Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks offense is ‘lightyears’ ahead in Year 2 under Brian Schottenheimer

Seahawks offense is ‘lightyears’ ahead in Year 2 under Brian Schottenheimer

Jaron Brown dropped a few buzz words earlier in camp when he told reporters that the Seattle Seahawks were going to “open up the playbook” in 2019. Brian Schottenheimer downplayed Brown’s comments a bit on Tuesday, but the offensive coordinator was keen to note that he’s feeling the benefits of having a season under his belt.

“It’s always easier in Year 2,” he said on Tuesday. “You can add things. You can build off the things you did last year – whether you complement it or protect it with other things.”

A full season of tape and a better understanding of his players are the primary contributors to Schottenheimer’s current peace of mind. He added that the plays “come to life” in the film room when players can see themselves running the offense compared to last summer when everyone was starting from ground zero.

That allows Schottenheimer to better coach and critique his players with points that “take greater meaning.”

“We’ve just been able to go so much faster,” Schottenheimer said. “It shows you how advanced we are. A lot of it is about how comfortable Russ is. We’re lightyears ahead of where we were last year at this time. It’s been fun to have it that way.”

Russell Wilson’s comfort in the scheme doesn’t mean the Seahawks will become a pass happy team, though. Schottenheimer’s critics are quick to point to Seattle ranking dead last in pass attempts a year ago.

Wilson had just 427 attempts a year ago. By comparison, Ben Roethlisberger led the league with a whopping 675 attempts. But as team’s league-wide continue to air it out more and more, Seattle would point to its league low 11 turnovers in 2018 as a benefit of its ground-and-pound style.

“Each game is going to be different,” Schottenheimer said of the team’s balance between the run and pass games. “We’ve never not put things on Russ’ shoulders. We’re always going to put the ball in his hand and let him drive the system.”

Wilson’s volume as a passer may see a small uptick in 2019, but it’s evident that the Seahawks will remain a run-first, impose-their-will type of offense.

“The run helps us set up the play-pass,” Schottenheimer said. “The play-pass helps us set up the run. Can I tell you how many runs and how many passes we’re going to call in Week 1? I’d love to be able to tell you that, but I don’t know that right now.

“It’s going to come down to each game. We’ve obviously got a premier quarterback. We’ve got an excellent stable of backs and a terrifically powerful offensive line. So teams are going to have to figure us out.”

Fann Mail: Predicting the Seahawks record over the final six games of 2019

111819-mailbag.jpg
USATI

Fann Mail: Predicting the Seahawks record over the final six games of 2019

We’ve reached the home stretch of the 2019 regular season. The Seattle Seahawks (8-2) are destined for the postseason once again, but there are still a wide variety of potential outcomes for how this thing could play out.

Seattle very well might be a wildcard team, playing on the road throughout the playoffs. The Seahawks also have a prime opportunity to claim the top seed in the NFC, a first-round bye and homefield advantage.

The likelihood of those outcomes is the focal point of this week’s mailbag. Thanks, as always, to those who asked questions.

Here are Seattle’s final six opponents: Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Panthers, Cardinals and 49ers.

And here’s how I’d divide those games.

Should-be wins: Panthers and Cardinals. (You simply cannot drop a game to the Kyle Allen-led Panthers or to the Cardinals at home.)

Potential losses: Eagles and Rams. (Both on the road against teams that are better than their record indicates.)

50/50: Vikings and 49ers. (Both at home, but CenturyLink Field isn’t the impenetrable fortress that it used to be.)

I predict a 4-2 stretch over the next six games. There’s no reason why the Seahawks can’t run the table, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if they went 3-3. Either outcome would be good enough for a postseason birth. It would take 4-2 or better if Seattle hopes to win the division. The 49ers have a brutal three-game gauntlet upcoming against the Packers, Ravens and Saints. Seahawks fans will have to hope San Francisco drops at least one of those three.

Russell Wilson is still the MVP in my view, but Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson helped their respective cases in Week 11 while the Seahawks were on a bye.

I believe Baltimore would still have a winning record without Jackson. That’s not to minimize what’s been an incredible season for the second-year running back quarterback, it’s just to say that he’s had more help.

In my definition of “most valuable,” I’m looking at the potential drop-off should a given player leave the lineup. Baltimore would be able to weather the storm without Jackson. By those standards, that’s why Drew Brees wouldn’t be in the conversation this year – because the Saints were unbeaten without him.

The same can’t be said, in my opinion, for Dallas and Seattle. Both teams would fall apart without Prescott and Wilson, respectively. Prescott leads the league in passing yards while Wilson leads the NFL in passing touchdowns and passer rating. I’m giving Wilson the edge given Seattle’s 8-2 record to Dallas’ 6-4 record.

It’s very safe to say that Marquise Blair has lost his starting spot. Quandre Diggs isn’t going anywhere, especially after Pete Carroll called him a “settling presence” at free safety. Blair will now only see the field in dime situations (or if Diggs suffers an injury, of course), but that will depend on the game plan week-to-week. Seattle simply hasn’t used its dime packages very often this season.

I actually don’t think the game plan changes much with either. Gordon, to me, is an upgrade over Jaron Brown and David Moore, but I don’t think the Seahawks are going to drastically alter their game plan a la San Francisco following the trade for Emmanuel Sanders. Gordon is a complimentary piece to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.

I don’t have a ton of expectations for Ed Dickson given the emergence of Jacob Hollister. Seattle would be foolish to diminish Hollister’s role in favor of Dickson given his recent hot streak with three touchdowns over the last two games.

Let’s start with Jarran Reed, who can still earn himself some money this season and in the playoffs. He played a gigantic role in Seattle’s win over San Francisco and looked like the player who accumulated 10.5 sacks in 2018. He could end up commanding top-tier money among 4-3 defensive tackles if he continues that level of play over Seattle’s final six games.

Fletcher Cox is the highest paid player at $17.1 million per year. Reed isn’t likely to surpass that, but he could end up in the $14-$16 million range. That would put him in the conversation with Geno Atkins, Kawann Short and Linval Joseph.

Ifedi has shown he’s a capable starter without any traits that stand out as exceptional. I could see him being in the $5 million range depending on who else is on the right tackle market. That’s what the Bills gave Ty Nsekhe this past offseason.

Taking a wide receiver in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft would certainly be a luxury pick, but solidifying a talented receiver trio with Lockett and Metcalf would be tantalizing. Seattle wouldn’t have to worry about wide receiver, theoretically, for three to five years if they made such a move.

I think the Seahawks would have to absolutely fall in love with a player in order for this to happen. If other players grade out similarly, Seattle would be wise to focus on positions of greater need: offensive line and pass rush to name a few.

Matt Hasselbeck, no question. He’s the franchise leader in passing yards (29,434) and ranks third in touchdowns (174). Hasselbeck made three Pro Bowls and led Seattle to its first ever Super Bowl appearance. He’s more than deserving of a spot in the Seahawks Ring of Honor. Shaun Alexander, Steve Hutchinson and Marshawn Lynch also have strong cases. As for active NFL players, well, Seattle is going to have some tough decisions to make down the road.

Don’t plan on seeing John Ursua unless Seattle suffers more than one injury at receiver.

I don’t know, do you really want to give up a week of late-January, early-February weather in Seattle for a week in Miami? Makes you think…

Give me “Elf” and all of the baked goods. ALL OF THEM.

I’m a lost cause. I wish I had a better answer for you. :(

4 notable post-bye week updates from Seahawks HC Pete Carroll

111819-amadi.jpg
USATI

4 notable post-bye week updates from Seahawks HC Pete Carroll

The Seattle Seahawks returned to work on Monday for a bonus practice following the team’s Week 11 bye.

Pete Carroll spoke to reporters following the session and provided a few interesting updates regarding Seattle’s roster and other NFL headlines. Here’s what you need to know from the presser.

1. Tyler Lockett (leg) is on the mend

Lockett spent two nights at Stanford hospital to make sure his leg contusion didn’t worsen. Carroll said initially there was fear of compartment syndrome developing. Carroll said he felt badly for Lockett as it’s “always a weird feeling” leaving guys behind.

The good news is that Lockett is on the road to recovery, and there’s still a chance that he plays in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“He’s doing better,” Carroll said. “We’ll know more later in the week, but we’re hoping – planning on him being able to play. He’s got to show it to us, so we’ll see.”

2. Seattle looking at a TE swap in Week 12

Unlike Lockett, Carroll wasn’t as positive about Luke Willson (hamstring).

“It’s going to take Luke a bit. I don’t think he’ll have a chance to make it back this week. We’ll see what happens.”

