Quandre Diggs found out early last week that the Seattle Seahawks wanted him to start at free safety against the San Francisco 49ers. Diggs played all 83 snaps in his Seahawks debut, recording two tackles and a third-quarter interception that led to Jacob Hollister’s 3-yard touchdown catch.
Diggs also had a few highlight-reel hits, most notably a crushing blow to 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk down the right seam.
“I think there was an impact,” Pete Carroll said. “I thought both the safeties played really well. … I think the settling presence of a veteran and also, he’s a hitter. He’s a real hitter and he goes for it. He had a couple big shots. Had a big shot in the toss. Had a couple shots on receivers that I think had a factor later on in the game.”
Seattle acquired Diggs from the Detroit Lions on Oct. 23 in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round pick. He then missed two games while he dealt with a hamstring injury that he’d been playing through in Detroit.
Now back to full strength, Diggs has teamed up with Bradley McDougald as Seattle’s new safety pairing. Carroll has always valued veterans in those spots, and Diggs’ experience makes him dependable as the last line of the Seahawks defense. That faith in Diggs allowed Seattle to play more single-high rather than playing predominantly two-deep as the defense had been prior to Diggs’ entering the lineup.
“I thought the safety play was the best we’ve seen it this year,” Carroll said of Diggs and McDougald. “I thought that was the best game that our safeties have played. I’m hoping that we can continue to grow and get better and feed off it. It’s an early assessment because Q’s just played one game. He can do a lot of things, so we’ll be anxious to figure out how he can complement what we’re doing and utilize him now that he’s crossed the threshold of playing time for us.”
Those comments don’t appear to bode well for Marquise Blair, who’d started three-straight games prior to Monday night. Carroll said that they want to keep Blair involved and that the rookie “played in dime situations” against the 49ers, except the official game book doesn’t have Blair playing a single snap.
Given that Seattle’s defense took a major step forward against the 49ers, forcing three turnovers and carrying the Seahawks for much of the game, Blair might continue to watch from the sideline moving forward.
Bobby Wagner noticed an uptick in the overall level of play from the secondary due to Diggs’ contributions.
“His range – he’s red line to red line,” Wagner said. “He definitely adds another playmaker to the back end that allows us to do a lot more things once he gets acclimated to the system.”
Most importantly, Diggs said his hamstring came out fine following Monday’s overtime win against the 49ers. He’ll have a bye week to rest and should be 100% in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles.