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.