That all but assures that the Seahawks will activate Ed Dickson off of Injured Reserve. The deadline to do so is 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Jordan Roos is a likely roster casualty in order to make room for Dickson. Phil Haynes would become the backup center if that ended up being the case. Wilson could also be an IR candidate if they deem his hamstring injury severe enough to warrant such a move.

“We’ve been waiting for the opportunity to get Ed to go,” Carroll said. “We’re thinking that’s where we’re going to go with this.”

3. A potential opportunity coming for Ugo Amadi

Seattle’s fourth-round pick has been a staple on special teams and has flourished into a standout gunner on punt coverage. But apparently he’s been progressing on defense as well.

“He’s doing really well,” Carroll said. “He’s been a playmaker on special teams throughout. His opportunities will continue to come about because he’s been so consistent in everything he’s doing. He hasn’t done anything that isn’t good.

“I’m anxious for him to contribute more. He’s been with us long enough that it’s time for him to get some more opportunities.”

Amadi is working primarily at nickel while getting a few reps at safety as well. Given that Jamar Taylor has struggled a bit in recent weeks, Carroll hinted that Amadi’s time could be coming.

“He’s in a competitive situation,” Carroll said of Taylor. “He has to keep doing well to hold his spot.”

4. Seattle misses Colin Kaepernick’s workout.

Carroll said that the Seahawks sent a representative to attend Kaepernick’s workout on Saturday in Atlanta. However, once the location was moved last minute away from the Falcons practice facility, Carroll said that logistics didn’t work out.

“I was real curious to see how the workout went,” Carroll said. “Just competing as always.”

That feels a bit odd to me. If 27 teams were apparently able to make it at one location, it’s weird that only eight were able to make it to the revised location. The high school was reportedly only an hour or so away from the Falcons facility. It kind of seems like a statement being made by the teams who opted not to make the drive.

Get to know ‘Cable Thanos,’ the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos

cable-thanos.jpg
Russell Wilson/Twitter

Get to know ‘Cable Thanos,’ the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos

You might know this guy already, or at least know of him. If you don’t, you’ve assuredly seen his work pop into your social media feeds.

His name is Josh Cashman – a 24-year-old from Mukilteo, Wash., who is a lifelong Seahawks fan and current student at Western Washington University majoring in Multidisciplinary Studies and Video Production. You likely know him by his Twitter handle: @cablethanos_.

He’s the mastermind behind the viral Seattle Seahawks hype videos beginning in 2018. Cashman, the latest guest on the Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast, detailed how these videos came to be.

But let’s start with his moniker. Where’d “Cable Thanos” come from? The Avengers reference is pretty obvious, but Cashman explained that it was meant as a joke toward Tom Cable. Some on Twitter pointed out that Cable shared a resemblance with Marvel’s most epic villain. So Cashman edited something featuring Cable wearing Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet. Instead of Infinity Stones, the gauntlet was filled with underwhelming offensive linemen. When Cable snapped his fingers, a la Thanos in the movie “Infinity Wars,” Russell Wilson disintegrated like the Avengers.

Now back to the videos. The first one was made after the Seahawks beat the Lions last season to improve to 4-3.

Cashman created it almost satirically given that nobody expected Seattle to be any good. Based on all preseason expectations, 4-3 felt like a record worth celebrating, even if it was mostly in jest. Seahawks Twitter loved the video. While Cashman only expected to make the one, the people demanded for more.

“They kept winning and I kept making them and here we are,” Cashman told NBC Sports Northwest.

The videos are hard to describe – a combination of fun and ridiculous that leave you asking yourself, “What on earth did I just watch?” (Deadspin compiled a few of the videos into one article)

“I don’t pride myself on its professionalism, I pride myself on as in-your-face-as-possible and as crazy as I can make it,” Cashman said.

He’s doing a damn good job of sticking to that mission statement. The football highlights take a back seat in Cashman’s videos to well-timed movie references, video game clips and other bits and pieces of pop culture. A healthy dose of poking fun at media who count out the Seahawks is also a sure-fire way to rally the troops on social media.

After posting a few videos, Cashman’s work broke outside of the bubble of Seahawks Twitter. They went viral with fans and media around the country wondering what was happening in the Pacific Northwest. There was a FOMO element that had others wishing they were part of the Seahawks Twitter community.

