Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf already building chemistry ahead of training camp

Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf already building chemistry ahead of training camp

Even though Seattle Seahawks training camp does not start until July 25, two important members of the team already look in sync.

Franchise quarterback Russell Wilson and rookie receiver D.K. Metcalf took to Twitter on Wednesday to share some video from their recent workouts at UCLA, and the two Seahawks on-field relationship looks promising.

Metcalf, the Seahawks second-round pick in 2019, also seems to be working on adding to his route wheel. The darling of the NFL Combine, Metcalf shined due to his physical frame and explosive speed. However, he raised some concerns due to a lack of diversity.

Projected to be primarily a straight-line route runner, if Metcalf can continue to expand and improve his game, he could exceed his status as Seattle’s projected No. 2 receiver.

“He’s a freak of nature,” Wilson said of Metcalf in May. “He’s a guy that can run as fast as can be. He can go up and get it, he can run all the routes and stuff like that. So it’ll be exciting to see his evolution.”

This isn’t Wilson’s first offseason down in Southern California. The Pro Bowl quarterback, who agreed to a four-year, $140 million extension this spring, has spent every July since 2012 working out on the UCLA campus in Westwood.

A healthy Will Dissly adds a vital layer to Seahawks offense

A healthy Will Dissly adds a vital layer to Seahawks offense

Will Dissly admitted there were moments when he questioned whether or not he’d make a full recovery. The history of players suffering a torn patellar tendon wasn’t necessarily on his side.

Many players are able to return from the devastating knee injury, but very few are able to be the same players they once were. Jimmy Graham, Victor Cruz and Cadillac Williams are three notable names who struggled to regain form after tearing their patellar tendon.

But Dissly was determined to keep the negative thoughts from derailing his rehab.

“My mindset was: ‘OK I have to attack this.’ Once you get injured, you can’t get uninjured,” he said matter-of-factly.

The Seahawks second-year tight end referred to the grind of his recovery process as “groundhog day.” Now nearly a full year removed from the injury, Dissly is remarkably back to his old self. He’s showing he’s a capable weapon for Russell Wilson, just as he was the first few weeks of his rookie season.

Wilson found Dissly in the end zone twice last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. One score came up the right seam and the other up the left.

“Having that moment – getting in the end zone, kind of being back and winning games is the best feeling ever,” Dissly said. “I just love the game of football so much, and I worked so hard to get back, so when positive things happen it’s definitely nice.”

Dissly recalled a day during the offseason program in the spring. He’d been doing straight-line running for a while, but Seattle’s training staff now wanted to see him move laterally. They told him to run straight and then make a 90-degree cut. Dissly did so without any pain, which helped him clear a huge mental hurdle.

“It was just like, alright let’s get bigger, stronger, faster at that point,” he said.

He continued to make steady progress, so much so that he was ready for the start of training camp. Seattle limited his reps in the early going purely on a precautionary basis.

Dissly has been able to find the silver lining in his injury. He told reporters that he had to relearn how to run and cut while he made baby steps toward his return.

“I almost feel like I’m more efficient in my cuts than I was prior to injury,” he said. “That was kind of a positive that I took out of it.”

A healthy Dissly adds an extra element to Seattle’s offense, evidenced by his production in Week 2. He was Wilson’s go-to target in the red zone, and he caught back-to-back passes on Seattle’s game-clinching drive to close out the fourth quarter against the Steelers. He caught all five of his targets for 50 yards and the two scores.

”It’s a testament to the athleticism that he has,” Wilson said on Thursday. “He can do everything. He can really catch. His timing is remarkable. His catch radius is really special.”

Dissly now has four touchdowns in just six career games. He’ll look to add to that total in Week 3 agains the New Orleans Saints.

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.

Explaining the importance of Tyler Lockett’s 10-catch game in Week 2

Explaining the importance of Tyler Lockett’s 10-catch game in Week 2

Tyler Lockett is one of the better deep threats in the NFL. We’ve known this for years now, and his downfield ability is illustrated by his 16.9 yards per reception in 2018. But in Week 2, he showcased another element of his game that had yet to be seen – his ability to do all the dirty work underneath.

