Seahawks mailbag: How'd Pete Carroll end up with the best rookie class?
Is Russell Wilson "washed"? Who is a comp for Jordyn Brooks? That and more in Seaside Joe 1347
The Seattle Seahawks can enter the bye week on a high week if they march Tom Brady out of Germany with a loss on Sunday at 6:30 AM PT. On the heels of four straight wins, the team’s most impressive streak since 2015, the Seahawks are in a dead heat with the Giants and Jets as the NFL’s most surprising team this season.
A few more wins in a row, and Seattle could even find themselves gaining ground on the Eagles and Vikings for one of the NFC’s top two seeds for the playoffs.
Locally, the Seaside Joe newsletter, now on its 1,347th day in a row of sending out a free post on the Seahawks, is chugging like a runaway locomotive towards toppling over all of Seattle sports media thanks to our growing community and unprecedented streak of talking Hawks. That’s why I opened the up the Seaside Joe mailbag on Tuesday to get some questions from YOU about the team, the players, the coaches, and the coffee mugs.
These are the answers I came up with, but I want you to join the comments section if you feel like I didn’t quite hit the mark or if you have something to add. The community needs you!
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Now onto the mailbag questions:
“How did we end up with all the best rookies, Joe?” - Stephen Pitell
Let’s think about all the factors that helped the Seahawks have a better rookie class this year as opposed to previous years, or for other teams:
Draft capital. For the first time since 2012, the Seahawks had a pick in the vicinity of the top-10, plus four picks in the top-75. Seattle has not had four picks in the top-75 since 1977! (They’re set to have even more draft capital in 2023!) Without the Russell Wilson trade, there’s definitely no Charles Cross and no extra second rounder, and then that has a trickle down effect for the rest of the class. Compare that to 2021, when Seattle only had three picks, none in the top-50 and only one in the top-130. Or 2013-2015, the Seahawks only picked once in the top-60 that entire time (Paul Richardson, 45th).
Opportunity. What was that graphic shown during the game on Sunday about rookie tackles? The Seahawks are the first team to have two rookie tackles through this many games or something? For many years, Seattle drafted players they couldn’t use and this season, Pete desperately needed contributors. Cross is not a surprising starter, but then the team put Abe Lucas into a competition at right tackle that he won; Tariq Woolen into a competition at cornerback that he won; and then eventually injuries opened the door for Boye Mafe, Kenneth Walker, and Coby Bryant to establish themselves as necessary game day options. It’s surprising how well these players are doing. Still, they’re only getting these snaps because the Seahawks sorely needed them and in past seasons, that wasn’t the case.
Rookies are grown men now. I think the era is an important factor too and it can’t be left out that the NFL is no longer patient with prospects. With the rising costs of quarterbacks and star veterans, teams are moving players in and out of the league at a much faster rate. “Why am I paying this guy if I can get 90% of the production from a player on a rookie contract for 10% of the cost?” Some people think Sauce Gardner is the best cornerback in the NFL already. Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave are both going to go over 1,000 yards this season. Look at Micah Parsons last season, he might have been the best defensive player in the league, whereas Rashawn Slater was an All-Pro left tackle. Look at Ja’Marr Chase, helping the Bengals reach the Super Bowl. Look at Justin Jefferson in 2020. Teams don’t treat rookies like babies anymore and the Seahwaks definitely aren’t holding back anyone who is ready to start.
Cohesion of front office and coaching. When you look at how the Rams and 49ers draft, it’s a wonder if the head coach and GM even consult with one another. It’s funny how when the chips were down for Seattle for about two seconds, those Pete Carroll haters were jumping out of the woodwork to criticize him as being the final word on personnel decisions but not getting the right players for his system. They’re much quieter today. Pete and John picked players who seemed like they had “fallen” in the draft and who were able to contribute immediately.
Those are four reasons I can think of, but we could go on for a long time!
“How would you resign the following players for 2023…” - Zezinhom400
I’m truncating your question Zezinhom400, but essentially what he said was a list of players who will be free agents next year. I wrote about this recently, so I’ll just leave this here:
My general advice for salary cap “worries” is this: If the Seahawks want to keep somebody, they’ll be perfectly capable of finding a way to make it work. In the rare cases when someone gets away, like D.J. Reed for instance, Seattle just hasn’t shown a propensity for paying cornerbacks a lot of money unless they’re Richard Sherman. Luckily in the case of Tariq Woolen…
“Question: You pondered whether the Seahawks would pick up Brooks' fifth year. Why are you so down on Brooks? If they keep him (and they will) what would you do to mask his weakness as a coverage linebacker?” - Dale Roberts
I’m glad you asked because Jordyn Brooks tends to get forgotten by the time people are done talking about Geno Smith and the rookies. In the offseason, I compared Brooks to C.J. Mosley, one of the top inside linebackers in the NFL. I believe the Seahawks will pick up his fifth-year option. I am happy to put that on the record.