Cashman’s video after Seattle’s win against the Chiefs in Week 16 literally changed his life forever. To that point, no Seahawks player had interacted with one of the pieces. But this one caught the eye of Russell Wilson. Seattle’s franchise QB quote tweeted the video which sent Cashman's Twitter ablaze.

“My notifications were going crazy,” Cashman said. “I couldn’t look away from my phone. It was blowing my mind.”

Cashman, in random fashion parallel to his videos, replied to Wilson asking if he’d like to play Super Smash Bros together. It was meant as a joke, not that Cashman wouldn’t want to play video games with Wilson, but because he assumed there was zero chance of it ever happening. And yet, Wilson accepted the offer.

“Two months later I was at his office, and now I’m part of his team,” Cashman said.

Wilson and Cashman were joined by fellow Seahawks players D.J. Fluker and Jaron Brown for the video game session. Wilson used Donkey Kong and he wasn’t very good, according to Cashman.

“He was like a D+,” he said of Wilson’s video game abilities.

That meetup took place in May. Now, as Cashman alluded to, he’s part of Wilson’s production company West2East Empire. He’s one of the editors and producers that puts together all types of recap and promo videos, usually surrounding Wilson and wife Ciara’s many ventures.

Cashman said the quarterback seldom calls him by his real name, instead referring to him by his Twitter handle. After wins, Wilson will reach out to Cashman and the rest of his team asking for innovative ideas for social videos.

“He knows what I’m good at and what I can do,” Cashman said. “It’s a collaborative effort. We are all sending ideas to each other.”

His work – both the short clips and his famed two-minute long hype videos – have collectively garnered several million views on Twitter.

Cashman used to make one after every win, but now they’re simply too involved to keep up with that pace. Now he saves his masterpieces for “big wins,” including Seattle’s Week 10 victory against the San Francisco 49ers on “Monday Night Football.”

“Hopefully we can get some more big wins so we can have more videos,” he said.

At 8-2, there’s a strong chance that the Seahawks keep Cashman busy through the final month and a half of 2019 and even as the calendar turns to 2020.

“That one win proved so much for this team, and I think they could actually go really far,” Cashman said.

Catch the entire conversation with Cashman on the Talkin' Seahawks Podcast.

Talkin' Seahawks Podcast: A conversation with 'Cable Thanos,' the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos

Talkin' Seahawks Podcast: A conversation with 'Cable Thanos,' the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos

If you're scrolling through Seattle Seahawks football related content on Twitter or social media, chances are high that you've seen a video that has gone viral from an account called 'Cable Thanos'.

On the latest Talkin' Seahawks Podcast, Seahawks Insider Joe Fann sits chats with ‘Cable Thanos’, the creative mastermind behind viral Seahawks videos on Twitter and Youtube. The two dive into the behind the scenes of making the viral videos and how it all got started. Also, they talk about Cable Thanos, AKA Josh's, relationship with Russell Wilson, and what it's like to hang out with the QB of his favorite team.

Listen to the full podcast below:

MORE ON THE SEAHAWKS

7 teams Seahawks fans should be rooting for in Week 11

Seattle Seahawks positional grades through week 10

 

7 teams Seahawks fans should be rooting for in Week 11

111319-murray-bosa.jpg
USATI

7 teams Seahawks fans should be rooting for in Week 11

Seattle Seahawks fans can rest easy and enjoy some stress-free football on Sunday as their team takes its bye in Week 11. But while the Seahawks (8-2) are idle, there are still certain results that would help Seattle’s playoff chances.

Here are seven teams that Seahawks fans should be pulling for on Sunday.

1. Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina Panthers)

The Panthers are 5-4, and the Seahawks have a chance to put the Panthers away in Week 15, but a loss Sunday would all but remove Carolina from the wildcard discussion. Atlanta impressively beat the Saints in Week 10, and so there’s no reason why they can’t win one on the road in Charlotte.

2. New England Patriots (at Philadelphia Eagles)

Seattle is also two games up in the loss column over the 5-4 Eagles. A win for the Patriots would all but end Philly’s wildcard hopes before the Seahawks play the Eagles on the road in Week 12.

3. Detroit Lions (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

Another similar situation here as the Cowboys are also 5-4. The difference is that Seattle doesn’t play Dallas. The Seahawks shouldn’t need any help against the aforementioned trio of 5-4 teams, but it couldn’t hurt in case Seattle went through a rough patch over the final month and a half of the regular season.