Lockett caught a career high 10 passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers for 79 yards. All of that production came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Lockett was Russell Wilson’s go-to guy as the Seattle Seahawks deployed a quick passing game to negate Pittsburgh’s heavy blitz packages. Wilson identified where pressure was coming from at the line of scrimmage and made checks accordingly. Lockett caught 10-of-12 targets (should have been 11 as he had one drop) as the primary beneficiary of those checks.

“Tyler can do everything,” Pete Carroll said on Wednesday. “He can run every route, and he has great feel and sense on everything. He’ll do whatever he’s asked of. It fit the game plan really well and really, Russ and Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer) and Tyler worked together really well to make it come to life.”

Lockett became the first Seahawks wide receiver to catch double digit passes in a game since Doug Baldwin in Week 3 of 2017 against the Tennessee Titans. For comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at both player’s charts from their respective 10-catch performances.

There’s an obvious difference in the routes. Baldwin’s game was so notable because he had Allen Iverson-like creativity whereas Lockett is a master in efficiency. And that’s OK. Nobody is expecting Lockett to be Baldwin, he just needs to be as productive.

Apart from the one explosive for Baldwin down the left sideline, the other 19 receptions in the charts above came within 10 yards. That wasn’t necessarily the norm for Baldwin and it won’t be for Lockett, either. Seattle will continue to utilize Lockett’s ability to take the top off of a defense. But in games like last Sunday, when pass protection was porous against a blitz-happy defense, it was important to see that Lockett can carry the quick passing game.

On a random but significant note, Lockett swapped jerseys postgame with Steelers star wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster. The pair of up-and-coming receivers each wrote a message on their own jersey to give to the other.

Smith-Schuster kept his message straight to the point: "Keep Ballin! Be Great! Stay Litty!"

Pete Carroll ‘surprised’ by California law that would allow college athletes to make money off likeness

Pete Carroll ‘surprised’ by California law that would allow college athletes to make money off likeness

The debate over whether or not collegiate athletes should be paid has been ongoing for years, but it recently took an interesting turn.

California’s state legislature has passed a bill that would allow college athletes to make money off of their likeness via endorsements, autograph signings, etc. Several professional athletes have given their endorsement for the bill that is on its way to California governor Gavin Newsom.

Unsurprisingly, the NCAA is working to combat the law. The organization has reportedly sent a letter to Newsom to express its extreme concern on the matter.

Pete Carroll was asked for his thoughts on the bill on Wednesday. Carroll’s tenure as college coach was headlined by his time as USC’s head coach from 2001-09 where he won two national championships.

“I don’t know the real depth to (the law). I’ve never been the guy that feels players needed to be paid to play," Carroll said. "I’ve felt like their scholarship and all the advantages that the guys got was always a pretty darn good deal. To me that sounds like it’s an adult situation trying to make sense of a kid’s experience, and so they’ve justified it. I don’t know that it’s wrong, good for the kids and all, and if it’s the right thing then maybe the rest of the country adopts it. I never thought that it was necessary. Even though there’s times that are tough for kids who don’t have a lot of money to take as incidental spending and stuff like that, when a kid’s on scholarship, he’s taken care of pretty well. They can make it. To start that, I’m surprised it happened. We’ll see what happens.”

If passed, the law would be an unprecedented shakeup to the traditional norms of collegiate sports. The important distinction is that it wouldn’t allow programs to pay athletes, but merely to allow those athletes to make money off of their own fame.

Fann Mail: Is the NFC West the best division in football?

Fann Mail: Is the NFC West the best division in football?

Although the Seattle Seahawks are 2-0, there are still plenty of question marks surrounding the team. I’m of the belief that we still don’t know for sure who the Seahawks are going to be in 2019, and we may not learn much more in Week 3 against the Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints.

Here’s a look at what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong thus far in this week’s mailbag. Thanks to those who sent in questions!