“Is one cornerback position more difficult than the other? Richard Sherman played LCB, so I always assumed it was where you wanted your best guy. It makes some sense as most QBs are right-handed and perhaps prefer to see and throw that direction (to the defensive left). However we've got Woolen at RCB and looking around the league a lot of teams (but not all) have their best CB on the right. How do we decide where to put our CBs?” - Grant
You know, we have a lot of smart football minds in the Seaside Joe community comments section, so I’m going to open up the floor for answers to this one:
This is not the answer to your question, but I’ll leave you with some interesting words from Richard Sherman (back in 2016) on why playing cornerback is much harder than playing wide receiver:
“Corner because you never leave the field,” Sherman told reporters. “You don’t get to leave the field, you don’t get to sub, you don’t get to rotate. If there’s two receivers out there on the field, you’re out there. It’s not like you get to swap, this receiver went out so somebody else comes in, it doesn’t matter. If they’re tired, they get to sub out and bring someone else in.
“That was one of the challenges when we played Denver in the Super Bowl. They’re rotating the receivers in and out every three plays and we’re out there. They get to get fresh, they get to take a breather and take a break. Sometimes the receivers never even go back to the huddle, they’ll just run out to the sideline and you turn around, you’re 60 yards down the field and a new receiver is standing there. That’s something that some people don’t think about playing corner.”
“General football question: How do defenses know what players to rotate in and out. Is it always down/distance based or do they try to follow the offense?” - InfantryHawk
As I said before, lots of smart minds in the Seaside Joe comments section, so I’ll pass this one off to a reply left by Chris Snape to your question:
“It's actually a mixture of all of those and how much the rushers have in the tank. When your carrying 280lbs plus there are only so many snaps in a row you can play. I have been watching AL Wood and it seems that if we hold the other team to 2 yards or less on first down Woods will come out. That is to keep him fresh plus the other team is likely to pass. The more nuisance decisions come in when to bring the third safety on the field, and do we play nickel or dime. Also something we don't do a lot of , when to blitz. If Jamal Adams was playing there would be more blitzing. The perfect world is where the Hawks are, able to get home with only 4 or 5 rushers which is happening over the last 4 or 5 games”
“Have shared a number of your posts Kenneth...you writing is spot on and the community? Well, we Rock too, Electric Boo-ga-loo!” - Cover12
I appreciate it. I wanted to share this comment not because Cover12 complimented my writing, but because of the wise words about the community: Indeed, Seasiders rock.
“Seems like Russell Wilson is washed-up, or is he just having a single very bad season?” - Rich
No matter what version of Wilson we see in the future, I do think that it is too early to judge him based on just these last seven games. I wrote not long ago that these kind of early season starts are not uncommon for Wilson, but then he also has to deal with new team/new coach/new division on top of however he’s being impacted by injuries and the aging process. He also lost his starting left tackle and running back, which can’t be overlooked.
I believe the Broncos wanted to trade Bradley Chubb for a first round pick so that they could get more help for the offense next year. Denver has to turn that offense into a machine if they want to keep pace in the AFC West.
“Where did you get that sweet coffee mug?” - ObeytheNoodle
It’s a great image created by one of our community members, Elliot! Hopefully one day we’ll be able to sell real ones in our “Seaside Joe store” and I can finally brand everything and become a total sellout.
“Are there any old Hawks players that should hang around more and become positional coaches?” - François Maltais
This is a topic of conversation that seems to be as old as football itself: “I like this great player, he should make other players as great as he was.” I just think those are two entirely different skills: Playing and coaching.
Pete Carroll wasn’t much of a player and that helped mold him into a great coach. I don’t think Walter Jones can just teach a young left tackle how to pull a semi-truck up a hill. And of all the former Seahawks in history who you could pick to become an assistant coach on the team, Aaron Curry might be in LAST PLACE for many fans. Yet, Curry could be one of the top rising assistants on the staff.
Or DeShawn Shead or Damione Lewis or Larry Izzo. Actually, it seems like I’m definitely underestimating former players.
“On Sunday Bruce Irvin will play NFL football in his fifth country. Can you name them?” - Ray
Is one of them Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-nei?
Probably not. I’ll open this one to the floor as well.