the team is good in that department. The Seahawks pass rush remains non-existent, but again, their hope is that the pieces already in place take a collective step forward. The same goes for safety.

It's likely going to be tight end or bust for Seattle at the deadline. Pete Carroll did leave the door open last week when he said the team was "working on some things" at the position.

Now we'll see if San Francisco's deal creates a greater sense of urgency for Seattle to also improve its roster before Oct. 29 comes and goes. It all comes down to whether or not the Seahawks view them as legit contenders this season. If the answer is no, don't expect to see Seattle part ways with valuable draft capital.

Seahawks rookie Marquise Blair appears to have earned starting role moving forward

Seahawks rookie Marquise Blair appears to have earned starting role moving forward

If you’re searching for a silver lining from the Seahawks ugly Week 7 loss to the Ravens, look no further than Marquise Blair. Seattle’s rookie safety showed very well in his first career start.

Blair started in place of the injured Lano Hill (elbow) and Bradley McDougald (back). He posted six tackles and defended one pass. He earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 65.4, including a 77.1 coverage grade.

“I thought Marquise did a really good job,” Pete Carroll said. “I thought he was active, physical, covered well and made a couple things happen that were real positive.”

Carroll also noted that Blair made the tackle on the opening kickoff. Apparently special teams had been an area of improvement for the rookie, and that play illustrated Blair’s growth in Carroll’s eyes.

Blair’s pass breakup came on a short throw from Lamar Jackson intended for Mark Andrews. The play came on third down and forced a Ravens punt.

Carroll added that Blair did have his mistakes, but he got lucky because “guys covered for him on a few occasions.” We’ve known since the preseason what Blair brings to the table. Everyone remembers his pair of big hits during the exhibition opener against the Broncos.

The knock on Blair, according to Carroll, has been the safety’s ability to stay within the defense and remain sound in his assignments. It appears that Blair has grown in that regard as well, so much so that the team’s second-round pick may be locked into the starting lineup moving forward.

“He helped himself,” Carroll said somewhat ambiguously. “He’s going to play some more. I’m fired up about him.”

Seattle’s head coach was far less enthusiastic about Tedric Thompson. Carroll didn’t call him out by name, but he was visibly distressed about the 50-yard pass from Lamar Jackson to Miles Boykin on Baltimore’s first drive of the game.

“We gave them a freebie,” Carroll said, indicating that it was Thompson’s fault. “That’s distasteful. I hate that. There’s no way that should ever happen.”

The Seahawks may have no choice but to stick with Thompson in the short term. Carroll said McDougald remains day-to-day with his ongoing back spasms. Hill is expected to miss a few more weeks as well. Ugo Amadi or Adrian Colbert (practice squad) are the only options if Seattle became desperate to get Thompson out of the lineup. Both choices seem unlikely.

But those who have been clamoring for Blair to get into the lineup can rest easy. They’re going to get a good look at the hard-hitting rookie moving forward.

Week 7 snap count: Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister out-snaps Luke Willson

Week 7 snap count: Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister out-snaps Luke Willson

It's time for our weekly look at the Seahawks snap counts, this time from Seattle's ugly, 30-16, loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

The game was tied at 13 going into halftime, and Seattle only managed to score three points in the second half. Bright spots were few and far between as it was a largely underwhelming performance for the Seahawks across the board. The good news is that Seattle is still 5-2 with what should be an easy win ahead against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8.

Here's who played against the Ravens and how much, followed by what takeaways we can draw from this game.

Takeaways:

- With Will Dissly on IR, it was Jacob Hollister, not Luke Willson, who saw the boost in playing time. Seattle didn't alter Willson's role at all, rather opting to give the better, albeit unproven, Hollister the chance to be the Seahawks primary pass catching tight end. Hollister out-snapped Willson 37-34 and caught 3-of-6 targets for 20 yards. Willson didn't catch his lone target. Barring a move to add another tight end via free agency or trade, this is likely how things will be split moving forward.

- Rashaad Penny was nowhere to be seen in his return from a hamstring injury. He played only two snaps and didn't receive a single touch. C.J. Prosise had one carry for 17 yards while playing just six snaps. It was all Chris Carson on Sunday, who played 64-of-72 snaps. It's pretty alarming that Penny spent basically the entire day on the sideline. The team's 2018 first-round pick didn't enter the game with any injury designation, which implies that he was 100%. If this trend continues, it will be another huge indictment of the pick that many (most?) people questioned the second it was made.