Jaron Brown has been quiet – so quiet that he hasn’t registered an official target in his 99 snaps through two weeks. He also had a pair of costly penalties against the Steelers. It’s conceivable that he moves down the depth chart or is cut all together. However, I don’t see those reps going to John Ursua or Gary Jennings. David Moore has a good shot to return against the Saints, and he’s the one who would assume Brown’s workload.

This, to me, is the Seahawks biggest concern at this point. Protection has been an issue in both games as Seattle has allowed eight total sacks so far. The quick passing game provided a remedy against the Steelers, but that doesn’t seem feasible as a long-term solution. The run blocking hasn’t been great either. The Seahawks averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in Week 1, and although they averaged 4.6 in Week 2, that number dips to 3.56 if you take out Rashaad Penny’s 37-yard touchdown run.

There aren’t any reinforcements coming so Seattle is going to have to figure it out and make it work with that they’ve got. The most troubling part of it all is that the o-line was supposed to be one of the team’s biggest strengths going into the season, and that simply hasn’t been the case through two weeks. D.J. Fluker missing time due to an ankle injury could make things worse before they get better. And make no mistake, they have to get better if Seattle is going to be a real contender in 2019.

You never want to overreact too much from one game, but Lano Hill showed that he deserves to be in the lineup. His interception on Pittsburgh’s two-point try was one of the biggest plays of the game. It will be interesting to see what happens when Tedric Thompson’s hamstring gets healthy because Seattle will have some decisions to make. Hill fared better than Thompson in their respective starts, but I’m curious to see if the Seahawks feel comfortable leaving Bradley McDougald at free safety all season. In my opinion, he’s better suited at strong.

As for Marquise Blair, I think he’ll continue to be the odd man out barring injury. I think people have rookie bias when it comes to Blair. He’s an enticing player and made a few big hits in the preseason, but he also had a few egregious errors as well. I don’t believe Pete Carroll trusts him yet, and the Seahawks have enough depth at safety to be patient and let Blair develop on the practice field.

I tried to tell people during the preseason that the NFC West was going to be way more competitive than many believed. There are three teams at 2-0 and the Arizona Cardinals have shown that they’re not going to be a cakewalk, either. The Rams are what they are. It’s still their division to lose. San Francisco finally has legitimate talent up and down the roster for the first time in years. The Cardinals offense already appears to be clicking with Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury.

The one caveat is that, similar to my earlier sentiments on the Seahawks, we don’t know exactly who the 49ers are yet. They’ve played a poor Buccaneers team and then walloped the Bengals. But both wins came on the road which is impressive. The Seahawks road game against the 49ers on “Monday Night Football” is the matchup I’m looking forward to most in 2019.

So, yes, I do think the NFC West is the best division in football. The NFC North is a close runner-up.

Everyone is thrilled to be 2-0 knowing full well that the team hasn’t played its best football yet. Not even close, for that matter. It’s always easier to review the tape and make corrections on things after a win. Seattle has caught some major breaks thus far and will again in Week 3 with avoiding Brees. That’s big for a team that’s a notoriously slow starter.

By the numbers: Defining stats from Seahawks 28-26 win over Steelers

By the numbers: Defining stats from Seahawks 28-26 win over Steelers

The Seattle Seahawks won ugly for the second straight week, but Sunday’s victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers looked much different than the Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Contrary to the opener, Seattle dominated Pittsburgh from a statistical standpoint. This time, it was the Seahawks who committed turnovers to keep the Steelers in the game. Here are the notable statistics and milestones from Seattle’s Week 2 win.

1 – sack for the Seahawks. A lack of a consistent pass rush is something Seattle expects to improve with Ziggy Ansah hopeful to play in Week 3.

1.89 – seconds from snap to release on average for Russell Wilson's pass attempts, per NextGen Stats. That's the quickest of any QB in a game since 2016.

2 – touchdowns for Will Dissly. He now has four scores in six career games. He doesn’t look like a guy coming off a gruesome knee injury, which is huge for Seattle’s offense.