4. Denver Broncos (at Minnesota Vikings)

This one would be big with Minnesota at 7-3. The Week 13 matchup when the Seahawks host the Vikings on “Monday Night Football” could have serious playoff implications in terms of seeding and potential first-round byes. Seahawks fans wouldn’t mind having more than a one-game cushion going into that contest. A Denver win would be a huge upset as the Broncos (3-6) are 10-point road underdogs.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. New Orleans Saints)

This is another game that would be huge if Seattle has hopes of getting a first-round bye, or, in the best-case scenario, home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Seahawks and Saints (7-2) are tied in the loss column, but New Orleans owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Bucs are 5.5-point underdogs, but the Saints are coming off a game in which they failed to score a touchdown against the Falcons. This feels like a bounce-back game and a rout in favor of New Orleans, but Seahawks fans can still hope.

6. Chicago Bears (at Los Angeles Rams)

The Rams (5-4) have struggled mightily this season as teams have replicated Bill Belichick’s Super Bowl recipe for slowing down Sean McVay’s offense. Still, Los Angeles is just two games back of Seattle in the loss column. With games ahead against Seattle and San Francisco, the Rams have a chance to surge over their final seven contests, albeit an unlikely outcome at this point.

7. Arizona Cardinals (at San Francisco 49ers)

This, obviously, would be the upset that completes a perfect week for Seahawks fans. Seattle beat San Francisco in Week 10 to hand the 49ers their first loss of the season. It put the Seahawks in control of their own destiny in the NFC West. The Seahawks don’t need help, but nobody in Seattle would argue with an Arizona win ahead of the 49ers grueling three-game stretch against the Packers, Ravens and Saints from Weeks 12-14. San Francisco is 9.5-point favorites, and it feels like this one will be a blowout.

Seattle Seahawks positional grades through 10 games

Seattle Seahawks positional grades through 10 games

The Seattle Seahawks (8-2) are off to one of the best starts in franchise history. They’re 5-0 on the road for the first time ever and 8-2 for just the fifth time (1984, 1999, 2005 and 2013).

All of Seattle is riding high following Monday night’s dramatic, 27-24, overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers. The victory not only kept the Seahawks' divisional hopes alive but put them in the driver’s seat. They still trail the 49ers by a game in the loss column. However, San Francisco has a brutal stretch coming up against the Packers (home), Ravens (away) and Saints (away) in Weeks 12-14.

It’s very likely that the Week 17 contest in Seattle between the 49ers and Seahawks will not only be for the NFC West title, but a first-round bye as well.

With Seattle having the weekend off before what should be a wild month and a half to close the season, let’s assign grades to each position group and assess how the Seahawks got to 8-2.

Quarterback: A+

This is the automatic grade you get when you carry the team in seven of its eight wins and are the front-runner for the league’s MVP award. That’s where Russell Wilson is at through 10 weeks. He’s been phenomenal this season with 26 total touchdowns to just four turnovers. He currently leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (23), touchdown percentage (7.0%) and quarterback rating (114.9).

Running Back: B

This grade would be an “A” if not for the fumbles. Chris Carson ranks fourth in the NFL with 853 rushing yards. He’s posted four 100-yard games, and he’s scored six total touchdowns. However, he’s fumbled six times and lost four of them. C.J. Prosise and Rashaad Penny have also lost a fumble. Pete Carroll knows that coughing up the football at that rate will cost Seattle dearly if it continues the rest of the season.

Wide Receiver: A-

Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are each at an “A+” by themselves. They’ve been fantastic. Lockett is having a career year while maintaining supreme efficiency. He’s caught 62-of-76 targets for 793 yards and six touchdowns. Metcalf has been much more consistent of late. He’s at 35 receptions for 595 yards and five touchdowns in what has been a terrific rookie campaign. Where the wide receivers’ overall grade dips is when you factor in how little David Moore and Jaron Brown have contributed. Neither have proven to be a consistent, dependable option in the passing game. The addition of Josh Gordon provides some additional optimism over the final six games.

Offensive Line: C+

Football outsiders has Seattle’s offensive line ranked 20th. However, the group gets a significant boost in my grade given how many injuries its dealt with through 10 games. Apart from one ugly play against D.J. Jones, Joey Hunt has filled in admirably for Justin Britt. Jamarco Jones and George Fant kept the ship afloat without D.J. Fluker and Duane Brown. Germain Ifedi still has a lot of room for improvement. Wilson also masks some of the group’s deficiencies. But all in all, I think the offensive line has been able to avoid being a complete liability.

Tight End: B+

Will Dissly’s injury was massive, and it took Seattle a few weeks to adjust to life without him. He was off to a scorching start through five games. But when you factor in Jacob Hollister’s production the last two weeks, Seattle has gotten quite a bit of production out of the tight end position. Dissly and Hollister have a combined 40 receptions for 399 yards and seven touchdowns.

Defensive Line: C-

This would have been an “F” had it not been for Monday night’s performance. Seattle entered Week 10 with just nine combined sacks from defensive linemen through nine games. But then Monday happened, and Jadeveon Clowney dominated the 49ers offensive line for a full 70 minutes. He generated 11 pressures all by himself, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown.

The Seahawks sacked Jimmy Garoppolo five times, four of which came from defensive linemen. Jarran Reed finally looked to have shaken off the rust of his six-game suspension. Quinton Jefferson’s return looked to provide a huge boost.

Most importantly, Seattle showed it didn’t need Ziggy Ansah in order to generate a consistent pass rush. I still need to see more than one performance like this in order to believe Monday night wasn’t an aberration. That said, it was a huge step in the right direction and important to know the group was capable of such a performance.

Linebacker: B

The play of Mychal Kendricks, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright has been steady overall, but the tackling has been spotty at times. Wagner (50.0), Wright (57.7) and Kendricks (66.1) have all been exploited some in pass coverage as well. The trio has combined for five sacks, 13 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two interceptions – solid but unspectacular numbers. I would have expected more game-changing plays from these three, especially given how frequently Seattle has stayed in its base defense.

Secondary: C+

Outside of Shaquill Griffin, who’s enjoying a breakout season, the secondary has been vastly underwhelming and inconsistent. The safety play has been a liability on Seattle’s defense until Quandre Diggs’ debut in Week 10. He may have been the x-factor that brings stability to the entire secondary.

But I still think the Seahawks could use an upgrade at nickel. Jamar Taylor continues to struggle. He was targeted early and often against the 49ers and was given just a 36.6 coverage grade. It will be interesting to see if Ugo Amadi has made enough progress to earn some reps at that spot over the final six games of the regular season.

Fann Mail: How Ziggy Ansah’s lack of production opened the door for Shaquem Griffin

Fann Mail: How Ziggy Ansah’s lack of production opened the door for Shaquem Griffin

The Seattle Seahawks are 8-2 going into their Week 11 bye and have it all to play for over the final six games of 2019. Monday’s win against the San Francisco 49ers put them in the driver’s seat to win the NFC West. The victory also put a first-round bye and potentially home field advantage well within reach.

In order for that to happen, the defense is going to have to show that Monday’s primetime showing wasn’t an aberration. A few lineup tweaks on that side of the football is the focus of this week’s mailbag. Thanks, as always, to those who asked questions.

I think it’s safe to say that the Seahawks are going to phase out Ziggy Ansah, if not simply remove him from the lineup all together. Pete Carroll said last week that Ansah was 10 pounds away from where he needed to be and that he still hadn’t regained all the strength in his shoulder.

So it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Shaquem Griffin play his first defensive snaps of the season (13 to be exact) because, let’s face it, he truly couldn’t have been worse than Ansah. I’d still temper expectations from what Griffin can do as a pass rusher. He’s vastly undersized at just 227 pounds, but the benefit of Griffin is that you get his motor. His work rate is far superior to Ansah’s, and he's also better in coverage. That counts for something.

Seattle tried to rotate the two on Monday, but Ansah was quickly pulled out of the game after an egregious offsides penalty on San Francisco’s final drive of regulation.

“It’s really clear, more than it has been, that we might be able to build a role that could be a factor,” Carroll said of Griffin on Tuesday. “We have to work at that more so just to use his speed. He’s instinctively a good rusher. He’s just not very big. You have to do special things with him. We’ll put that together and see if we can make that a good complement to what we’re doing.”

Griffin is a smart football player, and it will be interesting to see what he does with the opportunity that appears to be before him.