- Jarran Reed played 50-of-59 snaps in his first game back from a six-game suspension. It appears that Reed's conditioning is up to par, which is a credit to his hard work while away from the team, now he just needs to shake the rust off. He earned a respectable 66.9 Pro Football Focus grade, but was fairly quiet overall with just two tackles and no pressures.

- Marquise Blair was impresive in his first career start, playing all 59 defensive snaps. Blair had six tackles and one pass defended. Given that Tedric Thompson gave up another deep ball on the first possession of the game, Blair might have a chance to remain in the starting lineup even once Bradley McDougald and Lano Hill get healthy.

- Seattle still refuses to roll out its nickel package. Jamar Taylor played just eight snaps with Mychal Kendricks playing the other 51. Kendricks missed three tackles, and outside of his two sacks against the Cardinals in Week 4, he hasn't flashed much this season. It might be time for the Seahawks to rethink its defensive strategy.

- Reed's return significantly diminished Quinton Jefferson's role, who only played 17 snaps against the Ravens.

Talkin' Seahawks Podcast: Assessing the biggest concerns after loss to Ravens

Talkin' Seahawks Podcast: Assessing the biggest concerns after loss to Ravens

Seahawks Insider Joe Fann recaps the loss at home for the Seattle Seahawks against the Baltimore Ravens, and what was learned from the game.

Joe breaks down what happened with Lamar Jackson picking apart the Seahawks' defense, and the downfall of the "punchless" defense. Also, he dives into the offensive woes and the rough pick-6 for Russell Wilson reminding us all that Russ is still human.

With the sights and sounds around the game, Joe wraps the Week 7 loss up and gets you ready for Atlanta in Week 8 and keeping pace with the 49ers.

 

What They’re Saying: Seattle Seahawks fans have been spoiled by Russell Wilson

What They’re Saying: Seattle Seahawks fans have been spoiled by Russell Wilson

We're still taking in the good, the bad and the ugly from the Seattle Seahawks 30-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. 

Lamar Jackson’s unstoppable performance and Earl Thomas’ revenge game all filled the headlines on Monday morning, but it was Russell Wilson's candidacy for NFL MVP that took perhaps the greatest hit. 

Let’s take a look at What They’re Saying about the Seahawks (5-2) following Week 7: 

Adam Jude of The Seattle Times said a rare off day from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson made Lamar Jackson look all the more impressive. 

"For so long, and for so many moments already this season, Seahawks fans have been spoiled by a quarterback who makes the magical look routine, who is at his best when the pressure is molten hot in the fourth quarter. Sunday, that quarterback was Lamar Jackson of the Ravens (5-2)."

Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports says there’s a new MVP front-runner in town, and his name isn’t Russell Wilson.

“While Wilson struggled on Sunday, his counterpart, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, put together another superb performance while leading his team to a 30-16 win over the homesteading Seattle Seahawks. The Ravens' defense complemented Jackson's efforts by scoring two touchdowns and handing Wilson his worst game of the season to date.”

It was Earl Thomas’ first game back to Seattle after his bitter divorce with the Seahawks last season. After spending nine seasons with the Seahawks, Thomas’ time in Seattle ended terribly when he was carted off the field with a broken leg and flipped the middle finger at coach Pete Carroll.

Kevin Patra of Around the NFL says Thomas’ revenge couldn’t have gone better.

“Earl Thomas got his revenge. The former Seahawks safety, who built his Hall of Fame-worthy resume in nine seasons in Seattle, helped a Baltimore Ravens defense that clamped down on Russell Wilson and scored twice en route to a 30-16 road win Sunday.”

Stacy Rost of 710 ESPN Seattle noted Russell Wilson’s bad night, which included his first pick of the year that was returned for a 67-yard touchdown.

“Last week brought questions about what this Seahawks team would look like without a stellar performance by Wilson. This week brought the answer: Not great. On second thought, maybe that is the mark of a team’s most valuable player.”

John Blanchette of The Spokesman Review says the Seahawks have a big problem when Russell Wilson isn’t himself.