2 – fumbles lost by Seattle. Chris Carson has now lost a fumble in both games to open the year.

3 – Seahawks touchdown drives of at least 75 yards.

5:34 – burned off the clock at the end of the fourth quarter on Seattle’s game-clinching 12-play drive.

10 – receptions for Tyler Lockett, his first game with double-digit receptions and the first such game for any Seahawks receiver since Doug Baldwin in 2017.

10 – Seahawks penalties for 93 yards. There were plenty more that weren’t enforced.

28 – yard touchdown for DK Metcalf, the first of his career. Metcalf is on pace for 56 receptions for 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns.

35:46 – time of possession for Seattle, a vast improvement from the team’s 24:10 TOP in Week 1.

54 – yards for Malik Turner on three receptions. Both numbers were career highs.

75 – yards for Ben Roethlisberger in the first half before leaving with an elbow injury, illustrating the fantastic start for Seattle’s defense.

84 – yards for JuJu Smith Schuster, 45 of which came on a flea flicker. That’s a job well done by the Seahawks secondary.

100 – wins for Pete Carroll as Seattle’s head coach.

100 – percent in the red zone for the second consecutive game. Seattle was  2-2 on Sunday and is now 4-4 through two weeks.

131 – passer rating for Wilson, his second straight game with a passer rating of at least 130 to open the season.

200 – career passing touchdowns for Wilson. Wilson became the fifth-fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach the milestone. He’s also the first player to ever throw for 200 touchdowns (201) and run for 15 touchdowns (16) in his first eight seasons.

261 – total yards allowed, a vast improvement from the 429 yards allowed to Cincinnati.

425 – total yards gained, a vast improvement from the 232 yards gained against Cincinnati.

Week 2 grades: Best and worst Seahawks players according to Pro Football Focus

Week 2 grades: Best and worst Seahawks players according to Pro Football Focus

Pro Football Focus’ grades are in following the Seattle Seahawks Week 2 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here are the players who stood out in the 28-26 victory and others who didn’t grade out as favorably.

Top 4 on offense

TE Will Dissly – 92.2

Dissly caught all five of his targets for 50 yards and two touchdowns.

QB Russell Wilson – 83.9

Wilson was stellar, completing 83% of his passes and throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

WR Malik Turner – 79.1

Turner caught all three of his targets for 54 yards. Unfortunately, with David Moore potentially returning in Week 3, Turner’s opportunities may be limited.

WR DK Metcalf – 67.8

 Metcalf caught what ended up being the game-winning touchdown, a 28-yard score in the four quarter. He caught 3-of-7 targets for 61 yards and his first-career touchdown.

Bottom 4 on offense

G Ethan Pocic – 32.3

Pocic played 22 snaps – 20 at right guard when D.J. Fluker was out with an ankle injury and two snaps at left guard when Mike Iupati left briefly.

G D.J. Fluker – 32.7

Fluker struggled before leaving the game with an ankle injury. He was responsible for two of the sacks against Wilson. Fluker returned in the second half and finished the game.

WR Jaron Brown – 47.4

Jaron Brown wasn’t targeted for the second straight week, and he was also called for a pair of penalties.

T George Fant – 55.6

Fant played 16 snaps against the Steelers.

Top 4 on defense

CB Tre Flowers – 71.9

Flowers rebounded nicely after a subpar performance in Week 1. He had two tackles and earned a 71 coverage grade.

S Lano Hill – 67.3

Hill made a fantastic first impression in 2019. He recorded three tackles, and intercepted Mason Rudolph on a two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game at 21.

CB Jamar Taylor – 64.6

Like Hill, Taylor also showed well in Pittsburgh. The veteran looks to have the nickel job locked up.

DT Al Woods – 63.6

Woods had four tackles as he continues to anchor the middle of the Seahawks defensive line while Jarran Reed serves his six-game suspension.

Bottom 4 on defense

DT Brian Mone – 50.2

Mone was kept off the stat sheet in 23 snaps.