Pete Carroll called the safety play against the 49ers the best it’s been for Seattle all season. He added that Quandre Diggs provided the “settling presence of a veteran.” I can’t imagine Carroll will tinker with the pairing of Diggs and Bradley McDougald given those comments. And there’s no need to. The Seahawks defense played its best game by far on Monday night. The trust in Diggs enabled Seattle to play more single-high, which is pretty much all it ran when Earl Thomas was patrolling the back end of the secondary.

Blair will only be used in dime situations. So far, the Cleveland game was the only time Seattle utilized dime packages on a consistent basis.

I’m more curious whether or not Ugo Amadi is still getting work at nickel. Jamar Taylor didn’t play well against the 49ers and was given a meager 36.6 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. There’s room for improvement at nickel, but don’t expect to see Diggs move away from free safety.

This is a great question and one I asked Jadeveon Clowney after Monday’s win. He noted once again that sacks come in bunches and attributed the improvement to the group’s overall energy level. Clowney said they talked all week leading up to the game about maintaining their energy through all four quarters.

I’m a bit skeptical of that rationale because its either a cliché, or it’s an admission that the pass rush hadn’t been playing with such energy in its previous nine games.

My stance is that you had one superstar (Clowney), who was sick of hearing about Nick Bosa all week, and made it a point to dominate. He then went out and feasted on a pair of tackles who were clearly rusty as they made their respective returns from injury.

The more important question is whether or not that type of production is here to stay. I’d like to see it again in Philadelphia before I declare that the Seahawks pass rush is back.

Shaquill Griffin is Seattle’s most improved player and it’s probably not close. His pass breakup deep down the right sideline against Deebo Samuel was one of the biggest plays of the game and arguably his best play of the season. Samuel had a step on Griffin, but the third-year corner was able to make up ground and break up the pass at the last second anyway.

That illustrated a) supreme athleticism in order to play the position at a high level and b) the calmness of a veteran to make the play without panicking and interfering with the receiver.

But while Griffin is trending toward being a No. 1 corner, I don’t anticipate him following a team’s No. 1 receiver. It’s just not how Seattle operates. The Seahawks rarely, if ever, did it with Richard Sherman. I don’t see them changing that tendency for Griffin.

Someone will have to be cut in order to activate Ed Dickson (unless Luke Willson’s hamstring is bad enough that he gets placed on Injured Reserve). Seattle doesn’t need seven receivers on its roster. Josh Gordon looks to have assumed Jaron Brown’s role as Brown was inactive on Monday night. He’d be the likely odd man out. I don’t see the Seahawks cutting another rookie receiver. They already parted ways with Gary Jennings. I’d be shocked if they let go of John Ursua as well.

I’m a big juicy IPA guy. My favorite IPA, though, is Deschutes chainbreaker White IPA.

Quandre Diggs adds 'settling presence,' another playmaker to Seahawks defense

Quandre Diggs adds 'settling presence,' another playmaker to Seahawks defense

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.

Podcast: The Seahawks pass rush showed up at a bad time for the Niners... sorry not sorry

Podcast: The Seahawks pass rush showed up at a bad time for the Niners... sorry not sorry

In a game that featured one of the best if not the best defensive line in the NFL, Monday Night Football showcased a dominant performance from the d-line you did not expect.

The Seattle Seahawks (8-2) finally saw their pass rush excel on one of the biggest stages in the league and against the last remaining undefeated team, the San Francisco 49ers (8-1). Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo finally got a taste of the medicine their d-line has been dishing out through the first eight games of this season.

And it all started for Seattle with Jadeveon Clowney. The Seahawks traded for Clowney 74 days ago and has been worth every penny since. On Monday, he absolutely lit up the stat sheet: five tackles, five QB hits, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one touchdown.

Pro Football Focus credited Clowney with 11 pressures and a 90.7 overall grade against SF.

“If I’m being honest, that seems low. What’s a perfect pro football focus grade because that’s what it felt like you were seeing from Jadeveon Clowney. He was absolutely fantastic,” said our Seahawks Insider Joe Fann on the lates Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast.

It was finally the pass rush Seattle has been waiting for this season. Seattle’s defense, who had given up huge yards in the previous weeks to Atlanta’s Matt Schaub and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, came through against one of the best in Garoppolo.

Listen to the full podcast below:

MORE ON THE SEAHAWKS

Report: Tyler Lockett not expected to miss any games with leg injury

Quandre Diggs adds ‘settling presence’, another playmaker to Seahawks defense

Let’s call it as it is… Geno Smith said “Hails”