“This Seahawks team hasn’t shown that it’s special enough in any other area if Wilson doesn’t play A-minus or better. That’s fragile. Consider that in addition to the two losses on Seattle’s record, the Seahawks beat the Rams when their money kicker missed a field goal, outlasted winless Cincinnati by a point and survived two Chris Carson fumbles to edge Pittsburgh. Their five victims have an aggregate record of 11-21-1. Their only victory by more than four points has been over Arizona.

And until Sunday, their quarterback has been MVP-caliber.”

Analysis: Russell Wilson’s MVP candidacy takes a hit in loss to Ravens

Analysis: Russell Wilson’s MVP candidacy takes a hit in loss to Ravens

The table was set for Russell Wilson to separate himself in the MVP discussion. Patrick Mahomes suffered a knee injury on Thursday night and Deshaun Watson had a clunker against the Colts in the early window of Week 7.

But the Seahawks collectively laid an egg against the Ravens on Sunday, Wilson included. It was bound to happen – Wilson couldn’t stay that hot forever – but it didn’t make it any less surprising to see the quarterback look so pedestrian. Seattle only found the end zone once, scored just 16 points and were a garbage time field goal away from getting shut out in the second half.

Wilson finished the game uncharacteristically inefficient, completing just 20-of-41 passes for 241 yards, one touchdown and his first interception of the season – a costly pick-six in the second quarter. It was Wilson’s first game with a sub-50% completion percentage since November 2015.

“Somewhere you have to make a mistake, you’re going to mess something up,” Pete Carroll said postgame. “How many games can you go without making an error like that? I don’t know. Everybody in the locker room knows it. Russ said something after the game.”

On the interception, Wilson floated a careless pass toward the right sideline that Marcus Peters jumped easily and took 67 yards for a touchdown in what was his first game with the Ravens.

Carroll said it was “just a mistake and (Wilson) knows it.”

“It was a pretty easy play for them,” Caroll said. “It was a good job, it was a nice job making (the play), but we kind of gave it to them.”

It was evident that Seattle missed Will Dissly dearly, especially from an efficiency standpoint. Dissly had caught 23-of-27 targets before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 6 against the Browns.

The Seahawks needed to have a receiver not named Tyler Lockett step up and nobody did. Jaron Brown dropped a sure touchdown in the first half, and DK Metcalf lost a fumble in the fourth quarter, a play that resulted in a Ravens scoop and score.

Jacob Hollister has been thrust into a prominent pass catching role after being on the practice squad until Week 6. He caught 3-of-6 targets for just 20 yards. Hollister showed promise back in training camp, but he’s still an unproven commodity.

It’s important not to panic over one game. Tip your cap to Baltimore and its defense and move on. But understand that there’s a lot of work to be done in Seattle despite its 5-2 record. The NFC is loaded and it will assuredly take 10 wins to claim a wildcard spot, maybe even 11. Five teams in the conference are 5-2 or better. Three other teams have four wins.

The NFL’s MVP race is now just as murky. Aaron Rodgers and his six touchdowns on Sunday have him firmly in the conversation with the Packers owning a 6-1 record. Heck, Lamar Jackson is also in the discussion after his standout performance against the Seahawks on Sunday.

Where Wilson and Co. struggled to establish any consistency, Jackson was able to come through for Baltimore every single time Seattle threatened to regain momentum. He gashed the Seahawks for 116 rushing yards – including a 28-yard scramble, a 30-yard scramble and an 8-yard touchdown run.

“He had some crazy runs,” Wilson said of Jackson. “He's really special out there, especially on some third downs and stuff. So he's had a great season, he's been playing great and always loved watching him in college and talked to him after the game, so he's a tremendous football player.”

Wilson, barring an implosion from him and the rest of the Seahawks, will remain deservedly in the running for MVP. His 18:1 touchdown to interception ratio likely still makes him the betting favorite at this point.

A road matchup against the reeling Falcons, losers of five straight, should help Wilson and the Seahawks right the ship in Week 8.

Seahawks tip their cap to Lamar Jackson following ugly loss to Ravens

Seahawks tip their cap to Lamar Jackson following ugly loss to Ravens

It’s not like the Seattle Seahawks (5-2) didn’t know what was coming for them – they just couldn’t stop it.

Lamar Jackson carved up the Seahawks defense with his legs on Sunday with 116 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in the Baltimore Ravens (5-2) 30-16 win at CenturyLink Field. Jackson showcased why he’s a special talent with clutch plays throughout the game.

“They’re doing a fantastic job with him in their offense,” Pete Carrol said postgame. “He’s unique and they know it.”

Bobby Wagner said he’s never seen a skill set like Jackson’s, who’s a more than capable passer as well. Jackson threw for just 143 yards on Sunday, but drops plagued Baltimore’s passing game.

“He’s 1-of-1,” Wagner said. “You see he’s special – some of the plays he had where he’s running full speed and stops on a dime and lets the defender go past. You knew you were going to have your hands full containing him. We saw firsthand.”

Jackson had three plays that were particularly marvelous.

On 3rd-and-10 in the second quarter, Jackson escaped for a 28-yard run that set up a field goal.
Shortly after Seattle played it conservative on fourth down, Baltimore decided to go for it on 4th-and-2 from Seattle’s 8-yard line, and Jackson took it up the middle on a designed keeper for a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, on 3rd-and-8 from his own 12-yard line, Jackson escaped once again for a 30-yard run up the left sideline. That was the pivotal play in a drive that chewed up 9:00 off the clock. That possession resulted in a Ravens field goal to make it a two-score game at 23-13.

“He made plays when they needed him,” Wagner said.

Added Jadeveon Clowney: “We knew it was going to be a hard game chasing this guy down. He came in today and executed.”

The threat of Jackson’s athleticism helped keep Seattle’s pass rush at bay. Clowney said that Seattle’s defense was mindful to stay in its rush lanes and, as a group, try to collapse the pocket. That didn’t matter, clearly, as Jackson was still able to find space and escape while making it look relatively easy.

“He kept sliding up out of there,” Clowney said.

The Seahawks only sacked Jackson once and it came when the quarterback slipped on the rain-soaked CenturyLink Field turf. Brandon Jackson was the one who benefitted and tallied the “sack.” That was Seattle’s lone hit against Jackson, whereas Russell Wilson was hit eight times by the Ravens defense.

The good news for Seattle is that they won’t have to see Jackson again this season. The fact that he’s truly one of a kind will make it hard for other teams to replicate Baltimore’s success offensively. Jackson’s ingenuity makes it easier to tip your cap and move on.

“He just did his thing as a great player,” Clowney said. “He made plays when he had to with his legs and threw it when he had people open. He was better than we were on defense today. He won the game for them.”

Seattle is still 5-2 and will have another winnable game in Week 8 – a road matchup against the reeling Atlanta Falcons. A more stationary Matt Ryan (or Matt Schaub if Ryan is unable to go with an ankle injury) will be a welcome site for Seattle’s defense.

Social media reacts as Earl Thomas’ return spoils Seahawks hot streak

Social media reacts as Earl Thomas’ return spoils Seahawks hot streak

Earl Thomas took the field at CenturyLink for the first time as a Raven. Jarran Reed shook off the dust and played in his first game of the Seahawks season. Two of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks went head-to-head.

There were a lot of fascinating storylines heading into the Seattle Seahawks meeting with the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7, but only one mattered when it was all said and done on Sunday: Would the Seahawks let these narratives spoil their hot streak?

It appeared as if the noise was too much for Seattle to handle. Lamar Jackson proved why he deserves to be in the MVP conversation. Earl Thomas taunted his former team, and even Wilson couldn't save his Seahawks in this one, recording his first interception of the season. 

Let’s take a look at the best moments on social media from the Seahawks 30-16 loss to the Ravens. Seahawks Insider Joe Fann shared his initial reactions to the game here

Seattle got on the board for the first time when Russell Wilson hit Tyler Lockett for an 8-yard touchdown.

Jason Myers’ notched two field goals to give Seattle an additional six points. Both teams went into the locker rooms at halftime with the game tied 13-13.

Then, the Corgi Cup happened. That’s right. The Seahawks brought at least a dozen adorable smoosh faces to the field and let them race each other. It was everything we could have hoped for and more. 

It all went downhill for Seattle from there. The Ravens went on to outscore the Seahawks 17-3 in the second half.

Next up, the Seahawks (5-2) head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. PT.