S Bradley McDougald – 54.2

McDougald had three tackles and an interception in the second half but had just a 42.8 tackling grade.

LB Bobby Wagner – 56.2

This one is surprising as Wagner had just a 36.7 grade in run defense. Wagner had seven tackles against the Steelers – a low number by his standards.

DE Brandon Jackson – 56.5

Jackson accounted for Seattle’s lone sack and only two quarterback hits.

Seahawks to face Drew Brees-less Saints in Week 3

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USATI

Seahawks to face Drew Brees-less Saints in Week 3

The Seattle Seahawks continue to catch break after break in the early going of the 2019 regular season. Drew Brees, who injured his thumb on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, will miss at least six weeks with a torn ligament.

That means Teddy Bridgewater will start for the New Orleans Saints in Week 3 against the Seahawks. Bridgewater completed 17-of-30 pass attempts against the Rams for 165 yards, no touchdowns and no picks. Seattle is also likely to see a hefty dose of gadget quarterback Taysom Hill. Sean Payton is sure to get creative in how to give the Saints the best chance to win at CenturyLink Field without Brees.

The Saints offense still has plenty of weapons, notably Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, but next Sunday's game now becomes a must-win for Seattle.

This will be the third week in a row that the Seahawks have benefitted from significant injuries to the opposing team. The Cincinnati Bengals were missing left tackle Cordy Glenn and star wideout A.J. Green in Week 1. Ben Roethlisberger left Sunday's game with an elbow injury and didn't play the entire second half. Now Seattle will get to host the Saints without their Hall of Fame quarterback.

Make no mistake, the Seahawks don't owe anybody an apology for their good fortune. Seattle is a notorious slow starter and simply need to take advantage of the opportunity that has presented itself. As long as they take care of business, they'll be sitting pretty at 3-0 ahead of a Week 4 road game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Seahawks Snap Count: Rashaad Penny sees more usage in Week 2

Seahawks Snap Count: Rashaad Penny sees more usage in Week 2

The Seattle Seahawks found a way to win ugly for the second straight week, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-26 and jumping out to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2013. Let's dive into the game book for our weekly breakdown of snap counts. Here's a look at who played against the Steelers, how much and what might be meaningful takeaways moving forward.

Full summary of reps on offense and defense:

Takeaways:

- Rashaad Penny saw his usage creep up (33% in Week 2 compared to 26% in Week 1) due to two factors. One being his production and the other being Chris Carson's (43 snaps) costly fumble in the second quarter. Penny finished the game with 10 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown -- a 37-yard run late in the third quarter. On the score, Penny made an impressive cut in the backfield to make a man miss before accelerating towards the end zone. We could be on our way to more of a timeshare if Penny continues to produce and Carson can't solve his fumbling problem.

- L.J. Collier played 16 snaps in his NFL debut but was quiet overall, being kept out of the box score completely.

- Ethan Pocic played 22 snaps despite not starting. He played right guard for 20 when D.J. Fluker left the game with an ankle injury and two at left guard when Mike Iupati left the game briefly. Both Fluker and Iupati returned.

- Jadeveon Clowney was quiet in his 39 snaps. He had two tackles and one PBU on a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage. Seattle's pass rush was quiet overall as Branden Jackson accounted for the Seahawks lone sack and only two quarterback hits.

- Jaron Brown played 58 snaps but wasn't targeted for the second straight week. He's now played 99 snaps without being targeted once through two games.

- DK Metcalf is on pace for 56 receptions for 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns after catching three passes for 61 yards and his first career touchdown -- a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter. He played 70 snaps against the Steelers, the same amount as Tyler Lockett.

- John Ursua played two snaps in his NFL debut but wasn't targeted.

- Malik Turner made the most of his 16 snaps, catching a career high three passes for 54 yards. All of that production came in the first half.

- C.J. Prosise saw his first action of the regular season, playing 10 snaps. He carried the ball two times for seven yards and caught three passes for 13 yards.

- As expected, Jamar Taylor took over as Seattle's starting nickel corner and played 19 snaps.